Manny Pacquiao and Sean Payton help Krissy Kobata in search for bone marrow

DSCN7210

By Leighton Ginn

The campaign to find a bone-marrow match for Los Angeles woman Krissy Kobata continues to attract famous supporters.

On Aug. 17, boxing great Manny Pacquiao and New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton tweeted their support of Kobata.

Pacquiao, the Boxer of the Decade and a senator in the Philippines, Tweeted out a link to the Asian American Sports Journalists story on Kobata, and followed up by Tweeting a link to Be The Match’s website. Be The Match is a national bone-marrow registry that also sends out kits for people to test themselves and register.

Screenshot_20170817-111605

Also joining the action was Payton, who coached the Saints to the Super Bowl title in 2010, when they beat the Indianapolis Colts 31-17.

Payton is represented by agent Don Yee, who is a family friend of Kobata.

“Don Yee, my agent, with the help of Sports Task Force is spreading the word about Krissy Kobata,” Payton posted, along with the same link to the Facebook story.

Screenshot_20170817-112105

The Sports Task Force, part of the Asian American Journalist Association, began spreading the word of Kobata’s search.

http://sportstaskforce.com/japanese-american-krissy-kobata-desperately-needs-bone-marrow-donor/

Half Japanese, half Caucasian, Kobata has been searching for a donor for a decade, but her ethnicity makes it difficult to find a match.

Yee, who established the Jimmie & Suey Fong Yee Scholarship in honor of his parents, asked the Sports Task Force to help share the story of Kobata’s situation.

Processed with VSCO with  preset

The group’s unofficial page, Asian American Sports Journalists, published a story on July 29 about Kobata. Through social media, the post had reached  51,805 on Facebook the morning of Aug. 14.

Later that day, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, also one of Yee’s clients, posted on his Facebook page about Kobata.

About an hour later, actress Chloe Bennet of ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. sent out five Tweets in a row about Kobata.

How Tom Brady’s Facebook post is spreading awareness for Krissy Kobata, who needs a bone marrow to live

Within 24 hours, Kobata’s Facebook post had reached over 1 million more people. Currently, the post has reached 1,170,526 on Aug. 17. There was also a story posted in USA Today’s For The Win.

http://ftw.usatoday.com/2017/08/tom-brady-patriots-facebook-nfl-agent-bone-marrow-donor-awareness-krissy-kobata

To learn more about Krissy, go to teamkrissy.com

If you want to register as a bone marrow donor, go to https://join.bethematch.org/teamkrissy

 

 

 

Timothy Bradley announces retirement from boxing 

 

DSCN7143By Leighton Ginn

Five-time world champion Timothy Bradley announced Saturday he will retire from boxing, turning a page in his life that brought him international fame.

“Thank you for cheering me on when I didn’t deserve it, loving me most when I needed it and for being my heartbeat to keep going day after day. I am the man I am today because of you all,” Bradley said in a release.

Bradley’s full release is below.

There always comes a point in life where we have to make choices that no matter how much we know the right option, it still leaves us filled with mixed emotions.

Looking back at Timothy Bradley’s championship years

I have spent the past couple days trying to find the right words to describe this point in my life and no matter how long I sit and reflect, I still don’t know if these words can do my thoughts justice, but I’m going to do my best to open up my heart and share with all of you during this pivotal time.

How Timothy Bradley’s life intersected with 1968 Olympians George Foreman and John Carlos

It is no secret that a life of any professional athlete is not an easy one- yes it comes with a lot of fame and fortune but also comes with fear and fatigue. A balance that has to be achieved by ambition and maintained through perspective. For over twenty three years, Boxing gave me purpose and it defined me. Dedicated to my craft and fueled by my passion for the sport, my love for my team and my admiration for all of you who supported me day in and day out– I was able to give 100% of myself to be the best and to always get up when I was knocked down. It was the biggest challenge in my life but I embraced the sacrifice with every victory and milestone reached. Boxing gave me roots, it kept me off the streets, it gave me confidence, it taught me how to be a man and face every challenge head on and take the good with the bad. Yes I missed holidays, birthdays, even missed hearing some of my children’s first words but more than time, it took my blood, sweat and tears, all things I can never get back. Which is why turning the page for me is bittersweet. That once in a lifetime purpose to wake up everyday and give 100% is now fueled towards something else- my family. I find my strength in them, my peace and most importantly, unconditional love. I wake up wanting to spend all my time being a father, being a husband and being free. Although that square circle I lived to dance in everyday gave me so many smiles and blessings, it could never out weigh the smiles and blessings I receive from my wife and children. It’s now my turn to support them and encourage them to live their dreams and I couldn’t be more excited for this next chapter. I hope to continue to allow boxing in my world through teaching, commentating and being a fan of a sport I love so dearly.

New Timothy Bradley scores first knockout since 2011 against a guy who was never down in a fight

And to you, the diehard fans, man, it’s been one heck of a ride. The bumps, the bruises, the peaks, the valleys, the days I didn’t want to get out of bed and the nights I couldn’t sleep….So many occasions where my heart, mind and soul were tested but with every challenge there was hope and there was all of you…giving me the courage to fight another day and do what I loved to do. I can never find the words to convey how much I appreciate all of you and how truly humbled I am by the unconditional support the past 23 years, Thank you. Thank you for cheering me on when I didn’t deserve it, loving me most when I needed it and for being my heartbeat to keep going day after day. I am the man I am today because of you all.

Roger Federer claims fifth BNP Paribas Open title, gets called a name on court after beating Stan Wawrinka

 

By Leighton Ginn

At the BNP Paribas Open, Roger Federer beat Stan Wawrinka to tie for most titles at the Indian Wells event, never dropped a set and dominated like he did in his 20s in his 6-4, 7-5 victory Sunday.

But the thing people might remember most from Federer’s fifth title at the BNP Paribas Open is one word that Wawrinka uttered during his speech.

Wawrinka was overcome with emotions, trying to fight off tears, only to see Federer laughing. So during his speech, he jokingly called Federer an asshole, which drew a big laugh from the fans and Federer.

“There’s not always cameras around, so I get called that sometimes,” Federer joked. “Quite often, actually. On the court is the first time, but it felt good.”

Everything felt good for Federer. Coming into the 2017 season, Federer had low expectations. He had missed six months of 2016 with a knee injury, and he didn’t know what kind of level he would be able to produce on the court.

But things went better than expected when he won the Australian Open title for his record 18th Grand Slam title.

With his title at the BNP Paribas Open, he tied Novak Djokovic as the winningest player in the tournament’s history with five.

“I’m not as surprised as I was in Australia, but still this comes as a big, big surprise to me, nevertheless, to win here again and beating the players that I did and the way I did,” said Federer, who beat Rafael Nadal in the fourth round and Jack Sock in the semifinals. “I mean, couldn’t be more happy.

“It’s an absolute, huge start to the year for me. Yeah, last year didn’t win any titles. I don’t think I was in any finals except maybe Brisbane last year.  The change is dramatic, and it feels great.”

One of the tournaments Federer had to miss last year was the BNP Paribas Open. Before that, he had been in the finals the previous two years, losing to Djokovic both times.

With the victory, Federer will move up four spots in the rankings to No. 6. He is well ahead of where he thought he would be during the offseason.

“The goal was to be top-eight by after Wimbledon. Because if I would have lost early in Australia, I would have dropped to 35 in the world,” Federer said. ” It was a good approach, I thought, because it gave me time to get there. … It’s great, but you definitely have to reassess your goals maybe now and see, ‘Where do you go from here?’ Because this was not part of the plan, to win Australia and Indian Wells, I can tell you that.

“Like I said before, I will make the plan for the remainder of the season after — especially for the clay after Miami, and then see also what the goals are, because the goals are clearly changing after this dream start.”

 

 

 

 

The year Roger Federer is having, his preseason goals seem ridiculously low as a return to No. 1 seems possible

3-18-17 Roger

By Leighton Ginn

When Roger Federer returned to the court to start the year, he didn’t know where his level would be following knee surgery and six months off the tour.

So the man many think is the greatest tennis player ever said he wanted to keep things simple — play well and enjoy himself.

After winning the Australian Open and reaching the finals of the BNP Paribas Open for the seventh time after beating American Jack Sock 6-1, 7-6 in Saturday’s semifinals. If Federer beats fellow Swiss star Stan Wawrinka in Sunday’s final, he will become the tournament’s winningest player with his fifth title, breaking a tie with Novak Djokovic.

Jack Sock continues his good vibes at BNP Paribas Open, this time in singles

Djokovic, the No. 2 player in the world, has  won the previous three titles before being upset in the fourth round.

But if you look around the men’s tour, no one is playing better than Federer, who won his 18th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open to start the year. He had a hiccup in Dubai, when he lost to No. 116 Evgeny Donskoy in the second round. But in the two biggest tournaments of the year so far, he’s reached the finals.

Doppelganger 1: tennis player Jack Sock, Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age

And looking around the tour, Djokovic and No. 1 Andy Murray both failed to reach the quarterfinals of both the Australian Open and the BNP Paribas Open. Earlier on Saturday, Murray announced he will miss the Miami Open, another huge event, with an elbow injury. There is also speculation that Djokovic will also miss Miami with his own elbow injury.

No. 1 Andy Murray faces lots of questions, has few answers after another early loss at BNP Paribas Open

But Federer said he set a goal of seeing where he is at following Miami, and was judging on how well he’s playing and how he’s enjoying himself on the tour.

“(It’s about) how can I remain healthy and how can I keep the fire and the motivation for the tournaments that I will be playing,” Federer said. “What I don’t want to do is overplay and just get tired of traveling and tired of just playing tournaments and just entering and, I don’t know, just doing people a favor just to be there with no aspirations. That’s not why I’m playing.

“I want to play, if people see me, that they see the real me and a guy who is so excited that he’s there. So that’s a promise I made to myself that if I play tournaments that’s how my mindset has to be and will be.”

Nick Kyrgios doesn’t think he’s a bad guy, if you put it in perspective

But with the winning comes possibilities, such as Federer returning to the No. 1 ranking. Because Federer doesn’t anticipate playing a heavy schedule, so he knows there will be an even higher premium on wins and titles.

“Sure, I’d love to be world No. 1 again. But anything else other than world No. 1 for me is not interesting,” Federer said. “You would think I would need to win probably another Grand Slam for that to happen. Because I have one in the bag, I guess there is a possibility.”

 

 

Doppelganger 1: tennis player Jack Sock, Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age

3-15-17 Jack Sock

 

By Leighton Ginn

This blog is done as sort of a public service announcement for people attending the BNP Paribas Open. If you are out and about and think you see American tennis star Jack Sock, don’t assume it’s him.

He has a resemblance to Queens of the Stone Age lead guitarist and singer Josh Homme, who was also grew up in nearby Palm Desert.

I had covered Sock a little more closely the last few years, and only hit me at this year’s tournament his resemblance. So I was wondering if he ever got that.

“I don’t know who that is, and I hope that’s a compliment,” Sock joked.

Jack Sock continues his good vibes at BNP Paribas Open, this time in singles

So for the tennis fans who follow this blog, here’s a little background on Josh Homme:

He was originally in the band Kyuss before starting Queens of the Stone Age in 1997.

Their third album, 2002’s “Songs for the Deaf,” featured Foo Fighters front man and former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl. The album produced the hits “No One Knows” and “Go With The Flow.”

Their hit song “Little Sister,” from their fourth album, “Lullabies to Paralyze,” features a driving cow bell. It helped inspire a classic moment on Saturday Night Live in 2005 with Will Ferrell.

 

Six of their albums have been nominated for Grammys.

In 2009, Homme was part of the super band Them Crooked Vultures, that also featured John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin and Grohl. Their hit “New Fang” won a Grammy for best hard rock performance.

Homme also founded Eagles of Death Metal with high school friend Jesse Hughes. In 2015, Eagles of Death Metal were playing the Bataclan in Paris, France when terrorist came in and killed 89 people. Colin Hanks directed an HBO documentary “Eagles of Death Metal, Nos Amis (Our Friends)” that premiered in February.

The year Roger Federer is having, his preseason goals seem ridiculously low as a return to No. 1 seems possible

For more on Jack Sock, read my blog on his quarterfinal victory over Kei Nishikori at the BNP Paribas Open.

Jack Sock continues his good vibes at BNP Paribas Open, this time in singles

 

 

 

 

 

Nick Kyrgios doesn’t think he’s a bad guy, if you put it in perspective

3-15-17 Kyrgios

 

By Leighton Ginn

Tennis fans who know about Nick Kyrgios are not ambivalent about him: They either love him and the sublime talent he posses, or they get annoyed by his antics.

There were the comments to Stan Wawrinka about his girlfriend and another player, or the accusations of tanking matches. Commentator John McEnroe has harshly criticized Kyrgios for his lack of dedication to the sport, once suggesting he retire.

“I don’t think I’m a bad guy at all. Honestly, like, I have had a couple of mix-ups in the court, but that’s in the heat of the battle, but that’s when you’re competing or you’re angry,” Kyrgios said. “Off the court, I haven’t done anything against the law. I haven’t drink-drive, haven’t shot someone, I haven’t stolen. I’m not a bad person. In the scheme of things, you put it in perspective, I’m really not a bad person.”

If he’s not bad, he does have his moments.

But the talent is there.

Kyrgios recorded his second consecutive victory against No. 2 Novak Djokovic in two tournaments. He’s also picked up wins against Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Of the three, they have a combined 44 Grand Slam singles titles.

“I’m very impressed him taking out Novak, back-to-back weeks, on Novak’s best surface,” said Federer, who will face Kyrgios in the quarterfinals of the BNP Paribas Open on Friday. “I hope it’s going to lead to something great for Nick that he realizes if he puts his head down and focuses (so) that he can bring it day in and day out, week in and week out.

“That’s maybe going to take a bit more time … because when it matters the most against the best and in finals, he’s there. Eventually he will need that, but that’s a great quality to have already now.”

For fans who overlook the behavior, Kyrgios also has a go-for-broke style that will endear people. On Wednesday, Kyrgios remained aggressive with his second serves to keep Djokovic at bay.

“I have lost some matches from it. I have won some matches from it. I’m okay if I go for it,” Kyrgios said. “It’s a high percentage for me to go big under pressure. That’s my game style. If I miss, I miss, but I know I went down playing my game.”

 

Roger Federer cruises past Rafael Nadal in 68 minutes to advance to quarters

3-15-17 Roger

 

By Leighton Ginn

INDIAN WELLS — After having some difficult moments the day before against Steve Johnson, Roger Federer just anticipated he would have his hands full against long-time rival Rafael Nadal.

As it turned out, it was one of his most dominant.

Federer needed just 68 minutes to beat Nadal in a surprisingly easy 6-2, 6-3 victory Wednesday in the fourth round of the BNP Paribas Open.

The ease was surprising, considering the two played a five-set classic at the Australian Open. Federer needed to rally in the fifth set to pick up his record 18th Grand Slam singles title.

“It was all about coming out and trying to play the way I did in Australia,” Federer said. “I didn’t think it was going to be that possible, to be quite honest, because the court is more jumpy here or more rough, so it’s hard to put the ball away.

“I said yesterday it was more a sprint than a marathon. So getting in the lead was crucial, and then staying on the offense and pressing was the goal for me.”

Federer will advance to the quarterfinals where he will face rising young star Nick Kyrgios, who upset No.2 Novak Djokovic for the second consecutive tournament and snapped his 19-match winning streak at Indian Wells, which included three consecutive titles.

While the Australian Open will go down as a classic match in a legendary rivalry, Wednesday’s match wasn’t as intriguing as Federer won so convincingly.

But over the last 24 hours, Federer didn’t think he could have such a commanding performance against Nadal, particularly after his struggles in a 7-6, 7-6 victory over Steve Johnson the day before.

“I don’t think we had quite the rhythm that we had in Australia, but we knew that going in. And I think he, especially from the baseline, he didn’t control the ball as well as he did in Australia,” Federer said. ” I actually surprised myself by the control I had on the baseline because, against Steve Johnson, I really struggled to control the ball. So I thought it was going to be even more crazy against Rafa with his spin and his lefty hook and everything. It was going to be much tougher.

“In practice this morning I hardly made any returns. I didn’t know what was going on. I thought it was going to be rough.  But then I came into the match and I warmed up with Rafa. In those five minutes, I was like, ‘whew, I’m feeling pretty good and the spin is not bothering me so much.’ So I wondered why that is. And that stayed like this during the match, as well.”

 

 

Novak Djokovic’s 19-match winning streak at Indian Wells comes to an end

Processed with VSCO

 

By Leighton Ginn

Novak Djokovic’s record run at the BNP Paribas Open came to an end Wednesday as he fell to Nick Kyrgios 6-4, 7-6 (3). It was Djokovic’s first loss since 2013, ending a run of 19-straight wins.

“The run was amazing. I am very proud of it, obviously,” Djokovic said. “It had to end at some stage. Unfortunately, it was today. Nick, again, as he did in Acapulco earlier a few weeks ago, he served so well. Just wasn’t managing to get a lot of balls back on his serve, first and second, as well.”

Djokovic lost to Kyrgios 7-6, 7-5 in the quarterfinals at Acapulco. With the loss, Djokovic will remained tied with Roger Federer with most titles at the BNP Paribas Open with four. Like Djokovic, Federer won three BNP Paribas Open titles in a row, but lost his opening match in 2007 to snap his winning streak at 18 matches.

Kyrgios will face Federer in the quarterfinals on Friday.

The schedule for Djokovic was difficult as he survived a grueling three-set match over Juan Martin del Potro, which he won 7-5, 4-6, 6-1, and had less than 24 hours to play Kyrgios. Asked by it on Tuesday night, and again Wednesday after losing to Kyrgios, Djokovic again said he didn’t want to comment on the scheduling.

As for the match, Djokovic said it was all about the serve with Kyrgios. Djokovic didn’t make anything easy for himself by getting broken in the first game of the match, which Kyrgios protected to win the first set.

“He obviously comes out playing his style, very aggressive, and just going for every serve, whether its first or second. It’s obviously very hard to play like that,” Djokovic said. “in this kind of conditions, it’s quite suitable for the server. Puts a lot of pressure on your service games. You know, you need to deliver and you can’t fold, which I did in the opening game of the match. Obviously, the dynamic of the match already went his way in the first and second game.”

 

 

 

Novak Djokovic wins opener, will face man who handed him a disappointing loss in the 2016 Olympics

3-12-17 Novak Djokovic

By Leighton Ginn

In 2016, Novak Djokovic had reached a career pinnacle, becoming the first man to complete a Grand Slam since Rod Laver did it in 1969.

Yet a few months later, he might have suffered his most disappointing loss of 2016 during a slumping second half of the year.

In the first round of the Olympics, Djokovic suffered a stunning first-round loss to Juan Martin del Potro, 7-6, 7-6.

“I felt like at that stage of my life, my career, that’s when I was playing my best tennis. Winning Toronto before that, everything was fine, and then just unfortunate circumstances as result of that,” Djokovic said, saying he had suffered a wrist injury prior to the match. “Surely I wanted things to go differently. But at the end of the day, I try to be grateful for whatever comes my way, because I know it comes with a reason.

“So after that, obviously I was not up to standard of the results that I have had in previous years. You know, last couple of months of ’16 were tough for me emotionally. I was struggling on the court to really find that comfort, find the confidence, as well.”

Djokovic will get another shot at del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion sometime Tuesday in the third round of the BNP Paribas Open. In the second round, Djokovic defeated Kyle Edmund 6-4, 7-6 (5), while del Potro defeated fellow Argentinian Federic Delbonis 7-6 (5), 6-3.

Two weeks ago in Acapulco, Djokovic defeated del Potro 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.

“I have to give it all. That’s what it takes to beat this guy, who is – even though he is not ranked as high and he hasn’t played that many tournaments but definitely one of the best players in the world last year,” Djokovic said. “He’s tough player to beat. He’s big guy, big serve, big forehand. Definitely not the draw that you like early in the tournament and that you wish for, but it is what it is.”

At this point last year, Djokovic looked unbeatable. He had dominated like no other in his generation, which includes Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, who are the winningest and tied for second when it comes to Grand Slam titles.

When he won the French Open, Djokovic completed a career Grand Slam and a year-round Grand Slam, also known as the Nole Slam.

“Winning four Grand Slams in a row is definitely a life, career achievement. Probably the biggest achievement I ever had,” Djokovic said at the start of the tournament. “Winning the French Open for the first time and crowning that couple of years of consistent, high results was magnificent. I really gave it all and French Open was one of the top priorities the last couple years.”

But after the French, Djokovic’s play became uneven. While he did have the wrist injury, he also said there were issues in his personal life that derailed him.

“It took a lot of emotions and energy from me,” Djokovic said. “Took some time to reflect on things, and then I had to re-motivate myself, and getting back on track. Right now, it’s better than what it was, especially the second half of last season, particularly after the US Open. I had those moments where I wasn’t myself on the court. Now I’m in a better place. Now I hope and believe I’m going in the right direction.”

 

 

 

Rafael Nadal not quite his jovial self in return to the BNP Paribas Open

3-10-17 Rafa

By Leighton Ginn

The Rafael Nadal seen Friday night during his pre-BNP Paribas Open press conference was a little different from what we’ve seen from the Spanish superstar over the previous years.

Always charming and self-deprecating, the Nadal on Friday seemed a little surly. He was professional, and thoughtful in his answers as he always is. But there was a little salt to his responses that is common for other people, but can be jolting coming from Nadal.

It was Nadal’s first time back in the U.S. since his surprising run to the Australian Open final after years of various injuries. And he produced a classic battle against Roger Federer that people can’t stop talking about.

“We talked enough. I almost don’t forget about it,” Nadal said, which in the past he would deliver with a self-deprecating tone, but this night had an edgy tone.

It is the first time where media in America could ask Nadal about his Uncle Toni, the figure who has coached and directed his career. Uncle Toni announced he would no longer coaching Nadal following this year.

That announcement came with tremendous speculation.

“Well, I talked enough about that, too, no?” Nadal said tersely to start off his answer.

But Nadal did elaborate on his answers and gave his typically positive responses.

On the Australian Open run, Nadal added, “It was a great moment for the promotion of our sport. It was important because (there were) a lot of expectation about this match. For me, personally, to be part of it was great again. For sure I want to win, but overall I felt happy to be back on a big match like this.”

Nadal and Federer will go down as perhaps the greatest rivalry in this sport, and many feel the Australian Open will be a signature moment. Federer rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the fifth set for a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 victory, increasing the Swiss star’s record haul to 18 Grand Slam singles titles.

“(It) was a moment that we will remember. I think is something that gonna be part of the history of our sport,” Nadal said. “I enjoyed the match, and I think the fans, too. So was a great moment.”

As for his Uncle Toni, there seemed to be a bit of a tightrope. With Toni guiding him, Nadal went on to win 14 Grand Slam titles, tied for second most with Pete Sampras. At Roland Garros, Nadal would become the King of Clay as he won nine titles in 10 years.

It was Uncle Toni that started Nadal and shaped him as a player.

“First thing, I played tennis because of him,” Nadal said. “If not, (I) would never play tennis. Will play football. That’s what I was doing when I was a kid, too.

“I practiced with him, only with him, until 12 years old. A big part of my success is because of his help. And like a person, it’s always when you spend a lot of hours with one person and it’s part of your family have an impact in your personality or in your education.

“It’s obvious that Toni had a big impact in all of the things that happened to me in terms of education and in terms of tennis, too.”

Nadal returns to the BNP Paribas Open, where he has gone 48-9 and won the title three times (2007, ’09, ’13). And the conditions at Indian Wells suits Nadal, as the hard courts are typically slower than others across the tour.

However, Nadal did hit why he might not have seem like himself, admitting he has been battling illness.

“I was a little bit sick two days, so I couldn’t practice for two days,” Nadal said at the end of the press conference. ” I start to practicing yesterday for the first time. Today, I practiced again and today I have doubles.

“But is obvious that when you get sick you lose a little bit of the power for a couple of days. So I hope to recover myself good and feel myself ready to compete at the highest level possible. I know I am playing (against)  Guillermo Garcia or Guido Pella (in Sunday’s second round), and that’s all what I can say now.”