Jimmy Garoppolo learned a thing or two from Tom Brady, even as a backup. “The preparation as a whole was tremendous just to see it, to be in the same room as it, to learn from it,” Garoppolo told The Ringer in a recent interview. “To be a rookie and see that, it was invaluable. I can barely put it into words.” Although Brady and Garoppolo reportedly had an intense, competitive relationship that resulted in them “wanting to kill each other” at times, the San Francisco quarterback had high praise for the experience. “What you learn is playing the game within the game, that’s a big part of Tom,” Garoppolo said. “I don’t even know if he told me that [directly], but he would always talk about the game within the game. He would talk about the snap count, and he’d say ‘you’re going to go on two on this play’ and he’d have a specific reason. That’s not the coaches telling you, that’s the player playing the game within the game. It’s the little things, the little details and how he ties them all together — that’s what separates you.”Garoppolo is returning to full health since tearing his ACL in September.
Barkley swindler gets 5 years
A lawyer convicted of swindling NBA star Charles Barkley and using the name of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to bolster an investment scam was sentenced to five years in prison Tuesday. Donald Watkins, 70, also was ordered to pay about $14 million in restitution. Prosecutors had sought a prison sentence of 17½ years for Watkins and 6½ years for his son, Donald Watkins Jr. Both were convicted on fraud and conspiracy charges this year. The two men stole more than $15 million from investors and a bank, prosecutors said. Barkley lost more than $6 million in investments and loans, prosecutors said, and so did other professional athletes, including former NFL players Takeo Spikes and Bryan Thomas, and former NBA star Damon Stoudamire.
Stoudamire’s wife, Natasha Taylor-Stoudamire, spoke at the sentencing and said she couldn’t comprehend what Watkins had done.
Sparks guard Williams banned
Los Angeles Sparks guard Riquna Williams was suspended without pay by the WNBA for 10 games — nearly a third of the season — for a domestic violence incident. Williams was arrested April 29 and charged with two felony counts, one involving the assault of an individual with whom she was in a relationship and the other involving a threat to another person with a firearm. Her criminal case is ongoing.
The suspension, which surpassed the seven games given to Brittney Griner and Glory Johnson in 2015 for their domestic violence arrests, will begin with Thursday’s game against the Dallas Wings.
It’s not the longest in league history: The WNBA dismissed Rhonda Mapp, who also played for Los Angeles, in 2003 for violating its drug policy. Mapp never returned after being suspended by the league for two years.
Bucks sign Giannis’s brother
The Bucks signed free agent forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo, the older brother of Bucks forward and NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Thanasis joins Milwaukee on a guaranteed two-year, minimum contract, according to Giannis’s agent, Alex Saratsis . . . The 76ers and All-Star guard Ben Simmons agreed to a $170 million, five-year contract extension. The new deal came with bad news for Australian basketball fans: The Melbourne-born NBA All-Star won’t play for the Boomers at the World Cup. Simmons said he preferred to spend time with his teammates in September instead of traveling to China for the Aug. 31-Sept. 15 World Cup. Simmons had indicated he planned to play in China.
HR Derby outslugs Star Game
The All-Star Game is fading as a midsummer television attraction, but the adjunct Home Run Derby is becoming popular in its own right. The Nielsen company said a little more than 8 million people watched Tuesday’s All-Star Game on Fox, enough to be the second-most popular thing on television after ‘‘America’s Got Talent’’ last week. The derby aired Monday on ESPN and reached 5.4 million viewers . . . The Chicago Cubs acquired catcher Martin Maldonado in a trade with Kansas City late Monday night that sent lefthander Mike Montgomery to the Royals. Cubs All-Star catcher Willson Contreras is going on the 10-day injured list with a strain to the arch area of his right foot.
Capitals sign Vrana, eye bigger prizes
The Washington Capitals took care of their biggest remaining offseason priority by re-signing winger Jakub Vrana to a $6.7 million, two-year contract. Vrana had been a restricted free agent and will count $3.35 million against the salary cap in each of the next two seasons. Locking him in at that price on a bridge deal could allow Washington to re-sign center Nicklas Backstrom and goaltender Braden Holtby before either core player becomes a free agent next summer . . . The Chicago Blackhawks traded Artem Anisimov to Ottawa in exchange for Zack Smith, a swap of 31-year-old forwards.