Foot Locker Celebrates ‘Original Basketball’ In Canada With DeMar DeRozan

TORONTO, Oct. 26, 2017 /CNW/ — Celebrating the return of the NBA season, Foot Locker announces its latest year-long partnership with Toronto Raptors star and NBA All-Star DeMar DeRozan, designed to drive excitement and build awareness of basketball’s storied history in Canada.

To kick-off the partnership, Foot Locker today debuts “Original Basketball” digitally on its YouTube channel. The piece features basketball players from CIA Bounce the top Canadian basketball program with a number of alums in the ranks of the NBA adopting the 13 original rules of the game as created in 1892 by Canadian-American physical educator, James Naismith. After teaching the players the rules, DeRozan officiated the game, keeping the play true to its original Canadian roots.

“Basketball is back and I’m partnering with Foot Locker to get fans here in Canada excited,” said DeRozan. “Relearning the game by its original rules and then trying my hand at refereeing was hysterical. For me, the strangest rule is that you can’t dribble; you have to shoot or pass once you catch the ball. The ball is really different too, not to mention the basket!”

“Having a partner that personifies all that Canadian basketball stands for is perfect for Foot Locker,” said Patrick Walsh, vice president of marketing for Foot Locker North America. “DeMar has the support of a whole country behind him, and showcasing the best Nike products available at Foot Locker makes him the ideal guy for the job.”

The spot features a great assortment of premium Nike gear, including the Nike Kobe A.D., Nike React Hyperdunk 2017 Flyknit and Nike Dri-FIT basketball apparel, available at Foot Locker stores nationwide and The spot was created by worldwide agency BBDO. DeRozan is expected to be featured in more Canada-specific Foot Locker content over the coming year.

About Foot Locker:
Foot Locker is part of Foot Locker, Inc. (NYSE: FL), a specialty athletic retailer that operates approximately 3,350 stores in 23 countries in North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Through its Foot Locker, Kids Foot Locker, Lady Foot Locker, Champs Sports, Footaction, SIX:02, Runners Point and Sidestep retail stores, as well as its direct-to-customer channels, including, and, the Company is a leading provider of athletic footwear and apparel.

Additional information may be found at | Instagram: @footlockercanada| Twitter: @footlockercad | YouTube: | Facebook: #Approved

Foot Locker Approved. (PRNewsFoto/Foot Locker, Inc.)

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18 minutes ago 4:20 PM 8:34 AM 10/24/2017

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His Illini Travel to Play Usf, and He’s Not Exactly Feeling Emotional About It.

The Illinois Fighting Illini will take on the No. 22 USF Bulls from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on Friday at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. This is a homecoming of sorts for Fighting Illini head coach Lovie Smith, who was the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2014-15, before he was fired after compiling an 8-24 overall record.

Though they showed promise this year with a 6-10 finish — a four-game improvement over 2014. It’s worth noting, though, that they lost their final four games of the season.

Despite the Bucs’ poor finish, the move to dump Smith, 57, just two years into his four-year contract is surprising. Smith’s replacement will be the fourth head coach in Tampa Bay since 2008, a fact that linebacker Lavonte David pointed out on Twitter.

Smith didn’t win many home games at Raymond James, going just 3-13 in two seasons.

That was one of the reasons for his Tampa firing.

GM Jason Licht noted several factors and specifically referenced the team’s poor record over the past two seasons.

“When you have eight wins in two years and three home wins in two years, you’ve been patient enough,” he said.

The Bucs ended up elevating offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.

Smith ended up admitting, after he accepted the Illinois job in March 2016, that he was a bit surprised when the Bucs informed him he was out.

“Disappointed is what I would say,” he said while speaking with Fox Sports’ Colin Cowherd. “I was surprised. Didn’t see it coming. I thought we had a plan and I was a part of that plan. I felt like I put a lot of things in place for the Buccaneers to be successful in years to come.”

As you might expect, he’s not especially excited about coming back to Tampa.

Here’s what he had to say earlier this week about returning to a city he coached in for seven seasons, including his stint as the Bucs’ linebacker coach from 1996-2000:

“I’m just not one of those touchy-feely guys,” Smith said Monday via the Chicago Tribune. “This is about Illinois football right now. I don’t have a whole lot of time to think about things that happened in the past. A lot of friends down there in that organization helped me get my ideal job here at the University of Illinois.”

The Fighting Illini are currently 14-point underdogs against the Bulls.

He might have Illinois on the right track, despite being a first-time college head coach.

Smith’s rebuilding Illinois went 3-9 last season, but it’s off to a 2-0 start this season, with wins over Ball State and Western Kentucky.

Consider Illinois an experiment for 2017.More efficiency could go a long way for an otherwise explosive roster, but we’ll see if the Illini have the talent — and, it should be said, the coaching.

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Mitch Haniger Hits a Grand Slam in His Return, Leads Mariners to 7-6 Win over Tampa Bay

The Mariners’ Mitch Haniger, center, celebrates with Kyle Seager, right, and Nelson Cruz left, after Haniger hit a grand slam off Tampa Bay starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi. (Chris O’Meara/AP)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — There were no remnants of his once mangled lip. No bruising around his mouth or nose. No signs he was ever hurt.

A person unfamiliar with what happened to Mitch Haniger wouldn’t know that he was force-fed a 96 mph from the Mets’ Jacob deGrom in a scary moment that landed him on the disabled list with a severely lacerated upper lip, a small fracture and a concussion.

There was no mental scarring either. Haniger swore that the memory of that scary moment never once bothered him after he was cleared to play baseball again.

“Zero, to be honest with you,” he said. “It’s a fluke thing. It wasn’t the easiest thing to get over. But as soon as I got back into the batter’s box, I felt fine. I’m not timid. I’m not scared of anything up and in, just like I was before.”

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Scott Servais talks about James Paxton’s injury (2:41)

Then he went out and proved it Saturday. Activated from the disabled list that morning and inserted into the starting lineup that night, Haniger singled in his first at-bat and then crushed a third-inning grand slam to ignite the Mariners to a 7-6 victory.

With their fourth straight win, the Mariners improved to 63-61 and 21-9 in their last 30 road games.

Of course, there had to be some late-inning drama. Closer Edwin Diaz, who struggled badly in his previous outing, was brought in to close out the game with a two-run lead. But former teammate Logan Morrison got him for a pinch-hit solo homer with one out. Diaz coolly retired the next two batters to notch his 27th save.

Clad in a modified batting helmet with an extended flap to protect his cheek and jaw, Haniger looked a little like a gladiator in the batter’s box.

“As far as vision goes, it’s been fine,” he said. “It was weird getting used to swinging because it will hit your arm when you swing and miss. And it feels heavier; here’s a whole piece of the helmet that weighs down one side. Running is weird with it.”

But he felt no weirdness driving a 1-0 cutter that was up in the zone over the wall in left off Rays starter Jake Odorizzi.

Seattle added to its lead an inning later. Yonder Alonso scored Jean Segura from second with a single to center. And Nelson Cruz continued his torrid pace, launching a two-run homer to right field. Tthe umpires initially ruled it a double as the ball hit off a railing behind the fence and bounced back into play. But after a 45 second review, the umpires reversed the call and Cruz had his 31st homer of the season, giving the Mariners a 7-2 lead.

It gave Cruz 100 runs batted in with 38 games left to play.

Starter Ariel Miranda gave the Mariners a decent outing, using the ample run support to his advantage. Over the first five innings, he allowed just two runs, earning him a chance to start the sixth inning with a 7-2 lead and get a quality start. But it didn’t happen. After not allowing a homer for five innings, he served up a solo smash to left-center to Steven Souza Jr. For the Cascade standout, it was his 26th homer of the season and it ended Miranda’s outing.

But his replacement, Emilio Pagan, wasn’t much better. Pagan gave up a single and then served up a two-run homer to Lucas Duda to right-center that cut the lead to 7-5. Pagan was able to get two outs and Marc Rzepczynski came in and ended the inning with a strikeout of Kevin Kiermaier.

Wild things AL wild-card standings: Team W-L GB N.Y. Yankees Minnesota L.A. Angels Kansas City xxxx Seattle

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