LOS ANGELES -- Tommy Hawkins, the first black athlete to earn All-American honors in basketball at Notre Dame and who played for the Los Angeles Lakers during a 10-year NBA career, has died. He was 80.
Hawkins died Wednesday in Malibu, according to the Los Angeles Dodgers, for whom he once worked as director of communications.
He graduated from Notre Dame in 1959. Hawkins was inducted into the school's Ring of Honor, and his 1,318 career rebounds remains the oldest record on the books in Fighting Irish basketball history.
Hawkins was selected by the Minneapolis Lakers in the first round of the 1959 NBA draft. He played for the Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals, and he notched 6,672 career points and 4,607 rebounds.
During Sunday's BIG3 four-point challenge against LaVar Ball, it seems Ice Cube put his best into it.
The rapper and co-founder of the three-on-three basketball league -- which features a spot on the court for a 4-pointer -- bested the father of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball during Sunday's showcase at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Ice Cube netted two shots, while Ball -- who had a couple of air balls -- scored one.
Ice Cube had challenged Ball in May to the contest, saying he would buy 10 of Ball's Big Baller Brand sneakers should he lose. Ball accepted the challenge on Friday.
Ball, not one to shy away from attention, had caused a stir after saying a pair of shoes from his fledgling apparel line would cost $495. He has also made an appearance on WWE's "Monday Night Raw" and has boasted he would have beaten Michael Jordan back in the day.
Lonzo Ball tells NBA 2K they'll 'lose a customer' if they don't change graphic of John Collins dunking over Brandon Ingram
Add Lonzo Ball to the list of players chiming in, but this time he's trying to stick up for a teammate who doesn't look so hot in the video game.
Hawks teammate Malcolm Delaney chimed in and made a bold prediction about that 2K dunk translating onto the actual court.
Ball, not happy to see his Lakers teammate looking soft in the video game, responded to Collins' boasting by tweeting that 2K will "lose a customer" if they don't change that picture of Ingram within 24 hours.
Collins has an important stake in the matter and was quick to respond to Ball and NBA 2K.
There's no word yet on whether NBA 2K will "lose a customer," but to keep the people happy, Collins shared a reverse picture of Ingram dunking on him.
For now, it looks like a crisis has been avoided. The NBA 2K battles live on.
Kyrie Irving revealed his new Kyrie 3 "Bruce Lee" shoes, which were inspired by Kobe Bryant's Kobe V "Bruce Lee" shoes, in an Instagram video on Friday. Irving explained that the Kobe Vs are his "favorite shoe ever," which is why he chose to collaborate with Kobe.
The Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star considers the Lakers legend a close friend and mentor and calls it an "honor" and a "blessing" to share his new shoes with the world.
After offseason additions and improvements, a few NBA teams have the potential to take big leaps in 2017-18.
Can Jimmy Butler help the Minnesota Timberwolves return to the playoffs after a 13-season drought? Will "The Process" finally yield tangible results for the Philadelphia 76ers? What about the impact of the Los Angeles Lakers' young stars, such as Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram?
ESPN's Forecast panel of experts ranked its top three choices for 2017-18's Team Turnaround, with a first-place vote receiving five points, a second-place vote receiving three and a third-place vote receiving one.
Now it's time for you to weigh in on which franchise is poised to make the biggest jump in the upcoming season.
The 2017-18 NBA season is slated to start on Oct. 17.
-- Alex Tekip
The Golden State Warriors will face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the centerpiece Christmas Day game for the third consecutive season, the NBA revealed Thursday, along with the rest of its high-profile Dec. 25 schedule.
As the defending NBA champions, the Warriors get the reward of being home at Oracle Arena on Christmas and will host the game at 3 p.m. ET, tipping off a tripleheader on ABC.
The Cavs beat the Warriors on Christmas last year when Kyrie Irving made a shot with Klay Thompson draped on him with 3.4 seconds left in the game. Kevin Durant scored 36 points and LeBron James had 31 in what was one of the best games of the regular season.
The NBA also announced the season's featured first week of games. The Warriors and Cavs will both play on opening night, Oct. 17. The Cavs will host the Boston Celtics in a rematch of the Eastern Conference finals in the first game at 8 p.m. ET on TNT, followed by the ring ceremony at Oracle Arena as the Warriors host the Houston Rockets at 10:30 p.m. ET.
In all, there are five games on Christmas, including some new faces.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday agreed to a partially guaranteed contract with forward V.J. Beachem. The Lakers on Wednesday also signed center Stephen Zimmerman to a deal that offers some salary protection for the 2017-18 NBA season.
Zimmerman, who the Orlando Magic selected with the No. 41 pick in the 2016 NBA draft, averaged 1.2 points and 1.8 rebounds in 19 appearances during his rookie season. The Magic released Zimmerman on July 4.
Beachem, out of Notre Dame, was not selected in the 2017 NBA draft. He played in the July Las Vegas Summer League with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and in four games, he averaged 1.3 points and one rebound.
Once the Lakers officially sign Beachem and Briante Weber, who has also agreed to a partially guaranteed one-year contract, they will have 19 players under contract. The max roster limit during the offseason is 20 players.
As it stands right now, Zimmerman, Beachem, Weber and Vander Blue will compete for the 15th roster spot during training camp and the preseason. Guard Alex Caruso is also included as one of the 19, however, he signed a two-way contract, which means he will spend most of the upcoming season playing for the Lakers' G League team, the South Bay Lakers.
-- Nick Silva
Our summer forecast tips off with a look at what promises to be an entertaining season from NBA rookies. Lonzo Ball brings a wave of excitement to the Los Angeles Lakers, and the Philadelphia 76ers feature the past two No. 1 draft picks -- Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons -- who are both eligible for Rookie of the Year since Simmons missed all of last season because of a foot injury.
We asked the ESPN Forecast panel to rank its top three choices for the 2017-18 NBA Rookie of the Year, with a first-place vote receiving five points, a second-place vote receiving three and a third-place vote receiving one.
Here are the results:
Rookie of the Year forecast
Comments: Though his electric play in summer league certainly played a role in shaping our expectations as he averaged 16.3 points, 9.3 assists and 7.7 rebounds, perhaps the biggest reason Ball enters as a Rookie of the Year favorite is simply opportunity. Luke Walton will let Ball play through his mistakes and he will have the ball in his hands a ton.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Lakers have signed guard Vander Blue, the G League MVP last season.
Blue averaged 15.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game for the Lakers' Las Vegas Summer League team, which won the title recently.
The 6-foot-5 guard played last season for the South Bay Lakers of the G League, averaging 24.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.6 steals per game. He became the team's career leader in points, field goals made and free throws made during four seasons with South Bay.
Blue was undrafted in 2013 after three seasons at Marquette.
The team announced the signing Friday.
Every year a handful of rookies overperform relative to their draft position. Whether it was Rookies of the Year Malcolm Brogdon in 2016-17 or Michael Carter-Williams in 2013-14, a variety of different factors come into play when evaluating first-year performance and how it relates to draft status and long-term production.
After factoring in opportunity and talent, here are the six rookies from the 2017 class in the best position to outplay their draft pick: