BRIEFS - NBA players eye gold at world championships

Associated Press

This time, there is no NBA labor trouble. And this time, the United States intends to do a lot better than a bronze medal at the world championships.

The United States is favored in the 16-team tournament in Indianapolis and begins play tonight against Algeria. The Americans will play Germany on Friday night and China on Saturday night.

A labor dispute prevented NBA players from competing in the last world championships. Now the Americans are set on reclaiming the title.

"Just to wear the USA across your chest and know you represent something way bigger than yourself is a great accomplishment," said Jay Williams, who left Duke after three years and was the second pick in the NBA draft by Chicago. "For us, our goal is to win that gold."


"Anytime you have a chance to represent your country after 9-11, I just think it's the best opportunity."

The United States has been waiting for another chance in the world championships since 1998, when its team of CBA, college and overseas players finished third behind Yugoslavia and Russia. Both U.S. losses in the tournament, to Lithuania and Russia, were by two points.

"The international basketball family is not that far off from beating the U.S. squad," Reggie Miller of the Indiana Pacers said. "These guys come over, they play in college, they get drafted and play in the pros. Out of the top 10 or 15 players in the (NBA) league, quite a few of them are international players. So it's not inconceivable, it's not that far off. Yes, we're heavily favored, but anything is possible."

Also on the U.S. team are Jermaine O'Neal of Indiana, Elton Brand and Andre Miller of the Los Angeles Clippers, Antonio Davis of Toronto, Baron Davis of New Orleans, Michael Finley and Raef LaFrentz of Dallas, Shawn Marion of Phoenix, Paul Pierce of Boston and Ben Wallace of Detroit.

Yugoslavia has five NBA players, including All-Star Predrag Stojakovic of Sacramento, and could be the strongest challenger for the United States. Besides Stojakovic, the Yugoslav team includes Sacramento's Vlade Divac, Seattle's Vladimir Radmanovic and Predrag Drobnjak, and the Clippers' Marko Jaric.

The German team includes NBA All-Star Dirk Nowitzki of Dallas, and the Chinese team has 7-foot-5 Yao Ming, taken by Houston as the first pick in the NBA draft in June.


The New England Patriots have extended the contract of quarterback Tom Brady, who led the team to a Super Bowl victory last season. Terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed. Brady, as one of the league's lowest-paid starting quarterbacks, was set to make $375,000 this year. He made $298,000 last year.…


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Lleyton Hewitt's $103,000 fine for refusing to do a required TV interview probably will be reduced on appeal. Calling that amount unreasonable, ATP Tour chief Mark Miles said at the U.S. Open that he expects the panel of former players that considers such appeals to reduce Hewitt's penalty, perhaps to as low as $10,000-$20,000. Hewitt was docked half his prize money at the Tennis Masters Series event in Cincinnati this month because he didn't do an interview with ESPN, which televised the tournament. He reached the final there.…

; Mark Philippoussis, forced to retire from his first-round match at the U.S. Open, is expected to miss two months because of a hyper-extended left knee and bone bruise.…

; Three-time Wimbledon champion Boris Becker leads the list of nominees for next year's induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. French women's doubles ace Francoise "Frankie" Durr and American Nancy Richey were nominated in the Master Player category.


Colorado pitcher Kent Mercker was suspended for four games, and the New York Mets' David Weathers was suspended for three for throwing at batters Sunday at Coors Field. New York manager Bobby Valentine and Colorado's Clint Hurdle also were suspended for one game each. All four men were fined, and Rockies pitcher Denny Neagle also was fined for throwing at Timo Perez in the first inning.…

; Indians third baseman Travis Fryman, who has struggled most of the year following offseason shoulder surgery, announced that he will retire at the end of the season. Fryman is a five-time All-Star.…


; The Cleveland Indians have asked a federal judge to stop the Indian Motorcycle Co. of Gilroy, Calif., from using a script logo similar to the team's logo.


An IOC panel has recommended dropping baseball and softball from the Summer Olympics. The panel also proposed adding golf and rugby for the 2008 Beijing Games. If the panel's changes are adopted, there would be 27 sports if baseball, softball and modern pentathlon were dropped, and rugby and golf were added. Officials said an unspecified third new sport was also under consideration.…

; The front-running cities of Vancouver, British Columbia, and Salzburg, Austria, were among four finalists selected in the race for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Bern, Switzerland, and Pyeongchang, South Korea, also made the cut as the International Olympic Committee executive board halved the field of eight candidates to a short list of official bidders. The winner will be chosen in July 2003.…

; The IOC executive board recommended expelling Indonesian member Mohamad "Bob" Hasan, who is serving a six-year prison term for corruption. Hasan, an IOC member since 1994, was a business partner of former Indonesian strongman Suharto.


Jose Noriega scored a goal as Mexico's Morelia advanced to the CONCACAF Champions Cup final, tying the Kansas City Wizards 1-1 for a 7-2 victory in the two-game semifinal series.

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