Saturday, February 24, 2018
Sports

Shaq hits Havana for tour, good will

HAVANA — The Shaq show came to Cuba on Sunday as NBA great Shaquille O'Neal put on a basketball clinic for local youngsters, becoming the latest emissary for American outreach here.

The 2016 Hall of Fame inductee and four-time NBA champion led star-struck kids in layup drills and coached scrimmages while onlookers cheered. It was part of a visit, sponsored by the U.S. State Department, to foster exchanges with Cubans.

Recent years have seen a string of American sporting, diplomatic and cultural missions to the island as Washington and Havana mend relations that were hostile for more than five decades. Ties were formally restored last year under presidents Barack Obama and Raul Castro.

"Baseball, soccer, basketball — it's about sports, you know," O'Neal said. "We share a lot of things in common."

This March, the Rays played Cuba's national team in an exhibition in Havana as both Obama and Castro attended.

As for O'Neal, basketball fan Juan Navarrete, 13, was thrilled to see him up close.

"I would really like to become great, a great player," Navarrete said. "Maybe I can become a great player like Shaquille O'Neal."

O'Neal's goodwill tour of Cuba runs through Tuesday.

Simmons' cousin killed: The cousin of No. 1 overall draft pick Ben Simmons died Saturday after being hit by a sport utility vehicle in Hoboken, N.J., family members said. Zachary Simmons, 21, was struck while crossing a street. Authorities said the SUV fled the scene. The victim's mother, Monique Steele, said police told her the SUV was going at least 70 mph at the time of the accident, New York's WCBS-TV reported.

Place at Pride: NBA commissioner Adam Silver and WNBA president Lisa Borders marched in New York City's pride parade. The two leagues became the first pro sports organization to have a float in the parade. Silver and deputy commissioner Mark Tatum both wore "#OrlandoUnited" shirts to show their support for victims of the nightclub attack this month.

Comments
Lightning tops Canadiens in shootout, looks ahead to trade deadline

Lightning tops Canadiens in shootout, looks ahead to trade deadline

MONTREAL — There's no guarantee general manager Steve Yzerman will be able to pull off a big move by Monday's trade deadline, though indications are the Lightning and Senators are working hard on a potential Erik Karlsson blockbuster.And the Li...
Updated: 6 minutes ago

Tulane avenges USF’s only conference win

TAMPA — Samir Sehic had 17 points and seven rebounds off the bench and Melvin Frazier added 16 points and five assists to lead Tulane over USF 79-68 on Saturday to snap a six-game losing streak.Caleb Daniels added 13 points and Jordan Cornish 1...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Florida boosts NCAA resume by beating No. 12 Auburn 72-66

Florida boosts NCAA resume by beating No. 12 Auburn 72-66

GAINESVILLE — KeVaughn Allen bounced back from his first scoreless game in more than three years with 24 points, including two huge 3-pointers in the closing minutes as Florida beat No. 12 Auburn 72-66 on Saturday night.Jalen Hudson added 19 po...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Winter Olympics: Norway sets Winter Games medal mark

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Surpassing its own lofty expectations, Norway has delivered the greatest performance in the history of the Winter Games, winning a total of 38 medals, 13 of them gold. A nation of only 5 million people has crushed all comer...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Sunday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYAutosMonster Energy Cup: Folds of Honor QuickTrip 5001 p.m.Fox;102.5-FMNHRA: Arizona Nationals (taped)6 p.m.FS1Baseball, spring trainingRays at Twins1 p.m.Fox Sun; 620-AMYankees at Phillies1 p.m.MLBBowlingPBA: Players Championship1:30 p.m.ESPNCo...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Inside the Rays’ plan to prove the tanking truthers wrong

Inside the Rays’ plan to prove the tanking truthers wrong

PORT CHARLOTTE – The Rays know tanking."We tanked in 2006 and '07, if you want to call it that," principal owner Stuart Sternberg said. "We were the original tankers. Or tankees. It seems to be all the fad now."In losing 101 and 96 games in the...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Winter Olympics: Ester Ledecka first woman to win two golds in different sports at one Games

Winter Olympics: Ester Ledecka first woman to win two golds in different sports at one Games

BONGPYEONG, South Korea — Don’t ask Ester Ledecka if she is the best athlete at the Olympics. She’ll stare through her polarized goggles and recoil at what she considers a preposterous notion."Uh, what?" she responded Saturday.No, seriously."I don’t ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Winter Olympics: U.S. men win country’s first gold medal in curling

Winter Olympics: U.S. men win country’s first gold medal in curling

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — John Shuster, the face of U.S. curling for the past four Winter Olympics — and all the good and bad those experiences have entailed — had a gold medal draped around his neck for the first time in his life Saturday. Moments be...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Plant City wins first soccer championship in dramatic fashion

Plant City wins first soccer championship in dramatic fashion

DELAND — As Plant City players lined up for their Class 5A state championship medals after an exhausting 2-1 (3-2 in penalty kicks) win over Miami Beach Saturday afternoon, the reality hit them. They had to dye their hair blond.The Raiders made...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Distance Classic journal: Feeling the burn at 81

Distance Classic journal: Feeling the burn at 81

TAMPA — Bill Riley is still at it, which is amazing because he's 81.A very, very fast 81.Riley, for instance, ran Saturday's Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic 5K in 26 minutes, 19 seconds, more than 10 minutes ahead of his next age group compe...
Updated: 5 hours ago