Jimmy Valvano Remembered, NBA, MLB, Wimbledon + Free Plays for Friday, July 6, 2012

Jimmy V Speech – Don’t Give Up, Don’t Ever Give Up – Help Cure Cancer

It’s V Foundation week at ESPN. Take a look. This never gets old.

Jimmy Valvano’s 1993 ESPY Speech. “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.”

The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State basketball coach and ESPN commentator. Since 1993, The Foundation has raised more than $115 million to fund cancer research grants nationwide. It awards 100 percent of all new direct cash donations and net proceeds of events directly to cancer research and related programs. The Foundation awards grants through a competitive awards process strictly supervised by a Scientific Advisory Board. For more information on The V Foundation or to make a donation, please visit www.jimmyv.org.

Serena to finals, Federer vs Djokovic today

Serena Williams ripped 24 aces to overpower No. 2-seeded Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6-3, 7-6 (6) Thursday to reach her seventh final at the All England Club. She’ll meet No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, who reached her first Grand Slam final with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over No. 8 Angelique Kerber of Germany. Serena is an overwhelming -700 in the final and a win would make the 30-year-old Williams the first woman at least that age to win a Grand Slam tournament since Martina Navratilova, who was 33 when she won Wimbledon in 1990. It would also tie her with sister Venus with five Wimbledon championships.

Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer will renew their rivalry today in the Men’s semis, the Joker currently listed as a -270 favorite with a +200 return on the Swiss ace. Andy Murray is a -240 favorite over Joe Willie Tsonga in the other semifinal matchup. The winners meet in Sunday’s final.

Around the horn in the NBA

Contract offers cannot be made official until July 11, once the NBA’s 10-day free agency moratorium is complete. Basically these announcements are players agreeing to terms.

Unrestricted free agent point guard Jason Kidd will sign a “multi-year contract” with the New York Knicks, reportedly to act as mentor for Jeremy Lin. Kidd, 39, averaged 6.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.7 steals in 28.7 minutes per game for the Dallas Mavericks last season. Kidd was previously linked to a package deal with Deron Williams to Brooklyn and a three-year $9 million dollar deal to resign with the Mavs.

The Clippers were busy signing signing guards Chauncey Billups and Jamal Crawford. Billups, who played 20 games for the Clippers before a season ending achilles injury has agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $4.3 million dollars. Crawford is is expected to sign a three-year, $15.7 million contract after opting out of his $5.2 million contract with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Ray Allen had also been scheduled to meet with the Clippers but …. that meeting was cancelled after L.A. came to terms with Billups and Crawford so …. Allen will stay in South Florida where he has been negotiating with Miami. The cap-strapped Heat can only offer Allen the mini mid-level exception, which would pay about $3 million this coming year. Allen averaged 14.2 points for Boston this past season.

David Beckham suspend for a game

Major League Soccer’s disciplinary committee announced Thursday the star midfielder has been suspended one game and fined an undisclosed sum for “confrontational and provocative behavior” during and after L.A.’s 4-3 defeat Saturday night at Stanford Stadium. Beckham, impatient as Sam Cronin sat in front of San Jose’s goal after a stoppage-time scrum in the box, twice booted balls at the Earthquakes midfielder and Grajeda, who was standing next to Cronin. The second struck Cronin and then Grajeda, who gave Beckham a yellow card.

Beckham takes exception to dive in injury time

MLB Diamond Dust

The fans have spoken. Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish and Cardinals third baseman David Freese have won MLB’s “Final Vote” slots for the All-Star team. Darvish, a rookie from Japan, led the internet voting from start to finish. Freese ran down Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper on the final day of the voting. Darvish is the the eighth Ranger booked to go to Kansas City for the July 10 game. Freese, the 2011 World Series MVP, is the fifth Cardinal and fourth third baseman on the All-Star roster.

Free Plays

(MLB) Pittsburg (Bedard) -135 over San Francisco (Zito)

(MLB) Washington (Strasburg) -1.5 +108 over Colorado (Pomeranz)

(MLB) NY Mets (Santana) -1.5 +139 over ChiCubs (Woods)

(MLB) LA Dodgers (Kershaw) -110 over Arizona (Collmenter)