Argentina’s Lionel Messi, left, and Bolivia’s Diego Bejarano fight for the ball during a Copa America Centenario Group D soccer match, Tuesday, June 14, 2016, at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

SEATTLE (AP) — By the time Lionel Messi checked in at halftime, Erik Lamela, Ezequiel Lavezzi and the rest of his teammates had Argentina well on its way to the top spot in Group D of the Copa America.

Lamela and Lavezzi scored 2 minutes apart early in the first half, Victor Cuesta scored his first international goal later in the half and Argentina dominated Bolivia 3-0 on Tuesday night to be the only team in the entire tournament to win all three group games.

Messi subbed on at the beginning of the second half for his most extensive game action since Barcelona beat Sevilla 2-0 to win the Copa del Rey on May 22.

In the time since, Messi suffered a back injury, testified in his tax fraud trial in Spain and scored a hat trick off the bench in a 5-0 win over Panama last week.

But the goals came from his teammates as Argentina clinched a matchup with Venezuela in the quarterfinals. And all that dominance came with Messi relaxing on the bench, hearing his name chanted by the crowd throughout the first half as they eagerly anticipated the chance to see the best player of this generation coming off a memorable reserve performance just a few days earlier against Panama.

“People want to see him. People pay all over the world to see him and he has to deal with that,” Argentina manager Gerardo Martino said through an interpreter. “Sometimes he has to play and sometimes he has to be on the bench but he has that obligation to follow through for the fans who are paying to be there. He has to live with that.”

Argentina is in search of its first major international championship since winning the Copa America in 1993.

“It’s time to think about Venezuela,” Messi said. “Win that game and advance.”

Bolivia last beat Argentina in 2009, but that victory came at nearly 12,000 feet at home in La Paz. At sea level in Seattle, the Bolivians stood no chance.

The closest Messi came to finding the net was a free kick from 30 yards early in the second half that teased the far post but didn’t curl enough. Bolivia’s Diego Bejarano was Messi’s shadow, ignoring anyone else in white with the ball and focusing just on No. 10.

Messi’s best moment came in the 77th minute when he was flagged for offside, but continued the play long enough to nutmeg Bolivian goalkeeper Carlos Lampe as he dribbled around the penalty area.

“Regardless of the result, regardless after the first half he knew he was going to play for 45 minutes,” Martino said of Messi. “He is growing compared to the last game. The last game he played 30, today 45 and he is feeling more confident. That is what we were going to do regardless.”

Bolivia played with a defensive posture all night, but it held for all of 13 minutes until Lamela’s free kick deflected off the back of Yasmani Duk and left Lampe moving the wrong direction as the shot found the net.

Two minutes later, Gonzalo Higuain headed down a cross that was saved by Lampe but directed right to Lavezzi who pounded the loose ball into the goal.

And Argentina capped its dominant first half when Lavezzi picked up an assist as his cross was redirected by Cuesta’s toe for his first international goal.

Bolivia didn’t even attempt to play possession, simply clearing balls out of its own end anytime a pass escaped Argentina’s feet. Argentina had 81 percent of the possession in the first half and the only time goalkeeper Sergio Ramos was asked to even move was on the few free kicks Bolivia lofted into the penalty box.

Argentina completed 357 passes in the first half; Bolivia completed 38. For the game, the disparity was 757-61.

“I was very happy to see this test,” Martino said.

 

By Joe Medved

Cleveland Cavaliers Lebron James celebrates with the crowd during a parade to celebrate winning the 2016 NBA Championship in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. June 22, 2016. Aaron Josefczyk | Reuters Cleveland Cavaliers Lebron James celebrates with the crowd during a parade to celebrate winning the 2016 NBA Championship in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. June 22, 2016.

Early in the morning post the Cleveland Cavaliers’ epic triumph in the NBA Finals, I was awakened by my deliriously giddy 9-year-old son, a fellow start-up addict and Cleveland sports fanatic. Together we relived the conclusion of Game 7, which punctuated one of the most implausible comebacks in sports history, orchestrated by one of the greatest leaders to ever step on a basketball court.

Love him or hate him, LeBron James embodies the qualities of a great founder. While sports metaphors are overused in the business world, I think LeBron’s story is a worthy fable for any founder.

Prior to being dubbed “The Chosen One,” LeBron James was raised on welfare by a young, single mother who was constantly on the move, desperate to establish a solid foundation for her son. He slept on borrowed couches and skipped school with frequency. LeBron’s life was transformed in the fourth grade, when his unique athleticism opened the door to stability and thereafter a rapid ascent to stardom. Despite gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated by the time he was a junior in high school, LeBron’s early childhood established a drive and sense of appreciation that made him the greatest basketball player of his generation.

“As in basketball, great companies are built with teams. Every founder needs a supporting cast, and LeBron James has an unparalleled ability to conduct his team. He has been to the NBA Finals six years in a row across two teams with some of the worst supporting casts in league history.”

While many professional athletes come from humble beginnings, precious few emerge as perennial champions. Many of these athletes have exceptional careers, given immense raw talent and a nothing-to-lose mentality. They are willing to run through walls because they have no other way in. They have the audacity to believe they can succeed, when no one has greater expectations for them than themselves. These dynamics are reminiscent of the best founders, people that break the mold with seemingly crazy ideas that become the status quo.

As in basketball, great companies are built with teams. Every founder needs a supporting cast, and LeBron James has an unparalleled ability to conduct his team. He has been to the NBA Finals six years in a row across two teams with some of the worst supporting casts in league history.

How does LeBron get the most out of his team? The night before Game 6, Richard Jefferson, veteran Cleveland Cavaliers guard, penned a candid post about the evolution of the team’s culture over a tumultuous year. Sixteen seasons into the NBA, the 36-year-old Jefferson is the start-up equivalent of an experienced COO or VP of engineering that was recruited to help stabilize the culture of an organization. A quote from his post exemplifies LeBron’s leadership:

“I don’t care if you’re a LeBron ‘fan,’ or not, I have seen it: Bron has something I’ve never seen. The way he says ‘Follow me and I’ll take you there’ with actions, more than words, is like no one else I’ve ever played with. He’s the kind of leader who makes you want to carry the weight, too. I feel indebted to him. We all do.”

Great NBA free agents like Richard Jefferson have many options, and though I love the place, I know that Cleveland is not the most desirable destination. Nonetheless, LeBron has the ability to recruit grizzled veterans to join him in #TheLand. These players bring with them stories of success and failure that teach and inspire younger teammates. In my own career, great partners and entrepreneurs have inspired me to raise the bar, elevating our mutual game with shared wisdom and a healthy dose of pressure to keep up.

LeBron also has the ability to instill discipline in emerging stars, like the brash young sales executive or diva programmer. When he returned to Cleveland from Miami, LeBron brought with him the militaristic approach that was impressed upon him by coaching legend Pat Riley. He demanded focus, dedication, punctuality, and accountability. During the offseason, LeBron called his teammates together for an intense workout in Miami, an equivalent of the team offsite. Throughout the season, he frequently brought the team together for dinners at his home to strengthen their camaraderie.

While many will never forgive the way he initially departed Cleveland, you never hear about LeBron getting in trouble off the court. Quite the opposite, you hear about his dedication to his wife and children, and to his charitable endeavors, where his accomplishments are at a level that matches his on court performance. A key reason for his return home was to provide greater support to his charities in Akron, where he has committed to donating $42 million to send 1,100 underprivileged children to college.

LeBron is the type of leader that successful people want to follow and emulate. Like any great CEO, he can lead by example, taking complete control of his team and carrying them on his back. When necessary, he does the equivalent of closing the big sale or a marathon coding session to get a product out the door.

However, LeBron understands that he and his team are at their best when he distributes responsibilities on the court to trusted teammates, enabling a higher degree of success as a collective. A great CEO’s job is to shine the spotlight, not stand under it. The lights are drawn to LeBron, but he’s the first one to deflect that glow to those around him. That strategy brought gold to his kingdom. Hail to the King!

*Thanks to @marissa for her shared respect for LeBron and inspiration to put out this post

Commentary by Joe Medved, a partner of SB Capital at Lerer Hippeau Ventures. Previously, he was a partner at SoftBank Capital, where he focused on early stage digital media investments, an investor at Constellation Ventures and an investment banker with JPMorgan’s Tech, Media & Telecom Group. He is also chairman emeritus of the New England Venture Network. Follow him on Twitter @joevc.

By Dustin Bartholomew

When it comes to present-day country music megastars, they don’t get much bigger than singer Miranda Lambert.

Miranda Lambert / Courtesy photo

The six-time CMA and ACM Female Vocalist of the Year winner will be in town for a show at the Walmart AMP on Friday, July 15, and we’ve got a pair of tickets to give away to the show.

Lambert broke onto the scene as a finalist of the 2003 reality show, Nashville Star. Since then, she’s claimed several Top 40 country hits, including No. 1 singles White Liar, The House That Built Me and Heart Like Mine.

Her fifth studio album Platiunum debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums Chart, making her the first artist in history to have each of her first five albums debut at No. 1.

She’s huge, y’all.

Tickets to the show range from $35.50 to $68.50, but you won’t need to worry about all that if you’re the winner of the following giveaway. Good luck.

How to enter

Leave a comment telling us the name of your favorite Miranda Lambert song, and you’re entered.

What you’ll win

One (1) winner chosen at random will win two (2) general admission tickets to the Miranda Lambert show on July 15 at the AMP.

A few rules (read ‘em carefully):

  • You may only enter this specific contest once.
  • This contest is open to anyone anywhere except Fayetteville Flyer writers, Walton Arts Center employees, AMP employees, and their immediate family members.
  • Contest is open until noon p.m. CST on Thursday, June 23.
    Make sure you leave a valid e-mail address when filling out the comment form since that’s how we’ll contact you if you’ve won. Once we notify the winners, you’ll have 24 hours to respond via email to claim your prize.
  • You’ll have to provide us with your first and last name (if you win) and then be prepared to show a valid photo ID when picking up your tickets.

For more information about this performance or to purchase tickets, visit waltonartscenter.org.

It’s not a surprise that Manning will be there for the opener against the Panthers, but it’s awesome to finally get official word.

Peyton Manning has remained hush-hush about his plans after football since retiring in early March. Well, aside from making commercials, that is. You know that will continue with all of this extra time on his hands.

Broncos Country got a glimpse at what he plans to do come Sept. 8.

Manning will attend the opener at Mile High Stadium.

“I look forward to the fall,” he told Mike Kils after the White House visit on Monday. “I’ll be there at the opener when they drop the banners and I have the trophy presentation in the game against Carolina, and I look forward to that.”

As for what he will do next, he’s just enjoying retirement … as much as he can.

“I feel busier than I ever have,” Manning told Klis. “All those people I’ve told the past 18 years, ‘Hey I can’t do that I have practice that day,’ they all know that and, ‘Hey, I know you’re available and you promised to come play in my tournament or you promised to come to my charity event.’

“So I’m paying up on some commitments, and I’m doing some fun stuff as well. I’ve really worked hard to protect my fall weekends. I’m going to have free fall weekends for the first time in 22 years. I’m going to be at the Broncos’ season opener. I think they play theColts in Week 2, I’ll be there. There’s some Giants games I want to go to (to watch his brother Eli play) and get back to see my Tennessee Vols, so football will be a part of my fall but it will be on my schedule.”

It’s not a surprise that Manning will be there for the opener against the Panthers, but it’s awesome to finally get official word.

One question remains: Who will he see replace him at quarterback?

TBT: Dale Earnhardt pays tribute to Atlanta Summer Olympics in 1996

By Tom Jensen

The late Dale Earnhardt is largely credited with creating the special paint scheme craze that began in NASCAR in 1995 and continues more or less to this day.

Earnhardt’s first and most famous special paint scheme was the silver No. 3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet he ran in the 1995 Winston — what we now know as the Sprint All-Star Race — to honor the silver anniversary of R.J. Reynolds’ involvement in NASCAR.

But for this Throwback Thursday, we turn to the car The Intimidator ran in the ’96 Winston — a patriotic paint scheme paying tribute to the 100th running of the Olympic Games. And in 1996, Atlanta was the host city for the Summer Olympics.

 In the ’96 Winston, Earnhardt finished third behind second-place Rusty Wallace and winner Michael Waltrip, who scored a huge upset to put the Wood Brothers Ford in Victory Lane.
By Jared Turner
By Jared Turner

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Hogan then tells DJ Whoo Kid that hanging out with rappers The Game, Lil Wayne, and Birdman, they used the word in reference to him constantly, prompting him to begin using it.2

He then said he didn’t understand why it was OK for them to use it in a friendly way but not him.

It sounds to us like Hulk needs to sit down with some people who can give him an education on how that word coming from his mouth could offend a lot of people.

But that may not be the worst of it.

According to some sources, the interview only got noticed because of some much worse things Hulk said in his leaked sex tape!

Transcripts of the audio — filed as part of Hogan’s ongoing lawsuit over the tape — reportedly contain more use of the N-word, this time in relation to whom he thinks his daughter Brooke Hogan should be dating!

Unfortunately, we can’t verify these claims as the records are currently sealed from public release.

 

 

In February, “Gilmore Girls” fans were saddened to learn Hollywood superstar Melissa McCarthy would not be involved in the show’s Netflix reboot “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.”

Melissa McCarthy, Lauren Graham
Everett Collection Melissa McCarthy and Lauren Graham on “Gilmore Girls.”

 

But just months later, McCarthy surprised fans by announcing she would return to Stars Hollow after all. Yesterday, show costume supervisor Brenda Maben had shared the first pic of McCarthy in character as quirky chef Sookie St. James wearing one of Sookie’s signature head scarves!

The Instagram pic also featured cast member Yanic Truesdale, hashtagging it simply, “#gilmorecostumesjoylove.”

Unfortunately, Maben’s account was later made private, so the image is longer public. Boo! Guess, we’ll just have to wait until the much-anticipated reboot airs.

McCarthy told talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres that she always wanted to be a part of the show’s reboot, which will air in four 90-minute installments, but scheduling conflicts made it difficult.

“Gilmore Girls” was a show “that was near and dear to my heart for four years,” McCarthy said.

After juggling around some projects, the actress said she found a way to make it work. “I am so excited!” McCarthy told Ellen’s cheering audience.

Melissa McCarthyReuters

As for other stars of the show, which originally aired from 2000 until 2007, most are back on board including Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel, who played super-caffeinated mother-daughter duo Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, and stage and screen legend Kelly Bishop, who returns as Lorelai’s wealthy but disapproving mother Emily Gilmore.

Gilmore Girls castEverett Collection

Scott Patterson returns as gruff diner owner — and Lorelai’s sometimes boyfriend — Luke Danes. Speaking of boyfriends, all three actors who played Rory’s biggest loves will be back — Milo Ventimiglia, Jared Padalecki, and Matt Czuchry.

Netflix has still not released a premiere date for the new series, but one thing’s for sure: “Gilmore Girls” fans are gearing up for some big-time binge watching!

Hulk Hogan claims Gawker sale to Ziff Davis or higher bidder unfairly trades away potentially valuable rights

Hulk Hogan speaks to the media after a jury returned a decision in his favor against Gawker Media on March 21 in St. Petersburg, Fla. PHOTO: ASSOCIATED PRESS

Lawyers for Hulk Hogan say creditors of Gawker Media Group, not new owners of the online publishing operation, should have the right to sue suppliers in Gawker’s bankruptcy case.

The former professional wrestler, whose real name is Terry Bollea, filed a challenge to Gawker’s plan to sell itself to Ziff Davis or a higher bidder at a bankruptcy auction on the grounds the sale unfairly trades away potentially valuable rights.

Mr. Bollea won a $140 million judgment against Gawker and its CEO Nick Denton due to the release of a sex tape, pushing the company to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Ziff Davis has offered to buy the Gawker publications, which publish “news, scandal and entertainment” under such banners as Gizmodo, Jalopnik and Jezebel.

The $90 million offer will be tested at a bankruptcy auction under rules to be established by a New York bankruptcy judge later this month. Money from the sale will go to pay off Gawker’s creditors, including Mr. Bollea, the company’s largest creditor.
Monday, Mr. Bollea’s lawyers filed papers protesting Gawker’s “stalking horse” deal with Ziff, which will serve as the starting bid for the bankruptcy competition. The objection focused on the inclusion of “avoidance actions” as part of the package of assets being sold. Avoidance actions are lawsuits that could hit Gawker suppliers as part of the bankruptcy process.

If the deal goes through as proposed, Ziff or another buyer would be in a position to decide whether to sue Gawker’s suppliers. That is a valuable right for a new owner that intends to operate the publishing business, as Ziff Davis claims it will do.

According to Doron Kenter, a bankruptcy lawyer not involved in the case, purchasers of operating business assets “love” to get the avoidance actions as part of the deal. Suppliers burned in the failed company’s collapse can be eased into good business terms by a new owner that has the power to sue them (or not).

“If you are an outside purchaser, you want to get any assets you can get,” Mr. Kenter said. “If you choose not to assert them for business relationship purposes, you don’t have to.”

However, avoidance actions are also valuable to creditors, and Mr. Bollea doesn’t want to surrender them in a sale.

Avoidance action lawsuits are the bread and butter of business bankruptcy proceeding, routine and potentially lucrative. The actions target suppliers or company insiders and seek to claw back outsized payments made just before a company files for bankruptcy protection.

The idea is to even out the financial damage left behind by a failed business. Suppliers that received bigger payments than usual in the period before a bankruptcy filing are presumed by law to have been taking money from an insolvent operation. Avoidance actions aim to claw back that money, so it can be shared among all creditors.

Mr. Bollea moved Monday to block Gawker’s plan to sell the avoidance action lawsuit rights to Ziff Davis as part of the deal for the publications. According to Mr. Bollea’s lawyers, selling the avoidance actions could be particularly unfair in Gawker’s case, because there were likely also intercompany movements of cash before the bankruptcy. That money, too, could be subject to reclamation by creditors.

According to Mr. Bollea’s lawyers, the sale of the lawsuit rights “frustrates the policy goals” behind avoidance actions. A lawyer for Mr. Bollea couldn’t be reached Tuesday to discuss the filing.

Ziff Davis couldn’t immediately be reached Tuesday to comment on the filing.

Gawker declined to comment. In court papers, however, Gawker said Ziff Davis wants the avoidance actions to reassure vendors and others that did business with Gawker “that they will not be subject to litigation with respect to the avoidance actions after the closing of the sale transaction.”

If Ziff Davis succeeds, it and not Gawker’s creditors will decide who gets sued and who gets let off the hook due to prebankruptcy maneuvers. Mr. Bollea’s lawyers, however, have asked the judge to knock out that provision of the deal, calling it an “extraordinary” request.

Mr. Kenter said the critical point may be showing that whoever buys Gawker pays enough for the avoidance actions.

“The principal consideration is you want to know what the universe of those avoidance actions are, what they’re worth, to make sure that it’s a fair sale for value,” Mr. Kenter said.

The reports that document Gawker’s prebankruptcy payments, and the potential avoidance actions, are due in July. Gawker is scheduled to go up for auction July 29, assuming other competitors bid against Ziff Davis.

Silicon Valley billionaire and investor Peter Thiel has been financing Mr. Bollea’s legal fight and other such battles involving people who Mr. Thiel feels have been targeted unfairly by the media company. Mr. Thiel was outed as gay in 2007 by Gawker’s now-defunct Valleywag blog.

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On episode 23 of WOOOOO! Nation with Ric Flair, ‘The Nature Boy’ talked with Hulk Hogan about important mementos from his professional wrestling career.

In addition to the championship belt from Rocky 3 and a couple of ‘winged eagle’ WWEchampionship belts, Hogan’s most valued keepsake from his life as a professional wrestler is his WWE Hall of Fame Ring.

“That’s my whole career to me, that Hall of Fame ring, so that’s all I’ve got left, brother, so I’m hanging onto it,” Hogan said.

As noted, WWE removed Hulk Hogan from the WWE Hall of Fame section on theirwebsite after the racist comments scandal broke this summer. While WWE never officially stated that Hogan was actually removed from the Hall, it appears as if Hogan feels that he was.

“That Hall of Fame ring is my life and it’s just so sad that I’ve been taken out of the Hall of Fame and I don’t have a presence anymore in the wrestling business,” Hogan said. “But I’m going to cherish that Hall of Fame ring.”

Former Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning speaks during the Northern Colorado Sports Awards at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, May 17, 2016. (Photo: The Coloradan)

LOVELAND, Colo. – Peyton Manning has won two Super Bowls. He’s a five-time MVP, national icon and the biggest name in football — even after his retirement.

But through all the accolades and accomplishments, it’s the friendships he cultivated as a high school athlete that he cherishes most.

Speaking at the Coloradoan’s inaugural Northern Colorado Sports Awards on Tuesday, the former Denver Broncos quarterback entertained a crowd of more than 1,300 attendees — 359 of which were high school athletes — with stories from his youth.

Yes, the feeling of holding a Lombardi after a Super Bowl victory is great, but Manning said he imagines it also feels a lot like winning a high school state championship.

“(Winning a Super Bowl) is every bit the feeling you think it would be. It’s on the same level of winning a state championship, much like some of the winners in here tonight have accomplished. You work so hard, and it’s the ultimate team effort. That’s why I love football.”

Manning said he attended the same school district in New Orleans from grades K-12, so the relationships he had with his teammates helped make his high school achievements feel more special.

One of his favorite activities in the offseason, Manning said, is going back home to see his former teammates and talk about the old times — even though that usually means putting up with fantasy football questions from the wives of his friends. In retirement, he’ll have more time to catch up with those longtime friends and do something he hasn’t been able to do for a while — watch football purely for enjoyment.

“People tell me that I’m going to miss football, that I’m going to have withdrawals. But I got my fill,” Manning said. “There are things I want to do. I want to see the New York Giants play … I want to see my Tennessee Vols. I want to do a lot of things I haven’t been able to do in 22 years.”