The Sports Report: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says LeBron James has nothing to prove

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James side by side.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James.
(Richard Shotwell / Invision/AP; Luis M. Alvarez / AP)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

From Dan Woike: At the unveiling of a Koreatown mural commissioned by the Lakers, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said LeBron James should be the only one in control of his future after hinting at retirement following the Lakers’ elimination from the playoffs.

“At the end of the year, after all that, LeBron and most of the guys looked like they’d been through two seasons, you know? But they still gave it an awesome effort,” Abdul-Jabbar said Monday. “I think it’s up to him. Certainly doesn’t have to prove anything. And it’s just what he wants to do at this point.”

James and Abdul-Jabbar are featured in the mural along with fellow Lakers greats Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and Anthony Davis.


James passed Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer on Feb. 8. The two never have had much of a relationship, though Abdul-Jabbar expressed tremendous respect Monday.

“I’ve never had a chance to talk to LeBron other than two or three minutes,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “There’s no animosity or resentment there at all. He’s done remarkable things. He deserves all the accolades, whatever it is, that he’s accomplished. … We might get the chance [to speak]. I certainly wouldn’t be against it. As far as where his heart is and the things that he does, I’ve got nothing but admiration for him.”

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From Andrew Greif: The Clippers are promoting Trent Redden to general manager while keeping the core of their front office together by promoting Mark Hughes to senior vice president/assistant general manager.

By selecting Redden as the team’s second-highest-ranking basketball executive, president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank chose someone he has worked with since 2017 when Frank hired Redden as the Clippers’ assistant general manager while building a brand-new front office.


Redden has overseen much of the team’s scouting operations while also overseeing its G League affiliate in Ontario. He fills the general manager position left vacant last week when Michael Winger was hired as Washington’s president of Monumental Basketball.

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Results, schedule
All times Pacific
NBA Finals

No. 1 Denver vs. No. 8 Miami
Game 1: at Denver 104, Miami 93
Game 2: Miami 111, at Denver 108
Wednesday at Miami, 5:30 p.m., ABC
Friday at Miami, 5:30 p.m., ABC
Monday at Denver, 5:30 p.m., ABC
*Thurs., June 15 at Miami, 5:30 p.m., ABC
*Sun., June 18 at Denver, 5 p.m., ABC

*-if necessary


From Thuc Nhi Nguyen: On Saturday morning, after playing a road game the night before, Chiney Ogwumike woke up in her bed at home. It was bliss.

Until the Sparks forward considered that the opportunity to travel immediately after a game via charter flight like the one she hopped on Friday night in Phoenix was a fleeting perk.

“It makes a whole difference,” Ogwumike said. “The charter was nice. But it was like almost — do you want that at all? [To] touch the goodness? But it’s necessary.”


The Sparks were the first beneficiaries of the WNBA’s new charter flight policy, getting a private flight after an overtime win in Phoenix on Friday night, then sweeping the difficult back-to-back set with a 92-85 win over the Seattle Storm at Arena on Saturday. But as the league expands its charter flights slowly — adding all postseason games, the Commissioner’s Cup championship and the second game of regular-season back-to-back games this season — the Sparks won’t be on another charter flight for months. They enjoyed it while it lasted.

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From Chuck Schilken: The Kings announced Monday that they will not renew the contract of TV play-by-play announcer Alex Faust, as the hockey team combines its TV and radio broadcasts “due to current and ever-changing dynamics surrounding the broadcasting landscape.”

Faust confirmed he would not return as the Kings try to find a new broadcast partner after the team’s deal with Bally Sports expired. He was hired to replace legendary announcer Bob Miller in 2017 after Miller retired following a 44-year Hall of Fame broadcasting career with the Kings.

“As many of you are no doubt aware, the regional sports TV business is in serious distress, and Los Angeles is one of the many markets affected,” Faust wrote on Twitter. “The team is currently without a TV rightsholder partner for next season, and I was told my role was a casualty of the current climate.”

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Greg Cronin spent 36 years coaching at nearly every level of hockey before he finally got his first chance to be an NHL head coach.

He believes the struggling but talented Ducks will be worth that extraordinary wait.

General manager Pat Verbeek hired the 60-year-old Cronin on Monday to lead the Ducks’ rebuilding effort out of the worst five-year stretch in franchise history. Cronin is a former NHL assistant and a former head coach in the American Hockey League and at Northeastern, earning widespread praise for teaching strong principles and leading young players.


Jonathan Marchessault scored twice and started an early blitz that chased the NHL’s hottest postseason goalie, and Adin Hill continued his stellar play as the Vegas Golden Knights seized control of the Stanley Cup Final with a 7-2 victory over the Florida Panthers to take a 2-0 series lead Monday night.

Hill made 29 saves and Marchessault had an assist to finish with three points. His 12 postseason goals set a Golden Knights record, with all coming after the first round.

Brett Howden scored twice for the Knights, who also got goals from Alec Martinez, Nicolas Roy and Michael Amadio. Six players had at least two points for Vegas, all 18 Knights skaters were on the ice for even-strength goals and their nine goal scorers through the first two games are a Stanley Cup Final record. The Knights’ seven goals tied a franchise mark for a playoff game.

Results, schedule
All times Pacific
Stanley Cup Final


Vegas (P1) vs. Florida (WC2)
Game 1: at Vegas 5, Florida 2
Game 2: at Vegas 7, Florida 2
Thursday at Florida, 5 p.m., TNT
Saturday at Florida, 5 p.m., TNT
*Tues., June 13 at Vegas, 5 p.m., TNT
*Fri., June 16 at Florida, 5 p.m., TNT
*Mon., June 19 at Vegas, 5 p.m., TNT

*-if necessary


From Mike DiGiovanna: A shaky Sunday night game in which the Dodgers’ top three relievers gave up all four runs did not totally obscure the recent good deeds of their beleaguered bullpen, but it was hard to see that progress through the fog of a 4-1 loss to the New York Yankees.

“If you would have asked me a few days ago,” manager Dave Roberts said in response to a question about the overall performance of his bullpen, “I would have said fantastic.”

The numbers tell a different story. The Dodgers, who open a six-game trip to Cincinnati and Philadelphia with Tuesday night’s game against the Reds, entered Monday with a 4.64 bullpen earned-run average, which ranks 26th in the major leagues, a dramatic drop-off from the second-best 2.87 bullpen ERA of 2022.

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From Chuck Schilken: Albert Pujols retired from Major League Baseball as a player last year.

But the 43-year-old hasn’t really gone anywhere.

And his MLB profile is about to get much higher.

Already a special assistant to the Angels under his 10-year personal services contract with the team, Pujols has been named a special assistant to Commissioner Rob Manfred and also will serve as an on-air analyst for MLB Network, the league announced Monday.


MLB specifically mentioned “player relations and issues regarding his home country, the Dominican Republic” among the topics Pujols will be addressing in his role as a consultant to Manfred.

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From Steve Henson: Of 89 underdog golfers making last-ditch attempts to qualify for the 123rd U.S. Open on Monday, one elicited the most oohs and aahs as well as discreet eye-rolling.

Jaden Soong, however, had little chance of advancing to the first U.S. Open held in Los Angeles, with emphasis on little.

Soong is a 5-foot-1, 13-year-old seventh grader who Tuesday will return to classes at Thomas Starr King Middle School in Los Feliz. He rarely mishit a ball, maintaining his poise before tiring near the end of the 36-hole grind beneath overcast skies and an occasional drizzle at Hillcrest Country Club.

Soong finished seven over par after bogeys on four of five holes on his last nine, 19 shots behind leader Omar Morales of Mexico.


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Ava Cook scored a pair of first-half goals and the Chicago Red Stars defeated Angel City 2-1 ion Monday night.

Cook scored on a header in the 16th minute and then added another goal in the 27th for Chicago, which had lost seven straight road games dating back to last season. It was Cook’s first career brace. Sydney Leroux, who made her season debut after an ankle injury that required surgery, scored in the 88th minute off a cross from Alyssa Thompson to pull Angel City within a goal.


From John Cherwa: It’s not often that the best of the Triple Crown races is the last one but that’s how it is this year with 155th running of the Belmont Stakes on Saturday. It has arguably the best 3-year-old in Forte, the winner of the Preakness Stakes in National Treasure and eight other horses who should be fresh enough to handle the always tricky 1½-mile course.

This year’s Kentucky Derby was clouded in a series of horse deaths and late scratches that watered down the field to 18 horses in the 20-gate field. Forte was scratched the morning of the Derby because of a bruise on his hoof. The two best horses from California, Practical Move and Skinner, were scratched before race day when both developed a temperature. Saffie Joseph Jr. had to scratch his horse, Lord Miles, after the trainer was suspended after two of his horses had sudden death incidents in the week before the Derby.

The Preakness field was lacking appeal with only one horse that ran in the Kentucky Derby, the winner Mage. The field was scratched down to seven, including two horses who were automatic qualifiers despite less than impressive past performances.


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1919 — Man o’ War wins his first race, a 5-furlong contest over a straightaway at Belmont Park. The 3-to-5 favorite wins by six lengths, covering the distance in 59 seconds.

1924 — Cyril Walker captures the U.S. Open with a three-stroke victory over Bobby Jones.

1936 — Granville, ridden by James Stout, wins the Belmont Stakes by a neck over Mr. Bones. Bold Venture, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, does not run in the race.

1946 — The NBA is founded at the Commodore Hotel in New York.

1966 — NFL and AFL announce their merger.

1969 — Joe Namath resigns from NFL after Pete Rozelle, football commissioner, said he must sell his stake in a bar.

1976 — 30th NBA Championship: Boston Celtics beat Phoenix Suns, 4 games to 2.

1981 — Summing, ridden by George Martins, wins the Belmont Stakes, spoiling Pleasant Colony’s Triple Crown bid.

1987 — Bet Twice, ridden by Craig Perret, breezes to a 14-length victory in the Belmont Stakes to deny Alysheba the Triple Crown. Alysheba is a distant fourth.


1987 — West Germany’s Steffi Graf, eight days shy of her 18th birthday, becomes the youngest women’s champion of the French Open when she beats Martina Navratilova 6-4, 4-6, 8-6.

1992 — NY Mets first baseman Eddie Murray records his 1,510th run batted in during 15-1 thrashing of Pittsburgh Pirates to pass Mickey Mantle as all-time RBI leader among switch-hitters.

1998 — Real Quiet is denied the Triple Crown when Victory Gallop edges him at the wire in the Belmont Stakes.

1999 — Andre Agassi rallies to win the French Open and become the fifth man to complete a career Grand Slam. After losing the first two sets, Agassi surges back to beat Andrei Medvedev 1-6, 2-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4. Agassi won the 1992 Wimbledon, 1994 U.S. Open and 1995 Australian Open.

1999 — Juli Inkster wins the U.S. Women’s Open with a 16-under 272, the lowest 72-hole score in the championship’s 54-year history.

2007 — The Ducks capture the Stanley Cup with a 6-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators, ending the series in five games.


2007 — Trevor Hoffman becomes the first major leaguer with 500 career saves when he closes out the San Diego Padres’ 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

2010 — Rafael Nadal wins his fifth French Open title and avenges his lone Roland Garros defeat, beating Robin Soderling 6-4, 6-2, 6-4. Nadal improves to 38-1 at Roland Garros, with the only loss to Soderling in the fourth round a year ago.

2011 — The Bowl Championship Series strips USC of its 2004 title, leaving that season without a BCS champion. BCS officials vacated the championship after the Trojans were hit with heavy NCAA sanctions last year for rules violations committed during the 2004 and ’05 seasons.

2015 — American Pharoah leads all the way to win the Belmont Stakes by 5½ lengths, becoming the first horse in 37 years to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes. The bay colt, trained by Bob Baffert and ridden by Victor Espinoza, is the 12th horse and first since Affirmed in 1978 to win the Triple Crown.

2015 — Serena Williams overcomes a mid-match lull and a third-set deficit to win her third French Open title and 20th major singles trophy by beating Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-2.

2015 — Tiger Woods hits a new low with the highest score of his career — an 85 in the Memorial at Muirfield Village, the course where he has won eight times. Woods ends his front nine of the third round with back-to-back double bogeys and finishes with a quadruple-bogey 8.


2018 — LeBron James passes Michael Jordan’s record of 109 for the most 30-point games in NBA playoff history in a 110-102 loss to the Golden State Warriors.

—Compiled by the Associated Press

And finally...

The Ducks win the Stanley Cup. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

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