December 09, 2023
Shohei Ohtani signing with Los Angeles Dodgers
( KTLA ) — The wait is over and baseball’s most impactful star has a new team — Shohei Ohtani is a Los Angeles Dodger. According to the reigning American League MVP himself, Ohtani has played his last game as a member of the Los Angeles Angels and plans to sign with the crosstown rivals for what is said to be a record-shattering deal. Ohtani broke the news himself on Instagram . “To all the fans and everyone involved in the baseball world, I apologize for taking so long to come to a decision. I have decided to choose the Dodgers as my next team,” the slugger said in his post. ESPN reporter Jeff Passan announced that the deal is for 10 years worth a total of $700 million. It’s the largest guaranteed contract in sports history, Passan said. It also includes certain deferrals that will allow the Dodgers to build a more competitive team around him, he said. The decision comes after weeks of speculation, covert meetings and around-the-clock media coverage in what is arguably the biggest free agent decision in American sports since NBA star LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers and signed with the Miami Heat. Like James, Ohtani has been better than advertised since making his debut in the world’s top league, making three All-Star Game appearances, four All-MLB honors, being named the AL Rookie of the Year and a two-time AL MVP, including in the most recent season. A two-way star, Ohtani led the league in home runs this past season while also notching 10 wins against a 3.14 ERA as a starting pitcher. Since joining the team in 2018, the Angels won more than two-thirds of his starts in which he earned a decision. But the Japanese phenom’s dominance on the mound was cut short this past season after he suffered a torn UCL in his throwing shoulder, leading to a surgery that will likely keep him from pitching through at least next season. Still, despite half of his game-breaking skillset being put on hold, Major League Baseball’s most valuable and successful teams were in on the Shohei lottery, including the Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees and, of course, the Dodgers. There were also whispers that the slugger might have interest in returning to Anaheim and giving it another go with fellow future Hall-of-Famer Mike Trout. But those hopes, just like the promise of postseason success, never materialized for the Angels. In six seasons with Ohtani on the roster, the Angels not only failed to make the playoffs, but they never achieved a winning record. In his free agency announcement post, Ohtani thanked the Angels organization and their fans for being the team that introduced him to the Bigs and welcomed him with open arms. “I would like to express my sincere gratitude to everyone involved with the Angels organization and the fans who have supported me over the past six years, as well as to everyone involved with each team that was part of this negotiation process,” he wrote. “Especially to the Angels fans who supported me through all the ups and downs, your guys’ support and cheer meant the world to me. The six years I spent with the Angels will remain etched in my heart forever.” The announcement on Saturday comes following reports the previous day that he intended on signing with the Toronto Blue Jays. Following that report, which turned out to be inaccurate, baseball fans began tracking a private plane that took off from Orange County and was apparently headed to Toronto, assuming Ohtani was among the passengers. That plane touched down around 3 p.m. Pacific Time, but Ohtani, apparently, wasn’t on board. Who was? Canadian businessman Robert Herjavec of “Shark Tank” fame, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. With Ohtani’s decision now in the rearview, significant movement on the MLB free agent market is expected to begin with many teams biding their time in anticipation of that proverbial shoe to drop before making their own deals. The Dodgers will now be able to field three former league MVPs in Ohtani, Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman. After another inauspicious dismissal from the most recent National League playoffs, the Dodgers were determined to add more offensive firepower to the lineup, and Ohtani’s eventual return to the mound will also be a welcome boost for a team that struggled to find reliable pitching in the starting lineup. As for the Angels, they’ve said they are committed to building a contender around Trout, despite some clamoring from fans to tear the team down to the studs and start over. Losing Ohtani for nothing instead of trading him at his highest value has left many fans concerned that the same future could play out again in the coming years, this time with their beloved homegrown star Trout.
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Star Wars Director Says It's About Time A Woman Makes A Star Wars Movie
Jan 02, 2024
Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeed Obaid-Chinoy is directing an upcoming Star Wars movie that brings back Daisy Ridley in the role of Rey. Obaid-Chinoy will become the first woman to direct a Star Wars film, dating back to the franchise's origins in the 1970s. Speaking about this, Obaid-Chinoy told CNN that she is "very thrilled" to make the movie and create something that is "very special.""We're in 2024 now, and I think it's about time we had a woman come forward to shape the story in a galaxy far, far away," she said.Obaid-Chinoy won Best Documentary, Short Subjects Academy Awards for Saving Face (2012) and A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015).In 2020, Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy told the BBC that a woman would eventually direct a Star Wars movie, saying that would "absolutely" happen, "without question." Victoria Mahoney was a second unit director on The Rise of Skywalker, but a woman has never claimed a top directing credit on a Star Wars movie.On the TV side of things, The Mandalorian has featured a number of female directors, including Deborah Chow and Bryce Dallas Howard. Chow went on to direct the Obi-Wan TV series, too.Another high-profile franchise that has never had a female director is James Bond. Producer Barbara Broccoli and Skyfall director Sam Mendes have both said they want to see a woman direct a future 007 film.As for Obaid-Chinoy's Star Wars movie, little is known about it apart from the fact that Ridley will come back to play Rey. It is expected that this film will be the first of the three new Star Wars films to come to theaters, possibly releasing in December 2025.According to a report, Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight is writing the Rey movie, taking over for Damon Lindelof and Justin Britt-Gibson.
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NBA Names Clare Akamanzi CEO Of NBA Africa
Jan 02, 2024 15:29
The NBA named Clare Akamanzi – an accomplished business executive and international trade and investment lawyer – as CEO of NBA Africa. Akamanzi will start her position on Jan. 23, 2024, and report to NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum. In this role, Akamanzi will oversee the NBA’s business and basketball development efforts in Africa and will be responsible for continuing to grow the popularity of basketball, the NBA and the Basketball Africa League (BAL) across the continent, including through grassroots basketball development, media distribution, corporate partnerships, and social responsibility initiatives that improve the livelihoods of African youth and families. For the last six and a half years, Akamanzi was CEO of Rwanda Development Board (RDB), where she spearheaded Rwanda’s economic development by enabling private sector growth. Under Akamanzi’s leadership, RDB implemented several business policy reforms and initiatives that led to significant investment and development for the country, including through partnerships with the BAL, Arsenal FC, Paris Saint-Germain FC, FC Bayern Munich and TIME Magazine, among others. “Clare’s business acumen, international experience and familiarity with basketball and the NBA make her the ideal executive to lead our business in Africa,” says Tatum. “NBA Africa and the Basketball Africa League are well-positioned for continued growth, and under Clare’s leadership we believe these initiatives will transform economies, communities and lives across the continent.” “I’ve seen firsthand how sports can positively impact businesses, families and communities in Africa, and the NBA and the BAL are a perfect example of that,” says Akamanzi. “The NBA has done an incredible job growing basketball and the economy around it across the continent, and I’m excited about the enormous opportunities ahead to build on that momentum.” Previously, Akamanzi was Chief Operating Officer of RDB and Head of Strategy and Policy Unit, Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda. She has extensive international trade, business and diplomatic experience, having previously worked for the Rwandan Government at the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland and at the Rwandan Embassy in London, England. Akamanzi has worked or studied in seven different countries and holds an honorary LLD from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, in recognition of her work in Rwanda. She earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was the recipient of three prestigious awards for academic excellence and distinguished contribution to the community: the Lucius N. Littauer Fellows Award, the Raymond & Josephine Vernon Award and the Robert Kennedy Public Service Award. In addition, Akamanzi holds a Master of Laws degree in international trade and investments from the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a Bachelor of Laws degree from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Akamanzi has served on several company boards, including the World Health Organization (WHO) Foundation, ECOBANK and Aviation, Travel and Logistics (ATL) company. She was recognized by Forbes as one of Africa’s Top 50 Powerful Women in 2020.
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