Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer took one step …

Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer took one step closer toward building a new arena for the team by investing $100 million in the city of Inglewood. Ballmer’s $100 million Community Benefits Plan was negotiated with city officials from Inglewood as part of their arena development agreement and is set to be revealed Tuesday at an Inglewood city council meeting.

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The Clippers, citing public records, called it the largest commitment of funding for community programs made in connection to a sports or entertainment venue in California, with $80 million of it going toward affordable housing, assistance to renters and first-time homebuyers, and $12.75 million going toward school and youth programs.
LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is steadfast: his team needs a home of its own, no matter how daunting the process might seem. Targeting 2024 for new digs, Ballmer and the organization believe exiting Staples Center, where they share space with their city rival Los Angeles Lakers, is the prudent move for the future. “[We] need our own house,” Ballmer insists.
Steve Ballmer: “We have some folks pushing back on us, primarily Madison Square Garden and the Knicks, if you will. They own The Forum, which is a concert venue, and they don’t want to see a new concert venue, which any new basketball arena would be. So we’re getting some pushback. But 2024 is our target. And we’ve given ourselves some time to get ready. And 2024 comes faster than you think, so we’re pushing along down the path. We’re excited. We’ve seen some preliminary exterior designs … can’t show them to you yet. But the community will see them not too long from now.”
Ballmer lives in Seattle, but discovered his love for the game as an 11-year-old in suburban Detroit, watching the Pistons and witnessing the appreciation the hometown team and its stars were afforded from local fans. “For me growing up in Detroit, it’s the Pistons. It’s always the Pistons,” Ballmer said. “But in L.A., you have to think about it differently. Not only do we play in the same building, we don’t have the championship pedigree. So you know what, we need our own house. We’re going to define our own identity, in our own house.”
Billionaire Clippers owner Steve Ballmer wants to transform the four blocks into a privately funded home for his franchise, a state-of-the-art competition venue, team offices, practice facility, sports medicine clinic and more. But almost a year and a half after the Clippers and Inglewood signed an exclusive negotiating agreement to explore the project, the land remains at the center of a legal brawl setting Madison Square Garden Co., which owns the nearby Forum, against the franchise Ballmer bought for $2 billion and the city he would like his team to call home.
The fight escalated Tuesday when Murphy’s Bowl LLC, the Clippers-controlled company behind the arena, countersued MSG in L.A. County Superior Court. “The proposed Los Angeles Clippers Arena … is the latest in this series of projects that will reshape Inglewood and benefit its residents for decades,” the countersuit said. “MSG Forum LLC … fearing the competition it would face from a new arena in Inglewood, seeks to stop the Clippers Arena in its tracks.” The filing accused MSG of using the lawsuits to force the Clippers to “abandon their plan to move to Inglewood.” Murphy’s Bowl wants the court to declare its 36-month exclusive negotiating agreement with Inglewood to be valid and enforceable.
“We are absolutely not funded by MSG and have been around since 2015 advocating for housing justice policies in the city prior to any dispute between the city and MSG,” D’Artagnan Scorza, an Inglewood resident representing Uplift Inglewood, told the Los Angeles Times. Uplift Inglewood believes Inglewood violated the state’s Surplus Land Act by offering land for an arena instead of affordable housing; the city disputes the claim.
On one side is incumbent Inglewood mayor James T. Butts Jr., who is generating support and money from the Los Angeles Clippers — an NBA franchise he hopes to bring to Inglewood, as well as celebrities including Snoop Dogg and Shaquille O’Neal. On the other is clergyman Marc Little, who has the backing of a major entertainment conglomerate with a key stake in the city, along with reality TV tycoon Kris Jenner and retired boxer “Sugar” Shane Mosley.
When he tried to bring the Clippers, it ignited a battle with Madison Square Garden Co., which owns the competing venue the Forum. The duel between Butts and MSG started last year when Inglewood signed an exclusive negotiating agreement with the Clippers to erect a proposed 22-acre arena across the street from the forthcoming football stadium.
It was only four years ago that Butts was on the receiving end of MSG’s generosity. In that campaign, he collected $25,000 from the company and Azoff, about 10% of his total fundraising. Now, he is getting a boost to the tune of $26,000 from the Clippers and people associated with the project. The team’s owner, Steve Ballmer, donated more than $350,000 to a committee that supports Butts’ mayoral bid.
“We’re moving to Inglewood come hell or high water,” he said of a proposed arena near the site of the stadium being constructed for the Rams and Chargers. “We gotta have a house. So we’re working on a plan to get our own house. We want to get our own house. It turns out the way this works in L.A., which is much beloved to me, that if you start now you might be done in six years.”
Supporters of the Clippers’ proposed new arena in Inglewood are pushing for major help at the Capitol to get the project built. Backers are seeking last-minute legislation that would give the arena a significant break under the state’s primary environmental law governing development, according to a preliminary draft of the bill obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
The ENA establishes a three-year timeframe during which the L.A. Clippers will develop the details of its proposed basketball facility. The City of Inglewood will conduct an environmental review including an evaluation of the proposed facility’s construction and operational impacts.
The Clippers’ lease at Staples Center ends in 2024, and owner Steve Ballmer has vowed to explore alternatives. The organization has taken preliminary steps toward the splashiest alternative – owning and operating its own arena in the Los Angeles area. The organization has interest in at least three areas – the Westside of Los Angeles, Inglewood near the new home of the Rams and downtown Los Angeles.
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July 12, 2020 | 12:17 pm EDT Update
For Kyle Korver, choosing a social justice message to use on the back of his Milwaukee Bucks jersey was simple. The white male who has been outspoken about white privilege chose “Black Lives Matter.” “I just think that in this moment in time, this is the message. Anything I would ever hope to convey on the back of a jersey is represented in these three words,” Korver told The Undefeated in a text message Sunday.
Korver said NBA players will have a “great opportunity” to keep their activism message going during the restart of the season with their jersey messages and other statements on and off the court. “It’s a great opportunity. It’s a unique moment. We’re not able to interact with each other very much yet because of the safety protocols in place. But I think everyone is very aware of the opportunity and wants to capitalize on it,” Korver, 39, said.
July 12, 2020 | 10:25 am EDT Update
One month ago, sports’ use of those COVID-19 tests — and the lab capacity needed to process them — was thought to be incidental. But now, the United States is seeing more than 50,000 new cases of COVID-19 a day. Major commercial labs are struggling to keep up with the high demand, causing delays in turnaround times. And experts wonder if the return of sports could burden an increasingly-fragile testing infrastructure. “That’s been a big concern for me, as I’ve been seeing different leagues and their plans for reopening,” said Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist at New York University and Bellevue Hospital.
Storyline: Coronavirus
BioReference Laboratories, which has partnered with MLS and NBA to process tests for their bubble sites in Florida, said in a statement Friday that it is processing tests within 72 hours with an estimated capacity of 70,000 tests per day. “We have enough capacity right now to test the people we’ve made our commitments to,” Jon Cohen, the company’s executive chairman, told USA TODAY Sports on Friday. “If you have a relationship with BioReference, and we have made a commitment to you, we’re going to deliver on that commitment.”
The NBA is also supporting testing research through partnerships with the Yale School of Public Health and the Mayo Clinic, among others. MLB said it is offering free COVID-19 tests and antibody tests to health care workers and first responders in its home cities. And BioReference said in a news release it is working with MLS to provide antibody tests for the public in Orlando. Despite those good-faith efforts, sports risk losing the battle of perception as long as athletes are receiving multiple tests in a virtual bubble, while citizens in hard-hit areas wait in their cars or long lines for hours, often in vain, for the same test. “I think sports in general will be an easy target to say, why are we doing this?” said Roberts. “But you could say that about a hundred things. You don’t need your nails done. You don’t need your tacos. But those are obviously part of the economy.”
Binney, the incoming professor at Emory, said leagues must ultimately ask themselves a simple question: Are they doing more harm or good by returning? The answer, of course, is complicated. And changing all the time. “I think that pro sports, with the right setup and the right logistics, can come back still without having a negative effect on the community around them,” Binney said. “But it’s getting harder.”
Storyline: Coronavirus
July 12, 2020 | 7:41 am EDT Update
“We spoke as a team and we decided that our decision, it was going to be everybody or nobody,” Williams said. “And so once we sat down, we decided to take a vote and we just had more things in common and we just decided that we were going to come as a group. So I’m part of the group. “I have a lot of thoughts and ideas of the things that I felt strongly about personally, but I represent a group. I represent an organization; so ultimately that led to my decision.”
“I actually didn’t go with a name on the back of my jersey,” James said on a video conference call with reporters. “It was no disrespect to the list that was handed out to all the players. I commend anyone that decides to put something on the back of their jersey. It’s just something that didn’t really seriously resonate with my mission, with my goal. “I would have loved to have a say-so on what would have went on the back of my jersey. I had a couple things in mind, but I wasn’t part of that process, which is OK. I’m absolutely OK with that. … I don’t need to have something on the back of my jersey for people to understand my mission or know what I’m about and what I’m here to do.”
Mark Berman: Houston graphic artist Terence Tang (@tinlunstudio)designed special shoes for #Rockets guard @Ben McLemore to wear in Orlando: “I’ve wanted to do sneaker art for NBA players for a really long time..To have it convey such a strong & meaningful message,that’s just icing on the cake” pic.twitter.com/aGR9tBRnun

Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Hawley wrote an open letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on Friday criticizing the league’s relationship with China and calling on the league to allow messages in support of police, the military and Hong Kong protesters on player jerseys. The NBA is allowing players taking part in the season’s restart to wear pre-approved messages in support of social justice on their nameplates in place of their last names. Responding to a press release emailed to him from Hawley’s office regarding the letter, Wojnarowski, ESPN’s chief NBA news-breaker, responded back: “(Expletive) you.” Hawley took the response by “Woj” public, prompting an apology from Wojnarowski.
July 11, 2020 | 9:02 pm EDT Update

Nikola Jokic arriving in the bubble soon

Ohm Youngmisuk: Denver coach Michael Malone said Nikola Jokic “will be in the bubble very very soon and excited to see him.” No new arrivals yet today for the Nuggets among those who have yet to make it to Orlando but Malone said he expects a big arrival from Europe shortly.
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July 11, 2020 | 8:32 pm EDT Update
“My wife changed my diet a few years ago, and that was huge,’’ Crawford said in explaining his longevity. “And I’m just staying in love with the game. I didn’t turn 40. I turned 20 twice.’’ COVID-19 research states Crawford could be at more risk than his younger mates. Following NBA rules, he is in the middle of a six-day quarantine in Orlando before he can be cleared for practice Wednesday.
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
July 11, 2020 | 7:37 pm EDT Update