Newest Cavs star Mitchell gets warm welcome in Cleveland – Arab News

Newest Cavs star Mitchell gets warm welcome in Cleveland – Arab News
CLEVELAND: From the moment he arrived, Donovan Mitchell received the kind of love once reserved in this city for his basketball idol.
The New York kid, who grew up cheering for Cleveland from afar while wondering what it was like to be LeBron James, got his first taste.
“Blew me away,” he said.
Two weeks after being acquired from Utah in a trade that stunned the NBA and blindsided the three-time All-Star guard while he was playing golf, Mitchell received a warm welcome while being introduced Wednesday by the Cavaliers.
For months, Mitchell heard the trade rumors and convinced himself he was headed to the Knicks, his hometown team. It would have been ideal, reuniting with family and again being near his mom, Nicole.
Instead, he landed in Cleveland as the newest piece for the rising Cavaliers, who doubled their win total last season before barely missing the playoffs. They don’t figure to again with the 26-year-old.
“It would have been nice,” Mitchell said of the homecoming that didn’t happen. “But for me, once I found out I got traded and what we’re going into, that trumped everything. I’m truly excited to be here, be part of this group, be part of this city.”
Cleveland received him with open arms.
The team invited fans to greet Mitchell when he touched down at Burke Lakefront Airport, and he made a good impression by stepping out of a van wearing a Cavs hooded sweatshirt and Browns baseball cap.
From there, Mitchell was greeted by team employees at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, most of whom then joined an introductory news conference that felt like a late-night TV talk show, minus the band.
For Mitchell, who averaged 23.9 points in five seasons with the Jazz, Cleveland has always been sort of a second home. Like many kids, he was enamored with James.
“I was a LeBron fan, but I was a Cleveland fan. My man’s over there saying Cleveland Cavaliers; I was saying that at the house,” he said, pointing toward arena host Ahmaad Crump. “It’s crazy how life comes full circle.”
Mitchell has already begun developing on-court chemistry with his new teammates during workouts. All-Star backcourt mate Darius Garland showed his support by sitting in the front row at the news conference along with forward Caris LeVert.
The basketball will be a work in progress, and there are no guarantees the Cavs will ascend to contender status immediately. It’s long season filled with ups, downs, wins, losses and surprises.
Mitchell knows that better than anyone. He was on a talented Utah team that never quite got over the hump, so he’s a realist when it comes to expectations.
Still, he knows the Cavs have plenty of potential.
“There are going to be expectations, there’s going to be noise, but how can we be the best team we can be?” Mitchell said. “It’s five-on-five basketball. Doesn’t matter how many cameras or how many people are watching. It’s five-on-five basketball and just do the little things — continue to grind, continue to get better.”
Mitchell’s comments brought a smile from Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff, who said he and his staff were meeting about the upcoming season when general manager Koby Altman pulled off the trade.
“It was kind of a curveball when it happened,” Bickerstaff said. “We had had our coaches’ retreat and put a plan in place, so we had to make some changes. But we’ll make it work.”
There will certainly be adjustments ahead for Mitchell. But after playing in Utah, he’s not worried about Cleveland’s dreaded winter.
“I love the cold, to be honest,” he said. “I think I dress better in the cold.”
And if his welcome was any indication, he’s a perfect fit in Cleveland. He’s already learned the Cavs’ fan base stretches well outside Ohio’s borders.
“I didn’t realize how many Cleveland fans there are in America and in the world,” he said. “Like, once I got traded, everywhere people were walking and they were like, ‘I’m a Cleveland fan, I’m a Cleveland fan.’ I was like, ‘Wow, I had no idea.’”
Mitchell should have known. After all, he’s pulled for the Cavs since he could first dribble a ball. When James left Cleveland for Miami in 2010, making his nationally televised “Decision” announcement at a Boys and Girls Club in Connecticut, Mitchell was there in person.
He also remembered James’ return and making good on his promise to deliver Cleveland a championship.
“That was a special moment,” Mitchell said. “He was screaming and I was in my dorm room in Louisville screaming in front of my friends who bet against him or whatever. To be able to see that and now to be part of this organization and a city that really, truly love their team is awesome.”
DUBAI: The International Padel Federation has announced that this year’s IPF World Padel Championship, its flagship biennial tournament, will be held from Oct. 31 to Nov. 5 at Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium.   
Organized by the UAE Padel Association, the Dubai World Padel Championship 2022 operates under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai and chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, and hosted in association with the Dubai Sports Council and Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism.
At the unveiling of the tournament, the UAE Padel Association outlined its plans to transform the 5,000-seat stadium into a showpiece venue for the six-day international competition.
“Hosting the Dubai World Padel Championship will further expand the profile of padel across the UAE, where the sport is already surging in popularity among men and women across all age groups,” said Sheikh Saeed bin Maktoum bin Juma Al-Maktoum, president of the the UAE Padel Association. “There is no limit to the growth of the sport across the Emirates, and we hope this world-class event will cement the UAE’s position as a global capital of padel.
“With the world’s best teams and players now heading to the UAE next month, we are finalizing plans to temporarily convert Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium — a venue renowned for decades of tennis excellence — into purpose-built courts that will facilitate the maximum number of spectators to follow the world-class action,” Sheikh Saeed said.
The Dubai World Padel Championship will feature separate men’s and women’s categories, with 16 national teams set to compete in each contest.
The UAE men’s national team will make its IPF World Padel Championship debut on home turf, with the eight-man squad the only one representing the Arabian Gulf against a number of the game’s leading countries, including Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Egypt, France, Italy, Mexico, Paraguay, Spain and Uruguay. Three additional nations from the final rounds of European qualifying will be added later this month.
National teams that have qualified for the women’s competition include Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Paraguay, Spain, Uruguay and the US, with two more European teams set to be decided in continental qualifiers.
Ahmed Al-Khajja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment, part of the Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism, said: “With hundreds of elite padel players, coaching staff, their families and fans all set to visit Dubai for this international tournament, it will also provide a boost to the city’s sports tourism offering.
“Padel is a growing obsession among sports enthusiasts in Dubai and we expect the city’s padel community to come out in force to welcome the world’s best male and female players during the World Padel Championship — especially as it coincides with this year’s Dubai Fitness Challenge.”
DUBAI: The first Dubai Sail Grand Prix is set to launch from Mina Rashid in the heart of Old Dubai on Nov. 12-13.
The race has been organized in partnership with P&O Marinas, the Dubai Sports Council and Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism.
In the seventh stop on the global league’s calendar — which includes venues such as Bermuda, Chicago, Saint-Tropez, Singapore, Sydney and San Francisco — SailGP’s revolutionary F50 foiling catamarans will sail just minutes away from some of Dubai’s most recognized attractions at Mina Rashid.
SailGP CEO Russell Coutts said: “We are excited to introduce the world’s most exciting racing on-water for the first time to a new wave of fans across Dubai and the wider Middle East. This would not have been possible without the support of our dedicated partners, P&O Marinas, Dubai Sports Council and Dubai Tourism, as we work together to bring the world’s top athletes here to harness the power of nature. I am looking forward to seeing the nine teams showcase our spectacular F50s in Dubai.”
Tickets are now available for the race, which will feature identical catamarans, capable of speeds approaching 100 km an hour. National teams representing Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland and the US will battle it out over two days of racing close to shore.
“At Mina Rashid, we look after some of the most exclusive yachts in the world,” Hamza Mustafa, COO of P&O Marinas said.
“It is an honor and a privilege to host the first Sail GP event in Dubai.”
KARACHI: England’s cricket team touched down in Karachi Thursday on their first tour of Pakistan in 17 years — a lengthy absence brought about by security fears following attacks on international teams.
An airport official told AFP the England squad — 19 players plus support staff — landed at Karachi airport on a commercial flight.
England last played in Pakistan in 2005 and were due to visit again last year until pulling out at short notice after New Zealand also canceled a tour citing safety concerns.
Following a 2009 attack by Islamist militants on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore, Pakistan was forced to play international matches at neutral venues in the UAE.
Cricket has gradually returned and earlier this year Australia toured successfully for the first time in nearly a quarter of a century.
England will play Pakistan in seven Twenty20 games in Karachi and Lahore from September 20 to October 2, before returning in December for three Tests.
Al-Shabab have gone three points clear at the top of the Roshn Saudi League after a 1-0 victory over Al-Adalah at Prince Abdullah bin Jalawi Sports City Stadium on Wednesday night.
The win means Al-Shabab have a maximum of 12 points from four matches, and have yet to concede a goal this season. Al-Adalah remain in 15th place with a solitary point from their four fixtures.
The only goal of the match came from Brazilian forward Carlos Junior after just four minutes, while the match saw the return of Saudi international Fahad Al-Muwallad, who came off the bench three minutes from the end.
In Wednesday’s other match, Al-Tai maintained their fine start to the season with a 1-0 win over Al-Fateh to stay in third place with nine points.
Al-Hilal, who have only played three matches, remain in second place with a maximum of nine points.
Thursday night’s matches will see Al-Batin host Al-Nassr, Al-Ettifaq face Al-Raed at home and Al-Ittihad take on Al-Khaleej in Jeddah.
BERLIN: Luka Doncic and Slovenia roared back from a 23-point deficit, and looked as if they were well on their way to a berth in the EuroBasket semifinals.
Poland had other ideas — and in an absolute shocker, EuroBasket will have a new champion.
Mateusz Ponitka had 26 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists, and Poland beat Slovenia 90-87 to move into the semifinals of the European championships for the first time since 1971.
Vlatko Cancar led Slovenia with 21 points, and Goran Dragic scored 17.
Doncic was held to 14 points on 5-of-15 shooting, though he added 11 rebounds and seven assists. The Dallas Mavericks star needed an injection to get through the game and has been dealing with injuries throughout the tournament, he said.
“But that’s not the reason,” Doncic said. “Today I played terrible. I let my team down. I let the whole country who was supporting us down. I’ve got to look at this game and be better.”
Poland led by 23 late in the second quarter and carried a 58-39 lead into halftime, but Slovenia got within one with a 24-6 run in the third quarter.
Dragic scored to start the fourth and put Slovenia on top, and the lead was 73-68 on a jumper by Klemen Prepelic with 6:58 left.
Poland outscored Slovenia 21-7 over the next six minutes, and held on in the final seconds.
A.J. Slaughter and Michal Sokolowski each scored 16 for Poland, which got 14 from Jaroslaw Zyskowski and 11 from Aleksander Balcerowski.
“Amazing,” Sokolowski said. “And now we can’t stop. … We dreamed about a medal at the beginning. Right now it’s closer, but we don’t have it yet. I want to reach it.”
France pulled off a wild rally at the end of regulation, then carried that momentum into a spot in the EuroBasket semifinals.
Thomas Heurtel scored 20 points, Rudy Gobert had 19 points and 14 rebounds, and France found a way to get past Italy 93-85 in a quarterfinal game on Wednesday.
France was down by seven with 1:59 left in regulation, and that was when it started on what became a 25-10 run to finish the contest.
It was France’s second consecutive fourth-quarter rally and overtime win, after needing the same formula to get past Turkey in the round of 16 on Saturday.
“I don’t really believe in luck,” Gobert said. “Tonight, we could have given up, once again, but we got the baskets we needed.”
Next up for France: Poland on Friday for a berth in the title game. The other half of the semifinal bracket was set Tuesday: Germany will play Spain, also on Friday.
Gobert started the game-ending burst with a dunk to get his team within 75-70.
Italy had a chance to potentially seal the game with 16 seconds left, up by two, but Simone Fontecchio missed a pair of free throws. It was another eerie resemblance to Saturday, when Cedi Osman, with Turkey up by two, missed two free throws with 12.2 seconds left to extend France’s hopes.
Heurtel’s layup tied the game with 5.2 seconds left in regulation. France trailed only once in overtime, for just 23 seconds, and Evan Fournier’s floater with 3:29 left put his team ahead for good.
Fournier scored 17 for France, which got 15 from Guerschon Yabusele and 13 from Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot.
“Congratulations to France,” Italy coach Gianmarco Pozzecco said. “They never gave up.”
Fontecchio and Marco Spissu each had 21 points for Italy, which was seeking its first trip to the EuroBasket semifinals since winning bronze in 2003.
Luigi Datome scored 12 and Nicolo Melli added 10 for Italy, which trailed by as many as 11 in the early going but outscored France 31-18 in the third quarter and led by as many as eight early in the fourth.
“What can I say? Very painful, of course,” Datome said. “Very, very painful. But I’m so proud of my teammates.”


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