Kobe Bryant remembered on eve of Hall of Fame induction

Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant loomed large on the eve of his posthumous induction to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Kobe Bryant remembered on eve of Hall of Fame induction

Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant loomed large on Friday on the eve of his posthumous induction to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame alongside NBA greats Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett.

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The trio are among nine members of the 2020 Hall of Fame class who are being belatedly inducted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The celebration is being held at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, to better allow for social distancing.

But the actual Hall in Springfield, Massachusetts, is also unveiling a special exhibit honoring Kobe Bryant that president John Doleva believes will be come the “most talked about” exhibit at the shrine.

“The family had a time to think about what they wanted to do,” Doleva said at Friday’s pre-induction news conference.

“It’s about Kobe’s accomplishments but also about what Kobe was after he left the Lakers, after he left basketball.”

NBA icon Michael Jordan, who spoke movingly at Bryant’s memorial service last year after the superstar was killed on January 26, 2020 in a helicopter crash, will honor Bryant at the induction ceremony, where those being enshrined are traditionally introduced by someone close to them.

Kobe Bryant was on the mind of his fellow inductees as well.

“Your greatest competition brings the best out of you,” said Duncan, who spent all of his 19 NBA seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, winning five championships. “And that’s what he always did.”

Duncan’s Spurs and Bryant’s Lakers met in the NBA playoffs seven times over the course of their careers.

“You always had to be at your best and bring your best from start to finish if you were playing against him or any of his teams, and I think that’s what I appreciate about remembering playing against him and being on the court with him.”

Duncan will be presented by fellow Spurs legend David Robinson.

Bryant’s Lakers clashed with Garnett’s Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals and all three retired from the NBA at the end of the 2015/16 season.

“You can go through the list of NBA greats and I couldn’t pick two better players, not just that, but two better people, to go into the Hall with,” said Garnett, who was drafted out of high school by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

He spent more than 10 years in Minnesota, where he was left hungering for regular title chances before finally arriving in Boston in 2007 and claiming the only title of his career in 2008.

“Both of them are class acts and unbelievable players,” he said of Bryant and Duncan.

“I’m very privileged, if I’m being honest. Ever since I stepped in the league, it has been like a dream, and this is no different.”

Tamika Catchings, a four-time Olympic gold medallist and Women’s NBA star, will also be enshrined, along with two-time NBA champion coach Rudy Tomjanovic.

Catchings was a childhood friend of Kobe Bryant, their fathers playing together both with the Philadelphia 76ers and in Italy.

“I just remember calling my parents,” she said of hearing of a Kobe Bryant drafted out of high school, “and saying, ‘This is the Kobe we were just in Italy with, right?’ And yeah, it was.

“So he went to the pros, I went to college, four years after that I went to the WNBA, and the rest is history.”

Source : The South African More   

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Nicole Garcia gains ground at windy Westlake GC

Nicole Garcia will take a one-shot lead into the weekend at the Investec South African Women’s Open after the course showed its teeth on Friday.

Nicole Garcia gains ground at windy Westlake GC

Nicole Garcia will take a one-shot lead into the weekend at the Investec South African Women’s Open after the course showed its teeth on Friday.

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Taking advantage of an early start, Nicole Garcia picked up three birdies in a second round 73 at Westlake Golf Club to set the early clubhouse target at level-par.

With first-round leaders Lee-Anne Pace and Lydia Hall starting day two on two-under, the Serengeti golfer was hoping to finish in the top three, but a brutal North Westerly that gusted up to 35km/h in the afternoon helped the three-time Sunshine Ladies Tour winner to the summit.

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“I’m pretty happy with that,” said Nicole Garcia, who leads by one shot from three-time champion Pace and Germany’s Leonie Harm.

”If you had offered me rounds of 71 and 73 at the start of the week, I may have grumbled, but after the wind showed up on our back nine, I’m not complaining. It was pretty calm over the first 12 holes, but the last six holes played really tough. I suspected it would only get worse, but I didn’t expect to be leading. It’s a great position to be in with two rounds to play.”

Pace struck the ball well, but struggled for pace on the greens and she had a trio of three-putts in her round of 75 to finish joint second one-over. Harm, who also had a late start, made amends for back-to-back bogeys on 11 and 12 with a brace of birdies on 16 and 17 for a round of 72.

Kylie Henry also showed her affinity for windy conditions with an eagle at the par-5 13th and the Scottish golfer finished the day in fourth, just two behind Nicole Garcia after carding 72.

Nicole Garcia enjoyed her best season on the Ladies European Tour in 2018, but after finishing 47th in the Race to Costa del Sol, a hip and back injury put paid to her hopes of chasing down a maiden win in 2019.

“I spent the bulk of the season on the bench after surgery,” she explained.

“I began hitting balls and preparing for a comeback on the 2020 Sunshine Ladies Tour late in the year, and I was thrilled with how I performed over the seven weeks.”

Garcia enjoyed three top 10 finishes and added the Canon Serengeti Par-3 Challenge to her winning tally.

“I was ready to take Europe by storm, but we no sooner kicked off the Ladies European Tour season here at Westlake, or it was over, due to the international Covid-19 pandemic,” she said.

“It was a huge blow. I managed to play It has been two very frustrating years, so I am seriously pleased to make a good start. My ticket is booked for Italy next week and I can’t wait to get back out there.”

Garcia described her round as a “fighter’s round”.

“I hit some really good shots off the tee, but I got a few unlucky bounces and had some soft drops. I made some really good clutch putts for birdies to recover and to keep the momentum going.

“The course is in the best condition I’ve ever played it, but it is playing very long. Every single tee box is off the tips. You have to hit fairways and greens to score here, but I think it’s a great test. It’s a U.S. Women’s Open qualifier, so if you get a spot, you know you will be able to contend. I just want to keep it together on the weekend to give myself a chance.”

Pace got a little hot under the collar when her group was put on the clock on the back nine.

“I played well, especially on the back nine. I was really getting into the zone and hitting good shots on difficult holes. It played really long and I was hitting a lot of 5-irons, 6-irons and 7-irons into the greens,” said the 40-year-old.

“Then we got put on the clock for no apparent reason. Obviously if you are slow, they have to warn us but no-one was waiting behind us. I got annoyed and lost a shot on the par-5 (16th), but I made two really good pars to finish.”

The nine-time Ladies European Tour champion, holing a huge putt on 17 to save par and keeping her bid for a record fourth title alive with another great par save on the closing hole.

“The putt on 17 was from the fringe and my caddie actually gave me the line, because I was still seeing red. And I made a really good up-and-down for par on the last. So still in it with two days to go.”

Second round scores:

All competitors RSA unless otherwise specified; amateurs indicated as (a)

144 – Nicole Garcia 71 73

145 – Lee-Anne Pace 70 75, Leonie Harm (GER) 73 72

146 – Kylie Henry (SCO) 74 72

147 – Tandi McCallum 71 76, Elia Folch (ESP) 73 74, Lydia Hall (WAL) 70 77, Pia Babnik (SVN) 73 74

148 – Sanna Nuutinen (FIN) 75 73, Karolin Lampert (GER) 73 75, Silvia Banon (ESP) 77 71, Agathe Sauzon (FRA) 73 75

149 – Maria Hernandez (ESP) 74 75, Carmen Alonso (ESP) 74 75

150 – Manon Gidali (FRA) 78 72, Camille Chevalier (FRA) 73 77, Nobuhle Dlamini (SWZ) 74 76

151 – Celine Herbin (FRA) 76 75, Olivia Cowan (GER) 75 76, Sarina Schmidt (GER) 77 74, Sarah Schober (AUT) 76 75, Lora Assad 74 77, Manon De Roey (BEL) 76 75, Magdalena Simmermacher (ARG) 75 76, Tvesa Malik (IND) 72 79, Casandra Hall 75 76, Jenny Haglund (SWE) 73 78, Christine Wolf (AUT) 73 78, Anne-Lise Caudal (FRA) 74 77, Anne-Charlotte Mora (FRA) 76 75

152 – Florentyna Parker (ENG) 79 73, Amelia Lewis (USA) 77 75, Caitlyn Macnab (a) 77 75, Caroline Hedwall (SWE) 77 75, Johanna Gustavsson (SWE) 72 80, Kim Williams 76 76, Kim Metraux (SUI) 73 79, Marianne Skarpnord (NOR) 77 75, Harang Lee (ESP) 77 75, Madelene Stavnar (NOR) 76 76

153 – Pasqualle Coffa (NED) 77 76, Ursula Wikstrom (FIN) 76 77, Romy Meekers (NED) 75 78, Jane Turner (SCO) 75 78, Emma Nilsson (SWE) 77 76, Laura Gomez Ruiz (ESP) 79 74, Astrid Vayson De Pradenne (FRA) 74 79, Maria Beautell (ESP) 77 76

154 – Isabella van Rooyen (a) 76 78, Patricia Sanz Barrio (ESP) 78 76, Maha Haddioui (MAR) 80 74, Katja Pogacar (SVN) 77 77, Maiken Bing Paulsen (NOR) 76 78, Nina Pegova (RUS) 77 77, Stina Resen (NOR) 76 78, Cloe Frankish (ENG) 75 79

155 – Mireia Prat (ESP) 79 76, Lauren Taylor (ENG) 74 81, Zethu Myeki 75 80, Karoline Lund (NOR) 76 79

156 – Elina Nummenpaa (FIN) 79 77, Tiia Koivisto (FIN) 80 76, Lucrezia Colombotto Rosso (ITA) 77 79, Lejan Lewthwaite 75 81, Leticia Ras-Anderica (GER) 79 77, Amy Walsh (AUS) 75 81

Missed the cut:

157 – Luiza Altmann (BRA) 78 79, Rachael Taylor (SCO) 75 82, Monique Smit 82 75

158 – Eleanor Givens (ENG) 77 81, Caroline Rominger (SUI) 81 77, Lindi Coetzee 80 78, Lina Boqvist (SWE) 81 77, Justine Dreher (FRA) 80 78

159 – Carolin Kauffmann (GER) 81 78, Michaela Fletcher 77 82

160 – Emie Peronnin (FRA) 78 82, Franziska Friedrich (GER) 80 80, Line Toft Hansen (DEN) 83 77, Christina Gloor (SUI) 84 76, Annelie Sjoholm (SWE) 77 83, Anna Magnusson (SWE) 80 80, Emilie Borggen (SWE) 78 82, Isabelle Boineau (FRA) 79 81, Linette Holmslykke (DEN) 76 84

161 – Georgia Iziemgbe Oboh (NGA) 82 79, Nadia van der Westhuizen 76 85, Ivanna Samu 77 84

162 – Kristyna Napoleaova (CZE) 79 83, Noemi Jimenez Martin (ESP) 82 80, Samantha Whateley (a) 80 82, Shawnelle de Lange 85 77, Cara Gorlei 79 83, Kelsey Nicholas 79 83

163 – Michelle Leigh 83 80, Shani Brynard (a) 82 81

164 – Sideri Vanova (CZE) 85 79, Karina Kukkonen (FIN) 81 83

165 – Katerina Vlasinova (CZE) 81 84, Nina Grey (a) 81 84, Mimmi Bergman (SWE) 83 82, Tina Mazarino (NOR) 80 85

166 – Katia Shaff (a) (AUT) 82 84, Alexandra Bonetti (FRA) 83 83, Clara Pietri (SUI) 81 85, Jordan Rothman (a) 85 81

167 – Brittney-Fay Berger 83 84

168 – Lynette Fourie 86 82, Tara Griebenow 87 81

170 – Yolanda Duma 88 82

180 – Odette Booysen (a) 92 88

187 – Cassidy Williams 97 90

RTD – Stacy Bregman 76 RTD

DSQ – Kaylah Williams (a) DSQ DSQ

Source : The South African More   

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