NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday the league made it “crystal clear” that a change in a controversial North Carolina law is necessary to stage the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte, though he resisted setting a deadline for a decision. Silver said he had spoken to North Carolina political and business leaders who told the league, if given time, there would be a change in the law that limits anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, and transgender people. “We’ve been, I think, crystal clear that we believe a change in the law is necessary for us to play in the kind of environment that we think is appropriate for a celebratory NBA event,” Silver said. The North Carolina law directed transgender people to use public toilets corresponding to the sex listed on their birth certificate. The law also excluded LGBT people from state anti-discrimination protections, blocked local governments from expanding LGBT protections, and barred all types of workplace discrimination lawsuits from state courts.
Wizards, Brooks agree to deal
Two people familiar with the situation said the Wizards have reached an agreement on a five-year, $35 million deal with former Thunder coach Scott Brooks to become the team’s new coach, according to the Associated Press. It set the foundation for the team’s attempt to make a run at Kevin Durant , who remains close to Brooks, in free agency this summer. Brooks went 338-207 in seven years with the Thunder and helped mold Durant and Russell Westbrook into superstars who led the Thunder to the NBA Finals in 2012 . . . The Hornets ruled out forward Nicolas Batum for Saturday night’s Game 3 of their first-round series against the Heat with a sprained left foot.
Team is OK after bus crash
A bus carrying Virginia’s defending national champion baseball team was involved in a crash early Thursday night in Miami after the driver had an undisclosed medical emergency and lost consciousness while behind the wheel. Virginia coach Brian O'Connor and members of his staff immediately began trying to tend to the driver when his medical issue occurred by administering CPR as the bus rolled through a busy intersection at rush hour and crashed into a roadside tree, said Miami Fire Rescue spokesperson Captain Ignatius Carroll. Coaches also helped steer the bus off the road. After fire rescue arrived to continue lifesaving efforts, the driver was taken to a Miami hospital in ‘‘extremely critical’’ condition, Carroll said . . . Texas junior guard Isaiah Taylor , California freshman forward Jaylen Brown , and Nebraska guard Andrew White all declared for the NBA Draft. Taylor and Brown both hired agents, but White did not, thus retaining his college eligibility . . . Northern Colorado fired men’s basketball coach B.J. Hill amid an NCAA investigation into allegations of violations in the program. Hill went 86-98 in six seasons at the school.
Illinois basketball player Leron Black , 20, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor aggravated assault charge after threatening a bouncer at a campus bar Feb. 19 and was sentenced to a year of probation.
Loyola University launched an investigation into charges made by former basketball player Cate Soane , who alleged women’s coach Sheryl Swoopes mistreated her players. Soane told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that Swoopes created a hostile environment where she routinely threatened to cut players from the roster or have their scholarships revoked. Ten of the 12 players expected to return from last year’s team were granted or have asked for releases to transfer. ‘‘It wasn’t about working hard and having fun anymore. It was about surviving,’’ Soane.
Manfred: Let new stars shine
Commissioner Rob Manfred said this generation of players will determine its own unwritten rules on what emotion is acceptable to show on the field. Hall of Famer Goose Gossage , a New York Yankees spring training instructor, criticized Toronto star Jose Bautista last month for his bat flip during last year’s playoffs, telling ESPN he was ‘‘a disgrace to the game.’’ Gossage, 64, also told ESPN that Washington’s Bryce Harper , the reigning NL MVP, ‘‘doesn’t know squat about the game ... no respect for it.’’ During a meeting with the AP Sports Editors in New York, Manfred said, “I think to the extent that you believe, and I actually do, that Bryce Harper is a spokesman for this generation, I suspect that you will see more exuberance from our players on the field. I think it’s a good thing. I think that to the extent that you’re trying to market to a younger audience, our younger players taking control of the definition of those unwritten rules is a lot better than some guy who’s 67 saying I did it that way and you do it the same way.’’