The Emirates FA Cup Reaches New Heights

first_imgEmirates and the English FA Cup elevated the excitement for the tournament with the unveiling of an Emirates FA Cup themed Airbus A380 aircraft recently. The bespoke design was presented ahead of the Emirates FA Cup semi-finals which will be held last Saturday and Sunday.For its maiden voyage, the specially decked out Emirates FA Cup A380 flew to London Heathrow yesterday, operating as EK001. The aircraft was met by former England and Liverpool goalkeeping legend, David James, who was pictured welcoming the aircraft with the trophy.President of Emirates Airline, Sir Tim Clark, said: “We are incredibly proud of our partnership with the FA Cup, the oldest association football competition in the world. Being the title sponsor for the Emirates FA Cup along with our sponsorship of Arsenal shows our deep commitment to the United Kingdom and football. The Emirates FA Cup A380 will literally bring the iconic cup to a fan base spanning the globe. It is exciting for us to connect both football and aviation fans with their passions in this unique way.” FA Marketing Director, Russell James, said: “Thanks to our partnership with Emirates, we’ve been able to inspire and connect with even more fans of teams both here in the UK and across the world. As we enter the finals period, we’re excited to have the Emirates FA Cup branded A380 aircraft flying across the world, helping us continue to bring the adventure of the tournament to new audiences.’’The Emirates FA Cup emblazoned aircraft will return to Dubai as EK030 and then continue on to Seoul, Madrid, Paris and eventually visit the 37 destinations served by the Emirates A380 worldwide.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

Out of the playoffs, Lakers veterans point to injuries as the season’s defining flaw

first_img How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions LOS ANGELES – It had been 20 days since Tyson Chandler last checked in for the Lakers, and in those eight games, the team’s playoff dreams had gone from iffy to down the tubes.The 36-year-old had dealt with various pains that he called “knick-knack” injuries — hip stiffness, neck stiffness, ailments that kept the 7-foot center from being himself. But for the Lakers’ 111-106 elimination at the hands of the Brooklyn Nets, he didn’t want to sit out.“Even if it was just for this game, f the team decides to go young, or whatever, I wanted to show guys that I’m here,” he said. “That regardless of the situation, I’m here, I’m gonna compete, I’m gonna suit up with you.”Friday night’s loss marked the bitter end of a dream for the Lakers this year, one that had escaped weeks before, but took some time to finally crystalize: The team will officially be out of the postseason for the sixth straight season, more playoff absences than the entirety of franchise history before 2013. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersIt was a tough pill for everyone in the Lakers’ locker room to swallow, but particularly for veterans whose contracts will run out this summer. While many of the summer signings have since been maligned as the roster has struggled to shoot and defend during the second half of the season, it was clear that the veteran group fought to hold off the Lakers from elimination Friday night the best they could, without players like Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram who started the year as critical pieces of the team.Related Articles Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs Luke Walton said he saw signs of that pride come out — the kind of pride that the Lakers sometimes lacked earlier in the season against less-heralded opponents.“My message pregame was pretty basic, simple: It was as the men and competitors that we are, we owe it to ourselves and to our teammates, our fans and the game of basketball to play as hard as we can and compete as hard as we can no matter what our record is,” he said. “So, nothing special. Just the truth of where we’re at as a group and I thought we did a nice job of giving that type of effort tonight.”Losing 10 of their last 11 games, the Lakers had been heading toward this territory, but the actual elimination prompted some reflection on what led them to this point after such high hopes at the start of the season. For the most part, they avoided talking about chemistry issues around the trade deadline that heightened nerves, but they spoke candidly about how injuries sapped the franchise’s ability to create that chemistry.LeBron James, who suffered the lengthiest in-season injury of his career, expressed empathy for Walton and his staff which he has sometimes withheld. The Lakers have had 22 different starting lineups through 72 games, no one lineup more than 18 times. That constant shuffle made it impossible to find consistency, James said.center_img Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers “Throughout the whole season we just had bodies and bodies and bodies and bodies be down,” he said. “And it’s just hard for us to have any type of rhythm, any type of camraderie, and type of chemistry on the floor when Luke has to play with the lineups over and over and over and try to figure out different scenarios on the court to be successful.”Some of the Lakers’ early season blueprint emerged against the Nets, particularly for JaVale McGee who scored a career-high 33 points. The 7-footer struck some nostalgia for the early part of the season when he thrived offensively for the Lakers, before he caught pneumonia and found difficulty regaining his early form.That’s what McGee lingered on — the “random” injuries, including season-enders for Ingram and Ball, two different month-long injuries for Rajon Rondo, the groin injury for James. He said it was as if some unseen force “put juju over us.”“What’s astonishing to me is the rash of injuries we saw this year,” McGee said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that in my life.”There were other issues of course: the lack of 3-point shooting (33 percent, 29th in the NBA); the doldrums around the trade deadline that saw the Lakers lose focus; the top-10 defense that fell far off after Ball got hurt (112.3 defensive rating since All-Star break, No. 24 in the NBA).Still, the veterans alleged, they would’ve been able to weather all the problems had they just stayed healthy, in that rhythm that they had in December.“You can point fingers at all the trade dialogue that was going,” Chandler said. “I honestly think, yeah, that’s a distraction. It’s always a distraction for every team at that time of the year. But for us, if we have a full cast, it’s not as big a distraction as it was. We got hit by the injury bug.”For rosters due for as much turnover as the Lakers are going to have this summer, veterans face the most uncertainty for the remainder of the season once the playoffs are finished. The Lakers could opt for younger players to eat more of the minutes, since there’s no guarantee any of the vets will be back. Even James, who is the one significant veteran with a contract that extends past this summer, could see more absences as the Lakers try to protect his health — a possibility James acknowledged Friday night.For Chandler, finishing his 18th NBA season, there’s a good chance his 3-point, 7-rebound night against the Nets could be one of his last. He said he won’t consider retirement until the summer — “I never want to be a player to cheat the game” — but he will be considering it.In the meantime, whether he’s wrapping up his career, or merely getting ready for one more season, he said he’ll find pride playing for his hometown — regardless of what he once hoped for the Lakers this year.“We’re professionals, not only that, we’re the Los Angeles Lakers,” he said. “So you go out and compete no matter what. There’s definitely kids and a whole bunch of people who are still tuning in and watching who expect you to go out and play so they can cheer for their team.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed last_img read more

Mookie Betts trade grades: Red Sox get poor mark; Dodgers win big; Twins get better now

first_imgA Mookie Betts trade was probably the best bet of Super Bowl weekend.Now that Betts is heading to Hollywood, there’s a safe bet that Betts is a great bet for the Dodgers. MORE: Terms of blockbuster deal between Red Sox, DodgersAnyway, let’s break down the reported three-team trade that sent the superstar outfielder to Los Angeles along with left-hander David Price:Red Sox: DLet’s make this real, real clear for the crowd out there that likes to play fantasy GM instead of baseball fan: Betts isn’t the type of player you trade — he’s the type of guy you build around. He’s someone 29 other MLB teams dream of developing. Parting with his presence in the lineup due to luxury tax concerns, then, is absolutely foolish. Making excuses and defending billionaire owners so these guys can save a few bucks in the long run, even more so. The Red Sox won the World Series in 2018 with Betts at the forefront of their success. He won the AL MVP that season, earned Sporting News’ Player of the Year honors and was worth more than 10 wins over replacement, per Baseball Reference. This past campaign, Betts was worth 6.8 bWAR and played Gold Glove defense in right field.Good players make money. Good players get paid. That’s the way pro sports works. Betts is going to (rightfully) command $300-plus million in free agency next offseason, and the fact the Red Sox were so scared of having to pay him for a year before free agency that they sent him to another championship contender is an embarrassment for the franchise.If you’re Boston, was keeping Betts around and making a 2020 run at a World Series crazy of an idea? What would be the harm? You’re one year removed from winning it all with largely the same group of players, but instead you trade away Betts and David Price, who was a serviceable pitcher for Boston since he arrived in 2016.It was a pure salary dump, and for a team like Boston, which is an attendance juggernaut, which is one of the most profitable organizations in baseball, which is one of the most valuable organization, that’s inexcusable.Well, for now, the Red Sox are gaining financial flexibility, which means they may be able to sign a player the caliber of Betts one day.In return, the Red Sox get Alex Verdugo who, to be fair, is no slouch and played to 3.1 bWAR last season. Verdugo was long considered one of the top prospects in the Dodgers system and can flat-out hit. He’s also a top-tier defender with a high ceiling. But with all due respect to Verdugo, the chances of him becoming Mookie Betts are slim. Very slim.The Red Sox also get Brusdar Graterol, the Twins’ No. 3 overall prospect and No. 53 in baseball, per MLB Pipeline. He made his debut in 2019, and could be a top-of-the-rotation type guy if he continues developing. So that’s cool. Dodgers: AYou know what? Screw the David Price salary number. The best players, the guys that help teams win World Series? Those guys get paid. The Dodgers, abiding by that logic, weren’t afraid to take on David Price’s contract (three years, $96 million left) in order to help acquire one of the five best players in baseball and his own $27 million salary figure. They saw an opportunity to pair Cody Bellinger and Mookie Betts in the outfield and lengthen their rotation a bit by acquiring a proven starter, and they smartly pulled the trigger.It hurts to give up Kenta Maeda and Alex Verdugo, sure. But, three things: 1.) Trades are supposed to hurt. 2.) There’s a decent chance that Price outperforms what Maeda could have done for the Dodgers over the next few years. 3.) Betts should be a massive short-term upgrade over Verdugo.The Dodgers have been to two of the last three World Series and lost in the NLDS to the eventual champs this year. Rather than rest on their laurels and wait around for their prospects to perform, they went out and got better. All it took was dealing from a position of strength to do so. Twins: A-The Twins have been desperate for pitching help, and they did well to land Kenta Maeda in the three-team deal. Maeda pitched to a 4.04 ERA last year in 37 games (26 starts), and he had been hoping to go somewhere he could start full-time. Minnesota doesn’t have to worry about re-signing Maeda anytime soon: he’s under contract through the 2023 season and only making $3 million per year, a boon for a low-budget team that has repeatedly been at the negotiating table with significant members of its rotation over the past couple of offseasons.It took Brusdar Graterol, though, to get Maeda. He was the Twins’ No. 3 overall prospect and the No. 53 overall prospect in baseball, per MLB Pipeline. Graterol heads to Boston in the trade and could certainly pan out there. It’s obviously tough giving up young, controllable pitching. It’s worth gold to teams now, and Graterol has a fairly high ceiling as a top-end guy.Still, it’s a solid move for the Twins, who need to jump on their title contention window right now. Maeda is a fairly sure thing and offers stability to a rotation that needs it.last_img read more