Anthony Rizzo, Ben Simmons, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and more offer their support for March For Our Lives rallies

Jay Asser 25/03/2018
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Washington D.C. was one of many cities to hold a March For Our Lives rally.

While hundreds of thousands of Americans took to the streets to take a stand against gun violence in the ‘March For Our Lives’ rallies across the country, many in the sports world put their support behind the protesters.

The rallies on Saturday aimed to influence lawmakers to bring about stricter gun-control measures after several mass murders in the United States due to gun violence, including the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that left 17 dead on February 14.

Several athletes and members of the sports world got behind the movement by joining protesters on the street and by speaking up on social media.

Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo, a graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2007, posted a picture of him and his family at one of the rallies in Florida.

In the NBA, Philadelphia 76ers rookie Ben Simmons wore a March Four Lives T-shirt during warm-ups before the game against Minnesota.

“For me growing up in Australia, I think there was a gun ban way back in the day where they bought back the guns and there hasn’t been any major shootings and no one carries around guns,” Simmons said. “You want kids to feel safe going to school.”

Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade, meanwhile, posted a picture of himself wearing a March For Our Lives T-shirt on Instagram.

Wade visited Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School after the tragedy, with one of the Parkland victims buried in his jersey.

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Carmelo Anthony helped by sending over 4,500 kids from Baltimore to the march in Washington D.C., while New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft flew families of the Parkland victims and other students to the nation’s capital on the team plane.

Others who voiced their support included Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell and Los Angeles Lakers owner Jeanie Buss.

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Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry to miss at least three weeks with knee injury

Sport360 staff 25/03/2018
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Golden State All-Star guard Stephen Curry has a grade two sprain of the medial collateral ligament in his left knee and will be sidelined three weeks, the NBA champions said Saturday.

Curry sprained his knee on Friday night in his first contest back after a six-game absence with a sprained right ankle.

A return in three weeks could see him back in action around the start of the playoffs, when the Warriors will be chasing a fourth straight appearance in the NBA Finals.

“It is kind of a strange cruel twist of fate,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of Curry’s latest injury, which just adds to the woes for the beat-up Warriors.

Golden State were already without Kevin Durant, who suffered a rib-cartilage injury last week. Curry’s backcourt sidekick, Klay Thompson, is rehabilitating a fractured right thumb, and Draymond Green suffered a pelvic contusion in the Warriors’ loss Monday at San Antonio.

Curry had scored 29 points when he was hurt in the third quarter of the Warriors’ win over the Atlanta Hawks.

Teammate JaVale McGee had tried to block a shot and came down hard, appearing to take Curry’s leg out from under him.

Curry frowned as he hobbled to the bench with 3:09 left in the quarter. He sat and put his head down before going to the locker room.

“Getting close to post-season, you don’t want to see nothing like that,” teammate Nick Young said.

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MLB will encounter different obstacles to NFL and NBA when hosting games in London

Jay Asser 21/03/2018
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London Stadium is the home of West Ham

‘As American as baseball and apple pie’, the classic saying goes. And why wouldn’t it? Few things are as red, white and blue as catching a baseball game in the dog days of summer.

Will the national pastime still appeal though if it’s brought across the pond to London, where it has practically zero resonance?

It seems like Major League Baseball want to find out, with the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees reportedly close on an agreement that would see them play two games against each other at London Stadium in June 2019.

Of course, the question of whether or not MLB can draw interest in London has little to do with the sport’s roots in the United States, and everything to do with the game’s history as a whole – which is deep in regions like Asia and Latin America.

Europe? Not so much.

So it’s fair to wonder how much MLB will benefit from venturing into an untapped market, although it’s something they have to try.

With how well the NFL and NBA have done in reaching new fans by hosting annual games in London, MLB can’t afford to sit on their hands and watch as their competitors increase their popularity.

But MLB can expect to face different challenges than their peers did in going abroad, which could mean either a short-lived stay or a capped ceiling for growth.

Primarily, it’s going to be extremely difficult for London Stadium to replicate the experience of attending a game at any one of the 30 MLB ballparks.

The Red Sox, rumoured to feature in London in 2019, play their home games at iconic Fenway Park.

The Red Sox, rumoured to feature in London in 2019, play their home games at iconic Fenway Park.

So much of the appeal of going to a baseball game is based on the venue and the atmosphere it generates. While NBA arenas and NFL stadiums vary city to city, they don’t usually have the history or uniqueness that MLB ballparks do.

It seems unlikely that an ubiquitous venue such as London Stadium will be able to achieve anywhere close to that level of charm. It’s hard enough for football – just ask Premier League tenants West Ham.

Then there’s the whole cricket issue.

Whereas basketball and American football have no parallel sports – no, rugby is not ‘kind of’ like American football – baseball and cricket have similar cadences. Someone pitches or bowls a ball, a batter or batsman hits it and the fielders field it.

There are countless differences otherwise, but the fundamentals are undeniably similar. So it’s going to be hard to pull cricket fans to baseball, just as it has been the other way around.

That doesn’t mean MLB can’t find a footing in London, but let’s just say we won’t be hearing ‘as English as baseball’ anytime soon.

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