‘Like Godfather’: Spoelstra recalls moment when Riley made him Heat coach

FILE – Head coach Erik Spoelstra (L) and President Pat Riley (R) of the Miami Heat talk during a press conference after a welcome party for new teammates LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh at American Airlines Arena on July 9, 2010 in Miami, Florida. Doug Benc/Getty Images/AFP

MANILA, Philippines—Pat Riley always had a reputation as one of the greatest minds and personalities in the NBA that his persona, and looks, resembled a dapper boss from an HBO show.

So when he handed Miami Heat’s coaching reins to the somewhat inexperienced Erik Spoelstra in 2008, the current head coach of the franchise described it as being in a family meeting with the Corleones.

“It would probably be as you imagined, like a Godfather scene,” said Spoelstra in an interview with Inside the NBA’s Ernie Johnson. “He brought me in after the season, the lights were down and I sat on the other side of the desk of him and I barely made out his face but he could see me.”

“He brought me in on a Saturday, and it was after our season where we won 15 games (15-67) that year and he had joked about it as I sit across from him on the plane. We’d be drinking wine and I would work on video edits, and he’d always joke with me and told me ‘you’re gonna be coaching this team’ and that used to freak me out.”

“If he wanted to give me a glass of wine faster, it was to threaten me that he was going to me the head coach. That seemed really intimidating at the time.”

Although his father Jon was a former executive in the league, Spoelstra was never pegged to be one of the heads of an NBA franchise let alone replace

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WBC setting up judging from home via video for pro boxing

FILE – Mikey Garcia knocks down Jessie Vargas in the fifth round during their WBC Welterweight Diamond Championship bout at The Ford Center at The Star on February 29, 2020 in Frisco, Texas. Tom Pennington/Getty Images/AFP

LONDON — WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman expects professional boxing to return without spectators and with judges officiating by video from home.

Sulaiman said the World Boxing Council has produced a protocol for fights during the coronavirus pandemic that limit, for instance, a four-fight card to about 40-50 people at a venue. Those numbers include one handler for each fighter, boxing commission supervisors, media and TV production crews.

“The judges will be judging from home via access to the live video,” Sulaiman said by video conference this week.

“The video we would have without commentary of the television network so it’s a clean international feed. They are in secure communication. The judges score the round, it gets fed into the system administration, it gets to the supervisor and the local commission. There is a contingency plan for failure of connections. So we have Plan A, Plan B and Plan C.”

All people at the venue would be tested for COVID-19.

“We all are tired of watching TV, and old fights. I do really think that with responsibility, taking all the precautions with a very well-prepared protocol, we could have boxing events again without any risk,” he said.

Sulaiman believed it could be up to two years before pro boxing looks like as it was, and urged promoters “to be pioneers with ideas.”

He added the WBC will be flexible on dates for champions having to take mandatory challenges.

As an example, he said Nordine Oubaali was set to defend his bantamweight title against Nonito Donaire, a four-weight champ. A purse bid was accepted and only

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Kalidou Koulibaly to Liverpool for £90m and why fans must be more discerning than ever

Transfer rumours are not designed to be an exact science.

The everyday discourse of football has developed – or degenerated, dependent on your persuasion – into an industrialised jigsaw; different pieces being placed into different slots across the globe, for vastly different prices, by different actors.

This is not a pastime restricted to any one league or publication. Such gossip has become a lingua franca, connecting information-hungry supporters everywhere.

Figures mentioned, and sides linked, regularly stretch credulity. This all part of the game within a game.

Machiavellian clubs and agents feeding information to create a lucrative market for a player, or websites eager to extract profit from the punishing ‘clicks for cash’ nature of banner adverts, have added a flash of the outrageous to a colourful sub-genre of the sport.

This is the nature of a beast from which The Athletic showed Manchester United were linked to 113 players for January’s transfer window. They signed three.

There does, however, come a juncture point when it pays to become more discerning.

The ruinous impact of coronavirus on society, and subsequently professional football’s finances, has expedited this process.

Kalidou Koulibaly to Liverpool for £90 million is a glaring example. It is apposite to consider such a gargantuan fee as an anachronism, hailing back to the fevered bull market before a loathed pandemic struck.

This tale was reported by the august Gazzetta dello Sport on Sunday and, instantly, disseminated around the world.

Manchester United, Arsenal and Real Madrid are thrown in for good measure, plus a, proposed, trenchant desire from Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis there will be no negotiating down of the price.

The quality of Gazzetta’s journalism is beyond repute. This will be first-hand information sourced from the highest echelons at Stadio San Paolo and/or figures close to the Senegal centre-back.

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