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The Great Evolution of Gordon Hayward – SLC Dunk

Posted: February 20, 2017 at 7:20 pm

Utah Jazz starting forward Gordon Hayward landed in New Orleans on Thursday, marking the first time in six years that a Jazzman has traveled to participate in the All-Star game.

Gordon Hayward described the whole experience as surreal, a description that could easily used when talking about his basketball career as a whole. His journey to becoming an NBA All-Star started years ago, long before he was considered a NBA heartthrob and long before he became Utahs first offensive option.

The once-lanky tennis player from Indiana has worked hard to transform into the reliable offensive power and decisive leader that Utah has needed for so long. Hayward has more than proven that his All-Star selection is well-deserved.

On Friday, after a long day of press interviews and while most of the other 2017 All-Stars were likely enjoying everything New Orleans has to offer, Gordon spent his afternoon working with Jazz assistant coach Johnnie Bryant. This incredible work ethic is central to the evolution of Gordon Hayward. His entire work-hard-play-hard mentality is what has driven his evolution into one of the 24 best players in the entire league.

Hes always been dedicated to the game and has made gradual improvement every season in the NBA. He has slowly bulked up, gaining pounds muscle since his sophomore year at Butler. His overall strength, both physical and mental, has increased, and that has translated into increased production on the court. But after failing to make the playoffs last season, Hayward decided that it wasnt enough. Gradual wasnt going to cut it.

Hayward went right to work after the season ended. Instead of going home to Indiana, Hayward decided to stay in Salt Lake City to work closely with Jazz coaching staff on improving his game. He even passed up the chance to play with Team USA in the summer Olympics. Instead, he stayed in SLC and challenged himself to make the final push that would evolve his overall game.

The 2016-17 season has been the best of Haywards career. Despite less game time on the court, hes averaging 22.2 points per game, a career high and the first time in his career that he has averaged more than 20 points. Hes shooting 46.5 percent from the field, 38.5 percent from the three, and 87 percent from the free-throw line. Hes also averaging 5.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game, giving him a shot at being one of the most versatile players to represent Utah for quite sometime.

Hayward has helped the Jazz to a 35-22 record, and at just 26-years-old, he has time to make even more All-Star appearances. Hes just barely entering the prime of his career. With his obvious dedication and work ethic, Gordon Hayward will only continue to transform his game to higher levels. Hes key to a playoff run for Utah, and its clear that hes up for the challenge.

Before Gordon Hayward and the other NBA All Stars took could take the court on Sunday night, the Roots turned the Smoothie King Center into a visual time machine as they tried to answer the one question fans always come back to.

We are culture that is obsessed with one question: Who is the greatest? said Black Thought, as the Roots began their original musical-visual performance. With the help of a handful of cultural icons, including DJ Jazzy Jeff and one half of Run DMC Darryl McDaniels, the Roots guided viewers through a retrospective (and incredibly profound) journey of each era of greatnessfrom the beboppin beginnings to the powerful present.

After listening to celebs present their arguments as to who was the greatest era in the NBA, Black Thought gave his ruling: Who really is the greatest? None of you are. True greatness is not comparison; its evolution. If this is trueif true greatness is evolutionthen Gordon Hayward could very well go down in history as one of the greats.

All you have to do is compare the player he is now to the player who took (and missed) the final shot of Butlers historic NCAA tournament run. He has evolved and transformed more as a player than most NBA players do in their entire careers. His hard work has paid off. From scrawny rookie to Mr. Steal-Your-Girl, Gordon Hayward hardly resembles the player he was when his journey began.

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Kenny Atkinson sees hope and progress for his Nets at All-Star break – Newsday

Posted: February 19, 2017 at 11:06 am

When the season was young, the Nets ranked as one of the biggest surprises in the NBA. A team widely panned as the leagues worst was 4-5, and two of those wins came after Jeremy Lin suffered his first hamstring injury in the fifth game.

That initial surge of optimism faded long ago as the Nets without Lin for all but 12 games have struggled. It turns out they are exactly what the critics forecast, a 9-47 team that is 8 12 games worse than the 29th-best team in the NBA at the All-Star break.

The Nets rank 30th in points allowed (114.2), plus-minus (-8.8) and turnovers (17). They are fourth in three-pointers attempted (32.4) but only 26th in three-point field-goal percentage (34.0).

In short, with the NBAs weakest roster, general manager Sean Marks and coach Kenny Atkinson havent found any way to stem the tide of losing. The Nets have lost a franchise-record 16 straight home games and 25 of their past 26 games overall. Yet, as tough as it may be to sell to the fans, Atkinson maintains that his team has made incremental progress as the franchise overhauls the playing style and creates a new culture.

Describing the rays of hope he sees, Atkinson said: I think the intangibles are: Whats your teams work ethic? Whats their spirit like? How are they coming into practice every day? How are they approaching the games? Hows their focus? Those are the things were looking at, and we cast an eye towards our young players. How are they doing? How are they improving?

Considering the depth of their problems, the most amazing part of the Nets season is how hard they still are playing. Their past 11 straight losses all have come by 10 or fewer points. There was one brief locker-room flareup, but the Nets have held together despite constant lineup changes.

This is the most positive group Ive been around in my three years with three teams, said Spencer Dinwiddie, who was claimed out of the D-League and has been starting at point guard in Lins long absence. Its just a great group of guys. Spirits are always high even through the losses.

I think I was a little bit shocked at first, having been on other teams. Nobody can like losing or tolerate losing, but to be able to have that collective buy-in and stick to the program, I think it talks to the character of the guys. We have that belief in the coaching staff and the GM, the whole regime.

The most obvious area of progress is the development of the Nets three young core players, second-year forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, rookie wing man Caris LeVert and rookie Isaiah Whitehead. Atkinson credits the Nets recent defensive improvement to the decision to make Hollis-Jefferson the starting power forward. LeVerts athleticism and defensive prowess are eye-opening, and second-round pick Whitehead has surprised with his toughness and grasp of the system.

The major question as the Nets approach Thursdays NBA trade deadline is whether to take what they can get for long-time franchise center Brook Lopez or to give Lopez and Lin a chance to play together when Lin returns for the start of an eight-game road trip Friday in Denver.

That decision ultimately belongs to Marks, who has said he will listen to all trade offers. According to multiple reports, the Nets are asking for two first-round picks for Lopez, a high price that means theres a strong chance he will survive the trade deadline.

Id love to see them together, see how they mix, how they work, Atkinson said of the Brook-Lin pairing. I reminisce about those first games when Jeremy was throwing to Brook in the post and cutting off the post and all that kind of action that looked really good in the beginning. The post stuff I was surprised because Jeremys never really played with a pure post-up guy. So it was great seeing that. Id like to see more. Cant wait til Denver.

Lin, for one, is eager for the opportunity.

Im realistic enough to understand that we havent had a fair look at what this team is really going to look like, Lin said after returning to practice last Tuesday. I played like five games and then another [seven] games, which is just such a small sample size.

Right now, we have guys playing a little bit out of position and guys being asked to do certain things that maybe they havent had to do in their career. So thats not really fair to them. When I come back, I want to be able to help this team and be what they envision me to be. I think post-All-Star break is enough games to see that.

Atkinson has praised Lopez for all the adjustments he has made, from developing his three-point shot to fit in the spread offense and working harder to improve his defense to the positive attitude he has maintained. Missing out on the chance to show how effective he might be with Lin on the floor has been the biggest disappointment of the season.

I think we did a great job of jelling in the offseason through our workouts, Lopez said. Hes such a smart player, such a gifted point guard, and he elevates whoever he plays with. Were obviously missing him. Hes such a great player and great leader, hell improve a lot of players, including me.

Thats what Marks, Atkinson and the rest of the Nets organization need to find out.

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SEC basketball shows progress but has room for growth – STLtoday.com

Posted: February 18, 2017 at 4:06 am

COLUMBIA, MO. Three weeks from Sunday the mens basketball NCAA Tournament bracket will be revealed, a day the Southeastern Conference hopes will mark tangible progress for a sport the league keeps trying to improve with only subtle results.

If the tournament field is the ultimate measure of a leagues fitness, the SEC has fallen behind on Selection Sunday. The league has landed only three teams in the NCAA bracket three of the last four years. With 14 selections overall the last four years, the SECs total ranks seventh among Division I conferences, behind the Big Ten (27), Big 12 (26), Pac-12 (25), ACC (23), Big East (23) and Atlantic 10 (15). Eight of those 14 SEC teams won no more than one game in their tournament appearances from 2013-16.

ESPNs latest bracket projection has four SEC teams in the field Kentucky and Florida as 3 seeds, South Carolina as a 7 and Arkansas as an 11 but thats still behind the countrys top conferences. ESPN predicts the ACC with nine teams, the Big 12 and Big Ten with seven, the Big East with six and the Pac-12 with five.

However the bracket unfolds on March 12, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey believes the leagues efforts to upgrade the sport have made progress.

This year you look at the fact we have three ranked teams at this time of the year and, the number varies, but about six in the top 50, Sankey said in a phone interview this week. Thats a step forward from where we were last year. Thats not our destination, but its a step forward. Our teams, our coaches, our campus leaders deserve a lot of credit.

What would the SEC consider a satisfactory number of NCAA bids?

I guess 14 is too lofty a goal, Sankey joked. A step forward would be four, but I dont predict thats a destination. Weve still got a lot of basketball to play. Over time I think our expectation ought to be much higher.

In the past year the SEC has addressed the sport with a number of moves. Last year, Dan Leibovitz was hired as associate commissioner for basketball and former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese as a special consultant. The SEC also mandated nonconference scheduling measures based on RPI rankings. Teams upgraded their schedules this year but still struggled against the other power conferences. SEC teams are 19-35 against the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Big East and Pac-12. Thanks to 5-5 split in the recent SEC/Big 12 Challenge, the conference owns an 8-7 season record against the Big 12.

Earlier this year, SEC teams lost 20 nonconference games to teams outside of the six major conferences, though some were to perennial mid-major powers: Florida and Tennessee lost to Gonzaga; Alabama and Vanderbilt lost to Dayton; Louisiana State lost to Virginia Commonwealth and Wichita State. SEC teams also lost nonconference games to teams with triple-digit RPI rankings: Lehigh, UCF and Oakland. Then theres Missouri. The Tigers own the leagues worst nonconference losses, three to teams with RPI rankings of 184 or worse: Lipscomb, Eastern Illinois and North Carolina Central.

It still bothers me that I dont think our league gets the respect that it deserves, Tennessee coach Rick Barnes said earlier this month. We talk about it at our coaches meetings: We need people talking up our league. When I was in the Big 12 (at Texas) we needed announcers talking up our league.

At the beginning of the year, he added, everyone kept asking, Are we a year or two away? We were close a year ago. Coming down the stretch with two or three weeks (left) there were seven teams mentioned for the tournament. Because the league was good enough to beat up on each other and the perception was the league wasnt good enough it seemed to hurt the league.

Barnes, whose Volunteers (14-12, 6-7) host Missouri (7-18, 2-11) at noon Saturday, is one of four second-year coaches around the league whos delivered progress. With one more win, the Vols will match their total from last year. Tennessee is among the first four bubble teams just outside the bracket in ESPNs latest projections. Florida (21-5) and Mississippi State (14-11) have matched their win totals from last season under second-year coaches Mike White and Ben Howland, respectively. Alabama (15-10) has five SEC road wins under second-year coach Avery Johnson and needs three wins overall to match last years total.

With more SEC teams making splashy hires Barnes and Howland arrived as established power conference head coaches last year other schools that enter the coaching market figure to feel pressure to follow suit. Missouri and Louisiana State could be making changes this offseason. Mizzous Kim Anderson is just 8-41 against SEC foes in three seasons, while Johnny Jones has LSU (9-16, 1-12) at the bottom of the league standings a year after failing to capitalize on the addition of Ben Simmons, the No. 1 pick in last summers NBA draft.

Whatever happens next at both schools, the SEC will be watching closely from its home offices in Birmingham, Ala.

Our coaching hires are critically important, Sankey said. In one way stability and continuity is of great value, but the reality is coaches change. You look at Bruce Pearl, whos building a program at Auburn. Rick Barnes is in his second year at Tennessee. Ben Howland, Mike White, Bryce Drew (at Vanderbilt) and Avery Johnson as being the most recent and have all shown progress. Theres a building effort.

MISSOURI at TENNESSEE

When Noon

Where Thompson-Boling Arena, Knoxville, Tenn.

Series Missouri leads 6-5; last meeting: Feb. 13, 2016, MU 75, Tennessee 64

TV, radio SEC Network, KTRS (550 AM)

Records: Missouri is 7-18, 2-11 SEC; Tennessee is 14-12, 7-5

About the Tigers Mizzou takes its 32-game road losing streak to Knoxville, where its 2-3 all-time and 0-2 since joining the SEC. The Tigers are coming off Wednesdays 57-54 home loss to Alabama, which snapped a two-game winning streak at Mizzou Arena. Junior forward Jordan Barnett had scored 23 points in consecutive games before scoring just five against Alabama while missing 10 of 12 shots. Barnes played one season at Texas (2014-15) under current Tennessee coach Rick Barnes. For the first time in SEC play sophomore guard Terrence Phillips finished with just one assist in Wednesdays game. He scored six points and turned the ball over three times. Sophomore forward Kevin Puryear is shooting a team-best 43.5 percent from 3-point range in SEC games, which would rank No. 3 in the league if qualified for the rankings with more attempts.

About the Volunteers Against one of the nations toughest schedules, Tennessee is one win away form last years total and last month logged impressive wins against Kentucky and Kansas State. The Vols have since lost three of four, including Tuesdays 25-point loss at Kentucky. Senior guard Robert Hubbs III leads the Vols with 14 points per game. Freshman forward Grant Williams adds 12.3 points per game and a team-best 5.4 rebounds. UT ranks No. 296 in Division I in average height and starts only one player taller than 6-5. Barnes is 11-8 all-time against Missouri: 1-0 at Clemson, 10-7 at Texas and 0-1 at Tennessee.

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PGA Tour taps Intel technology to drive golf into virtual reality – Fox News

Posted: February 17, 2017 at 1:12 am

The PGA Tour is teeing up virtual reality experiences to drive fans and tech savvy, potential fans, greenside at PGA Tournaments.

The Tour wants to keep pace with sports leagues such as the NBA, which offers weekly VR broadcasts. But PGA officials say VR experiences need to be special, not just an immersive version of the same old broadcast.

The trick is creating an experience that people want to have the headset on for more than five minutes, Scott Gutterman, PGA Tour VP, digital operations, told Fox News. Wed like for people to interact with the stream, if there are stats they want, to choose themselves, slide the leaderboard in and out (of their view).

The PGA Tour and Intel Sports Groups Voke virtual reality unit tested the technology on the famous 10th hole at storied Riviera Country Club in Los Angeles ahead of the Genesis Open that teed off Thursday.

The Intel unit has produced VR for the NFL and last years NCAA Final 4 basketball games. It makes custom experiences for clients across VR platforms.

SIX FLAGS, SAMSUNG ANNOUNCE ‘MIXED REALITY’ ROLLER COASTER

We think golf is one of the hidden treasures to produce and create experiences in virtual reality, said David Aufhauser, managing director, strategy and product, Intel Sports Group. You can create experiences fans just cant get, even if theyre there. You can bring in stats and data and other visual components that can complement the video part of it.

While a few pro golf tournaments have been produced in VR, the game has presented technological hurdles that make it more difficult to produce in virtual reality than sports such as basketball. Golf balls are smaller and tracking their flight can be trickier than the larger brown basketballs or footballs, plus there is a lot more space to be covered on a golf course than a fixed playing area. Resolution can be an issue when subjects are farther away from cameras, especially on the more popular but less powerful mobile-powered headsets.

Going Green

Gutterman pointed to Vokes three large pods of cameras triangulating the putting surface, capturing a 180 degree panorama, and says their size and lack of mobility will keep VR a largely tee or green experience in the early going, although the technology will eventually have its own produced broadcast.

The elevated camera pods feature six pairs of cameras that stream video, which is stitched together by producers. And the lenses can be changed depending on the sport or to capture different shots.

HOW DRONES LIT UP THE SKY IN LADY GAGA’S SUPER BOWL HALFTIME SHOW

Gutterman notes: We really like Vokes stereoscopic cameras; they provide a different level of enhancement we want to capture.

Vokes founder Sankar Jayaram told Fox News: The way we designed our system, we can actually zoom in. One challenge is in VR the cameras are far from the action. We can use different lenses and take you closer to the actionits one of the unique features we have, so you can get depth.

View to a Thrill

A demo provided for Fox News delivered depth of field and a crisp view arguably better than some spectators had standing a few yards away from the action. The VR stream showed undulations on the putting surface and brought into view the severe slope the pros fear when their balls roll off this greens backside. Even in HD broadcasts the greens tend to flatten out.

The Voke experience lets the user switch views for different camera angles. It was powered on a Samsung Gear headset and Galaxy G7 phone and was just as sharp as commercial broadcast VR streams.

SUPER BOWL LI WILL TAP TECH TO GIVE VIEWERS A PLAYERS POV

Newly installed PGA Commissioner Jay Monahan liked what he saw. After walking off the 10th green in the Pro-Am round alongside Jordan Spieth, Monahan looked into the headset at his own demo and said simply, Wow! Thats amazing.

Despite that apparent endorsement from the boss, Gutterman says its unclear whether the PLAYERS Championship will be live streamed in VR in May. He said the VR test was positive and encouraging and no further testing would be required.

Intel Sports Groups Aufhauser says theres growing demand, Fans want to experience new ways to connect with sports and players that they love in wholly immersive experience. We see a lot of growth.

Adam Scott, who won the PGAs L.A. event in 2005, admits he has limited VR experience, but recognizes its potential. I think thats huge for the fans. Another way to interact with us, or the game in any way, is a good thing. Certainly weve got to move with the times. I havent really used it for my benefit, but maybe in the future.

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Russell Westbrook is leading an evolution in NBA rebounding – Washington Post

Posted: February 14, 2017 at 11:28 am

The NBA in recent seasons has undergone a stylistic overhaul, moving to offenses built around three-point shots and inching toward a form of basketball without positions. The forces changing the league have bled into every aspect of the game, and that includes rebounding. Its not a drastic difference, but it is a difference. As teams launch more threes and play smaller lineups, there are more long boardsand fewer big men to grab them. The combination has led to a more egalitarian distribution of rebounds.

Russell Westbrook, the fluorescent Oklahoma City point guard, both epitomizes the changing nature of rebounds and provides the ideal for how to capitalize on it. His quest to become the first player since Oscar Robertson in 1962 to average a triple-double for an entire season depends in large part on his 10.5 rebounds per game, the most by a guard since Robertsons triple-double year.

But Westbrook is far from alone among guards and wings gobbling boards. Giannis Antetokounmpo (8.7), James Harden (8.2), Nicolas Batum (7.2) and Avery Bradley (6.9) all rank among the NBAs top 50 in rebounds per game. This season, 10 of the top 50 rebounders are listed as guards or small forwards. Only six such players ranked in the top 50 last year, up from four each of the previous two seasons. No guard or small forward has finished a season ranked in the top 25 since 2009-2010, and yet four are ranked that high this year.

The game is changing, Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal said. More threes means a lot of long rebounds, so guards are going to have more rebounds, for sure.

[One of college basketballs best rebounders is a 6-foot-2 guard?]

NBA games see 34.6 missed three-pointers on average, or 37 percent of total misses. Just five years ago, the average NBA game included only 25.6 three-point misses. Longer shots typically produce longer rebounds, and so the shift in shot selection has created more opportunities for guards to swoop for boards without getting out of position.

Because of those long rebounds on three-point shots, theres more rebounds that are clearing the free throw line, where guys who are even at the three-point line can react to, Thunder Coach Billy Donovan said. I always feel this way: Great rebounders are the ones who can read the flight of the ball and can tell where its coming off before it comes off.

No guard is better at it than Westbrook, whose rebounding ability has buoyed his triple-double bid and allowed the Thunder to craft a strategy around his unique skill set. Oklahoma City instructs its big men to box out on defense not with the sole aim of snaring rebounds, but with the intent to create space for Westbrook.

Westbrooks rebounding activates Oklahoma Citys best brand of offense. The Thunder entered Monday as the 21st-ranked offense in the NBA, but had scored the third-most fast-break points per game. When Westbrook snares a defensive rebound, he zips down the floor, a fast break unto himself. Essentially, Westbrook serves as his own outlet pass.

He does a great job whenever he gets the rebound, he has an opportunity to start the break, Wizards point guard John Wall said. Its a tougher matchup. Its hard to stop him when he has the ball and hes coming full speed.

[John Walls between-the-legs pass may have been his best of the season]

Its huge, Thunder reserve forward Nick Collison said. It allows us to get into transition more than a lot of teams. Even just a guy finding him to make the pass, that one second allows them to get back. Some of those that end up in transition shots wouldnt be if we had to find him.

As a rebounder, Westbrook combines aggression which Donovan encourages, rather than asking his point guard to rush back on defense as he might with a typical point guard with rare physical force. Physically, hes able to get to boards above the rim more so than any other guard, Collison said. Underneath his obvious athleticism, Westbrook uses anticipation and careful study.

The reason Russell is such a great rebounder is, he watches the flight of the ball, Donovan said. You see Russell a lot of times, hell shoot a shot, and hell know its short, and hell take off and get there quickly. Thats a skill. Thats an ability. Theres times where maybe a shot goes up, and he can tell where its going, hes already running into that area, and hes able to come up with it. Guys who are guards who are able to rebound the ball like that, theres a skill, theres a talent, theres an intelligence that goes into trying to create those opportunities.

Hes always attacking, Wall said. When he passes, you cant relax, because he always stays around the paint area to try to get offensive rebounds. On the defensive end, hes always crashing the boards to get rebounds.

[Russell Westbrooks dismal night provides another dose of frustration]

On Monday night, in a 120-98 loss to the Wizards, Westbrook grabbed a season-low four rebounds. On the other side of the box score, the overall trend still surfaced. Otto Porter, a small forward frequently asked to play the four in smaller lineups, recorded 11 rebounds.

I remember when I first got in the league, there was almost always two bigs on the court, Collison said. Usually, one of those really wasnt much of an offensive player. He was just a guy you really had to keep off the board.

That kind of player, Collison said, does not really exist any longer. The league has changed too much. Ten years ago, the Golden State Warriors led the NBA by attempting 26.6 threes per game. This season, teams average 26.9, and the league-leading Houston Rockets launch 39.8 per game. The effects trickle down. There are still plenty of rebounds to be had, but a different kind of player is corralling more of them.

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MLB Commish Opens Door to Legalized Gambling: ‘We Are Reexamining Our Stance’ – Mediaite

Posted: February 10, 2017 at 3:50 am

The major professional sports leagues have begun to embrace or, at least, take steps toward embracing the concept of legalized sports gambling. The NFLs Oakland Raiders may possibly move to Las Vegas. The NHL has already established the first major pro sports franchise in the city. And NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has come out in favor of sports betting.

And now, Major League Baseball appears to be softening its stance against legalized wagering. At a forum hosted by Yahoo! Finance on Wednesday, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred acknowledged that sports betting happens, and questioned whether his sports opposition to the practice was an outdated position.

We are reexamining our stance on gambling, Manfred said. Its a conversation thats ongoing with the owners.

Manfred seemed to be making much of the same argument that Silver did in his New York Times op-ed, saying that federal regulation could prove beneficial to the sport.

I think the question for sports is really, Are we better off in a world where we have a nice, strong, uniform, federal regulation of gambling that protects the integrity of sports, provides sports with the tools to ensure that there is integrity in the competition Or are we better off closing our eyes to that and letting it go on as illegal gambling? And thats a debatable point.

Watch above, via Yahoo! Finance.

[image via screengrab]

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Obama kiteboards in Caribbean with billionaire Richard Branson – Reuters

Posted: February 9, 2017 at 6:37 am

Former U.S. president Barack Obama is trying some new and dangerous water sports that the Hawaii native had to miss out on for safety reasons while serving in the White House.

Obama, whose eight years as president ended last month when he was succeeded by Donald Trump, learned to kiteboard while vacationing last week on a Caribbean island owned by British billionaire and adventurer Sir Richard Branson, who published an accountof their trip on Tuesday.

Photographs and video on the website of Branson’s Virgin Group show the former president, a life-long surfer, figuring out the increasingly popular sport in which people ride a board while being pulled behind a kite.

“Being the former president of America, there was lots of security around, but Barack was able to really relax and get into it,” Branson wrote.

Obama and his wife, Michelle, were spotted last week in the British Virgin Islands, and people posted photos of them on social media. Branson owns 120-acre (48-hectare) Moskito Island, which is part of the archipelago.

Kiteboarding was chosen in 2012 as a sport for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, replacing windsurfing. The decision was criticized at the time because the sport can be lethal, and it was reversed within months.

According to Branson, Obama studied the pastime for two days and flew a kite from the beach, “as if going back to being a child again,” before heading out into the waves.

Branson was trying to learn a similar sport, foilboarding, which uses a modified board that rises a few feet above the water. He wrote that he challenged the ex-president over which of them would succeed first.

Obama triumphed, he said, by kiteboarding for 100 meters (328 feet).

“After all he has done for the world, I couldn’t begrudge him his well-deserved win,” Branson wrote.

(Reporting by David Ingram in New York; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Frances Kerry)

LAS VEGAS Opening statements were to begin on Thursday in the first of three trials over an armed standoff in 2014 at the rural Nevada property of Cliven Bundy, a rancher who has achieved celebrity status in the West in his opposition to government land policy.

BOSTON/NEW YORK The heaviest storm the northeastern United States has seen this year was bearing down on the region on Thursday, forcing schools in major cities to cancel classes and airlines to ground thousands of flights.

Former NBA player Charles Oakley was arrested on Wednesday during the game between the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Clippers after an altercation with security guards at Madison Square Garden.

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Israeli technology let Super Bowl fans see plays at face mask level – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Posted: February 6, 2017 at 3:11 pm

‘Be the player’ technology. (photo credit:INTEL)

As New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons fans gritted their teeth on Sunday night during the first Super Bowl to end in overtime, they could connect closer than ever to their favorite teams through an innovative Israeli technology.

While watching the game on their TV screens, fans were able to Be the Player experiencing first-downs and fumbles from the players point of view through Intels 360 Replay, developed in Israel. At the game in Houston, 38 cameras were installed throughout the stadium, generating immersive experiences for viewers without requiring players to wear devices on their facemasks or jerseys.

This technology is absolutely changing the game, said Intels sports group general manager James Carwana, in a video press release prior to the Super Bowl. Fans are going to be able to watch the game not just from the sidelines, but from the center of the field. Its an incredible medium that creates amazing new sports experiences.

Be the Player is based on the free-D feature developed by the Israeli company Replay Technologies, which was acquired by Intel last March.

The 38 individual 5K cameras devices with a resolution of 5,000 pixels were installed all around the stadium, streaming live to an Intel server on site, explained Jeff Hopper, Intels general manager for immersive experiences, also in the video. The data are then processed in real-time to produce the Be the Player clips.

Think of it as a big cloud of data of everything that goes on the field, and that youre able to go into that cloud of data and see from any angle what you want to see, Hopper said.

By digitizing the entire arena, the Intel technology creates a three-dimensional voxel or cube instead of a two-dimensional pixel, according to Carwana.

The system produces 15- to 30-second replays aired during live broadcasts that each require about 1 terabyte of data and are available from about a minute to a minute-and-a-half from the moment they occur on the field, according to Intel. The result is a virtual reality service that FOX Sports, which broadcast the game, described as a video game-like experience.

We tasked Intel to push their amazing Intel 360 Replay technology to the limit of what it could do, using their array of cameras circling the stadium to synthesize a players view on the field, Michael Davies, FOX Sports senior vice president of field and technical operations said in a statement in mid-January. The cameras, backed up by a huge bank of Intel computing power, allow a moment to be recreated in 3D space, so that a virtual camera can be placed at the players eye line not unlike how limitless camera views can be created in video games.

Ahead of the Super Bowl, Intel published a commercial featuring Patriots quarterback Tom Brady with the tagline: Intel 360 Replay makes anything look epic literally anything. The ad showed Brady and his dog waking up, after which the quarterback performed a series of mundane activities like yawning, brushing his teeth, flipping pancakes and eating all from a variety of very detailed perspectives.

Wait till you see it in the game, the ad concludes, with a final glimpse of Brady on his way to the toilet, magazine in hand. The 360 Replay technology was initially showcased at the 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend, creating a seamless 3-D video rendering of the court using 28 ultra high-definition cameras positioned around the arena and connected to Intel servers, the company said at the time. The system enabled broadcasters to give fans a 360-degree view of key plays, such as slam-dunks, blocks and steals.

Sports for decades has been delivered to fans in the same way youve got one broadcast going out and it goes to millions and millions and millions of people, Carwana said. Its a beautiful production, but its not my production. Theres an opportunity now to personalize the experience of a sport.

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Freedom! – YouTube

Posted: July 1, 2016 at 2:35 pm

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OnlineGambling.com > #1 Online Gambling Sites Guide 2016

Posted: June 10, 2016 at 12:50 pm

Featured Game – Blackjack

Blackjack is a fun game to play on the internet, either at a table by yourself, at a multi-player table or even in an online blackjack tournament.

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Betting Systems A betting strategy also known as a betting system is a structured approach to gambling intended to increase your odds of winning in casinos, card games and with online bookmakers.

Horse Racing Often referred to as the ‘Sport of Kings’, horse racing and betting on horse racing is one of the exciting parts of life that everyone seems to experience at some point in their life. Horse racing is prevalent in almost every country of the world from Australian Horse Racing to UK Horse Racing.

Online Casinos Looking for top online casinos? We’ve compiled a long list of the best online casino reviews!

Online betting is fun and it means you don’t have to go drive to your local sports betting or bar. It also means you can bet online from the comfort from your own home.

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