Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

Anderson Peters, the 2019 World javelin champion, is thankful that the Olympics were postponed from 2020 because of the pandemic as it means he now has a legitimate shot at winning a medal, perhaps gold, when the Games convene in Tokyo, Japan this coming summer.

Shaunae Miller-Uibo and Jereem Richards pulled off impressive victories at the second meet of the American Track League this season in Fayetteville, Arkansas earlier today.

Natoya Goule picked up another win on the indoor circuit this season when she sped to victory on the 800m at the Clemson Bob Pollock Invitational on Saturday.

On many a Sunday, I realize that people have looked at the stories they've seen throughout the week with different lenses. I have my own personal take on some of these trending issues and I will share them with you. Welcome to #INCASEYOUMISSEDIT the 2021 edition with Mariah

 

  1. Tough task ahead for Thomas Tuchel

Chelsea have given their new manager Thomas Tuchel 18 months to reverse the club’s fortunes after sacking Frank Lampard. Tuchel’s first match in charge ended in a 0-0 home draw with Wolves on Wednesday, a clear sign that the task ahead is not an easy one.  The big question looming is how can he avoid the same fate as Lampard? 

The 42-year-old German is more experienced than his predecessor having had spells at Mainz and Borussia Dortmund as well as two and a half years at PSG in France, leading them to back-to-back French league titles.

He also led the French champions to the 2019/20 Champions League final.

Winning cup competitions and making the top-four in the EPL would help him keep his job at the end of the season but going forward that will not be enough for team owner Roman Abramovich.

Notwithstanding his proven coaching acumen, Tuchel has developed somewhat of a reputation of getting into power struggles with club hierarchies. He was fired by Dortmund after falling out with officials there, similar to his exit from PSG. He would be advised to stay in Abramovich’s good books.

He would also do well to capitalize on his relationships with Thiago Silva who he coached at PSG and Christian Pulisic from Dortmund.

 The task at hand is not impossible and Tuchel seems ready to take on his latest project.

“I decided not to worry about that too much and to go to do it, to be brave enough to take this adventure. It’s my character to believe more in the chances than in the risks,” he said.

 

  1. Windies stars continue to shine in Abu Dhabi T10

The ICC T20 World Cup set for October in India is still some time away but the excitement in the Abu Dhabi T10 has reignited the hope that West Indies just might have a chance. The first week of the Abu Dhabi T10 was filled with brilliant performances both with bat and ball from notable Windies players.

Several Windies players have found form early in the tournament. The Northern Warriors’ Lendl Simmons blasted an unbeaten 54 in his first match. Evin Lewis also started off with a bang having scored 100 runs in three matches that included a top score of 55. He was also not out twice and is the third-highest run-scorer for this 2021 edition.

Nicholas Pooran has also been brilliant with the bat. After two matches he has 73 runs with a high score of 54. The Pune Devils Kennar Lewis in his first match scored a 28-ball 57 not out to lead his team to victory.

There have also been noteworthy performances with the ball as the Northern Warriors’ Rayad Emrit is ranked fifth for most wickets in the tournament. He has bowled 4 overs for 46 runs and taken three wickets. His teammate Fabian Allen has bowled two overs for 11 runs and taken two wickets. Deccan Gladiators Sunil Narine has grabbed two wickets from his two overs.

 

 

An 82-run eighth-wicket partnership between Joshua Da Silva and Raymon Reifer was the highlight of the final day of the three-day ‘warm-up’ match between the West Indies and the Bangladesh Cricket Board XI that ended in a draw today.

Jamaican players Lamar Walker and Jashaun Anglin have been signed by Miami FC in the United Soccer League, the club announced today.

West Indies Women’s Head Coach Courtney Walsh was impressed with the efforts of emerging bowlers  Steffi Soogrim and Kaysia Schultz who delivered standout performances during the squad’s first intra-squad 50-over match Antigua Thursday.

Craig Simpson defeated defending champion Christian Sasso via long run to win the David East Memorial Sporting Clays on Sunday. Meanwhile, Aliana McMaster dethroned her mother, Wendy, to take the women’s title.

As she establishes herself as a winner at the University of Minnesota, freshman athlete Abigail Schaaffe has her eye on a new objective.

The 2021 Carifta Swimming Championships that had been set to get underway from March 26 to April 7 has been postponed due to the recent spikes in the number of Covid-19 cases in Barbados.

Odean Skeen intends to open his campaign towards this summer’s Olympic Games with a 60m dash in the second American Track League meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas this weekend.

Barbados Pride Captain Jason Holder said his team is excited and focused on winning the CG Insurance Super50 competition set to begin on February 7 in Antigua.

Barbados last won the title in the 2016/17 season and Holder believes that with a shortened season before them, they need to be ready to win consistently.

“We are really looking forward to the first tournament of the year. It’s great to be back and there is a lot of excitement in our camp. We are focused on winning,” Holder said.

“It will be important to hold our nerve under pressure and execute under pressure. The team that is most consistent always wins, and we have to look at being consistent and win for our country and our fans.”

Meanwhile, Red Force Captain Kieron Pollard believes his team is blessed with a good blend of youth and experience to advance to the finals and eventually win it all.

“I believe we have a very good team in terms of youth and experience and we can go that step further and make it to the finals,” he said.

“In the last few years, we missed out, reaching the semi-finals and being beaten, once by CCC and once by Leewards. Hopefully, we have all the energy and all the gas in the tank and go all the way. This promises to be a really good tournament, and I know players will be aiming to impress and improve their careers.”

Both captains are among several West Indies stars set to participate in this year’s tournament.

In addition to Holder and Pollard, players such as Roston Chase (Barbados Pride), Shimron Hetmyer (Guyana Jaguars), Sheldon Cottrell (Jamaica Scorpions), Hayden Walsh Jr (Leeward Islands Hurricanes), Nicholas Pooran (Trinidad and Tobago Red Force) and Andre Fletcher (Windward Islands Volcanoes) have signalled their participation in the tournament.

Whilst COVID-19 related constraints mean that 2019-2020 Champions, the West Indies Emerging Players, are unable to defend their title, eight of those talented young winners from the 2019 tournament have found spots in the competing franchise teams, including Keon Harding, Dominic Drakes and Justin Greaves (Barbados Pride), Kevin Sinclair (Guyana Jaguars), Ashmead Nedd (Leeward Islands Hurricanes), Jayden Seales (Trinidad and Tobago Red Force) as well as, Kimani Melius and Roland Cato (Windward Islands Volcanoes).

Full squads:

Barbados Pride: Jason Holder (Captain), Joshua Bishop, Shamarh Brooks, Jonathan Carter, Roston Chase, Dominic Drakes, Jonathan Drakes, Justin Greaves, Keon Harding, Chemar Holder, Akeem Jordan, Nicholas Kirton, Zachary McCaskie, Ashley Nurse, Tevyn Walcott; Dexter Toppin (Head Coach)

 

Guyana Jaguars: Leon Johnson (Captain), Shimron Hetmyer (Vice-Captain), Christopher Barnwell, Anthony Bramble, Asad Fudadin, Chanderpaul Hemraj, Tevin Imlach, Keon Joseph, Ramaal Lewis, Gudakesh Motie, Akshaya Persaud, Kemol Savory, Romario Shepherd, Kevin Sinclair, Nial Smith; Esuan Crandon (Head Coach)

 

Jamaica Scorpions: Rovman Powell (Captain), Derval Green (Vice-Captain), Fabian Allen, Dennis Bulli, Sheldon Cottrell, Javel Glenn, Brandon King, Andre McCarthy, Jamie Merchant, Romaine Morris, Paul Palmer, Jeavor Royal, Odean Smith, Aldaine Thomas, Oshane Thomas; Andre Coley (Head Coach)

 

Leeward Islands Hurricanes: Devon Thomas (captain), Montcin Hodge (Vice-Captain), Colin Archibald, Sheno Berridge, Quinton Boatswain, Keacy Carty, Nino Henry, Amir Jangoo, Nitish Kumar, Jeremiah Louis, Ashmead Nedd, Kieran Powell, Ross Powell, Hayden Walsh Jr, Terance Warde; Stuart Williams (Head Coach)

 

Trinidad and Tobago Red Force: Kieron Pollard (Captain), Darren Bravo (Vice-Captain), Akeal Hosein, Imran Khan, Evin Lewis, Jason Mohammed, Sunil Narine, Kjorn Ottley, Khary Pierre, Nicholas Pooran, Anderson Phillip, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Jayden Seales, Lendl Simmons; David Furlonge (Head Coach)

 

Windward Islands Volcanoes: Sunil Ambris (Captain), Andre Fletcher (Vice-Captain), Alick Athanaze, Roland Cato, Keron Cottoy, Kenneth Dember, Larry Edward, Ryan John, Ray Jordan, Desron Maloney, Obed McCoy, Preston McSween, Kimani Melius, Emmanuel Stewart, Kevin Stoute; Andrew Richardson (Head Coach)

 

 

The 43rd staging of the MILO Western Relays that had been scheduled for Saturday, February 13, has been cancelled, organizers said citing the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“Thank you, God for allowing me to enjoy Kobe Bryant for 20 years as a great basketball player, athlete, husband, father, philanthropist, mentor and teacher of the game to many men and women of all ages, best friend of Rob Pelinka, and brother to Jeanie Buss. He will always by my Lakers brother for life. Laker Nation we will always remember the brilliance, the legend, the Mamba mentality of #8/#24.”

Those were the words posted on Facebook on Tuesday by Los Angeles Laker legend Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson on the one-year anniversary of the tragic death of Kobe and Gianna Bryant and several others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday, January 26, 2020.

I remember that day like it was yesterday. I was sitting on my bed having a chat with my wife when the ‘breaking news’ alert popped up on my phone. Suddenly social media came alive. My wife’s alerts began to go crazy. I turned to Google and there it was, the beginning of a nightmare for fans of the Lakers and basketball fans across the world.

It was Magic, who reminded me that a year had passed; a year when the tears spilt uncontrollably from my eyes and the hurt of my sister’s passing a month earlier and Kobe’s tragic death became too much to bear.

It was Magic who brought me to basketball and then the Lakers.

Back then, in the late 70s, there was no cable but we had sports magazines and newspapers and in them, I developed a passing interest in college basketball and to a certain Earvin Johnson, who had just won the 1978 NCAA title for Michigan State University.

“The Magic Show,” said the headline of the Sports Illustrated magazine. The story inside made me a fan of Magic.

It was the start of what I came to see as the enduring rivalry between Magic and Celtic great Larry Bird, who representing Indiana State had gone up against Johnson in that historic NCAA final.

“While Earvin directed a balanced offence, and the defence deterred Larry Bird, Michigan State won the NCAAs. Magic, who scored 24 points in that final, declared for the NBA draft and became a Laker as the number one pick, the following year.

Bird was the sixth pick for the Celtics, the year before.

With Magic at the Lakers and Bird at the hated Celtics, the 1980s was a dream for me, the newly minted basketball fan of the NBA. Back then, the NBA wasn’t a big deal for my schoolmates, who were more interested in English League football and the FIFA World Cup.

The Lakers won five championships in the 1980s, the last of them coming in 1988 when they squeezed by the Detroit Pistons 4-3. In 1989, the Bad Boys of Detroit thrashed the Lakers 4-0 to win the title that year. They were then humbled 4-1 by the Bulls in 1991 in what marked the beginning of the Jordan era.

I drifted away from the NBA then, tired of the over-glorification of Michael Jordan and the corresponding failed experiment of Nick van Exel and Eddie Jones. The Lakers got so bad that I considered never watching the NBA ever again.

Five years passed and then news began circulating that the Lakers had acquired this teenager from Charlotte by the name of Kobe Bryant.

Magic Johnson revealed in an interview that Jerry West, ‘The Logo”, the Lakers great who suited up for the franchise between 1960 and 1974, that they had just signed the next Lakers super star. West, who was General Manager in Los Angeles at the time, had an eye for talent and he was sure that this kid, who spent a few years living in Italy, was the one.

So, it was Kobe that brought me back to the NBA.

My first impression of Kobe was that he was not very convincing. Yes, he was wet behind the ears but the incredible talent West had touted looked like a wannabe more than anything else.

A year later, I saw something that made me start to believe. It wasn’t a game-winning performance but if you were really paying attention, it was quite stark, and it came in the playoffs against the Utah Jazz.

Don Yeager writing for Forbes recalls:

“If you don’t know the story of that game, it was a pivotal moment in Kobe’s career. Most people remember it because of how spectacularly bad Kobe was that night: 4 for 14 from the floor (0 for 6 from three-point range),” he wrote.

“Now, the only reason he saw extended minutes was due to a cavalcade of Laker misfortune—Bryan Scott missed the game with a sprained wrist, Robert Horry was ejected, and Shaquille O’Neal fouled out with under two minutes left in the game.

After averaging around 15 minutes per game during the regular season, suddenly, the game belonged to Kobe.

He promptly launched four airballs in the game’s closing minutes.

After the game, as a bunch of reporters gathered around his locker, I remember several people questioning his unconscionable shooting. After all, it’s embarrassing enough to shoot one airball as a pro, much less two. But four? As your team let a must-have game slip away with each of your misses?

We all wondered how he would defend himself.

“I had some good looks,” he said. “I just didn’t hit the shots.”

That was it. He said it without a hint of regret or self-doubt; it sounded like something a decades-old veteran would say, a matter-of-fact statement about the sometimes fickle nature of the game. What he was saying, in effect, was ‘this is a chapter I have to get through in order to write a book worth reading.’

Michael Jordan would later remark that Kobe was the only one on that Laker team brave enough to take the shots.

Fast forward three years and Kobe would win the first of three consecutive titles and begin cementing his legacy as a Laker great.

Getting out of the West back then was so much harder than winning the Larry O’Brien trophy. The Lakers had to overcome stern challenges from the Sacramento Kings and Portland Trailblazers and San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference finals.

I remember Kobe taking over the third quarters of the series against the Tim Duncan-led Spurs. I remember how he and Shaq battled back from 15 points down in a must-win game against Portland. It was nail-biting stuff but watching Kobe and Shaq rising to the occasion in the face of elimination was the stuff of legend.

Two more titles in 2009 and 2010, ensured that Bryant would go down as one of, if not the greatest Laker ever but it came with a series of challenges that would have broken lesser players. It was one of the characteristics that made Kobe great. He thrived when facing challenges.

I remember exactly where I was when the Lakers defeated a talented Boston Celtics team with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen and Rasheed Wallace to win their fifth title of the decade. In a way, it mirrored the beginning of my connection with the Lakers versus the Celtics.

“Everything negative – pressure, challenges – is all an opportunity for me to rise,” Kobe once said.

“The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do. Winning takes precedence overall.”

You could argue that this mentality is what go him scoring 40 points a game each time he came back from a trial date regarding those rape allegations in 2003, a time when I was certain he was going to be jailed for a long time, but he survived that too.

He then went on to rescue his marriage to Vanessa and became a model dad to his girls.

That is the same mentality he displayed when nursing a bad knee, he scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors in a 122 to 104 victory. Bryant shot better than 50 per cent in the game in which the Raptors led by 14.

Only another Laker, Wilt Chamberlain has ever scored more in an NBA game.

And who can forget his final game for LA, 60 points in April 2016 to put the cap on a magnificent career during which he scored 33,643 points, won five titles, was a two-time NBA finals MVP (should have been three), and was an 18-time All-Star.

Walking away from a successful career and being recognized as an all-time great would have been enough for most players, but that was only just the beginning for the Mamba, who would go on to coach his daughter Gianna who became one of the best age-group players in the USA, win an Oscar and a Grammy Award.

One wonders what other wonders he would have delivered had lived. Why it is so painful is that we know he was going to do even greater things off the court but we will never see what those greater things are.

How good a coach would he have been for Gianna? How much better a dad would he have become? How much better a human being would he have evolved into.

I don’t know. I don’t have the words so I resolve to borrow from Jamie Foxx to express how it feels that Kobe Bryant is no longer with us one year on.

“I know God doesn’t make mistakes but this one leaves me numb still. After a year it’s still hard to wrap my mind around this. Rest in Power. You and your precious little one will forever be remembered and cherished in our hearts and minds.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Captain Jason Mohammed believes the West Indies substitutes sent to tour Bangladesh were simply not up to the task as the visitors suffered a 120-run loss at Chattogram today. It was their third straight loss in the three-match series.

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