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'I can no longer stay silent': Michael Jordan pledges $2M to foster community, police relations

Michael Jordan announced he will donate $2 million to two organizations that strive to improve community and police relations, according to ESPN's sports and culture website The Undefeated.

Jordan released a letter to the sports news site saying that he would donate $1 million to the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations and $1 million to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

>> Read more trending stories  

Jordan wrote that he can "no longer stay silent" in light of recent racial tension and violence between citizens and law enforcement officers. 

He called for new policies to ensure that citizens of color are treated fairly and that police officers receive respect and support. 

Both groups were informed of the donations Sunday night.

"We're surprised and shocked, but obviously thrilled," said Sherrilyn Ifill, the president and director of the Legal Defense Fund. "We've been working on these issues for some many years, and it's great to hear that Michael Jordan and his people are aware of our work and are willing to make a contribution."

"What an opportunity for Michael Jordan to do this and help raise the discussion between police and the members of the communities they serve," said Terrence Cunningham, the IACP president and chief of the Wellesley, Massachusetts, police department. "The IACP aims to provide a toolbox for departments and communities to come together to discuss implicit bias and police legitimacy, and this is an opportunity to help that along."

"I applaud Michael Jordan for these donations," NBA commissioner Adam Silver told The Undefeated Monday. "His championing of important social issues including fundamental civil and human rights carries enormous impact in communities everywhere."

Here is Jordan's full statement:

"As a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers. I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well. "I was raised by parents who taught me to love and respect people regardless of their race or background, so I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late. I know this country is better than that, and I can no longer stay silent. We need to find solutions that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment AND that police officers -- who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all – are respected and supported. "Over the past three decades I have seen up close the dedication of the law enforcement officers who protect me and my family. I have the greatest respect for their sacrifice and service. I also recognize that for many people of color their experiences with law enforcement have been different than mine. I have decided to speak out in the hope that we can come together as Americans, and through peaceful dialogue and education, achieve constructive change. "To support that effort, I am making contributions of $1 million each to two organizations, the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The Institute for Community-Police Relations’ policy and oversight work is focused on building trust and promoting best practices in community policing. My donation to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s oldest civil rights law organization, will support its ongoing work in support of reforms that will build trust and respect between communities and law enforcement. Although I know these contributions alone are not enough to solve the problem, I hope the resources will help both organizations make a positive difference. "We are privileged to live in the world’s greatest country -- a country that has provided my family and me the greatest of opportunities. The problems we face didn’t happen overnight and they won’t be solved tomorrow, but if we all work together, we can foster greater understanding, positive change and create a more peaceful world for ourselves, our children, our families and our communities."

Read more at The Undefeated

NBA pulls 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte

The NBA decided to relocate the 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte with the hope of rescheduling for 2019, due to the controversial HB2 law.

Officially known as The Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, the state law which went into effect earlier this year restricts public restroom use to the sex listed on an individual's birth certificate. Critics claim the law discriminates against transgendered people. Supporters say it is about privacy and safety.

The game was expected to have an economic impact upwards of $100 million, but NBA commissioner Adam Silver said last month that the league is looking at other venues for the event.

The NBA released a statement addressing their decision to move the game Thursday afternoon.

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Losing the All-Star Game is another blow to Charlotte, which lost hundreds of jobs when PayPal halted plans for expansion into the city.

Technology executives from companies such as Google, PayPal and Pinterest sent a letter to Silver earlier this month urging him to move the game if the HB2 law isn't changed.

Gov. Pat McCrory didn't express concern earlier this month for losing the game. 

"I respect people's opinions on both sides of this issue. It's a complex issue which is going to be resolved in the courts," McCrory said.

Hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues are bracing for a loss of some much anticipated revenue. Sid Smith with the Charlotte Area Hotel Association told WSOC losing the game could put hotels in a pinch.

"We have to hold the rooms, so who knows what might be sellable or who knows, the All-Star game might be here," he said. "If they pull out, then we just have less time to try to fill those openings."

NBA legend Nate Thurmond dies at 74

Nate Thurmond, the Golden State Warriors center who was voted one of the 50 best players in NBA history had died at the age of 75.

According to the NBA, Thurmond died after a short battle with leukemia.

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Known as "Big Nate," Thurmond was a seven-time NBA All-Star and considered to be one of the greatest centers to ever play the game.

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985.

NBA legend Nate Thurmond dies at 74

Nate Thurmond, the Golden State Warriors center who was voted one of the 50 best players in NBA history had died at the age of 75.

According to the NBA, Thurmond died after a short battle with leukemia.

>> Read more trending stories 

Known as "Big Nate," Thurmond was a seven-time NBA All-Star and considered to be one of the greatest centers to ever play the game.

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985.

Police working WNBA game quit over team's Black Lives Matter shirts

Four off-duty Minneapolis police officers working a Minnesota Lynx WNBA game reportedly walked off the job after the team wore warm-up shirts supporting Black Lives Matter. 

>> Click here to watch the video from Newsy

"When we look at the facts, it's hard to deny there's a real problem in our society," Lynx player Rebekkah Brunson said during a press conference. 

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports the four officers were working security for the game on Saturday but left prematurely and took their names off the list for working future Lynx events. 

Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis Police Federation, commended the officers' actions. He told the outlet, "If [the players] are going to keep their stance, all officers may refuse to work there." 

>> Read more trending stories

The Lynx wore the shirts prior to their game against Dallas. 

The shirts featured the shield for the Dallas Police Department, the name of Alton Sterling and the name of Philando Castile, who was fatally shot by police in nearby Falcon Heights. 

Castile's death has sparked several protests in the Minneapolis area. 

Over the weekend, protesters shut down a major highway in St. Paul for several hours. More than 100 protesters were arrested after police say the gathering got out of hand. 

The Lynx reportedly still had private security at the game after the officers' walkout. 

This video includes images from the Minnesota Lynx and Getty Images.

Dwyane Wade to join Chicago Bulls on two-year, $47 million deal

Dwyane Wade won't be creating a second NBA evil empire with LeBron James in Cleveland. 

The 34-year-old shooting guard is leaving the Miami Heat and joining the Chicago Bulls on a two-year, $47 million deal, ESPN reported.

>> Read more trending stories 

In a letter to Heat fans, Wade said: "This has been an extremely emotional and tough decision to come to. ... From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank the Miami community and especially #HEATNATION for all of their love and support over the years."

Many fans clamored for Wade to join his old buddy James with the Cavaliers after Kevin Durant decided to join the already stacked Golden State Warriors.  

Wade and James played together in Miami from 2010 to 2014, winning two NBA Championships in that four-year span. 

The Wade-to-Cleveland plot thickened after the Cavaliers' Twitter account followed both Wade and his wife, actress Gabrielle Union. 

Instead, Wade will go to a team that's in flux. The team traded Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks in exchange for Robin Lopez and two other players.

Shortly thereafter, they lost Joakim Noah to the Knicks, too, via free agency. 

Still, they've got Jimmy Butler at the helm and prized rookie Denzel Valentine.

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This video includes clips from 20th Century Fox / "Star Wars Episode VI - Return of the Jedi," The Miami HeraldFox SportsAdidas and CSN Chicago and images from Getty Images. 

Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade heading for Chicago Bulls

Dwyane Wade announced his return to Miami in 2014 on Twitter, proclaiming himself a “Heat Lifer.” As Wade made his latest free-agent decision Wednesday night, his Twitter account was silent.

The news was that stunning. The man behind the term “Heat Lifer” is leaving Miami.

Wade plans to sign with the Chicago Bulls on a two-year, $47 million contract, according to The Vertical, walking away from the only professional franchise he’s ever played for. The Vertical also reported that the contract contains a one-year option that could make Wade a free agent again next summer.

It’s a homecoming for the 34-year-old, who grew up in Chicago rooting for the Bulls.

>> Read more trending stories

“This was not an easy decision, but I feel I have made the right choice for myself and my family,” Wade wrote in a letter to Miami, released to The Associated Press.

Contract talks between the Heat and Wade turned ugly this summer and pushed the best player in franchise history to explore his options.

Wade, who spent the first 13 seasons of his career with Miami, was looking for the Heat to prioritize his free agency. Instead, the Heat pursued free agents Hassan Whiteside and Kevin Durant before turning their attention to Wade.

Contract talks were tense last summer as well, but a meeting with Heat owner Micky Arison got Wade to stay on a one-year, $20 million deal.

The Heat used a similar strategy this time, with Arison traveling to New York on Wednesday to meet with Wade in an attempt to repair the organization’s relationship with the 12-time All-Star. Arison reportedly got the final face-to-face meeting with Wade after he met with Bucks and Nuggets officials, but it wasn’t enough to keep him in Miami.

Late Wednesday night, Arison thanked Wade on Twitter for his years in Miami.

“Thank you @DwyaneWade for a great 13 yrs! You’ve had a tremendous impact on our community and our organization. We wish you all the best.”

>> Click here to see the tweet

Wade was looking for a deal worth around $50 million over two years, according to a report from ESPN on Tuesday. Wade also was interested in a longer deal, as The Vertical reported that he wanted a third year on his contract.

A source confirmed Monday that the Heat offered Wade a two-year, $40 million contract with a player option for the second year. Wade would have made $20 million in each season.

According to The Vertical, the Heat were unwilling to add a third year to their final offer.

With only $20 million of cap space remaining after locking up Whiteside on a max four-year deal, the Heat would have had to trade Josh McRoberts to free up another $5 million in cap space in order to meet Wade’s monetary demands.

Wade held face-to-face meetings with the Bucks, Heat and Nuggets on Wednesday in New York.

Chicago officials also were scheduled to meet with Wade, but it was canceled because the Bulls’ flight “kept getting pushed back,” according to The Vertical. The mishap obviously didn’t hurt Chicago’s chances of landing Wade. The Bulls reportedly were clearing cap space on Wednesday prior to finalizing the deal for Wade.

The news sets up an interesting episode of “Live With Kelly.” Wade is scheduled to co-host “Live With Kelly,” anchored by Kelly Ripa, at 9 a.m. Thursday on ABC.

With Wade out of the picture, Miami still has $20 million in cap space to work with this offseason. The Heat currently have seven players under contract for next season, assuming Whiteside signs his contract when the NBA signing moratorium concludes today: Chris Bosh (due $23.7 million next season), Whiteside (due $22 million next season), Goran Dragic (due $15.9 million next season), McRoberts (due $5.8 million next season), Justise Winslow (due $2.6 million next season), Briante Weber (due $219,000 guaranteed and could earn up to $875,000 next season), and Josh Richardson (due $875,000 non-guaranteed next season).

With Miami’s current cap situation, one option for the Heat is to match Tyler Johnson’s four-year, $50 million offer sheet from the Nets. Miami also can look to retain free agent Udonis Haslem, who earned $2.8 million last season, with the $2.9 million room exception.

After being drafted by the Heat with the fifth overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft, Wade won three championships and built a Hall of Fame legacy with Miami. Wade leaves the Heat as the organization’s all-time leader in games (855), minutes played (30,560), points (20,221), assists (4,944) and steals (1,414).

Without Wade, the Heat will have to build around the core of Bosh, Dragic and Whiteside – if Bosh is able to return from recurring blood clot issues. Whiteside is the only free agent the Heat have locked up this summer.

Kevin Durant is joining the Golden State Warriors

The wait is over. NBA free agent Kevin Durant is now a Golden State Warrior.

>> Read more trending stories

The former Oklahoma City Thunder small forward made the announcement via The Players' Tribune on Monday.

He wrote: "I have decided that I am going to join the Golden State Warriors. ... I will miss Oklahoma City, and the role I have had in building this remarkable team. "

Durant now joins a strong core of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green on the West Coast.

Several teams courted Durant and his services this offseason, possibly none harder than the Boston Celtics, who rolled out a celebrity-filled red carpet for the 27-year-old.

The Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat and more were also rumored to be recruiting Durant.

Durant's decision was the most anticipated of a 2016 NBA free agency period that's seen teams practically giving away money.

As of Monday morning, of the six players scoring massive $100-million-plus deals, only one changed teams — Al Horford going from the Atlanta Hawks to the Boston Celtics.

Durant is a seven-time NBA All-Star and a former MVP. He's expected to highlight a somewhat depleted Team USA basketball team in Rio de Janeiro at the Olympics starting next month.

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Al Horford agrees to 4-year, $113M deal with Celtics

The Al Horford era in Atlanta is over.

>> RELATED STORY: Tom Brady helps Celtics try to recruit Kevin Durant

Horford, who has been a cornerstone for the Hawks for nearly a decade, agreed to a maximum four-year, $113 million deal with the Boston Celtics on Saturday. The Hawks failed to offer the four-time All-Star center a maximum five-year, $153 million deal. Horford will leave the team he joined as the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.

He announced his decision on social media, posting on Twitter: “Celtic Pride!!!!!" with many shamrock emojis.

>> Read more trending stories

The deal comes hours after news of Tom Brady joining the Celtics contingent in New York as part of a pitch to free agent Kevin Durant.

– WFXT in Boston contributed to this report.

Tom Brady helps Celtics try to recruit Kevin Durant

New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady apparently joined Celtics brass and players in the Hamptons as part of their pitch to recruit Kevin Durant to Boston.

A tweet showed Brady walking down a street with Danny Ainge and a host of Celtics front office members and current Celtics players Saturday afternoon on their way to pitch Durant to come to Boston.

>> RELATED STORY: Al Horford agrees to 4-year, $113M deal with Celtics

In the past, Durant gushed over the Patriots quarterback, calling Brady his favorite athlete of all time. Bringing him into the pitch meeting is a power move for the Celtics. 

>> Read more trending stories

The Celtics are one of five teams Durant is entertaining this weekend, including the Warriors, Clippers, Spurs and Heat.

Durant has spent his entire nine year NBA career with the Oklahoma Thunder. He’s averaged just over 28 points per game and is a seven-time All Star.

Durant is expected to receive a max contract from whichever team he chooses.

Big Papi sent a tweet Saturday saying, “Yo @KDTrey5 sorry I couldn't make the meeting today but Brady will tell u they don't call Boston the City of Champions for nothing.”

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