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Centre takes to the stage

first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

Mike Yardley: Cynical cannabis referendum from a Government that’s soft on crime

first_imgNZ Herald 19 December 2018Family First Comment: Well said, Mike. “Would legalisation improve the health, well-being and productivity of New Zealand? No, it would not. How could it?”#SayNopeToDopeSo we’ve got a date for a referendum on dope: election day 2020.It will be binding and its timing looks like a canny ploy by Labour and the Greens to mobilise the young, the bums and the wayward to get off the couch and actually vote.Maybe I’m too cynical, but is the cannabis referendum actually being used as bait to try to woo them to the ballot box (and win their party vote too?)There are many pros and cons to legalising cannabis. I accept that. But the bottom line for me is this: would legalisation improve the health, well-being and productivity of New Zealand? No, it would not. How could it?So why legalise it? Why capitulate to the cannabis crowd, just because a few other countries have? Why surrender?Why would we want to throw even more fuel on the fire of our mental health crisis, particularly among our youth? Why add to the scrapheap of wasted lives? I have seen its insidious effects on far too many people I care about. Stolen potential. Broken lives.But there’s a broader theme unfolding here, that spells political danger for the Government. They could cook their own goose.Andrew Little’s happy-clappy Justice Summit set the tone. Look at the firestorm over the Rouxle Le Roux sentence. The mood music is growing louder.This Government is perceived as soft on crime and dysfunction. They want to empty the jails.READ MORE: Hosking: Stupid, naive drug move bungle of yearNZ Herald 20 December 2018 Were we asleep or does no one care?The headline the Government wanted you to hear was the one about cracking down on peddlers and producers of drugs.Stuart Nash and David Clark, with their best earnest faces on, talked of the scourge of drugs and how they were coming after the bad guys.“Has making drugs a criminal activity worked? No, not overtly successfully, which of course is the government’s argument.But it’s no less successful than domestic violence or dangerous driving, are we making those health issues as well?Part of a government’s role is a top down approach to behaviour expectation, agendas, outlooks, aspirations, and intent for the entire country.If it looks loose at the top, it fast becomes a slippery slope.A society’s success is based at least in part by what is not tolerated, what is not acceptable.READ MORE: up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.last_img read more

Judge rules the Ward family can sue racer Tony Stewart

first_imgCanandaigua, N.Y. — U.S. District Court judge David Hurd has ruled the family of Kevin Ward Jr. can pursue claims against retired NASCAR champ Tony Stewart in connection with a fatal crash in 2014.Ward Jr. died after being struck by a car driven by Stewart during caution laps at Canandaigua Motorsports Park. Ward got out of his car and was walking in caution traffic after he and Stewart had been involved in a mishap laps before. A toxicology report later showed Ward Jr. had marijuana in his system.The decision says the Empire Super Sprints series is considered a recreational activity under New York law, so waivers signed by drivers and car owners are not enforceable.Stewart asked the court to dismiss the case because Ward Jr. knew the risks and pain, suffering and pre-impact terror claims are baseless because Ward Jr. was under the influence of drugs.last_img read more

Saudi-led Newcastle takeover to be completed May 15

first_img Former Newcastle and Super Eagles striker Obafemi Martins reacts after scoring for Newcastle. Premier League chief executive Richard Masters, in a response to the letter from Amnesty, said the league’s processes “go beyond those required by UK company law” and are applied “with equal rigour” to all clubs, and on an objective rather than subjective basis. Yasir Al Rumayyan, the governor of the Saudi Arabian public investment fund (PIF) which will take an 80 per cent stake in the club should the deal go through, would become chairman. Crucially though, it is understood there will be no knee-jerk decisions regarding other senior staff either on the business or the football side, which includes manager Steve Bruce. The current owner of Newcastle, Mike Ashley, has been paid a non-refundable £17million deposit from the new owners, with the remaining £283m due on completion. Read Also​US media mogul makes late attempt to buy Newcastle with FSG vision As well as the Saudi PIF, 10 per cent of the club will be owned by PCP Capital Partners and the remaining 10 per cent by the Reuben brothers.Super Eagles players who have played for Newcastle in the past include Shola Ameobi who scored 53 goals in 312 appearances and Obafemi Martins who 28 goals in 88 appearances. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 The Saudi-led takeover of Newcastle could be completed by the middle of May it has been revealed. The PA news agency understands the Premier League’s owners and directors test is the final hurdle to clear before the £300million deal is complete. Former Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi It is understood that, despite letters being sent to the Premier League from Amnesty International and broadcaster beIN SPORTS within the last week, no one connected to the takeover has been asked questions by the league about the issues of human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, ‘sportwashing’ or allegations of TV rights piracy linked to the Saudi state. Culture secretary Oliver Dowden told a Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee hearing last week that the final decision on the takeover rested with the league, after calls from the committee to intervene. Without a sudden shift in UK policy towards Saudi Arabia at a political or international trade level it seems unlikely the takeover will be rejected.Advertisement Promoted ContentPortuguese Street Artist Creates Hyper-Realistic 3D GraffitiBest & Worst Celebrity Endorsed Games Ever Made6 Most Unforgettable Bridges In The WorldWho Is The Most Powerful Woman On Earth?Fantastic-Looking (and Probably Delicious) Bread ArtA Hurricane Can Be As Powerful As 10 Atomic Bombs5 Of The World’s Most Unique Theme ParksTop 7 Best Car Manufacturers Of All TimeBirds Enjoy Living In A Gallery Space Created For ThemA Guy Turns Gray Walls And Simple Bricks Into Works Of Art8 Things To Expect If An Asteroid Hits Our Planet10 Hyper-Realistic 3D Street Art By Odeithcenter_img Loading… last_img read more

Harry Redknapp: I’m not under pressure, none whatsoever

first_img The 67-year-old guided the Hoops back into the Barclays Premier League through the play-offs last year but the side have struggled on their return to the top flight. Following their opening seven games QPR sit bottom of the table with just four points and face Liverpool at Loftus Road on Sunday. “It is up to Tony what he does. If he is not happy come and talk to me – I’m a big boy. I’m going for dinner with him tonight. I’m not going to be there buying him dinner to keep my job – I will let him buy dinner. “The impasse over my contract is that I wasn’t bothered about signing a new contract, not in the slightest. “What is a contract? A contract is you work for a club. If they don’t want you, you talk to the chairman, sort out what you’re doing and you move on. “If we stay up and at the end of the year Tony wants to talk about another year with me I’d be delighted, that is what I want to do in my life.” Although Redknapp has previously said he would have very little desire to remain in place if QPR were to be relegated, he insists his passion for the game still keeps him putting in the effort to turn things around. “I was up at four o’clock this morning,” he said. “I left my house at twenty-to-five, I must be doing it for some reason, not because I need to feed the dogs, it is because I love it. “When I don’t love doing it I won’t get up in the morning, when the alarm goes off I will turn over and on the day I don’t feel like coming in that will be it for me. “It is not easy but I’m confident we will be okay. Certainly no one is walking around, moping around feeling sorry for themselves. “If we had seven points we would be delighted. We are a couple of points short of what we should have had.” Manager Harry Redknapp insists his position at QPR is under no threat despite reports he could be replaced following a poor start to the season. That slow start has seen Redknapp’s job questioned, with Tony Pulis and Tim Sherwood both linked with the role, but he does not believe he has an added burden to deliver results in order to stay in charge. When asked if he was feeling any pressure, Redknapp said: “None whatsoever. “Until you’ve been under pressure you don’t know what pressure is and I’m not under pressure, none whatsoever. I’m looking forward to the game on Sunday. “We have played seven games, we are seven games into a Premier League season. We have played three home games, we got beaten by Hull 1-0 and missed a penalty, we beat Sunderland and drew with Stoke in a tough game – it is not easy. “I still have every confidence in the players here that we will start getting the results and hopefully that will start on Sunday.” Redknapp’s current deal expires at the end of the season and for weeks he had been expected to sign an extension. But the former West Ham and Tottenham boss is not concerned about negotiating a new contract and is still enjoying a close working relationship with owner Tony Fernandes. “I don’t need assurances from anybody,” he said. Press Associationlast_img read more

Notebook: Defense seeks to improve in Shafer’s second season

first_imgNEWPORT, R.I. – Scott Shafer has his players hooked.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAs Syracuse enters its second season with Shafer as defensive coordinator, players on his side of the ball have completely bought into the system.‘He definitely is one of those guys,’ SU linebacker Derrell Smith said. ‘When he gets in the huddle he demands respect, and he gets respect because we know his ability and what he is capable of doing.’Hopefully for the Orange, what Shafer is capable of doing is improving a defensive unit that returns nine starters from a year ago. Free safety Mike Holmes joined Smith in representing the SU defense at the Big East’s annual Media Day Tuesday at the Hotel Viking. Both shared an eagerness to return to action this fall as part of a group that was best in the league against the run, but is only now getting a firm grasp on Shafer’s philosophies.‘This year, we trust the system,’ Holmes said. ‘We trust it now as a whole. We have guys in position to make big-time plays.’Smith echoed that sentiment. Smith’s partner at the linebacker position will be senior Doug Hogue. Hogue, a converted running back, led the Big East with 1.33 tackles for loss per game. He was scheduled to represent the team at the Media Day event but cancelled at the last minute due to an academic commitment. But with Hogue next to him in Shafer’s second season, Smith can only imagine the possibilities that await the defensive unit.‘I just smile every time I think about it, because I think we have the potential to be a very good defense,’ he said. ‘Just to pick up from last year, I can’t wait.’ Comments Published on August 3, 2010 at 12:00 pm Contact Michael: | @Michael_Cohen13 Alone, and back for moreThe only one of his kind to appear at the event, Rob Long stood out. After all, he was the only player in the room that uses his feet.Syracuse’s punter was the only kicker to represent a team at Big East football media day Tuesday. And for good reason. Last season, the first-team All-Big East performer was named a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award that goes to the nation’s top punter.‘I think I have done a good job staying solid,’ he said. ‘I think I have had a pretty good first few years.’Those few years have felt a lot longer for Long’s opponents. At Monday’s clambake event, Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano told Long it feels like he has been at SU forever. That could have something to do with last year’s matchup between the Orange and Scarlet Knights, in which Long averaged 59 yards per punt – good for 10th on Syracuse’s single-game record list.The unassuming senior was certainly not the media’s most popular interview at Tuesday’s event — Zach Collaros and Dion Lewis tied for that award — and that is just fine with him. Just as when he’s on the field, he keeps it simple.Said Long: ‘I’m just trying to do my job.’This and thatMarrone said that the team currently has filled 80 of the allotted 85 roster spots. … SU linebacker Doug Hogue was a late scratch from the event in order to attend a math class. … Louisville linebacker Brandon Heath said that the Cardinals defense thought Delone Carter was the hardest running back to tackle in the Big East last season. … Marrone said the most enjoyable part of his job so far has been the parking pass for SU basketball games. … The Big East remains committed to ESPN to televise football games. … Holmes acknowledged the high level of competition for spots in the secondary, comparing it to the linebacker situation heading into last summer. center_img Asst. Sports Editor Tony Olivero contributed reporting to this story Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Improvements for Olympics in 2010

first_imgThe Olympics officially drew to a close Sunday evening, but in the minds of many Americans, it never really even began. Most of this country slept through the 2006 Winter Games and U.S. interest in the event has plummeted to the point where embarrassments of humanity like American Idol are winning the ratings war against primetime Olympic programming.Worldwide, the 2006 games in Turin had to be considered a success, but here in the good ‘ol U.S. of A., the games were about as successful as a haircut given by Stevie Wonder.It’s really almost tragic that the Olympics have fallen so far off Americans’ radar, given how much national pride it used to instill in America, even as recently as the 2002 Olympic Games, even if that was only because they were held on U.S. soil in Salt Lake City.The Olympics need some spicing up. So here are some suggestions for bringing the 2010 Winter Games back into the collective conscious of the world’s most powerful nation.New talking heads: Not that I have anything against Bob Costas, Jim Lampley or Jim McKay, but it’s time for some new commentary and hosting of the Olympic Games. The new lead broadcasters should be Kenny Blackenship and Vic Romano, of Spike TV’s Most Extreme Elimination Challenge.Blackenship and Romano are stars on the rise in the broadcasting industry. Like John Madden and Pat Summerall or Howard Cosell and ‘Dandy’ Don Meredith, the MXC hosts play off each other seamlessly and throw out brilliant one-liners with more frequency than Arnold Schwarzenegger. For example, Blackenship said once of a video game lover, “He is an atheist gamer. He doesn’t believe in God mode.” To which Romano, without pause replied, “Right you are, Ken!”Sure, they have a tendency to become too racy for broadcast television, but with the entire games not being shown live, the problem should be easy enough to alleviate.They are far more versatile than any current hosts, as they have experience not only working in the studio, but also covering a very wide variety of sports, ranging from Wallbangers (where contestants attempt to essentially run through reinforced wooden doors, apparently in hopes of suffering a concussion) to Sinkers and Floaters (where competitors race across a river on stones, some less stable than others). Blackenship and Romano would be able to cover almost every sport, especially since, again, most of the Olympic events these days are tape-delayed, leading to my next point.Dead, or Live: Regardless of what time it is in the States, the games need to be shown live. But rather than have the Olympics shown at 3 a.m. EST, I propose that the Olympics are run on America’s schedule. All medal finals will be run at 8 p.m. EST, no matter what the local time is. Why? Because people are going to buy tickets to the Olympics regardless of what time of day (or night) the events are being run, but Americans will not be tuning in during the wee-hours of the morning.Another plus is that 2010 Games are being held in the Pacific Time zone in Vancouver, British Columbia. That will make facilitating the new rule very smooth, as the finals would simply be run in the early afternoon, like Chicago Cubs games.Plus, this could spur an effort to implement the long anticipated world-wide American Time zone, where the entire nation would run on the clocks of New York and Washington, D.C.More projectiles: Lastly, the Olympics need to take advantage of the draw that projectiles have on the Joe Sportsfan. Specifically, the Olympics need more projectiles that are within the grasp of spectators. Whereas, baseball has homerun balls that reach fans in the bleachers and the NFL has everything from players (think Lambeau Leap) to gifts (from Chad Johnson) raining down on those in the crowd, the only major projectiles present this year in Turin were bullets from rifles in the Biathlon, and the granite stones used in Curling, neither of which were accessible to the fans (hockey doesn’t count, as some Americans care even less about hockey than the Olympics as a whole, evidenced by the NHL).So, more projectiles are needed, everything from figure skaters being launched into the crowd, to utilizing rifles in more events. There could be courtside curling seating and ski-jump skyboxes. Hell, you can even add an extra seat to bobsleds.Why is it so important fans be able to capture a curling stone or snag a slug? One word: E-Bay. The value of otherwise worthless paraphernalia will skyrocket as fans sell anything they can get their hands on and Americans love random sport memorabilia. If Luis Gonzalez’s chewing gum was collected and sold for big bucks, how much do you think a wayward Sasha Cohen would go for?If it were me, I wouldn’t sell her at all, just keep her for myself.”Right you are, Dave!”last_img read more

Barcelona named top sports team on Twitter; Liverpool, Man Utd in Top 10

first_img2019 has been a massive year for the world of sport.Nowhere has this been more evident than on popular social media platform Twitter which has become a hotbed of sports talk.The leadersTwitter recently released data on the most-tweeted-about sports teams of the year with Spanish champions, Barcelona ahead of the pack.Despite winning La Liga, Barcelona earned a lot of ridicule for their stunning Champions League collapse in the semi-final against Liverpool.A number of the players and manager Ernesto Valverde have been targets of critics on the platform all year.It hasn’t been all gloom though as Barcelona’s relatively good start to the season has kept them a top topic on social media.It also doesn’t hurt to have one of the best players to have ever played the game pulling on your jersey every matchday.The best of the restThe ying to Barcelona’s yang, Real Madrid were predictably the second-most talked about sports team. The Spanish side have endured a miserable 2019 although they are well in the hunt for the Spanish title this season.A big-spending summer with top players including Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic joining boosted conversations about Los Blancos, while the saga between star man Gareth Bale and manager Zinedine Zidane will definitely have got thumbs typing.They are followed on the list by England’s own version of the El Clasico duo, Man Utd and Liverpool.United started the year in great form under then-caretaker manager OGS but have since dipped massively leading to lots of conversations on Twitter. Recent good results have, however, turned some of that talk positive.Ole Gunnar after the loss to WolvesEuropean Champions, Liverpool have had an amazing year; losing the Premier League title by just one point and claiming their sixth UCL crown was the perfect way to end the first half of the year. The Reds are now odds-on favourites to win their first Premier League crown this season. Everything looks rosy over on the red side of Merseyside.Behind them are French champions PSG, whose impasse with Neymar sparked debate on Twitter, and Italian Champions Juventus whose star player Cristiano Ronaldo is a headline magnet.English champions, Man City are the seventh most talked-about team, with Champions League semi-finalists Ajax in eighth.Flamengo, who won the league and the Copa Libertadores double round out the football teams in the top ten.The only non-football side in the top ten are NBA franchise, the Los Angeles Lakers.The Lakers, who have had some very difficult years seem to have found their swagger back after pairing Lebron James with Anthony Davis this season. They look dominant and a sure bet to make the Playoffs.However, missing out on the playoffs last season was one thing Twitter did not let them forget about.Below is the full  top 10:last_img read more

Albanians drugged Maguire’s sister in Greece – Man Utd captain’s lawyers claim

first_imgLawyers for Manchester United captain, Harry Maguire have claimed that two Albanians drugged the player’s sister, Daisy, in Greece, leading to the brawl which caused his arrest.Sky Sports journalist, Martha Kelner, reported that the defence claimed that the player and his friends had acted in self-defence.They said the player and his friends called a van to take them to the hospital but they were taken to the police station instead.Maguire’s defence claim two Albanian men approached his sister Daisy, they injected her with something and she immediately fainted. They called their van and asked to be driven to hospital, but driver took them to the police department. 1/2— Martha Kelner (@marthakelner) August 25, 2020The defence also claimed that the officers had assaulted Maguire when he arrived at the police station, with one reportedly kicking him in his leg and saying: “your career is over.”A police officer who was called to the stand stated that he did not see the Albanians attack Maguire and his troop.This was countered by the Maguire’s lawyers who them asked how one of the defendant sustained the injuries found in the medical examination.Martha Kelner had earlier reported that Maguire’s legal team had asked the court to reschedule the hearing, stating that they were not given time to prepare.The judge, however, ordered the trial to go ahead.The prosecutors also claimed that Maguire tried to use his status at Manchester United and wealth to bribe his way out of his arrest.According to the state’s lawyers, after Maguire was picked up by police in the aftermath of a brawl at a bar, he asked the officers if they knew who he was and offered to pay them to let him and his friends go.Maguire, the prosecution claimed in court on Tuesday, said: “Do you know who I am? I am the captain of Manchester United, I am very rich, I can give you money, I can pay you, please let us go.”Martha Kelner, said prosecution also claimed that the officers had initially tried to calm down the situation but their attempts failed, with one of the “English men” yelling expletives at the officers and punching one of them.An officer who was called to the stand claimed that Maguire pushed him when he was attempting to arrest the defender, resulting in him falling and hurting his back, while another said that Maguire tried to break away as he was being handcuffed.Prosecution allege that once at the police station Harry Maguire said: “Do you know who I am? I am the captain of Manchester United, I am very rich, I can give you money, I can pay you, please let us go”— Martha Kelner (@marthakelner) August 25, 2020last_img read more

Vin Scully, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar honored at White House

first_imgAs he remarked about the remarkable life of Vin Scully on Tuesday, after having already done short biographies on more than a dozen activists, entertainers, scientists and historical figures in the room, President Barack Obama admitted he might not have been the best emcee for this Presidential Medal of Freedom recognition.“I thought about him doing all these citations,” Obama said of the Dodgers’ retired broadcaster, “which would have been cool, but …”The White House East Room erupted in laughter.“I thought, we should make him sing for his supper.” Obama then tried a brief Scully imitation, saying, “Up next …,” which drew more applause.Scully humbly smiled as he sat to the left of the lectern, on an elevated platform two rows deep of eclectic talent. Scully was between musicians Diana Ross and Bruce Springsteen, and not far from San Fernando Valley-raised actor Robert Redford, because that’s where they all landed alphabetically.Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, meanwhile, was hunkered down in a chair on the far right, on the end of the row, in long arm’s reach of entertainers Ellen DeGeneres and Robert De Niro, again because of spelling.The Dodgers’ Hall of Fame broadcaster and the Basketball Hall of Famer of UCLA and Lakers’ fame hardly looked out of place as the bookends to this historic 21-person salute.They were feted in an hour-plus-long celebration that included Obama’s introductions and then having another biography read aloud as the soon-to-be-departing commander in chief secured the medals around their necks. The look for those watching on C-SPAN or the video stream was of a super-power high school graduation ceremony with some mild roasting, as the outgoing Obama administration acknowledged those who deserved the highest civilian honor, with the only qualification that one having made “meritorious contributions” to their field, whether it be world peace or providing some peace of mind.The room included actors Tom Hanks and Cicely Tyson, basketball star Michael Jordan, philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates, former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Newt Minow, “Saturday Night Live” producer Lorne Michaels, Vietnam Veterans Memorial designer Maya Lin, mathematician Margaret H. Hamilton, inventor Richard Garwin, architect Frank Gehry, and college president Eduardo Padron. It also featured representatives for posthumous recognition for advocate Elouise Cobell and military admiral Grace Hopper.It made for some interesting once-in-a-lifetime selfies sent out on Twitter: One in particular was Scully between Abdul-Jabbar and Jordan.When talking about Scully, acknowledged in a group involved in sports and music, Obama said the man who called games for 67 years and turns 89 next week: “The game of baseball has a handful of signature sounds. You hear the crack of the bat. You’ve got the crowd singing in the seventh-inning stretch. And you’ve got the voice of Vin Scully.“Most fans listen to a game’s broadcast when they can’t be at the ballpark, but generations of Dodgers fans brought their radios into the stands ’cause you didn’t want to miss one of Vin’s stories. Most play-by-play broadcasters partner with an analyst in the booth to chat about the action. Vin worked alone, and talked just with us.“Since Jackie Robinson started at second base, Vin taught us the game and introduced us to its players. He narrated the improbable years, the impossible heroics, turned contests into conversations. When he heard about this honor, Vin asked with characteristic humility, ‘Are you sure? I’m just an old baseball announcer.’ And we had to inform him that, to Americans of all ages, you are an old friend.”As for Abdul-Jabbar, who qualified on athletic endeavors alone, Obama noted that when Abdul-Jabbar (then known as Lew Alcindor) agreed to go to UCLA, the NCAA suddenly outlawed the dunk shot.“They didn’t say it was about Kareem … (but) it was about Kareem. … When a sport changes its rules to make it harder just for you, you are really good.”The audience broke out in applause as Abdul-Jabbar sheepishly grinned. Obama also was amazed that Abdul-Jabbar won NBA Finals MVPs 14 years apart and “as a surprisingly similar looking co-pilot Roger Murdoch once said in the movie ‘Airplane’ … I mean, we’ve got some great actors here (in the room) … he did it all while dragging Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes.“But the reason we honor Kareem is more than just a pair of goggles and the sky hook. He stood up for his Muslim faith when it wasn’t easy and wasn’t popular. He’s as comfortable sparring with Bruce Lee as he is advocating on Capitol Hill. Or writing with extraordinary eloquence about patriotism. Physically, intellectually, spiritually, Kareem is one of a kind. An American who emulates our most basic freedoms and our highest aspirations.”But those weren’t the only glowing words.In alphabetical order, as the individuals came up to the podium for the award, an official list of credentials were cited.For Scully, introduced appropriately with the “Next up ….” preface, the script read: “With a voice that transcended the sport and transformed a profession, Vin Scully narrated America’s pastime for generations of fans. Known to millions as the ‘Soundtrack of Summer,’ he found time to teach us about life and love while chronicling routine plays and historic heroics. In victory and in defeat, his colorful accounts reverberated through the bleachers, across the airwaves and into our homes and imaginations. He is an American treasure and a beloved storyteller and our country’s gratitude for Vin Scully is as profound as his love for the game.”And as for Abdul-Jabbar, for whom Obama comically had to raise his arms as far as possible to affix the medal: “An iconic basketball player who revolutionized the sport with his all-around play and signature sky hook, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is a 19-time All-Star, a six-time world champion and the leading scorer in NBA history. “Adding to his achievements on the court, he also left his mark off of it, advocating for civil rights, cancer research, science education and social justice. In doing so, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar leaves a towering legacy of compassion, faith and service to others. A legacy based not only on the strength and grace of his athleticism, but on the sharpness of his mind and the size of his heart.”After the medals were bestowed, Obama added in a closing statement: “Part of the reason these events are so special to me is because everybody on this stage has touched me in a very powerful, personal way. In ways they probably couldn’t imagine … these are folks who have helped make me who I am and think about my presidency, and what also makes it special is this is America.“It’s useful when you think about this incredible collection of people, you realize this is what makes us the greatest nation on Earth. Not because of our differences, but because in our difference we find something common to share. And what a glorious, great gift that is to America.”center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more