Update: Dirk Nowitzki will throw out first pitch for Game 3

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UPDATE 10:01 pm: Bud Selig has seen the mistake, stepped in and has saved the day. Hey, it happens, a broken clock is right twice a day.

After seeing the public backlash and realizing they looked like fools, Selig and Major League Baseball stepped in and said “what do you mean we said Dirk Nowitzki couldn’t throw out the first pitch, of course he can.” ESPNDallas.com has the full report.

Earlier Wednesday the MLB had shot the idea down (read below, but basically it was a solidarity move with their fellow owners), but a little sunshine on that decision and the MLB backtracked from it. Of course, they did it with the “Selig didn’t know or he would have approved it the first time” language. But at least they did the right thing.

So check out the big German throwing out the first pitch Saturday night.

3:45 pm: Bad karma, Major League Baseball. Bad karma.

The Texas Rangers open the World Series Wednesday night against the Cardinals in St. Louis. When the Rangers return home, they wanted newly minted NBA champion Dirk Nowitzki to throw out the first pitch. Maybe a little good karma rubs off on them. Smart move.

But Major League Baseball tossed Nowitzki from the game before he ever got to the mound. Marc Stein at ESPN explains.

Sources told ESPNDallas.com that — with the NBA in the midst of a lockout that has spanned 111 days — at least some hesitation stems from the idea that MLB executives want to stand behind their basketball counterparts and have notified the Rangers that they can’t bestow first-pitch honors on an NBA player.

Major League Baseball insists that the NBA’s labor unrest had no impact on Nowitzki not being selected to throw out the first pitch.

Right. And I like Minka Kelly for her acting skills.

Nowitzki threw out the first pitch at the Rangers’ June 24 game, right after the Mavericks won the title. It was a pretty good pitch, actually, Nowitzki has a little J.R. Richards in there.

Hey, Bug Selig and other MLB owners, I get you like the other insanely rich old white guys (and Michael Jordan) and want to back them, but let the teams pick their first pitch guys without interference. Or instant karma’s going to get you.

Victor Oladipo’s practice dunk better than anything he – or maybe anyone – did in dunk contest (video)

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Victor Oladipo has grown into far more than just a dunker.

In fact, in Saturday’s dunk contest, he didn’t look like a dunker at all.

The Pacers star missed all three attempts of his first dunk, and a Black Panther mask was by far the biggest draw of his second. Oladipo was eliminated after the first round.

Maybe Dennis Smith Jr. wasn’t the only eliminated dunker who left something in his bag. This Oladipo dunk – 180 degrees, throwing ball off the backboard with his left hand while in mid-air, dunking with his right hand – while preparing in Los Angeles was awesome.

Larry Nance Jr. had the contest’s best dunk. This would have rivaled it.

Pelicans owner Tom Benson hospitalized with flu symptoms

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METAIRIE, La. (AP) — New Orleans Saints and Pelicans Owner Tom Benson has been hospitalized with flu symptoms.

A statement released Wednesday by the NFL and NBA clubs says their 90-year-old owner is resting comfortably at Ochsner Medical Center, a hospital which also serves as a major sponsor and which owns naming rights to the teams’ training headquarters.

Benson has owned the New Orleans Saints since 1985 and bought the New Orleans Pelicans in 2012.

In recent years, Benson has overhauled his estate plan so that his third wife, Gayle, would be first in line to inherit control of the two major professional franchises.

 

Report: Seattle hosting Kings-Warriors preseason game

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Kevin Durant spent his rookie season in Seattle, before the SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder. He has said Seattle fans deserved to see him grow up in the NBA after supporting his promising start.

They’ll get their chance.

Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee:

The Kings and Golden State Warriors have scheduled a preseason game next season in Seattle, according to multiple league sources.

The Oct. 6 meeting between Northern California teams will be the first NBA game in the Key Arena since the Sonics moved to Oklahoma City after the 2007-08 season and became the Thunder.

This game will be loaded with storylines. Not only Durant, but the Kings considered moving to Seattle a few years ago. And of course, the return of NBA basketball to Seattle.

At some point, Seattle will get its own team again. For now, this preseason game creates intrigue there.

Report: Kawhi Leonard cleared medically, seeking second opinion

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Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said he’d be surprised if Kawhi Leonard played again this season, a stark reversal from just a month ago. Back then, even while announcing Leonard was out indefinitely with a quad injury, the San Antonio coach said Leonard wouldn’t miss the rest of the season.

What’s going on?

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

After spending 10 days before the All-Star break in New York consulting with a specialist to gather a second opinion on his right quad injury, All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard bears the burden of determining when he’s prepared to play again, sources told ESPN.

Leonard has been medically cleared to return from the right quad tendinopathy injury, but since shutting down a nine-game return to the Spurs that ended Jan. 13, he has elected against returning to the active roster, sources said.

The uncertainty surrounding this season — and Leonard’s future which could include free agency in the summer of 2019 — has inspired a palpable stress around the organization, league sources said.

At first glance, this sounds like Derrick Rose five years ago. Even after he was cleared to play following a torn ACL, the then-Bulls star remained mysterious about when he’d suit up. His confidence in his physical abilities seemed to be a major issue, and he was never the same player since (suffering more leg injuries).

But the Spurs famously favor resting players to preserve long-term health. They seem unlikely to rush back Leonard. They might even sit players who want to play more often. And Leonard isn’t Rose.

Still, it’s clear something is amiss in San Antonio. Maybe not amiss enough to end Leonard’s tenure there, but the longer this lingers, the more time for tension to percolate.