Donovan Mitchell wants a deep playoff run with the Utah Jazz after dropping 51 points to join Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson in an elite NBA club. 

Mitchell outshone Nuggets point guard Jamal Murray - who scored 50 points - to lead the Jazz to a 129-127 victory in Game 4 as Utah moved 3-1 up in the first round. 

It was the second time Mitchell had gone beyond 50 points in the matchup, a feat only former MVPs and Hall of Famers Jordan and Iverson have previously managed in a single playoff series in the league's entire history. 

"Honestly, it's the first round," Mitchell told reporters of emulating Jordan and Iverson. 

"The two guys you named have made it to the Finals. Michael Jordan is obviously the greatest basketball player of all time. 

"I got a lot of work to do to catch up to those guys. I am honoured to be in that category, but we are doing all this in the first round." 

The talented youngster has certainly bounced back from his performance in the postseason last year, when he missed 18 of his 22 shots as the Jazz crashed to a decisive Game 5 loss against the Houston Rockets in the first round.

"It's no secret that last year's playoffs wasn't my best," Mitchell added. "And I took that personally, and I am going to trust my work and keep moving forward.

"I love hearing negative things about me. 

"The knock on me has been, 'Inefficient, not a team player', whatever it is.

"I pride myself on being a team player, on being a playmaker. I've said it a thousand times, and I am going to continue to do that.

"Fifty [points] is what it is, but I am more happy that I got seven assists."

Mitchell scored 16 of the Jazz's final 20 points and urged his team to punch their ticket to the next round in Game 5.

"The job's not finished," he added.

"As good as this one feels, we won by two, and we're on to Game 5."

Daniel Cormier believes his name will belong in the same bracket as Michael Jordan and Peyton Manning if he retires by winning back the UFC heavyweight title from Stipe Miocic on Saturday. 

Win or lose in the Las Vegas trilogy bout, Cormier (22-2-0) will go down as an all-time great in the mixed martial arts world, having reigned in the light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions in UFC. 

Cormier it set to bid farewell to the fight game but says he should be considered alongside Chicago Bulls legend Jordan – a six-time NBA champion - and Manning, who retired a Super Bowl winner, if he can regain the belt he dropped to Miocic a year ago. 

"I think it puts you right alongside the greatest sports athletes of all time. Michael Jordan won with the Chicago Bulls when they beat the Utah Jazz, unfortunately he came back, I won't come back," he told a pre-fight news conference ahead of UFC 252. 

"Peyton Manning won a Super Bowl in his last season, it would put me in that type of sphere with some of the greatest athletes that have competed in any sport. So, when I win on Saturday, I will retire in that way." 

Cormier's legacy is without question, but a defeat would mean he ends his career with losing records against the two fighters who have also reigned in the same era - Miocic and Jon Jones. 

While admitting such a scenario would be damaging to his own ego, Cormier says he has earned the respect of his fellow professionals. 

"I'm a guy with a big ego and that would suck, I gotta be honest. To think there would be two guys in my career that were just better than me and I had multiple chances to beat them, it would suck," he added.  

"But Dana [White] didn't just go 'hey DC, you're a great guy I love you, fight for all these championships', I earned all these opportunities.

"So, all these tough guys I fight, again 10 title fights in a row, that's all earned, it's not because they like me. These guys aren't my friends to the point where they just give me championship fights.  

"I train, I fight and I win - that's why I continue to find myself in this position. But all this pressure is earned. The pressure of fighting a guy like Stipe Miocic, the pressure of fighting a guy like Jon Jones twice - when Jones beat me and he got in trouble I beat everyone else until he got back then I beat everybody else again until I fought Stipe.

"All this s***'s earned, man, it's not given and I think people need to recognise that." 

Miocic (19-3-0), who lost the first bout between the two back in July 2018, has no qualms with the focus being on his retiring opponent. 

"All good. He can take it all, man. It's all good. I don't mind it. Listen, good for him. I'm just going to hang out in the back," he said. 

"Thank God we're done with this. It's been great. We're done. Rubber match, everyone wants a trilogy, but when it's all said and done, it's going to be over.  

"I think it's always personal whenever you fight, because [your opponent is] trying to do something. They're trying to beat you. They're trying to take something away from you. 

"I've got no ill will towards the man and he's going to have a good retirement. God bless him, and I wish nothing but the best for him."

Usain Bolt earned our undying admiration for his marvellous exploits on the track, but it was always clear, to be honest, that fumbling, bumbling, tumbling escapes on the football pitch, would never amount to anything more than a glorified publicity stunt.

When fabled American sportscaster Charley Steiner quoted the famous line, uttered by Clint Eastwood’s iconic character Dirty Harry, ‘Sometimes a man’s got to know his limitations,’ he referred to another track and field legend, Carl Lewis, butchering the United States national anthem with all the ruthless efficacy of Sweeney Todd. 

The laborious months of Bolt’s campaign to become a professional footballer may not have caused us to splutter uncontrollably with ceaseless bouts of irrepressible laughter, as Lewis’ spectacular failure did, mind you, what we saw were Bolt’s best parts, but the sentiment should be the same, everyone has limits.

Shockingly, however, it seems the lesson has been lost on the decorated runner and his recent comments about not being given a fair chance to play football, tell us as much.

Based on what I saw, and if there is better footage, I am eager to see it, it’s hard to justify the sprinter being given a trial anywhere at all where serious football is played.

On one level, it’s completely understandable that unshakable self-belief is a key part of the mindset of any great athlete. 

When Michael Jordan tossed aside the basketball and stood, bat in hand, in front of the mirror, he saw Jackie Robinson. When Carl Lewis decided to trade the relay baton for a mic, he likely glanced over to see Lionel Richie looking back, before committing an unforgiving and merciless verbal assault.  The shimmering reflection Bolt cast after putting down his spikes and picking up cleats was, Wayne Rooney, a player whom he astonishingly believed was at the same talent level.

What is less understandable, however, is that three years after retirement and at least two after the professional football fiasco, the world record holder believes that his lack of success was down to a lack of opportunity.  It’s time to be honest, Usain, it was down to a glaring and obvious lack of ability.

Football is a very easy sport to watch, easy to love, easy to have strong opinions about.  Some of us even believe it easy to play in our weekly treks to weekend scrimmage games. 

The images we see when we stand proudly in front of the mirror, before heading to our own local battlefields are varied and endless.  Many of us are Lionel Messi’s, Cristiano Ronaldo’s, Jamie Vardy’s, Karim Benzema’s, and even Zinedine Zidane’s. If you really think about it though, playing well, let alone playing well enough to be a professional at the highest level, is another thing entirely.

With the rare exception, the very best exponents of the beautiful game spend the tender years of their lives ceaselessly honing their craft, and even then, on many occasions, find themselves well short of making the professional-grade. 

How likely was it that Bolt, then a 31-year-old athlete, who never even played the highest level of high school or primary school football, would decide to take up the sport professionally after a few scrimmage games and make the grade?  His only qualifier for getting a trial was that he held track and field sprint records. Fantastic records, mind you, but that is a remarkably clear case of comparing apples to oranges. 

Come to think of it, the situation sounds rather ridiculous when you spell it out loud, doesn’t it?

Well lest anyone out there harbour any illusions, it only sounds that way because the whole thing was.

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

as he struggled to

 

 

In many respects Bolt and another track and field legend

Bolt trippinCharkg over a football not as funny but breathtaking lack of aweness on limitations certainly in the same ballpark is just as not given chance ridiculous.  Football for year of training Bolt decided to pick it up as a professional at 31 declaring better than Wayne Rooney

Beyond this Bolt now claims not given chance

Cristiano Ronaldo is football's equivalent to basketball legend Michael Jordan, according to Manchester United midfielder Jesse Lingard.

NBA icon Jordan won six championships across two stints with the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s and was crowned MVP on five occasions.

By comparison, five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo has clinched seven league titles in three different countries, most recently helping Juventus to back-to-back Scudettos.

And Lingard, who was part of United's academy during Ronaldo's time at Old Trafford, believes the Portugal international is football's answer to Jordan.

"I have to say Cristiano Ronaldo," he told Sky Sports when asked to pick a footballer who can be likened to Jordan.

"Everything he has achieved in his career. He has been at plenty of clubs and won many trophies. I believe he is a real icon of football, the Michael Jordan of football."

Lingard never played in the same side as Ronaldo in a competitive game but was on opposing sides to the forward in United's 2-1 Champions League win against Juve last season.

But the England international insists the former Real Madrid superstar has not posed him too many problems in the years since he left United.

"I have played against him a few times. Did he give me trouble? No, he wasn't too bad, to be fair," he said. 

"There was one game in pre-season where he came on and you could see the skills and the qualities that he brought.

"When he first came to Manchester United, I was 11 or 12. We did a skills DVD and it was him teaching us skills which was good. 

"That was the first time I had seen him. He was young and skinny when he came to the club."

Michael Jordan raced back on defense after a drive to the basket saw him bring the Chicago Bulls back to within a point of the Utah Jazz with 37 seconds remaining.

It was June 14, 1998, Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals and victory would see the Bulls clinch a historic second three-peat and Jordan get his sixth championship ring in what would be their 'Last Dance'.

Jordan's next pivotal play saw him steal the ball from Karl Malone in the post with 18 seconds left. He then carried the ball forward, crossed up Bryon Russell and made an iconic mid-range jumper to put Phil Jackson's team in front.

When John Stockton failed to make a three-pointer at the buzzer, history was made.

But how do Jordan's performances, and those of his team-mates, in the 1997-98 season compare to players in the modern era?

That is what Stats Perform's AI analysts attempted to find out.

By looking at player statistics compared to the league averages rather than raw values, they developed a similarity score metric.

It uses a host of era-adjusted per-30-minute stats and more advanced rate metrics, and calculates the Euclidean distances between the seasons of each of the 1997-98 Bulls and every other player since the start of 2010-11.

From those results, a relative similarity percentage can be calculated i.e. the player since 2010-11 with the greatest similarity to one of the 1997-98 Bulls would score closest to 100 per cent.

By looking at player seasons since the start of 2017-18, we can see who in the NBA's modern era is the nearest equivalent to Jordan and the rest of the Bulls in that historic season.

Michael Jordan

Jordan's closest contemporary is Kawhi Leonard, with the Los Angeles Clippers star's 2019-20 season registering a relative similarity percentage of 28.7.

Leonard's NBA championship-winning campaign with the Toronto Raptors in 2018-19 is a close second (26.7 per cent), while Bradley Beal this season ranks third at 24 per cent.

DeMar DeRozan rounds out the top five, though his 2018-19 output had just 16.5 per cent relative similarity. His efforts the year prior produced a score of 23.7 per cent, close to Beal.

When looking at all players since 2010, though, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant in 2010-11 is the top comparison at 46.8 per cent.

Bryant played all 82 games that year but was unable to emulate Jordan and lead the Lakers to a second three-peat under Jackson, with the Dallas Mavericks sweeping them in the Western Conference semi-finals.

 

Dennis Rodman

It is tough to find a modern comparison for what Rodman did with the Bulls in 1997-98.

Marcin Gortat's 2018-19 season with the Clippers is the nearest but has a relative similarity percentage of just 9.7, with Noah Vonleh in 2017-18 a close second at 9.3. Vonleh's past two seasons rank fifth and fourth, behind Ed Davis this term at 7.4 per cent.

When looking beyond the past three seasons, a player who made his name in Chicago comes in as Rodman's closest contemporary: Joakim Noah.

Noah was a two-time All-Star and the 2014 NBA Defensive Player of the Year during his time with the Bulls, but it is his production in the 2016-17 season – his first with the New York Knicks – that compares best, though his relative similarity percentage is still just 16.3.

 

Scottie Pippen

After electing to delay having surgery on his foot so he could enjoy the offseason as his contract dispute with the Bulls continued, Pippen missed almost half of the 1997-98 regular season.

Tyreke Evans in 2018-19, a season that ended with him being kicked out of the league for two years for violating the NBA's anti-drug programme, provides the nearest resemblance of Pippen's performances during the Last Dance with a relative similarity score of 64.7 per cent.

Evans (52.4 per cent) also ranks second thanks to his 2017-18 season, ahead of Caris LeVert of the Brooklyn Nets. LeVert has a score of 50.3 per cent for this season and 48 per cent for 2018-19.

When looking at all players since 2010, J.R. Smith features highly. His 2012-13 campaign has a relative similarity score of 53.7 per cent, which is one of three entries for him in the top six.

 

Luc Longley

Domantas Sabonis helped the Indiana Pacers reach the playoffs in 2017-18, and with a relative similarity mark of 45.4 per cent he has the nearest modern comparison to Longley.

There is little to separate Jordan Mickey (2017-18) and Zach Collins (2018-19) in second and third, with the former's 43.8 just beating the latter's 43.

When widening the scope to include all player seasons since 2010-11, however, two players dominate the top 10: Spencer Hawes and Jason Smith.

Hawes' second year with the Philadelphia 76ers (2011-12) takes first place with a relative similarity percentage of 63.6, while his last season with the Charlotte Hornets (2016-17) is second at 59.1.

Smith takes up the next four places (2015-16, 2012-13, 2014-15 and 2011-12 respectively) and also eighth, which is sandwiched by Hawes in 2010-11 and 2012-13.

The top eight seasons all have a relative similarity score in excess of 50 per cent.

 

Ron Harper

Over the past three seasons, Garrett Temple is the closest you can get to Harper.

Temple's output with the Nets this year most closely corresponds to Harper at 60.1 per cent relative similarity.

His two prior seasons also scored within 0.5 per cent of that mark, with Trevor Ariza rounding out the top five on 56.1 per cent for both this season and 2018-19.

Since the start of the last decade, though, Damien Wilkins in 2010-11 is the nearest comparison at 68.3 per cent.

 

Toni Kukoc

Gordon Hayward with the Boston Celtics this season comes in as the top modern comparison for Kukoc at 65.2 per cent.

MarShon Brooks in 2018-19 has a relative similarity of 62 per cent, while Bogdan Bogdanovic this year is at 59.8 per cent.

Chandler Parsons in 2017-18 is fourth on the list, and he certainly has a lot in common with the Croatian when you look back further.

Parsons provides the top four comparisons to Kukoc since 2010-11 and his efforts in the 2014-15 season have a relative similarity percentage of 99.9, which is the nearest equivalent of all data analysed.

 

Steve Kerr

Kerr may have moulded Stephen Curry into a two-time MVP and three-time NBA champion, but the Golden State Warriors star's brother Seth Curry is his closest comparison.

Seth Curry's performances for the Mavericks this season registered a 50.1 per cent relative similarity score, while his 2018-19 campaign with the Portland Trail Blazers was second at 44.4.

Reggie Bullock (2017-18), Langston Galloway (2019-20) and Courtney Lee (2017-18) also feature in the top five from the past three years.

 

What about the others?

Bill Wennington

Since 2017: Jon Leuer in 2018-19 (37.9 per cent)
Since 2010: Jon Leuer in 2018-19 (37.9 per cent)

David Vaughan

Since 2017: Domantas Sabonis in 2017-18 (70.8 per cent)
Since 2010: Thomas Robinson in 2013-14 (88.4 per cent)

Dickey Simpkins

Since 2017: Caleb Swanigan in 2019-20 (31.8 per cent)
Since 2010: Samardo Samuels in 2011-12 (45.4 per cent)

Jason Caffey

Since 2017: Domantas Sabonis in 2017-18 (62.9 per cent)
Since 2010: Samardo Samuels in 2011-12 (78.6 per cent)

Joe Kleine

Since 2017: Wilson Chandler in 2019-20 (40.9 per cent)
Since 2010: Juwan Howard in 2010-11 (40.9 per cent)

Jud Buechler

Since 2017: Danny Green in 2019-20 (59.1 per cent)
Since 2010: Wesley Johnson in 2013-14 (56.9 per cent)

Randy Brown

Since 2017: Shaquille Harrison in 2018-19 (51.1 per cent)
Since 2010: Ronnie Price in 2010-11 (52.8 per cent)

Scott Burrell

Since 2017: Sterling Brown in 2017-18 (68 per cent)
Since 2010: Wesley Johnson in 2015-16 (82.8 per cent)

June 12 was a day when Michael Jordan finally became an NBA champion, while the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors also enjoyed Finals celebrations.

Jordan became widely regarded as the greatest player of all time but had to endure a couple of heartbreaks before finally tasting glory with the Chicago Bulls in 1991.

Shaquille O'Neal made history with the Lakers on this day 18 years ago, while you only have to go back to 2017 for Kevin Durant's moment to shine.

The St. Louis Blues also had reason to celebrate 12 months ago as their long wait for Stanley Cup glory came to an end.


1991 - MJ and the Bulls earn first of six

Having been beaten twice in the Eastern Conference Finals by the Detroit Pistons, the Chicago Bulls finally bested their rivals in the 1990-91 playoffs.

That led to a Finals series with the LA Lakers and Jordan was not about to miss his opportunity.

The Bulls wrapped it up in five with Jordan the fulcrum of their success en route to being named Finals MVP.

He scored 30 points and Scottie Pippen put up 32 as the Bulls defeated the Lakers 108-101 to win their first NBA title on this day. They would go on win six in eight years in one of sport's greatest dynasties.


2002 – 'Get ready for the Shaq attack!' Lakers rout Nets

It was a night of history for Shaq and Phil Jackson as the Lakers completed a 4-0 series of sweep of the New Jersey Nets in the NBA Finals.

Finals MVP Shaq put up 34 points in the 113-107 victory in New Jersey as the Lakers became the fifth team to win at least three straight NBA Championships.

With 145 points in the series, Shaq became the highest scorer in a four-game Finals, beating the 131 of Hakeem Olajuwon, which he achieved in 1995 for the Houston Rockets against O'Neal's Orlando Magic.

For legendary coach Jackson, it represented a ninth NBA title as a coach - levelling Red Auerbach's benchmark.


2017: Durant the Golden boy as James' Cavs beats

Just a year earlier, LeBron James had inspired the Cleveland Cavaliers to the 2016 NBA championship from a 3-1 deficit to avenge their loss to the Golden State Warriors the season before.

But in the third year of their fourth straight battle in the NBA Finals, it was the Warriors who celebrated a 4-1 series triumph.

Kevin Durant, signed as a free agent at the start of the 2016-17 season, was named Finals MVP after averaging 35.2 points, including putting up 39 in Game 5.

James had 41 but was unable to prevent the Cavs slipping to a 129-120 loss.


2019: St Louis finally end Stanley Cup Blues

In a back-and-forth Stanley Cup Finals series, it all came down to Game Seven between the St. Louis Blues and the Boston Bruins.

But the Boston fans were left disappointed at TD Garden as St. Louis ran out 4-1 victors.

It marked the Blues' first Stanley Cup triumph in their 51st season as a franchise.

June 7, 2009 was the date Roger Federer finally reigned at Roland Garros.

The Swiss completed his grand slam collection when beating Robin Soderling in the French Open final and, in doing so, equalled a record held by Pete Sampras.

This was also the date when 'The Last Dance' Chicago Bulls shut down the Utah Jazz in emphatic fashion in 1998.

Take a look at events that previously happened on this date through the years.

 

1996 - Chavez's century ends in defeat

Julio Cesar Chavez and Oscar De La Hoya were both multi-weight world champions during their careers and a fight between the two was highly anticipated in 1996.

De La Hoya, who owned a 21-0 record heading into the bout, was 10 years younger and facing an opponent who was fighting for the 100th time, Chavez having won 97 of the previous 99.

However, the light-welterweight contest was short-lived, falling way short of the hype as Chavez suffered a serious cut in the opening round and eventually succumbed to a barrage in the fourth, unable to continue after De La Hoya's left hook broke his nose.

Chavez would fight for another seven years, however, finishing with a 107-6-2 record, while De La Hoya retired in 2008 following losses to Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao.

 

1998 - Jazz fail to hit the right notes as Bulls gain Finals advantage

The series was finely poised at 1-1 when the Bulls and Jazz tipped off in Game 3 of the 1998 NBA Finals.

What followed was the most dominant victory in Finals history as the Bulls won by 42 points, 96-54, as Utah scored what was at the time the lowest total in an NBA game since the inception of the shot clock.

Despite Karl Malone's 22 points, the Jazz went 13-of-59 from the floor as Dennis Rodman, Scottie Pippen and the rest of Chicago's defense delivered a performance that swung the series in their favour.

Chicago would go on to win the Finals 4-2, delivering a second three-peat to end a glorious run in the Windy City for Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson.

2009 - Finally for Federer

Having already triumphed at the other three slams, a French Open title had evaded Federer, thanks mainly due to the presence of Rafael Nadal.

However, in 2009 the Spaniard was suddenly out of the picture after a shock fourth-round loss to Soderling, who would go on to set up a final against Federer.

The showdown proved a mismatch; Federer eased to a 6-1 7-6 (7-1) 6-4 triumph in under two hours to win his 14th grand slam title.

In doing so he equalled Sampras' all-time record, with Federer eclipsing the American's haul with victory at Wimbledon later that year when he overcame Andy Roddick in an epic encounter.

Michael Jordan and Jordan Brand will be donating $100million to organisations that support racial equality, they announced in a joint press release on Friday.  

NBA great Jordan and his Nike-affiliated company began the release, "The Jordan Brand is us, the Black Community."

The donations will be made over the next 10 years, going to organisations "dedicated to ensuring racial equality, social justice and greater access to education."

The announced donations are the latest and largest corporate response to date in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd. 

Floyd, who was African American, died in the custody of a white police officer in Minneapolis on May 25, sparking protests against police brutality and racism across the United States and worldwide.  

"Black lives matter. This isn't a controversial statement," the press release said. "Until the ingrained racism that allows our country's institutions to fail is completely eradicated, we will remain committed to protecting and improving the lives of Black people." 

Jordan, who was criticised at times during his playing career for not being more of an activist, is now the majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets.  

Forbes estimates that Jordan is worth over $2billion and is the fourth-wealthiest African American.  

"Jordan Brand is more than one man. It has always been a family," the statement said. "We represent a proud family that has overcome obstacles, fought against discrimination in communities worldwide and that works every day to erase the stain of racism and the damage of injustice."

The company plans to continue its Jordan Wings Program, which has provided college funding for over 1,800 students in the U.S. and China.  

Rafael Nadal has celebrated plenty of times on Court Philippe Chatrier, but the jubilation he felt on June 5, 2005 is likely to live with him forever.

It was on this day 15 years ago when 'The King of Clay' won the first of his, to date, record 12 French Open titles.

Novak Djokovic and Francesca Schiavone were also crowned champions on June 5 in years gone by, while Michael Jordan produced one of the shots of his career in the 1991 NBA Finals.

Here we take a look at the most memorable sports events to have occurred on June 5.

 

1991 - Mid-Air Jordan switches hands for stunning lay-up

At this point 29 years ago Jordan was still the nearly man; a two-time MVP who had yet to win a championship ring.

The Chicago Bulls had lost Game 1 of the 1991 NBA Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers too, but they would level the series at home with a convincing 107-86 victory in Game 2 as Jordan scored 33 points.

But his display that night is best remembered for a single shot in the third quarter. Jordan drove towards the basket ready for a right-handed dunk, only to switch the ball into his left hand in mid-air upon seeing Sam Perkins and somehow flip a shot up off the glass and through the net to astound those in Chicago Stadium.

The Bulls would go on to win the series 4-1, beginning a dynasty that would see them dominate the NBA for most of the next decade.

 

2005 - Nadal begins French Open dominance

At this point 15 years ago Nadal was still a promising teenager hoping to win his first grand slam.

However, he was considered the favourite in the final against Mariano Puerta, having won three clay-court tournaments in the build up to the French Open and, despite dropping the first set, he would emerge victorious 6-7 (6-8) 6-3 6-1 7-5.

Nadal has won all but three French Opens since, though on June 5, 2016, it was Djokovic lifting the trophy as he beat Andy Murray in four sets to complete a career grand slam.

 

2009 - England stunned in World Twenty20 opener

Eleven years ago England suffered one of their most humiliating losses in any format.

In the opening game of the second World Twenty20 tournament, the hosts were expected to encounter few difficulties against the Netherlands at Lord's.

With England, who failed to hit a single six, having made 162-5 first up after being restricted to 73 in the second half of their innings, it came down to the chasing side needing two off the final ball to clinch a famous victory.

And they got them in farcical fashion as Stuart Broad's overthrow allowed Edgar Schiferli to scamper through for a second, sealing an incredible four-wicket win for the Netherlands.

 

2010 - Schiavone makes grand slam history

Tennis fans had become accustomed to the sight of Nadal winning grand slams by 2010 when Schiavone became the first Italian woman to reach a major singles final.

The 17th seed was up against Australia's Sam Stosur – who had beaten Justine Henin and Serena Williams along the way – and it was Schiavone who came out on top 6-4 7-6 (7-2).

Schiavone not only became the first Italian woman to win a grand slam singles title, but she was also the second-lowest ranked woman to win at Roland Garros in the Open era.

Michael Jordan has issued a strong statement on the recent death of American George Floyd while in police custody, condemning the actions of Minneapolis police while calling for more change and accountability regarding racial injustice. 

"I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry," the Basketball Hall of Famer and principal owner of the Charlotte Hornets said in a statement released by the Hornets on Sunday.

"I see and feel everyone's pain, outrage and frustration. I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough." 

Floyd, who was black, died on Monday after becoming unresponsive while pinned to the ground by white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin during an arrest.

The incident was recorded by several onlookers and triggered a wave of protests, some violent, in Minneapolis and other cities across the United States.

"I don't have the answers, but our collective voices show strength and the inability to be divided by others," Jordan continued. "We must listen to each other, show compassion and empathy and never turn our backs on senseless brutality. We need to continue peaceful expressions against injustice and demand accountability. 

"Our unified voice needs to put pressure on our leaders to change our laws, or else we need to use our vote to create systemic change. Every one of us needs to be part of the solution, and we must work together to ensure justice for all. 

"My heart goes out to the family of George Floyd and to the countless officers whose lives have been brutally and senselessly taken through acts of racism and injustice." 

In contrast to other NBA legends such as LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jordan has largely avoided commenting on political and social matters throughout both his playing and post-playing career and has at times drawn criticism for his reluctance to speak on such issues. 

The debate over who is basketball's G.O.A.T has been reignited.

The release of 'The Last Dance' - ESPN's docuseries on the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls - has brought Michael Jordan's exploits back to the forefront of people's minds.

And the suspension of the current NBA season due to the coronavirus pandemic means current superstar LeBron James has, for the time being at least, been unable to respond on the court.

However, this week marks three years since James, then with the Cleveland Cavaliers, sunk a deep three-pointer in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals to pass Jordan and become the NBA's all-time playoff points leader.

Stats Perform has crunched the numbers on the two icons of the game to look at how they compare when the spotlight shines brightest.

 

PILING ON THE POINTS

That record-breaking shot from beyond the arc against the Boston Celtics moved James beyond Jordan's all-time haul of 5,987 points in his 212th game.

However, his boyhood hero's tally came in just 179 games, with Jordan having averaged a staggering 33.4 points per game, compared to James' 28.9.

There are still multiple postseason records Jordan holds too, including most points in a game (63 - which he accrued in the Bulls' incredible double-overtime loss to the Celtics in 1986) and consecutive games with at least 20 points (60).

Despite having seven-time All-Star Scottie Pippen also on the roster, Jordan was clearly the go-to guy for the Bulls on offense and he led them in scoring in 168 of his 179 playoff appearances.

James has led his teams in scoring (including ties) in an NBA-record 189 playoff games - out of 239 appearances - despite calling Dwyane Wade and Kyrie Irving team-mates at specific points.

 

JAMES: AN ALL-AROUND THREAT

While Jordan comes out on top in points per game, James has the edge in most other categories.

The current Los Angeles Lakers star averages more rebounds (8.9 to 6.4), assists (7.1 to 5.7) and blocks (0.97 to 0.88) per playoff game than Jordan, who does average more steals (2.10 to 1.75) - and it was robbing Karl Malone of the ball that famously helped MJ deliver championship number six 22 years ago.

James is, marginally, a more efficient postseason shooter, scoring from .491 of his attempts compared to Jordan's .487, though the two are neck and neck (.332) from three-pointers.

The all-around threat of James is perhaps best highlighted by the fact he has 23 playoff triple-doubles - second only to Magic Johnson's 30 - while Jordan made just two across his illustrious career.

 

COUNT THE RINGS

Of course, the ultimate goal for any successful team is to end the NBA Finals holding aloft the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy, something Jordan has done on six occasions, twice as many as James.

Jordan went 6-0 in Finals - and was named MVP of each series - while James has a 3-6 record - and three Finals MVP awards - across stints with the Cavaliers and Miami Heat.

The Bulls' success in the 1990s - when they twice three-peated - means Jordan won 66.5 per cent of the playoff games he appeared in, a number that James (currently 65.3 per cent) will surely soon eclipse with his Lakers team primed for a deep playoff run when this season resumes.

Would another three rings see James surpass Jordan in the eyes of many? For now, it remains a fascinating debate.

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo wants to smoke a cigar like Michael Jordan and celebrate a potential NBA championship in Mykonos.

The Bucks were favourites to win the NBA title before the season was suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Milwaukee owned the best record in the league at 53-12, ahead of LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers, in pursuit of their first title since 1971.

While COVID-19 has halted Milwaukee's quest, reigning MVP Antetokounmpo is hoping to take the NBA trophy to his native Greece and the party island of Mykonos – channelling Chicago Bulls great Jordan.

"Before all this happened with COVID-19, I was talking about taking the team on a trip to Greece in Mykonos," Antetokounmpo said via the Athletes Doing Good Radiothon on ESPN.

"Mykonos is one of the best islands in Greece, it's a party island. You cannot go there with your significant other, you got to be by yourself. It's got to be a boys' trip.

"Obviously, we have Santorini, Santorini's really romantic. It has the best sunset and sunrise in the world. You can take your significant other there.

"I had the opportunity to go last year – I went with [Eric] Bledsoe and Brook [Lopez] to Mykonos – and I was kind of sad I wasn't able to bring the whole team to experience what we went through.

"So definitely, I think, after we win the championship and we're holding the trophy and we're all smoking a cigar like M.J., we can all do that in Mykonos."

It remains to be seen when, and if, the 2019-20 season will resume following the coronavirus outbreak.

NBA practice facilities have started to re-open this month after the league had targeted no earlier than May 8 for teams to return to their complexes.

Commissioner Adam Silver is reportedly considering the league returning via two locations – Orlando and Las Vegas.

Michael Jordan has been branded a liar by ex-Chicago Bulls team-mate Horace Grant over claims made in 'The Last Dance' series.

In the 10-part docuseries, co-produced by ESPN and Netflix, Jordan accused Grant – who won three NBA championships with the Bulls – of being a source for Sam Smith's book 'The Jordan Rules', which paints the Hall of Famer in an unflattering light.

But Grant, whose relationship with Jordan soured and who later left for the Orlando Magic, denied the accusations and said Jordan merely holds a "grudge".

"Lie, lie, lie. If MJ had a grudge with me, let's settle this like men," Grant said on ESPN 1000 radio. 

"Let's talk about it. Or we can settle it another way. But yet and still, he goes out and puts this lie out that I was the source behind [The Jordan Rules]. 

"Sam Smith and I have always been great friends. We're still great friends. But the sanctity of that locker room, I would never put anything personal out there. 

"The mere fact that Sam Smith was an investigative reporter. That he had to have two sources, two, to write a book, I guess. Why would MJ just point me out?

"It's only a grudge, man. I'm telling you, it was only a grudge. And I think he proved that during this so-called documentary. When if you say something about him, he's going to cut you off, he's going to try to destroy your character."

The legendary Scottie Pippen, who was beside Jordan for each of the Bulls' six championships in an eight-year span, was another ex-player to appear in the documentary who was supposedly unhappy with his portrayal.

In one episode, Jordan said Pippen was "selfish" over his decision to delay foot surgery that saw him miss the start of the 1997-98 season.

"I have never seen a quote-unquote number two guy, as decorated as Scottie Pippen, portrayed so badly," added Grant, who suggested that the documentary was not a true reflection of events given the role Jordan's production company had in the making of the show.

"When that so-called documentary is about one person, basically, and he has the last word on what's going to be put out there…it's not a documentary.

"It's his narrative of what happens in the last, quote-unquote, dance. That's not a documentary because a whole bunch of things was cut out, edited out. So that's why I call it a so-called documentary."

Grant said that Jordan has a history of holding grudges, adding: "My point is, he said that I was the snitch, but yet and still after 35 years he brings up his rookie year going into one of his team-mates' rooms and seeing [drugs] and women.

"Why the hell did he want to bring that up? What's that got to do with anything? I mean, if you want to call somebody a snitch, that's a damn snitch right there."

Lionel Messi plays "different football to the others" and outranks Diego Maradona, Brazilian great Ronaldo and even US basketball superstar Michael Jordan in the sporting pantheon, according to Robert Prosinecki.

Barcelona and Argentina maestro Messi is "surely" the best footballer of all time, former Real Madrid and Barca playmaker Prosinecki claimed.

Prosinecki said in an interview with Stats Perform News that Messi, who has scored over 600 goals for Barcelona, still finishes top of the pile when the career of Chicago Bulls legend and six-time NBA champion Jordan is taken into account.

"It is different, basketball and football. But Messi is surely for me the best," said Prosinecki.

"He is a player who has made differences for many years in Barcelona. He has won everything he could win. He scored many goals and assisted many times too. He plays different football to the others."

Former Croatia midfield marauder Prosinecki knows some still look to Messi's fellow Argentinian Maradona when judging the greats, as well as two-time World Cup winner Ronaldo.

Prosinecki and Ronaldo were briefly team-mates at Camp Nou.

"Maybe some people will say Maradona, Ronaldo... I don't know," Prosinecki said. "There have been amazing players. They are from two different eras. For me he [Messi] is the best one."

According to Prosinecki's verdict, Messi and Brazilian Ronaldo are players that have shown themselves capable and willing to take on teams single-handedly.

"They are different to others. Ronaldo is surely one of the best," Prosinecki said.

"Some people would say Cristiano Ronaldo, but [Brazilian Ronaldo] didn't just play at Barcelona.

"He also had some amazing seasons at Inter. He used to beat rivals almost himself alone. Incredible. They are players who make differences. At Real Madrid too. Where didn't he perform?

"For sure he was a great player. However, if I have to say one, for me the best is Leo Messi."

LeBron James believes his "best assets work perfectly" with Michael Jordan as the Los Angeles Lakers superstar talked about playing alongside the Chicago Bulls great.

Debate in the NBA is often centred on who is the best player of all time – James or Jordan.

Jordan, 57, won six NBA championships, as many Finals MVP's and five Most Valuable Player awards during a remarkable career with the Bulls.

James has three titles to his name – two with the Miami Heat and one with the Cleveland Cavaliers – and three Finals MVP honours, while he is a four-time Most Valuable Player recipient.

Following the conclusion of ESPN's 10-part docuseries – 'The Last Dance' – focused on the Bulls team that won the 1997-98 NBA championship to complete a second three-peat in eight years, James fantasized about being Jordan's team-mate.

"Me personally the way I play the game -- team first -- I feel like my best assets work perfectly with Mike," the 35-year-old said in a video via Uninterrupted's YouTube Channel on Monday.

"Mike is an assassin. When it comes to playing the game of basketball, scoring the way he scored the ball [then] my ability to pass, my ability to read the game plays and plays and plays in advance."

James added: "I saw the things [Scottie Pippen] was able to do with Mike, I just think it would've been a whole 'nother level.

"Pip was one of my favourite players...it would've been a whole 'nother level with me being a point forward with me being that point forward alongside of him during those Chicago runs."

James also remembered taking part in Jordan's annual summer camp at UC-Santa Barbara after being drafted as the number one pick in 2003.

"We used to play around 9 p.m. The camp would end…and we would stay along with the college kids that he would invite," James said. "We would get a good-ass run in for about an hour, an hour-15. I was on the same team with MJ and we didn't lose a game."

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