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Key events in OJ Simpson's fall from sports hero, movie star

O.J. Simpson's story represents one of the most dramatic falls from grace in the history of American pop culture.

A beloved football hero in the 1960s and '70s, he transitioned effortlessly to movie star, sports commentator and TV pitchman in the years that followed.

He kept that role until the 1994 killings of his ex-wife and her friend. A jury acquitted him, but many still believe he carried out the grisly slayings.

Here's a timeline of major events in the life of Simpson, now 70, who has been imprisoned in Nevada for armed robbery and faces a parole hearing Thursday:

— 1967: Simpson leads all college running backs in rushing in his first season at the University of Southern California.

— 1968: Simpson wins the Heisman Trophy, college football's top honor.

— 1969: The first pick in the pro draft, Simpson goes to the Buffalo Bills and spends the next nine seasons with the team.

— 1973: He becomes the first NFL player to rush for 2,000 or more yards (2,003) in a season.

— 1979: Simpson retires, having rushed for 11,236 yards, second most in NFL history at the time.

— 1985: Simpson is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

— 1988: Simpson, who had been appearing in TV shows and commercials since the late 1960s, co-stars in the first of the "Naked Gun" crime comedies, perhaps his most popular role.

— February 1992: Nicole Brown Simpson files for divorce after seven years of marriage. It becomes final Oct. 15.

— June 12, 1994: Nicole Simpson and a friend, Ronald Goldman, are stabbed to death outside her Los Angeles home.

— June 17, 1994: Ordered by prosecutors to surrender, Simpson instead flees with a friend in a white Ford Bronco. It's a nationally televised slow-speed chase across California freeways until police persuade him to surrender.

— June 1995: During Simpson's trial, a prosecutor asks him to put on a pair of gloves believed worn by the killer. The gloves appear too small, leading defense attorney Johnnie Cochran to famously state in his closing argument: "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit."

— Oct. 3, 1995: Simpson is acquitted of murder.

— February 1997: After a trial in a civil suit filed by the victims' families, a jury finds Simpson liable for the deaths and orders he pay survivors $33.5 million.

— July 2007: A federal bankruptcy judge awards the rights to a book by Simpson, in which he discusses how he could have committed the killings, to Goldman's family as partial payment of the judgment. The family renames the book "If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer."

— September 2007: Simpson, accompanied by five men, confronts two sports-memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas hotel room, angrily telling them that most of the memorabilia they are planning to sell is rightfully his.

— Oct. 3, 2008: A jury finds Simpson and co-defendant Clarence "C.J." Stewart guilty of kidnapping, armed robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, burglary and conspiracy charges. The other accomplices had taken plea deals and received probation.

— December 2008: Simpson is sentenced to nine to 33 years and sent to Lovelock Correctional Center in northern Nevada.

— October 2010: The Nevada Supreme Court denies Simpson's appeal but grants Stewart a new trial. Stewart takes a plea deal and is released.

— July 25, 2013: Simpson asks the Nevada Parole Board for leniency, saying he has tried to be a model prisoner. He wins parole on some convictions but is left with at least four more years to serve.

— June 2017: The parole board sets a July 20 hearing date.

From sports star to inmate: OJ Simpson to plead for parole

O.J. Simpson once thrilled crowds as he ran for touchdowns and hurdled airport seats in car rental ads to achieve Hollywood celebrity before he was acquitted of murder in the 1995 "trial of the century" in Los Angeles.

Now, an aging Simpson will appear as inmate No. 1027820 in a starkly plain hearing room in a remote Nevada prison Thursday to plead for his freedom. He's spent more than eight years behind bars for armed robbery and assault with a weapon after trying to take back sports memorabilia in a budget hotel room in Las Vegas.

Simpson, 70, will ask four parole board members who sided with him once before to release him in October, a likely possibility with his clean prison record.

It will be a stunning scene for a charismatic star once known as "The Juice" who won the Heisman Trophy as the best U.S. college football player in 1968 and was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.

He appeared to have it all.

He went on to star in Hertz commercials and movies like the "Naked Gun" comedies and serve as a commentator for "Monday Night Football" before his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman were slain in 1994.

Simpson is expected to reiterate that he has kept a promise to stay out of trouble, coaches in the prison gym where he works and counsels other inmates.

"I guess, my age, guys come to me," Simpson told parole officials four years ago.

The same commissioners granted him parole on some of his 12 charges in 2013, leaving him with four years to serve before reaching his minimum term.

At Simpson's side in his bid for freedom will be lawyer Malcolm LaVergne, close friend Tom Scotto, sister Shirley Baker and daughter Arnelle Simpson.

O.J. Simpson is expected to explain what he would do and where he would live if he is granted parole after reaching the nine-year minimum of his 33-year sentence.

He was convicted in 2008 after enlisting some men he barely knew, including two with guns, to retrieve from two sports collectibles sellers some items that Simpson said were stolen from him a decade earlier.

"My crime was trying to retrieve for my family my own property," Simpson told the parole officials in 2013 before apologizing.

"Make no mistake, I would give it all back," he said, "to get these last five years back."

The items disappeared after Simpson was found not guilty in the 1994 killings of his ex-wife and her friend and before he was found liable in 1997 in civil court for the deaths.

He was ordered to pay $33.5 million to survivors including his children and the Goldman family.

A Goldman family spokesman said Ron Goldman's father and sister, Fred and Kim, won't be part of Simpson's parole hearing but that they felt apprehensive about "how this will change their lives again should Simpson be released."

"They will remain patient and optimistic that the system will do what is necessary to ensure the public's safety remains a priority and that proper justice will be served," spokesman Michael Wright said this week.

The Goldmans believe Simpson got away with murder in Los Angeles, and many people felt the stiff sentence handed down in 2008 in Las Vegas wasn't just about the robbery.

Now, even the retired district attorney who prosecuted Simpson for the heist acknowledges that Simpson has a good chance to go free. But David Roger denied Simpson's sentence was "payback" for his acquittal in the Los Angeles slayings.

The former prosecutor said Simpson took a gamble when he rejected an offer to avoid trial by pleading guilty to a felony that could have gotten him 2½ years in prison.

"He thought he was invincible, and he rolled the dice," Roger said.

___

This story has been corrected to show that Nicole Brown Simpson was O.J. Simpson's ex-wife at the time of her death.

With 'Words,' Sara Evans Finds the Album of Her Lifetime

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Sam Hunt Says He's 'Having a Blast' on 15 in a 30 Tour and This Video Proves It

Sam Hunt is touring the country on his 15 in a 30 Tour, and he's having just as much fun on stage as the fans in the audience.

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Rey finally gets place in Star Wars Monopoly sets sold in US

Hasbro is now offering a "Star Wars" Monopoly set for sale in the U.S. that includes the female character Rey after an uproar that started 18 months ago with an online plea by an 8-year-old girl to include her.

The company began selling the set on its website a few days after The Associated Press reported Rey fans were still waiting to buy Monopoly sets that included the main character of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," after Hasbro promised in January 2016 to sell one.

The Pawtucket-based game maker had been selling a version of the game that had only male characters, prompting 8-year-old Annie Rose Goldman, of Evanston, Illinois, to write a letter in January 2016 telling the company "girls matter." The letter went viral, and Hasbro promised to make what it called "a running change" to include Rey in sets it said would be available later in the year.

Hasbro told the AP last week that while it made such sets, there was "insufficient interest" among American retailers, so they were never sold in the U.S. It said some retailers sold the sets overseas. Customers who bought the set and wanted a Rey token would have to call the company and have one shipped.

The story revived the #WheresRey hashtag on social media and prompted a tweet from "The Force Awakens" director J.J. Abrams' production company, Bad Robot: "For those 'sufficiently interested' contact Hasbro customer service to get your Rey Monopoly token!"

A spokeswoman for Hasbro did not answer when asked how many people called to request a token.

The listing on Hasbro's website says the game will be available on July 25. Earlier this week, the site placed a limit of one set per household, but that line was removed after the AP asked about it.

The company says it has many other products that include Rey, and it plans to reveal more this week at San Diego Comic-Con.

#LetTheGirlsPlay: Chloe Gilligan Working to Escape an Island

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Jason Isbell Is Now an Honorary Texan

He might hail from Alabama, but Americana star Jason Isbell has been designated as an honorary Texan.

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Steel Guitar Legend Kayton Roberts Dead at 83

Legendary steel guitarist Kayton Roberts has died.

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Helicopter carrying WWE exec makes emergency ocean landing

The son of World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Vince McMahon was rescued Wednesday from a helicopter that made an emergency landing in the ocean near a New York beach.

Shane McMahon, also a WWE executive, was the passenger in the Robinson R 44 helicopter that set down in lightly rolling waves near Long Island's Gilgo Beach late Wednesday morning.

Neither he nor the pilot, Mario Regtien, was hurt.

The red aircraft could be seen bobbing on bright yellow pontoons, deployed by the pilot as the helicopter descended, as small boats circled about a half-mile south of the beach.

Speaking to reporters afterward, McMahon said he heard a "bang" and Regtien told him they would be doing an emergency landing in the water.

"It was very unnerving," McMahon said. But, he added, "Mario was super calm, which made me super calm, and we landed perfectly."

He later expressed his thanks to the pilot and emergency responders and tweeted: "I'd like to thank the man upstairs for looking out this morning."

Two lifeguards told Newsday they were the first to reach the helicopter. They said they had the men get into kayaks and row toward shore, and were met by law enforcement rescuers along the way who took the men to shore.

One of them, Zak Viverito, said, "Everyone worked really well together."

Shane McMahon's mother is Linda McMahon, who heads the Small Business Administration in President Donald Trump's administration.

The Federal Aviation Administration said the helicopter had taken off from Westchester County Airport in White Plains, made a stop at a heliport in Manhattan, then was flying east along the Long Island coast when the incident occurred.

The pilot issued a mayday call before going into the water, and a commercial flight heading to Kennedy International Airport heard it and relayed it to FAA controllers at a radar facility.

It was not yet clear what went wrong.

Blake Shelton and the Oak Ridge Boys Get Animated for 'Doing It to Country Songs' Music Video

Blake Shelton and the Oak Ridge Boys have released the music video for their collaboration, "Doing It to Country Songs."

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