Photos: Luis Suarez and Giorgio Chiellini reunion sends internet into meltdown

first_imgThe Champions League and Luis Suarez are inextricably intertwined.At least in the striker’s mind. Interviewing him for TalkSPORT around this time last year, the Uruguayan spoke at length about several topics but the one area he constantly referred back to was Europe’s premier competition.”Dream” was the noun he used most. In the four long years he spent away from it, the Champions League had taken on something of a mystical quality for Suarez. The simple pursuit of hearing that anthem again was enough to drive him to tireless effort with Liverpool. Now, 14 months since that conversation, the No. 9 is not only back in the Champions League, he is one game away from winning it as his Barcelona side take on Juventus.But, if that wasn’t enough to motivate him, there is also the presence of two individuals on the opposite side of the field that have played a part in defining Suarez’s career. As most will know, separate confrontations with defenders Patrice Evra and Giorgio Chiellini led to Suarez missing eight games for Liverpool and 11 for Barcelona through suspensionThe Champions League final will see Luis Suarez facing Giorgio Chiellini for the first time since the Uruguayan bit him on the shoulder at last year’s World Cup.And perhaps unsurprisingly, the internet finds this absolutely hilarious. Here’s some of the best memes so far… –last_img read more

Lakers’ Byron Scott skeptical Kobe Bryant wants farewell tour

first_imgWell before he heard countless cheers during introductions and anytime he made a basket, Kobe Bryant stayed alone on the court perfecting something he has mastered for nearly 20 years.Bryant shot the basketball. Nearly 2½ hours before the Lakers’ season opener against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday at Staples Center, Bryant shot endlessly from various spots along the perimeter. As Bryant worked up a sweat, most of those attempts swished into the basket. “I just love playing. I just love it,” Bryant said. “I love the preparation of it. I want to do it as much as I can, even now for me. It’s just a matter of not doing too much. I don’t look at it as training. I look at it as enjoying what I’m doing.” Would Bryant like the same treatment?“He deserves it, but I don’t think Kobe wants something like that,” Scott said. “Kobe just wants to play.”• Photos: Los Angeles Lakers take on Minnesota Timberwolves in opening game of NBA seasonBryant’s $25 million contract will expire after the 2015-16 season. But he has not decided on his retirement date. Still, the Lakers will honor Bryant’s 20th season with the franchise throughout the year. They featured Bryant’s image on ticket stubs as well as various photos of his career on the team’s media guide. “Everybody is assuming it’s his last year,” Scott said. “Everywhere we go, people are going to show that appreciation for him.” Although he expressed optimism about Bryant prolonging his career, Scott said he has not discussed the future with his star player. “I don’t think that’s something he wants to talk about,” Scott said. “He wants to see how this season goes. In the summer, he’ll weigh the pros and cons and go from there.”Fond memoriesThe Lakers made a statement far more powerful than anything they could have done on the basketball court. They wore gray T-Shirts during pre-game warmups with the words “Flip” on the front and the former Minneapolis Lakers logo.The gesture paid homage to Minnesota Timberwolves executive and coach Flip Saunders dying on Sunday at the age of 60 from cancer. Lakers public address announcer Lawrence Tanter then led a moment of silence before player introductions.“I wish I had known him better and spent more time with him. But in the moments I had with him, he was an unbelievable person,” said Scott, who knew Saunders informally at coaches meetings and golf tournaments. “He made you feel like you’ve known him for a while, even if you just spent 10 or 15 minutes with him.” Lakers assistant coach Mark Madsen spent more time with Saunders, who coached him from 2003-05 with the Timberwolves. Madsen waxed nostalgic on how Saunders immediately invited him to his home and helped out at his summer basketball camp. “He was spinning the ball on his finger and putting it behind his back,” Madsen told Los Angeles News group. “The kids had such a good time. Flip didn’t have to do that in the summer time with his family schedule. But he did.”Saunders also granted Madsen his most playing time, averaging a career-high 17.3 minutes in the 2003-04 season.“He made me more confident as a player,” Madsen said. “Every time I saw Flip, he built me up and I knew he cared about me. I cared about him.” The scene sounded similar to Bryant’s rookie season when Lakers teammate Byron Scott noticed him working out at the Forum. Bryant then often told Scott, now the Lakers’ coach, the following goal. “‘I want to be the best player in this league,’” Scott recalled Bryant saying. “He’s always been driven. It hasn’t changed. The only thing that has changed is he’s gotten older.”Much older. The 37-year-old Bryant has entered his 20th and perhaps final NBA season, which sets a league record over former Utah guard John Stockton for most seasons played for one franchise. Bryant called his longevity “crazy.” He praised the Lakers by saying “I’m just extremely fortunate and extremely blessed to be selected by such a classy organization.” Bryant then noted how he “this is like the fifth generation I’ve played against,” ticking off Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul. “It’s unbelievable,” Scott said of Bryant’s longevity. “I don’t know if we’ll see that again.”Scott saw something somewhat similar, though. He played with former Lakers center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who played 20 NBA seasons, including 14 with the Lakers. During the 1988-89 season, the NBA honored Abdul-Jabbar with various tributes. Scott described that season as “a circus everywhere we went.” center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more