Wednesday, January 19, 2022

July 21, 2021  MILWAUKEE (AP) — Three weeks ago, a knee injury left Giannis Antetokounmpo looking 50/50 to return for the rest of the Bucks’ playoff run. Look at him now. The Greek Freak delivered perhaps the best performance of his career at the best possible moment and can now add an NBA Finals MVP award to his two regular-season MVP trophies.

Antetokounmpo scored 50 points in a series-clinching 105-98 Game 6 victory that ended the Bucks’ 50-year title drought.

A half-century ago, it was Lew Alcindor — before he was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — earning the MVP honors for the Bucks by averaging 27 points and 18.5 rebounds in a four-game sweep of Baltimore. This time, it was another big man leading the way as Antetokounmpo became the first player to average 35.2 points, 13.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game while shooting 61.8%.

He followed that up by saying how his improbable rise to stardom should serve as an inspiration to others.

“Believe in your dreams,” Antetokounmpo said. “Whatever you feel, when you feel down, when things don’t look like it’s going to happen for you or you might not make it in your career – it might be basketball, it might be anything Just believe in what you’re doing and keep working. Don’t let nobody tell you who you can’t be or what you can’t do.”

Antetokounmpo was an easy choice for the MVP honor after also adding 14 rebounds and five blocks in Game 6. He had at least 40 points and 10 rebounds in three of the six games in this series.

He did all that while dealing with a hyperextended left knee that prevented him from playing in the last two games of the Eastern Conference finals against the Atlanta Hawks.

“It’s just completely awe-inspiring, his performance tonight, this whole series, this whole year,” Bucks center Brook Lopez said.

Antetokounmpo initially feared the injury was more serious and would keep him out of action for an entire year. He instead was back on the floor a week later for the start of the NBA Finals.

He collected 20 points and 17 rebounds in a Game 1 loss. He followed that up with at least 41 points and 12 rebounds in each of the next two games.

Then he played major roles in the two signature plays of this series.

First, he blocked Deandre Ayton’s dunk attempt to prevent Phoenix from tying Game 4 with just over a minute left. And after Jrue Holiday made a steal with the Bucks protecting a one-point lead in the final minute of Game 5, the 6-foot-11 Antetokounmpo raced down the court and was on the receiving end of Holiday’s alley-oop that helped clinch the game.

He saved his finest outing for the championship clincher, scoring nearly half the Bucks’ points.

Antetokounmpo collected 20 points in the third quarter alone to help Milwaukee rally from a 47-42 halftime deficit, though the game was still tied 77-all heading into the final period.

He had 27 of the Bucks’ 48 total points through the game’s middle two quarters. And after making just 55.6% of his free throws in his first 20 games of this postseason, Antetokounmpo went 17 of 19 from the line Tuesday night.

“It’s hard to find more words to describe what Giannis does,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “But the way he made his free throws, the way he did everything, stepped up, the poise, the confidence, the leadership. He has been working on it. We say we want Giannis to get to the free-throw line. We believe. We talked about it this past summer. To win a championship, you’ve got to make free throws and you’ve got to make shots.”

Antetokounmpo’s rapid recovery to lead Milwaukee to it first title since 1971 represents the crowning achievement in Antetokounmpko’s remarkable rise to NBA stardom.

The 26-year-old Antetokounmpo noted this week he hadn’t even started playing basketball in 2007, when LeBron James made his first finals appearance. His rare blend of size and athleticism made him the No. 15 overall pick in the 2013 draft, and he made his first All-Star appearance four years later.

He earned back-to-back MVP honors in 2019 and 2020 while leading the Bucks to the league’s best regular-season record each of those years, but they kept falling short in the playoffs. The Bucks blew a 2-0 lead to Toronto in the 2019 Eastern Conference finals, then lost to Miami in the second round.

Antetokounmpo kept his faith in the Bucks by signing a supermax extension in December.

“There was a job that had to be finished,” Antetokounmpo said.

Antetokounmpo also decided to take a different mental approach.

He acknowledged getting too caught up in the emotional swings of each win and loss earlier in his career. He stayed more level-headed this year while also emerging as a more vocal leader.

That strategy allowed the Bucks to erase 2-0 deficits in the second round against Brooklyn and again in these finals. It helped Antetokounmpo deal with the uncertainty in the immediate aftermath of his injury.

And now it has him on the highest of highs as the MVP of a league championship series.

SXM Radio Online

Entertainment

September 7, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — Actor Michael K. Williams, who as the rogue robber of drug dealers Omar Little on “The Wire” created one of the most beloved and enduring characters in a prime era of television, died Monday. Williams was found dead Monday afternoon by family members in his Brooklyn penthouse apartment, New York City police said. He was 54. His death was being investigated as a possible drug overdose, the NYPD said. The medical examiner was investigating the cause of death. Little, a “stick-up boy” based on real figures from Baltimore, was probably the most popular character among the devoted fans of “The Wire,” the HBO show that ran from 2002 to 2008 and is re-watched constantly in streaming.

September 8, 2021 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Britney Spears’ father filed Tuesday to end the court conservatorship that has controlled the singer’s life and money for 13 years. James Spears filed his petition to terminate the conservatorship in Los Angeles Superior Court. “As Mr. Spears has said, again and again, all he wants is what is best for his daughter,” the document says. “If Ms. Spears wants to terminate the conservatorship and believes that she can handle her own life, Mr. Spears believes that she should get that chance.” Judge Brenda Penny, who oversees the case, will need to approve the move. Britney Spears attorney Matthew Rosengart said in an email the filing “represents another legal victory for Britney Spears — a massive one — as well as vindication for Ms. Spears.”

September 8, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — With Katie Holmes and Lil’ Kim on his front row and singer Marina on the mic high above his runway, Christian Siriano helped kicked off New York Fashion Week’s first big pandemic round of in-person shows Tuesday with a flurry of neon and lace-inspired in part by all the Italian women in his life. From ornate Gotham Hall, beneath a stained-glass skylight 70 feet up, Siriano’s commitment to size inclusivity was never stronger as he opened and closed the show with plus-size breakout model Precious Lee. She first walked in a stunning yellow trouser suit with wide loose pants and an asymmetrical jacket, a matching crossover bralette underneath.

September 7, 2021  VENICE, Italy (AP) — Paul Schrader knows he has a limited number of films left, so whatever he does from here on out is going to be for himself. At 75 years old, the writer of “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull” and director of “American Gigolo” and “Mishima” was even somewhat prepared to call it a day after his 2018 film “First Reformed,” for which he got his first Oscar nomination. He didn’t want to. He just knew it might be the reality. “I thought I would go back to this character again for about the fifth time,” Schrader said in a recent interview. By “this character” he means “the man in the room.” It’s Travis Bickle. It’s John LeTour. It’s Julian Kay. And it’s a formula he’s been working with for 45 years.

Business News

September 8, 2021  -Stocks were mostly lower in Asia on Wednesday after a lackluster session on Wall Street, where weak jobs data and pandemic concerns weighed on sentiment. Shares rose in Tokyo after economic growth for the April-June quarter was revised upward to an annualized 1.9% from an earlier estimate of 1.3%. “Any feel-good factor was ignored, though, given the climb was less than half of the 4.20% fall in Q1,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary. “Japan will be lucky to break even this year as the current Covid-19 wave will almost certainly have weighed on domestic consumption,” he said.

September 8, 2021 NEW YORK (AP) — There will be something missing at two Whole Foods stores opening next year: the rows of cashiers. Amazon, which owns the grocery chain, said Wednesday that it will bring its cashier-less technology to two Whole Foods stores for the first time, letting shoppers grab what they need and leave without having to open their wallets. Cameras and sensors track what’s taken off shelves. Items are charged to an Amazon account after customers leave the store with them. But there will be an option for those who want to shop the old-fashioned way: Self-checkout lanes will be available that take cash, gift cards and other types of payment. Amazon first unveiled the cashier-less technology in 2018 at an Amazon Go convenience store and has expanded it to larger Amazon supermarkets. But it will be the first time it has appeared at Whole Foods, a chain of more than 500 grocery stores Amazon bought four years ago.

September 8, 2021  BEIJING (AP) — An avalanche of changes launched by China’s ruling Communist Party has jolted everyone from tech billionaires to school kids. Behind them: President Xi Jinping’s vision of making a more powerful, prosperous country by reviving revolutionary ideals, with more economic equality and tighter party control over society and entrepreneurs. Since taking power in 2012, Xi has called for the party to return to its “original mission” as China’s economic, social and cultural leader and carry out the “ rejuvenation of the great Chinese nation.” The party has spent the decade since then silencing dissent and tightening political control. Now, after 40 years of growth that transformed China into the world’s factory but left a gulf between a wealthy elite and the poor majority, the party is promising to spread prosperity more evenly and is pressing private companies to pay for social welfare and back Beijing’s ambition to become a global technology competitor.

Fashion News

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