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Cavaliers’ star LeBron James embraces the bald look

LeBron James, smarting after the Cleveland Cavaliers were beaten in the NBA Finals by the Golden State Warriors, has decided to take on a new look.

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King James, who has been compared to Hall of Famer Michael Jordan, took on MJ’s bald-headed look, showing off his shaved head on his Instagram account. James’ hairline has been receding for years, so he decided to take action, USA Today reported.

James is also back in the gym, hoping that his work ethic will pay off with the NBA title the Cavaliers were unable to defend this season.

Warriors deny reports that they unanimously declined White House visit

UPDATE June 13 at 3:30 p.m.: The Associated Press reported Tuesday that no decision has been made about the Golden State Warriors visit to the White House, according to a statement from the team.

"Today is all about celebrating our championship,” the statement said, according to CBS Sports. “We have not received an invitation to the White House, but will make those decisions when and if necessary.”

Original story:

It didn’t take the Golden State Warriors long to decide to skip the traditional championship White House visit.

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Less than 24 hours after winning the 2017 NBA Finals on Monday night, the Warriors unanimously voted to decline the White House ceremony honoring their Finals win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to several reports, including one by CNBC analyst Josh Brown.

The Warriors attended the White House ceremony to honor their 2015 NBA Finals title when former President Barack Obama was in the White House.

The news comes the day after Clemson visited the White House in honor of their National Championship win over Alabama in January.

The Warriors’ rejection of the White House’s invitation builds on the sentiment expressed by several New England Patriots who announced they would not attend the Trump White House ceremony in April. Notable Patriots, who missed the April ceremony were Tom Brady -- who said he would not attend for personal reasons -- Legarrette Blount, Martellus Bennett and Danny Amendola.

Thirty-four Patriots were present for the White House ceremony to honor their Super Bowl 51 win, which was a similar number of attendees to when the Patriots won in 2004 and 2005, according to Patriots spokesman Stacey James.

>> Related: Patriots respond to comparison photo showing team with Obama versus Trump

Photos: Golden State Warriors defeat Cleveland Cavaliers to win NBA title

Kevin Durant scored 39 points, Stephen Curry added 34 and the Golden State Warriors won their second NBA championship in three seasons with a 129-120 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the Finals on Monday night.

3-on-3 basketball added to 2020 Olympics

The International Olympic Committee added 3-on-3 men’s and women’s basketball to the 2020 Olympic Games, ESPN reported.

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There will be eight teams in each of the men's and women's tournaments of the half-court format, which was introduced at the 2010 Youth Olympics in Singapore.

"The dream of a path from the streets to the Olympic Games has become reality for all the basketball community," Patrick Baumann, the secretary general of basketball governing body FIBA, told ESPN.

An urban Tokyo venue for 3-on-3 basketball could be announced when the IOC executive board meets again in Lausanne on July 9-10, IOC sports director Kit McConnell told ESPN.

Other sports added to the 2020 lineup include BMX freestyle cycling, men’s and women’s madison track cycling, men’s 800-meter freestyle swimming and women’s 1,500 freestyle swimming. There also will be a 4x100-meter mixed medley relay in swimming. 

Events confirmed Friday are in addition to decisions last August to include sports climbing, skateboarding, surfing, baseball and softball, and karate in the Tokyo program.

Taco Bell offering free tacos Tuesday after Warriors win

The Golden State Warriors “stole” a road victory on Wednesday in Game 3 in the NBA Finals, and that means free tacos in America next Tuesday.

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Thanks to the Warriors’ 118-113 victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Taco Bell will give away free Doritos Locos Tacos on Tuesday, June 13 from 2 to 6 p.m., the fast-food chain announced on its website.

Taco Bell and the National Basketball Association partnered for a promotion called “Steal a Game, Steal a Taco.” The promotion rewards fans nationwide if any team “steals” a win on the road during the NBA Finals.

Golden State took a 3-0 series lead with its victory Wednesday night in Cleveland. Golden State won the NBA Finals against Cleveland 4-1 on Monday.

Woman posts positive signs outside LeBron James’ Ohio home

A Copley Township, Ohio, middle school teacher reacted with positivity days after Cleveland Cavaliers player LeBron James’ Los Angeles home was vandalized with racist graffiti.

ESPN reported that Jennifer Pennington placed numerous signs with positive words on them outside James’ home in Bath Township, Ohio.

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Words such as “hero,” “leader,” “humanitarian,” “role model,” “mentor” and “good Samaritan” were written on each big white placard.

Pennington told ESPN on Sunday that she placed the signs about 10 yards apart on the 32-year-old basketball players’ property in response to the N-word written on the gate to his Los Angeles home.

Related: LeBron James responds to hate crime at his LA home

“My heart broke when I saw the N-word posted on (his gate in Los Angeles) because that shouldn't be a word to describe anybody,” Pennington said.

Pennington told ESPN she posted about the idea on Facebook and decided to act on it once friends encouraged her. The English and language arts teacher at Akron Public Schools then traveled 15 minutes from her home to James’ neighborhood, where she spoke to a security guard on the property and told him what she was doing. She posted the signs on Thursday -- the same day James’ LA home was vandalized.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news

“I said, ‘Hey, we’d like to put some signs up, but only if it's OK with the family,” Pennington told ESPN. “He said, ‘We’re not going to do any of that (here in the driveway), but you can put them across the street.’ So I said, ‘OK, sure.’ And then he was really cute. He said, ‘Well, actually, I probably should look and see what these signs say before I give the OK.’ So he looked at them and said, ‘Nobody should have a problem with those.’”

James has not publicly responded to Pennington’s signs , but he responded the vandalism at a news conference before Game 1 of the NBA finals.

“No matter how much money you have, no matter how famous you are, no matter how many people admire you, being black in America is -- it's tough,” he said. “We've got a long way to go for us as a society and for us as African-Americans until we feel equal in America.”

Pennington, currently on maternity leave since giving birth to 3-1/2-month-old daughter Cecilia, told ESPN that James “is an inspiration to people,” and that she’d be happy if her daughter had the same qualities as the NBA star. She commended James for his work with Akron Public Schools

“I get to see firsthand the wonderful things that he’s doing for this community,”she said.

“Nobody in this world is perfect, but he is doing remarkable things. He is amazing,” Pennington said. “As someone who has the resources that he has, he holds his head up high. As a young kid, we watched him grow up, and the spotlight hit him and he handled himself with grace.”

Kevin Durant downplays apparent ‘stare down’ with Rihanna 

Kevin Durant scored 38 points to lead Golden State to a 113-91 rout against Cleveland in Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday, but the postgame buzz was about his apparent stare down of musician Rihanna, ESPN reported. 

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Late in the fourth quarter, Durant drained a 3-point shot from the right wing, then appeared to stare down Rihanna, who was sitting in a courtside seat. 

In the postgame media interview room, Durant was asked about that stare, but said he did not remember it.

Warriors guard Stephen Curry, who added 28 points and was sitting next to Durant in the interview room, turned to his teammate and said, “Don’t get into that trap, man.”

Durant then laughed and said, “Yeah, I won’t get into that. I’m cool. Have fun with that.”

Turkey issues arrest warrant for NBA star Enes Kanter

The Turkish government issued an arrest warrant for Oklahoma City Thunder center Enes Kanter, accusing him of being a member of a terror group, according to The Daily Sabah, a pro-government Turkish newspaper.

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Kanter was detained at a Romanian airport over the weekend because his passport was canceled by Turkey. Kanter documented the experience on Twitter. 

Kanter has been a longtime critic of controversial Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and is a vocal supporter of Muslim spiritual leader Fethullah Gulen, a man Erdogan blamed for a coup attempt last year.

After the news of the warrant broke Friday, Kanter tweeted, "Stand For What You Believe!"

Gulen, a Muslim spiritual leader, has spent the last 15 years in exile in Pennsylvania. Gulen has denied claims of involvement with the coup, ESPN reported.

The warrant, ESPN reported, refers to “Kanter's alleged use of an encrypted messaging application called Bylock, Sabah said, which Turkey claims was especially created for Gulen supporters."

n Turkey, Kanter's Twitter account is blocked. In the Daily Sabah last summer, Kanter's father, Mehmet, announced the family was disowning him. Kanter said he hasn't spoken with his family in almost two years.

Kanter was detained last week in Romania after the Turkish government revoked his passport. In a video about it, Kanter said Erdogan is the "Hitler of this century."

Using his green card, Kanter returned to the United States via London on Monday. He told reporters he plans on becoming a U.S. citizen.

"Right now I am country-less," Kanter said in Manhattan. "I am open to adoption definitely. I am going to try to become an American citizen."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

 

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.

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