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LeBron James, Heat repeat at ESPYS

Just like he did with the Miami Heat, LeBron James went back-to-back at the ESPYS.

Almost one month after leading the Heat to their second consecutive championship, James again won the ESPY for Best Male Athlete, topping Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and Olympic champion swimmer Michael Phelps at the 21st awards show on Wednesday night in Los Angeles.

More on 2013 ESPYS

Robin Roberts has deep pride in the group she now joins as an Arthur Ashe Courage award recipient, a pride she no doubt will share in her heart with the millions who have helped and hugged her along the way, writes Bob Ley. Story

In a city still healing from the Boston Marathon bombings, nobody personifies “Boston Strong” more than Dick and Rick Hoyt, fitting recipients of the Jimmy V award, writes Jackie MacMullan. Story

“To be in a category with All-Day AP, the Triple-Crown winner, and the human fish, it’s an honor,” said James, who won his fourth NBA MVP and second straight Finals MVP in leading the Heat to a franchise-record 66-16 record this past season.

“Just to be in a class with you guys is an unbelievable honor. This is for all four of us. I’m just going to keep it [the ESPY] at my house.”

James wasn’t done, either.

He also grabbed ESPYS for Best Championship Performance and Best NBA Player.

James also picked up an assist on the night, introducing Robin Roberts, who won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, given to an individual whose contributions transcend sports.

One of the first female sports anchors on ESPN in the 1990s, Roberts has worked with ABC’s “Good Morning America” for the past two decades, blazing a trail for women in broadcasting.

Her personal journey also served as inspiration because she overcame life-threatening illnesses twice.

“When fear knocks, answer the door,” Roberts told the audience at the Nokia Theatre, before adding, “At this moment I’m filled with such gratitude.”

First lady Michelle Obama saluted Roberts via video.

And the speech touched many, including tennis champion Venus Williams, who on Twitter wrote:

The champion Heat, meanwhile, were saluted with the ESPY for Best Team for the second straight year and got the nod for Best Game thanks to their Game 6 comeback victory in the NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs.

Peterson, Cabrera and Phelps didn’t go home empty-handed.

Peterson won the Best Comeback award after rushing for 2,097 rushing yards last season, second-most in NFL history, just nine months after surgery for a torn ACL. Cabrera won the ESPY for Best MLB Player after becoming the first Triple Crown winner (.330 average, 44 home runs, 139 RBIs) since 1967 and winning the American League MVP. And Phelps, who completed his career in the pool with more gold medals (18) and overall medals (22) than any other Olympian, bagged ESPYS for Best Male U.S. Olympian and Best Record-Breaking Performance.

Fan voting, conducted online, was based on performances spanning the past 12 months.

The awards show, which celebrates the year’s best athletes and moments in sports, was hosted by “Mad Men” star Jon Hamm, who took shots at some of the world’s top athletes in his opening monologue.

On Dwight Howard, who recently bolted the Los Angeles Lakers for the Houston Rockets via free agency, he said, “He’s leaving L.A. I guess he finally found a way to help the Lakers win.”

SportsNation: Best ESPYS moments

SportsNation The 2013 ESPYS offered a number of memorable moments. What was the funniest? Most heartwarming? Cast your votes!

Hamm then added: “We thought it would be nice to honor Dwight Howard with his greatest moments with the Lakers,” before no film clips appeared on the screen behind him while the crowd laughed.

And on New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, whose name has been linked to the Biogenesis scandal, Hamm said, “There are rumors that MLB is going to suspend A-Rod after the All-Star break. But that’s OK; Yankees fans are used to him not showing up in the second half.”

Serena Williams won ESPYS for Best Female Athlete and Best Female Tennis Player after a year in which she hoisted championship trophies at the 2012 U.S. Open and 2013 French Open, as well as singles and doubles crowns at the London Olympics.

The ESPY for Best Play went to the bone-jarring hit South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney put on Michigan’s Vincent Smith in the Outback Bowl.

And the father-and-son team of Dick and Rick Hoyt, who have participated in more than 1,000 endurance events, including 31 Boston Marathons, were honored with the Jimmy V Perseverance Award.

The award is given in honor of late NC State basketball coach Jim Valvano, who inspired millions with his courageous battle against cancer in 1993.

Rick Hoyt, 51, was born with cerebral palsy and is unable to use his hands and legs. His father, 73, pushes him in a custom-made running chair during events, including 5K and 10K races, marathons and triathlons. They were presented the award by actor-director Ben Affleck, a fellow Boston native.

“I don’t think you could find two guys more proud to represent the city of Boston,” Dick Hoyt said.

Several athletes took to Twitter after the Hoyts accepted the award, such as Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen.

Other winners included:

• Best Breakthrough Athlete: Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started the NFL season on the sidelines before helping the San Francisco 49ers to a spot in the Super Bowl.

• Best Upset: Florida Gulf Coast, which became the first No. 15 seed to advance to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

• Best Moment: Jack Hoffman, the 7-year-old Nebraska Cornhuskers fan battling brain cancer who broke off a fourth-quarter touchdown run during the team’s spring game. As his father spoke after accepting the award, Jack held the big trophy that blocked part of his face.

• Best Coach/Manager: Rick Pitino, the Hall of Famer who became the first coach to win national titles at two different schools by leading Louisville past Michigan in the Division I men’s basketball final.

• Best NHL Player: Sidney Crosby, who led the Pittsburgh Penguins to the top record in the Eastern Conference in 2013 with 56 points (third most in league) and 41 assists (second).

• Best Male College Athlete: Johnny Manziel, the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback out of Texas A&M, who became the first freshman in Football Bowl Subdivision history — and just the fifth player ever — to have 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in a single season.

• Best Female College Athlete: Brittney Griner, the former Baylor center who wrapped up her stellar career as the NCAA’s career leader in blocked shots (748) and finished second all time in career points (3,283).

[+] EnlargeLeBron James
Frederick M. Brown/Getty ImagesHeat star LeBron James presented Robin Roberts with the Arthur Ashe Courage award before later collecting his second straight ESPY for Best Male Athlete.

• Best Male Golfer: Tiger Woods, who reclaimed the No. 1 ranking in the world and has a PGA Tour-high four victories so far in 2013.

• Best Female Golfer: Stacy Lewis, the reigning LPGA Tour Player of the Year who won the HSBC Women’s Champs in March.

• Best Male Tennis Player: Novak Djokovic, the top-ranked player in the world who won the Australian Open for the third consecutive time in January.

• Best Female U.S. Olympian: Missy Franklin, who became only the second American woman to win four swimming gold medals at a single Olympics.

• Best Fighter: Floyd Mayweather Jr., who returned to the ring after a year’s absence to notch a unanimous-decision victory against Robert Guerrero to improve to 44-0.

• Best International Athlete: Usain Bolt, the Jamaican sprinter who raced off with three gold medals at the London Games and became the first back-to-back 100-meter winner since Carl Lewis (1984, ’88).

• Best WNBA Player: Candace Parker, who again led the Los Angeles Sparks averaging 17.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game in 2012.

• Best MLS Player: Thierry Henry, who helped the Red Bulls reach the playoffs with 15 goals and 12 assists in just 25 matches.

• Best Driver: Ryan Hunter-Reay, who became the first American to win the IndyCar Series title since 2012.

• Best Bowler: Pete Weber, who became the first to complete a PBA Triple Crown twice.

• Best Jockey: Joel Rosario, who rode Orb to a win at the Kentucky Derby.

• Best Male Athlete with Disability: Jeremy Campbell, who set a Paralympic record in the discus and broke the world record in the event at the Triton Invitational.

• Best Female Athlete with Disability: Jessica Long, who set two world records and won eight medals (including five golds) at the 2012 Paralympic Games.

• Best Male Action Sports Athlete: Nyjah Huston, who took the X Games world by storm after winning golds in Street League Skateboarding.

• Best Female Action Sports Athlete: Stephanie Gilmore, who captured a fifth ASP World Tour points crown in surfing.


Formula 1 boss Ecclestone indicted on bribery charge

The charge relates to a $44m (£29m) payment to German banker Gerhard Gribkowsky of Bayern Landesbank, linked to the sale of a stake in F1.

Mr Ecclestone denies bribing Gribkowsky, and says the money was intended to stop the banker from exposing him to a UK tax inquiry.

Mr Gribkowsky was sentenced to eight-and-a-half years in jail in Munich.

Speaking to the Financial Times on Wednesday, Mr Ecclestone said: “I have just spoken to my lawyers and they have received an indictment. It’s being translated into English.”

“We are defending it properly. It will be an interesting case. It’s a pity it’s happened.”

Mr Ecclestone has six weeks to respond to the indictment, Formula One Group said in a statement.

‘Silly things’

The charges are related to the 2006 sale of a 47% stake in Formula 1 by Bayern Landesbank, which had acquired it from the bankrupt Kirch media group.

Gribkowsky had been in charge of managing the sale to private equity group CVC Capital Partners.

Continue reading the main story

“Start Quote

If this is the end of the road for a man of rare influence and notoriety, it has been a long on”

Anndrew Benson BBC F1 correspondent

CVC has since reduced its stake in a series of deals. It has not commented on the indictment.

At his trial last year, Gribkowsky admitted corruptly receiving $41.4m (£26.6m) in bank commissions and a large payment via the Ecclestone family’s Bambino Trust.

He maintained he had been paid to undervalue the shares.

But Mr Ecclestone says he paid Gribkowsky to keep him quiet, believing the banker was planning to give false information to the UK authorities about his tax affairs.

Mr Ecclestone said at the time that proving the allegation was false “would have been very expensive for me”.

“The tax risk would have exceeded £2bn. I paid him to keep calm and not to do silly things,” he said.

Mr Ecclestone has until mid-August to respond to the charges. The court will then decide whether to take the case to trial – it could be heard by mid-September.

He faces a possible jail term if found guilty, something he has previously said would force him to stand down as head of F1.

His lawyer told the Financial Times the indictment was largely based on statements from Gribkowsky, and that Mr Ecclestone intended to dispute these.

Susan Taylor dies during English Channel charity swim

A woman has died trying to swim across the English Channel, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has said.

Susan Taylor died in Boulogne on Sunday after getting into difficulty during her swim.

On her fundraising page, she said she was doing the 21-mile endurance test to raise money for Rainbows Hospice in Loughborough, Leicestershire.

She had raised more than £3,000 in sponsorship.

Robert Hall reports.

Premier League: Leroy Fer becomes Norwich City’s sixth summer signing

Premier League: Leroy Fer becomes Norwich City’s sixth summer signing.

Premier League: Leroy Fer becomes Norwich City’s sixth summer signing

Norwich City have confirmed the signing of Dutch international midfielder Leroy Fer from FC Twente on a four-year deal.

The 23-year-old, who is Chris Hughton’s sixth summer signing, scored 21 goals in 71 appearances for FC Twente after starting his career with Feyenoord.

Fer, who has two full caps, captained Holland at Under-17 and Under-19 levels and he was a key part of their European Under-21 Championship team which made it to the semi-finals earlier this summer, scoring twice during the group stages.

He joins Javier Garrido, Ricky Van Wolfswinkel, Nathan Redmond, Martin Olsson and Carlo Nash in boosting Hughton’s options for the 2013-14 Barclays Premier League season.

“We are really pleased to have acquired the signature of a player with the qualities that Leroy has.”
Chris Hughton

Hughton said: “We are really pleased to have acquired the signature of a player with the qualities that Leroy has.

“He’s a very versatile Dutch international and at 23 he has that pleasing balance of having acquired experience playing over 100 games in the Dutch League – but still having plenty of time ahead of him to continue his development as a player here with us at Norwich City.”

Eurobot – Transfer window latest

Eurobot – Transfer window latest.

Aspas bags debut goal for Liverpool

Liverpool’s new Spanish striker Iago Aspas marked his debut with a goal in Saturday’s 4-0 friendly win over Preston at Deepdale.

Aspas signed from Celta Vigo for £7.7 million during the close-season and he gave a glimpse of why Reds manager Brendan Rodgers was so keen to land him with a fine second-half strike against the League One side.

The 25-year-old curled home Liverpool’s final goal as they eased their way back into action in their opening warm-up, a fixture organised in honour of Reds’ legendary manager and former Lilywhites player Bill Shankly.

“Iago works hard, he’s got a trick in and around the box and he excites supporters,” said Rodgers.

“He’s a good guy and he works very hard for the supporters.

“He drifts well in between the lines and always wants to receive the ball, but what I like is that he wants to score goals.

“He’s looking to create and combine or go solo by himself and get a shot in. His goal was a terrific strike.”

Schmelzer lauds Dortmund new boys

The full-back says summer purchases Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sokratis Papastathopoulos are blending in nicely at BVB

Borussia Dortmund defender Marcel Schmelzer has lauded the club’s summer signings and believes they will blend in brilliantly ahead of the new Bundesliga campaign.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have signed Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the close-season as they look to challenge Bayern Munich for the title in 2013-14.

“I think that during training we saw that the new guys have great qualities,” Schmelzer told reporters. “If you look at Micky [Mkhitaryan] during training, he has some incredible movements, also Sokratis in the back is acting as if he’d been here for a few years already, and also Oba [Aubameyang] has great qualities.

“The new purchases are spot on, and like I’ve said, we are trying to integrate them into the team as well as we can, of course there are difficulties with the languages, but we have an interpreter and will manage somehow, and then at the beginning of the season the three will have adapted to our philosophy so that we can start the season successfully.”

Schmelzer revealed that defender Papastathopoulos has eased in the quickest, with new mifielder Mkhitaryan not far behind, while he suspects that Aubameyang will come out of his shell soon.

“I think Micky is the one that is a bit more direct, he comes up to us, he is starting to say his first German words, even a few sentences, and I think it won’t take long for him to speak his sixth language,” the left-back added.

“It is easier to communicate with Sokratis, through his time at Bremen he learnt a bit of German and he also speaks English. Oba is a bit – well I guess shy is the wrong word – more reserved and he is having a look at the whole thing first. But if all three of them open up, Micky already has, then I think they are great guys that will fit into our team.”

Moyes praises Zaha after United defeat

Manchester United manager David Moyes took time to praise new signing Wilfried Zaha after watching his side lose to a Singha All Stars XI in a pre-season friendly.

Zaha started the match on the bench but arrived in the second half and went close to scoring, hitting the woodwork as United lost 1-0 in Thailand.

Speaking after the game, Moyes praised the winger and said he was looking forward to seeing more of him in action.

“Wilfried did well and gave us something a little different. We were short of forwards tonight – we didn’t have many options with Wayne being injured, Robin only meeting up with us later, Chicharito not here and Will Keane being injured,” he told the club’s official website.

“It just left us a little short of forward options tonight. But when Wilf came on he gave us a little bit and was certainly unlucky not to score with the chance he had.

“We’ll see how Wilfried does. We brought him here to give him a chance. It’s the first time I’ve worked with him, the first time I’ve really had the chance to see him up close, so he’ll certainly be part of the squad and we’ll see where we can fit him in.”

Another youngster, Adnan Januzaj, also impressed for the Red Devils and Moyes said he was the best player on show for the Premier League champions.

“I thought Adnan played well tonight and was a plus for us. He was the pick of the group,” he added.

“It’s always good when you give a young player a chance and he shows up, which I thought he did tonight. And the more he plays like that, the more opportunities he’s liable to get.”

Despite losing his first game as manager of Manchester United, Moyes was not too downhearted and insisted there were plus points he could take from the game.

“If I’m going to lose any games I’m happy to lose these ones. It’s pre-season,” he said.

“We missed a couple of chances at the end which may well have got us something out of the game but the important thing is we got a few of the players through 90 minutes. It was a really good fitness workout – anyone who was watching tonight will tell you that, as it was very warm. So I was pleased with that.

“Overall I thought the fitness of the players was good and I’ll take that as a positive.”

Singha All-Star XI 1 Man United 0

DAVID MOYES lost his first game as manager of Manchester United.

But he need not worry, Alex Ferguson did the same.

Moyes’ predecessor lost 2-0 at Oxford on his United debut in 1986 but went on to boss the Red Devils for 26 years.

Last night in Bangkok it was only pride at stake.

But Moyes would have still never expected to lose to the Singha All-Star XI, a group of players drawn mainly from two Thai clubs.

Asked if it was a bad sign, Moyes said: “I hope not. If you are going to lose any game, I am happy to lose these games.

“It’s not a brilliant result but I’m pleased with the way they kept going.”

United had 10 stars at home either injured or on extended leave.

But it was still a decent line-up that went down to Teeratep Winothai’s 50th-minute goal at a sweltering Bajangara Stadium.

Sub Wilfried Zaha came closest to an equaliser, hitting a post late on.