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New Orleans Pelicans Hire Stan Van Gundy As Head Coach

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Stan Van Gundy has agreed to a multiyear deal with the New Orleans Pelicans to become the franchise’s next head coach.

What We Know:

  • Van Gundy announced the news Wednesday on Twitter. “I’m excited to join a talented New Orleans Pelicans team. It will be an honor to work with our players and to work for Mrs. Benson and David Griffin, Trajan Langdon, their staff and the great people of New Orleans. I can’t wait to talk to our players and get the process started.”
  • New Orleans reportedly loved Van Gundy’s reputation as a teacher and a defensively focused coach for their young core. Van Gundy has coached for 11 seasons and his teams have finished top ten in defensive rating for eight of those seasons.
  • Van Gundy’s most recent coaching stop in Detroit may have left a slight stain on his reputation. His Pistons teams struggled to rise above mediocrity, but his coaching was not entirely to blame. The Detroit roster has never been exceptional and he juggled multiple roles in the organization as head coach and team president. He helped the Pistons reach the playoffs in 2016 after several years in the lottery.
  • Van Gundy has also coached for the Miami Heat and the Orlando Magic, where he had great success. He made multiple Conference Finals trips with both Florida teams and led Orlando to the 2009 NBA Finals where they lost to the LA Lakers. Van Gundy has a winning record in the regular season and in the playoffs.
  • The Pelicans struggled in the restart, but have an exciting roster for the future. The team features last year’s No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson and Most Improved Player Award winner Brandon Ingram, as well as Lonzo Ball and Jaxson Hayes. The team also has a veteran presence with All-Defensive guard Jrue Holiday and sharpshooter JJ Redick, the latter of whom played for Van Gundy with the Magic.

The Pelicans dismissed former head coach Alvin Gentry at the end of the 2019-2020 season. Stan Van Gundy has spent the last couple of seasons as a commentator for the NBA on TNT.

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Sagar is a Digital Intern at UnmutedCo. He graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor's degree in Trumpet Performance and Economics. Sagar writes for Black News Alerts and the BNA Daily Podcast. He also produces the BossFM Morning Show.

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Olympics: Simone Biles out of team gymnastics final ‘due to medical issue,’ officials say

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((BREAKING NEWS))

Biles withdrew due to a medical issue, according to a statement from USA Gymnastics.

“She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions,” officials said in the statement.

The four-time Olympic gold medalist competed in Team USA’s first rotation on vault Tuesday, bailing out of her Amanar and only completing a 1.5 twist on a 2.5-twisting Yurchenko, then taking a big stumble backward on the landing.

She scored a 13.766 and was seen walking off the floor with her bag and a trainer.

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Maria Taylor Signs with NBC after Parting Ways with ESPN

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ESPN announced Maria Taylor would begin work with NBC Sports by covering the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. The news comes after she and ESPN could not reach an agreement about her contract extension.

What We Know:

  • In light of her departure, ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro celebrated Taylor’s “ability and work ethic;” additionally, he mentioned he was proud of the work she did for the company. Pitaro stated the network remains determined to build a “deep and skilled talent roster” to reflect the athletes and topics they report and fans they serve.
  • In regards to leaving her former position, Taylor expressed gratitude for her time at ESPN; she thanked Pitaro and others for encouraging and motivating her, and declared she would “make them proud.”
  • Taylor began at ESPN by working for the SEC Network covering college sports and hosting College GameDay. Her skills and screen presence eventually landed her as the host of NBA Countdown. With NBC, she will work as a host and contributor at Football Night in America and the Super Bowl. Taylor will also co-host Prime Plus with Mike Trico.
  • When asked about her new position, Taylor said she was excited to start. She said she always dreamed of hosting events like the Olympics and the Super Bowl. Taylor added that the opportunity would be impossible without “standing on the shoulders of all those” who came before her.
  • Taylor’s future at ESPN entered limbo earlier this month after racist comments made by colleague Rachel Nichols. In released audio footage, Nichols is heard on a phone call complaining to Lebron James’ adviser Adam Mendelsohn about Taylor hosting the NBA Finals. She implied that the network only chose Taylor to improve diversity. After footage surfaced, Nichols quickly apologized but was pulled from sideline coverage.

Taylor covered Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals as her last assignment with ESPN.

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Olympic Opening Ceremony Director Fired for 1998 Holocaust Joke

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Organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto announced the news a day before the Olympics’ July 23 Opening Ceremony.

What We Know:

  • The organizing committee dismissed director Kentaro Kobayashi due to a joke about the Holocaust made during a 1998 comedy act. Throughout his performance, Kobayashi includes the use of the phrase “Let’s play Holocaust.”
  • Hashimoto stated that when the committee learned Kobayashi used a phrase mocking a historical tragedy, they were extremely disappointed. He also apologized for “causing such a development” just a day before the Olympics began; Hashimoto proceeded to express remorse for troubling the involved parties and people across Japan. After the news was released, footage of Kobayashi’s skit appeared on the internet.

  • Many expressed disdain at the sketch. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and global social action director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said nobody holds the right to mock victims of Nazi genocide. Cooper further mentioned how Nazis gassed disabled Germans, stating that any association of Kobayashi with the Tokyo Olympics would mock the Paralympics and insults the memory of 6 million Jews.
  • The 2021 Tokyo Olympics has been at the center of many scandals. These include banning Namibian female athletes for testosterone levels, removing Sha’Carri Richardson for marijuana, and more. According to Hashimoto, the postponed Games were supposed to send a positive message; however, the many incidents will give the Tokyo event a negative image.
  • In addition, Japan faces global criticism for proceeding with the Olympics against medical experts’ advice. Recently, Japan declared a state of emergency due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. However, ESPN reports the country partially feels pressure from the International Olympic Committee (IOC); if the Games were not held, the IOC would lose an estimated  $3 billion to $4 billion in television rights. Alongside this, government audits suggest this year’s Olympics cost more than $15.4 billion, with all but $6.7 billion being public money.

The Tokyo Olympics will continue until August 8.

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