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NBA star Enes Kanter detained at airport, says Turkish government canceled passport

An Oklahoma City Thunder basketball star was briefly detained by Romanian airport authorities after the Turkish government reportedly canceled his passport.

Thunder center Enes Kanter posted a video on Twitter Saturday morning saying he was being held by police at an airport in Romania.

Kanter said the Turkish government canceled his passport, claiming that officials made the move because of his political views.

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Kanter went on to call Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the "Hitler of our century," referencing a recent visit to the U.S. during which Turkish presidential guards were caught on video violently breaking up a protest in Washington, D.C.

The guards were held briefly and then released after the incident in the nation’s capital, prompting outcry from many across the country.

Kanter concluded the video by promising updates and asking for prayers.

According to the NBA, the 25-year-old has been with the Thunder since 2014. Before that, he played for the Utah Jazz.

Kanter was the only Thunder player to appear in all 82 regular season games in the 2015-2016 season.

In March, Kanter and teammate Steven Adams caught the attention of web users after they appeared in a video calling Russell Westbrook "King of the Prairie."

A New York Times sports reporter tweeted Saturday afternoon that Kanter had been released by authorities and was on his way to London. 

Shaq for sheriff? Ex-NBA star eyes run for office in 2020

NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal said he’s aiming to run for sheriff – he didn’t say where – in 2020.

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The 45-year-old told WXIA it’s not about politics but “bringing people closer together.” Here’s more from the station’s website:

Shaq says he’s perfect for the job, because he can relate to everyone. “I can put on a suit and have a conversation with Bill Gates. I can go in the hood and talk to the homies, and talk to the children.”

O’Neal has kept busy since retiring from the NBA in 2011 with appearances in films, TV shows and viral videos and as an analyst on TNT’s “Inside the NBA.”

He’s also carved out a lengthy record in law enforcement. In January 2015, he was sworn in as a reserve officer in the Doral Police Department in Florida. He’s also served as a reserve officer in Miami Beach, Tempe, Arizona, and the Port of Los Angeles. In December 2016 he became a sworn deputy in Clayton County, making him the “tallest” in the metro Atlanta county’s history.

So was he just putzing around? The remarks came during filming of a TV commercial for a home alarm company, and O’Neal is known for his tongue-and-cheek comments.

Jennifer Brett, the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s resident Shaq expert, notes that he told her in 2013 that he wanted to be sheriff one day (he also wanted to go skydiving and meet Queen Elizabeth.) But he also has said the Earth is flat. Her headline for that piece was “Come on, Shaq has to be pulling our leg”).

He didn’t tell 11Alive where he might run — though Henry County, where he has a home, is a possibility — but there could soon be an opening in DeKalb.

If he does jump in a race, he has a platform that could make him tough to beat: He owns a Krispy Kreme on Ponce de Leon and he sticks by a strict diet regimen.

He always eats dessert first.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich rumored to have left hefty tip at restaurant

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich left a hefty tip while in Memphis, Tennessee, last week, according to a post on the social aggregation site Reddit

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The Express News reported about the post, which originally showed an image of a receipt that indicated Popovich left a $5,000 tip on a bill for $815.73, at McEwens, a restaurant that serves American food. 

According to the report, the handwriting on the receipt matches Popovich's. The bill was from Friday, April 21.

“Coach Popovich has been in our restaurant in the past multiple times,” McEwen's owner Bert Smithe told mySA.com

Smithe would not say if Popovich dined at the restaurant at the time on the receipt.

“We don't discuss anything that goes on when VIPs are in the building,” he said.

Sports Illustrated reported that the image posted to Reddit has since been deleted, but the Express News took a screen shot of the image.

Both publications reported that Popovich has been rumored to have left a hefty tip before.

LeBron James helps Cavs erase record playoff halftime deficit

INDIANAPOLIS — LeBron James’ triple-double helped Cleveland erase the largest halftime deficit in NBA playoff history Thursday night as the Cavaliers defeated the Indiana Pacers 119-114 to take a 3-0 series lead in their first-round series.

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James scored 41 points and added 13 rebounds, 12 assists and two blocks as the Cavaliers overcame a 25-point halftime margin in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series. It was James’ 17th triple-double of his playoff career.

According to ESPN Stats & Information research, James scored or assisted on 73 points, a career playoff high.

“I didn't know it was the biggest comeback or things of that nature,” James said. “For myself, I just try to put myself in position to help my teammates win no matter who's on the floor with me. Try to empower them, try to make them better, try to make them believe we can be great every night.”

NBA star Isaiah Thomas' sister killed in car crash

The sister of Boston Celtics star Isaiah Thomas was killed in a car crash on Interstate 5 in Washington state Saturday. 

Chyna Thomas, 22, died at the scene of the crash, which happened around 5 a.m. in Federal Way, south of Seattle, reports the Tacoma News Tribune.

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The Washington State Patrol said witnesses reported the car weaved off the roadway and hit a barrier, launching it into a sign post. Chyna Thomas wasn't wearing a seat belt, authorities said.

Isaiah Thomas, a point guard for the Celtics, is originally from Washington state and played for the University of Washington.

The Celtics will face the Chicago Bulls on Sunday in the NBA playoffs in Boston.

The Celtics released the following statement: 

"We are terribly saddened by the tragic loss of Chyna Thomas. The thoughts and prayers of the entire Celtics organization are with Isaiah and his family."

Russell Westbrook ties 55-year-old NBA triple-double record  

Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook tied an NBA record Friday night, becoming the first player in 55 years and the second overall to average a triple-double for an entire season. 

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With his sixth assist against Phoenix, Westbrook clinched the triple-double average and joined Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson, who averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists per game in the 1961-62 season. Westbrook is averaging 31.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per game and leads the NBA in scoring.

Westbrook got his sixth assist on an outlet pass to Victor Oladipo, who hit a layup and was fouled on the play. 

Westbrook left the game with 2:33 to play and finished with 23 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists, two assists shy of what would have been his record-breaking 42nd triple-double of the season. The Suns beat Westbrook and the Thunder, 120-99. 

“I could never say in a million years that I would ever think that was even possible,” Westbrook told ESPN. “For me to do it, it's extremely a blessing. It's something that I'm honored to be able to do, especially in this game today, at the highest level. It's a blessing. I'm just very thankful and happy to be able to do it.”

Westbrook accomplished his averages playing nearly 10 fewer minutes and around 25 fewer possessions per game than Robertson, ESPN reported.

Westbrook is tied for fourth on the NBA’s all-time list of triple-doubles, tied with Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain. He has had seven 40-point triple-doubles and two 50-point triple-doubles, ESPN reported. 

Westbrook has three more chances for his 42nd triple-double. Oklahoma City plays at Denver on Sunday, at Minnesota on Tuesday, then wraps up its regular season at home against the Nuggets on Wednesday.

NCAA Championship: UNC, fans celebrate win over Gonzaga on social media

After a heartbreaking loss to Villanova in last year's NCAA Championship, North Carolina came back with a vengeance Monday night, defeating Gonzaga 71-65 to win its sixth national title.

>> PHOTOS: UNC defeats Gonzaga to win 6th NCAA Championship

>> South Carolina women win first NCAA basketball title

Here's what the Tar Heels and their fans were saying on social media:

>> Click here or scroll down to see the posts

Photos: UNC defeats Gonzaga to win 6th NCAA Championship

Justin Jackson delivered the go-ahead 3-point play with 1:40 left Monday and North Carolina pulled away for a 71-65 win over Gonzaga that washed away a year's worth of heartache.

South Carolina women win first NCAA basketball title

For the first time in four years, women’s college basketball has a new top team, and it wears garnet and black. The South Carolina women’s basketball team is the new national champion, winning a national title for the first time in program history.

The Gamecocks beat Mississippi State 67-55 in Dallas on Sunday afternoon, completing the run through the postseason all the way to the crown in Dawn Staley’s ninth season.

>> Visit SECCountry.com for more NCAA Tournament coverage

South Carolina made the run without senior center Alaina Coates, who missed the NCAA Tournament with an ankle injury. But what the Gamecocks had was more than enough — and all of it is expected back next season.

Junior forward A’ja Wilson led the Gamecocks with 23 points, while Allisha Gray — the star against Stanford on Friday in the Final Four — again came up huge for South Carolina with 18 points.

When the moment mattered most, it was the pair of Wilson and Gray that proved to be the difference as the duo hit back-to-back hoops after the Bulldogs cut the lead to 4 in the fourth quarter.

In the third meeting between the two teams this season, South Carolina jumped out to a lead late in the first quarter with a 6-0 run. The Gamecocks would never trail again, but the evening wasn’t without its tense moments.

>> Men's basketball: Gonzaga brings South Carolina's fairytale run to an end in Final Four

Mississippi State had a huge third-quarter push left in the tank, started by three straight points from star Victoria Vivians. The Bulldogs rattled off a 9-0 run to cut South Carolina’s lead from 14 down to 5 late in the third quarter, but USC had the answer it needed to live through the run.

Wilson made a short jumper and Kaela Davis capped the third quarter with a buzzer-beating jumper to extend the lead back to 8, but the Bulldogs had another run left.

MSU scored four straight to cut the lead down to 4 with 6:52 to play. Wilson had the necessary answer again, swatting away an MSU shot and getting a good bounce on a short jumper to send South Carolina to a 6-point advantage. Then it was Gray with a jumper to lift the Gamecocks back to safety and off with the national title.

Gonzaga brings South Carolina's fairytale run to an end in Final Four

South Carolina basketball made it all the way to the third weekend of the NCAA Tournament, but it could not make it to the final step.

And it came close after it looked like all was lost. The Gamecocks made a frantic second-half comeback, as they have so many times in the postseason. But it was not enough, as the No. 1-seeded Zags had too much in the end. The Gamecocks’ historic run halted Saturday afternoon in Arizona with a 77-73 heartbreaker at the hands of fellow first-time Final Four participant Gonzaga.

>> Visit SECCountry.com for more NCAA Tournament coverage

South Carolina rattled off a 16-0 run in the second half to take a 67-65 lead with 7:05 to play, but a Zach Collins 3-pointer and back-to-back Przemek Karnowski hoops flipped the game back for the Zags after the Gamecocks has seized control after missing it for the first 33 minutes of the game.

South Carolina kept it close down to the final seconds, but could not get a crucial hoop in the final 1:45 of the game when it was down one possession throughout. Gonzaga fouled Sindarius Thornwell with 3.5 seconds left. The senior made the first but missed the second and Gonzaga grabbed the rebound up two with 2.2 seconds left.

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Gonzaga’s Killian Tillie made a pair of free throws, ending the Gamecocks’ season.

Gonzaga came out of the locker room cruising in the first half, hitting 57.6 percent from the field and 55.6 percent from 3-point range. The Gamecocks tied the game twice in the first half — 26-26 and 31-31 — but both times the Zags swung the game right back in their favor with 3-pointers from Jordan Matthews.

Read more here.

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