(REUTERS) – Former Australia Test player Adam Gilchrist can relate to the ongoing pay dispute between the board and the cricketers and is optimistic of a timely resolution of the row which has cast a shadow of doubt over this year’s Ashes series.Australia faces a possible player strike or lockout if the protracted negotiation over a new pay deal for the country’s international and state cricketers cannot be resolved by the June 30 deadline, when current contracts expire.Gilchrist’s career was in the nascent stage when the current revenue-sharing model came into effect in 1997 and the former stumper-batsman could see the similarities.“The players are sticking together with that unity, and that was certainly the case back then and I was a young player having my very first contract with Cricket Australia dangled in front of me, and here were my senior peers saying: ‘Don’t sign it, don’t break, don’t crumble’,” he told Fox Sports.“And we didn’t, and 20 years later conditions are fantastic for players now. There’s no doubt about that. So that end result has been terrific. There’ll be an end; there will be an end to it.“We’re nearly at June 30, so that’s approaching quickly. I wouldn’t be surprised if they’ve been meeting in the last few days, the players’ association and the board. I think both sides are going to have to compromise,” added Gilchrist.Vice-captain David Warner has revealed the threat of Australian cricketers skipping the Ashes series, starting in November, against England was a reality.“If we are unemployed we have no contracts, we can’t play,” he told reporters in England, where the side are playing the Champions Trophy.At the heart of the dispute is the arrangement whereby the players share a fixed percentage of up to 26 percent of CA revenue, a model the board said was “starving” the grassroots of the game of funding.The players’ union has criticised CA for acting like a “heavy monopoly” and demanded the negotiation continues.“So while the players feel CA has gone about this all wrong, they are still prepared to offer good faith and solutions,” Alistair Nicholson, the chief executive of the Australian Cricketers’ Association, wrote in column for the Herald Sun.“What needs to happen is that CA move somewhere towards the middle, because the players are already there. Ready and waiting for common sense to prevail.”Gilchrist said he had spoken to both parties and believed the CA had made a fair offer to the players.“I think Cricket Australia is offering a very, very fair deal for players. No one is going to go without and everyone is growing and increasing.”
By Brian HomewoodCAIRO, Egypt (Reuters) – Kenya, helped by a Michael Olunga brace, twice came from behind to beat East African neighbours Tanzania 3-2 yesterday and chalk up their second-ever win at the Africa Cup of Nations.Simon Msuva and Mbwana Samatta put Tanzania in front but Olunga and Johanna Omolo levelled for the Harambee Stars before Olunga struck the winner nine minutes from time.Kenya, who had won only once in 15 previous matches in the competition, have three points from two games in Group C, level with Senegal. Tanzania have yet to get off the mark. Although neither team are among the heavyweights of African football, they produced a remarkably open contest with a hatful of chances.Kenya coach Sebastien Migne said before the match that it was time for his team, who are taking part at their sixth Afcon tournament, to end their run of falling at the first hurdle each time. But they were caught napping in the sixth minute as Tanzania took a shock lead. An end-to-end move ended with Samatta being sent clear down the left, his shot was parried by Patrick Matasi and Msuva turned in the rebound.Helped by the generous amount of space given to them by Tanzania, Kenya began to create openings and Erick Ouma had a close-range effort brilliantly stopped by goalkeeper Aishi Manula before Olunga hit the crossbar. They equalised in the 39th minute with an acrobatic effort. A free kick into the area was pushed away by Manula, the ball bounced off Tanzania defender Erasto Nyoni and was hooked into the net by Olunga who showed excellent reactions.Kenya still seemed to be celebrating one minute later when Samatta won the ball in the penalty area and the Belgian-based forward fired a low shot into the net. The game continued in the same vein in the second half and Kenya levelled again in the 63rd minute, Omolo scoring with a diving header from a low cross at the near post.Kenya snatched victory when they broke out of defence and the ball was played to Olunga, whose shot sneaked between Manula and his near post.
Making this declaration after a closed-door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in the State House, the Minister of Sports and Youth Development, Solomon Dalung, said Nigeria would not be cowed by the outbreak of the deadly disease.According to him, instead of cancelling the match, machinery would be put in place for a thorough screening of the players before their take-off in DR Congo and upon their arrival in Nigeria.According to him, “the players will come to Nigeria in a chartered flight and nobody else will be allowed to arrive the country for the match through any other means except the chartered flight,” the minister affirmed.Dalung, who said the Ministries of Sport and Health are collaborating effectively to ensure that thorough screening of the players and their allies is carried out before the kick-off of the match, added that it had been discovered that the disease is domiciled only in one place and has not spread to other parts of the country.He also said ensuring that the match was allowed to take place had become compelling because its cancellation might be counter-productive for the country in future.“Nigeria is going to play the friendly with DRC. I have discussed with the Federal Ministry of Health, with the World Health Organisation. We have reviewed the situation and received adequate information about it. So, we have agreed on major approaches. One, the DRC team is coming through a chartered flight and those coming for the match will be using that chartered flight and they would have been screened from the DRC and they will be screened here in Nigeria.“There is going to be no any other person that is going to be admitted using any other means of transportation for the match. We also discovered that the Ebola outbreak is limited to a particular place and it has not escalated. So, we wouldn’t want to run the risk of setting a precedent which we will later be a victim of,” he said.Dalung also said Nigeria was not going to Russia for the tournament as a spectator but as a contender with the determination to bring the cup to Nigeria in July adding that the promise made to the Eagles by the authorities that their earnings would be paid upfront would be kept.“We are going to Russia as contestants and not as participants. As to what stage will Nigeria reach this time, we are not going there to end mid-way.“We are going there for the cup and we will do everything possible within our best to make sure that we get to realise our ambitions. Very soon, I think after their match in Port Harcourt, we will hand over promises we made to them which is paying them all their allowances upfront before the move,” Dalung added.The minister also said he was satisfied with the selection of the World Cup squad by the Super Eagles Technical Adviser, Genot Rohr, explaining that he had been given the free hand to make his own choices of the players without any interference.“Yes, I am satisfied. This is because the grand rule I gave was that the National Technical Adviser should be given a free hand to determine the team at every stage – no interference. Nobody should even suggest anything to him. So, that is his judgement,” he explained.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram AHEAD OF RUSSIA 2018Omololu Ogunmade in AbujaDespite repeated calls for the cancellation of international friendly match between Super Eagles of Nigeria and DR Congo on May 28 in preparation for the 2018 World Cup, the federal government has insisted that the match would not be called off following the festering outbreak of Ebola virus in the country.
Aditya Tannu | Daily Trojan Attendees at The Russian Impact on Japan event peruse primary Japanese language materials that make up the majority of the Japanese collection at USC. The event held Thursday, included Professor Peter Berton’s memories of researching Japan during the Cold War.
View Gallery (2 Photos)After the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team had its 17-game winning streak snapped Wednesday, senior forward Alando Tucker is looking for the Badgers to go on yet another run.”We have eight more games of the regular season left and we have to finish that out,” Tucker said. “I definitely plan to go undefeated in these eight games.”UW senior guard Kammron Taylor one-upped Tucker’s lofty goals.”It was a great accomplishment,” Taylor said of the 17-game winning streak. “But we still have another 17 games left, hopefully.”The only way the Badgers could go on another 17-game winning steak is if they take care of the eight remaining regular-season games, win three games to capture the Big Ten Tournament and run the table in the NCAA Tournament to win it all.Even though Tucker and Taylor’s goals may be rather grand, the Badgers certainly know they don’t like the taste of defeat after Wednesday’s disappointing 71-66 loss to No. 25 Indiana. After all, Nov. 24 was the last time they lost.”Two months without taking a bump — that’s a long time,” UW head coach Bo Ryan said.The second-ranked Badgers (21-2 overall, 7-1 Big Ten) will have an opportunity to quickly bounce back from only their second loss of the season as the Northwestern Wildcats (11-10, 1-7) visit the Kohl Center Saturday.In the first matchup between the two teams this season, Wisconsin escaped Welsh-Ryan Arena with a 56-50 victory. The Badgers were stymied by a pesky 1-3-1 Wildcats defense, but this time around Wisconsin feels much more comfortable against the zone.”I think we got a lot of good looks in the second half when we played them there on how to attack their zone,” Tucker said. “We were more aggressive towards pounding it on the inside.”At first, Wisconsin struggled mightily against Northwestern’s zone defense in the Jan. 13 game, trailing 36-31 with 15 minutes remaining in the second half. But then Tucker started to take over, sparking an 8-2 Badgers run by attacking the rim.Forwards Brian Butch and Marcus Landry also stepped up and provided a much-needed low post presence. Butch finished with nine points and seven rebounds, and Landry finished with eight points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots.Saturday, Tucker will be looking to Butch and Landry for big games once again.”We’re definitely going to try to send a lot of guys to the glass,” Tucker said. “That’s where Brian and Marcus cleaned up last time — they were able to attack the glass and that’s what’s going to help us win.”But while Wisconsin will be looking to attack the rim, Taylor knows taking care of the ball will be crucial as well.In the last meeting versus the Wildcats, Taylor had no assists and two turnovers. Since then, the Badgers’ starting point guard has made a conscious effort to distribute the ball more efficiently. Since the Northwestern game, a span of five games, Taylor has averaged an assist-to-turnover ratio of nearly 2-to-1.”The guards are where the point-off attack starts,” Taylor said. “We just have to do a good job of taking care of the ball and try to find a way to get the ball inside the paint and work from there.”While Tucker and Taylor may be looking to go on an eight- or 17-game winning streak starting Saturday, the Badgers are simply going to go about their business as they have been all season: one game at a time.”That’s the way we’re looking at it — just one game,” Butch said. “We had a little setback [against Indiana], but we’re able to come out, get some of that out of our system and get ready for Saturday.”
USC Marshall faculty, students and alumni gathered at Tommy Trojan on Wednesday morning for another protest against the termination of Marshall Dean James Ellis. (Photo courtesy of Greg Autry)The USC Board of Trustees announced its support of the decision to terminate Marshall School of Business Dean James Ellis after a three-hour board meeting Wednesday. The meeting followed after protests from students, faculty, staff and alumni who said Ellis’ term was wrongfully cut short.“Following previous board discussions in October and November, today Interim President Wanda Austin presented to the executive committee and to the full Board of Trustees the facts in the matter involving USC Marshall School of Business Dean Jim Ellis,” the Board of Trustees wrote in a statement to the Daily Trojan. Nearly 30 students, faculty, staff and alumni gathered outside Bovard Auditorium to protest Austin’s decision before the board meeting. Protestors wore “I Stand with Dean Ellis” shirts and held “I Love Dean Ellis” signs.Thomas Papa, former president of the Marshall Alumni Association, attended the rally and said he hopes that the Board of Trustees will disclose more information regarding the grounds for Ellis’ termination to the public.“It’s hard to understand why the decision by the interim president was made,” Papa said. “I hope that’s the first thing that comes out — that we get some facts. Secondly, [I hope] that there is a way forward to keep Ellis as the dean of the business school until sometime when he wants to step down voluntarily.”Ellis announced in an email to the USC community last week that he would step down in June 2019. He said administration reached the decision from records of complaints against Marshall faculty and staff from the Office of Equity and Diversity. “This is surprising and disappointing,” said Skip Miller, an attorney representing Ellis. “There’s never been any hint that Jim Ellis personally did anything wrong, and he hasn’t. In fact, he’s responsible for putting the Marshall school on the map.” This is the USC community’s second rally calling for greater University transparency and due process regarding the decision to terminate Ellis in June 2019, three years before the end of his contracted term. Currently, a petition on Change.org directed to Austin and Board of Trustees Chairman Rick Caruso has garnered over 2,830 signatures by the time of publication. Lloyd Greif, benefactor of the USC Marshall Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, said the second rally was intended to grab the attention of the Board of Trustees and ask for their support before they heard Austin’s reasoning behind the decision. “The only difference [at] the rally today [was] as trustees walked by, we tried to get their attention and talk to them to try and let them know that [Ellis] is a good dean and he should stay,” Greif said. “On Friday, there were no trustees around. That was more about the administration.”Greif said that by approving Austin’s decision, the Board of Trustees demonstrated a lack of transparency, shared governance and due process.“It’s a sad day for USC,” Greif said. “I think transparency, due process and shared governance died in the boardroom today at USC. For them to support the decision made by the interim president to remove this dean when that decision was criticized by the academic senate for lack of transparency and a lack of shared governance, they just rubber-stamped that lack of transparency [and] lack of shared governance.”Sonny Astani, benefactor of the USC Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the Viterbi School of Engineering, criticized the lack of due process regarding the University’s handling of Ellis’ firing in a letter he wrote to the USC community. “All of us in the USC community who are concerned about the treatment of Dean Ellis have no choice but to demand a full accounting of how the Dean’s dismissal was judged and adjudicated,” Astani wrote. “If the Dean’s ‘punishment’ does indeed fit his ‘crime,’ so be it. If the Dean broke the rules, so be it. Let the rules of our university speak loud and clearly. But if Dean Ellis was terminated on account of rules that were suddenly created on the spot, this should be revealed.”Astani also expressed concern over some of the members on the Board of Trustees, who he believes are straying away from University values.“Being on USC’s Board of Trustees is not a license to use the Board for a platform of political gain outside the University … Great Board of Trustees are known for their focus on the universities they serve,” Astani wrote. “It is time for the Board to serve the University and to fully disclose the process that led to Dean Ellis’s dismissal. If the standard of evidence is lacking, Dean Ellis’s termination must be rescinded, immediately.”Greg Autry, assistant clinical professor at the Lloyd Greif Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, said he fears that the Marshall school could be negatively affected if the Board of Trustees does not release more information on Ellis’ termination and the charges against him.“We would expect that they would have had to frankly put up or shut up,” Autry said. “They should have to show the evidence of why this decision was made or I think they might’ve had to find a compromise. If they don’t do that, if they continue to force [this on] the Marshall school with no explanation… I’m very concerned about what it will do with alumni, donors and faculty morale.”However, some members of the USC community agree with the Board’s decision in light of the OED complaints the Marshall school received. “I hope the Board’s concurrence with Dr. Austin renews the campus’ resolve to promote accountability and foster a proactive campus culture,” said Alec Vandenberg, a junior majoring in public policy. Edward Mack, a junior majoring in international relations, said the arguments questioning Austin’s authority as interim president are unfounded. “Some argue that because she’s only an Interim President, she does not have the authority to take an action such as this one,” Mack said. “I say this is ridiculous: if that goes beyond her authority, then her title should be changed from ‘Interim President’ to ‘Figurehead,’ as that’s essentially what her role becomes.”Mack said it is Austin’s obligation to execute these decisions during her term, even though her position is temporary.“The responsibility of an Interim President isn’t to sit by and do nothing, particularly at a time in which the University has been rocked by scandal after scandal,” Mack said. “President Austin was brought in as a direct response to the growing number and depth of these scandals … Serious and fundamental change was and is necessary to achieve this goal, but it is imperative that we do not shy away when these changes might be painful.”
Tobi Soniyi with agency reportThe pilot of the crashed plane carrying footballer Emiliano Sala dropped out of training for his commercial pilot’s licence before it was completed, the BBC has reported.According to the British broadcaster, David Ibbotson, who has still not been found, was not licensed to carry paying passengers, which has fuelled speculation the flight was illegal. Nantes has dragged Cardiff before FIFA, demanding the payment of the agreed transfer fee on late Emiliano Sala Cardiff City striker Sala’s body was found in the wreckage just off Guernsey on 6 February.Mr Ibbotson’s pilots licence and logbook were reportedly lost in the crash.Citing an interim report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) BBC said Mr Ibbotson, 59, from Crowle, North Lincolnshire, held a private licence in the UK and the US, meaning he could not carry paying passengers within the EU, other than on a cost-sharing basis and not for rewardThe report added further investigation was needed to discover his background and experience as a pilot.The light aircraft disappeared on 21 January and Sala had completed his transfer to Premier League side Cardiff from French club Nantes just two days earlier – for a club record fee of £15m.He had returned to France to say goodbye to his former teammates. In its interim report, the AAIB stated that, on the basis of a cost-sharing flight, “it must not be made for the purpose of merely transporting the passenger”.For it to be classed as cost-sharing, pilot David Ibbotson would have had to have been making the journey regardless, dictating to Sala when the plane was leaving and sharing the cost of the flight equally with him.Hpwever, Agent Willie McKay, who commissioned the flight for Sala, said the flight from Nantes to Cardiff was not a cost-sharing arrangement.He said “Emi wasn’t paying anything” and that he was going to pay “whatever Dave [Henderson] was going to charge”.McKay said David Henderson was the pilot he used most frequently to arrange his flights.It is thought Henderson was not available for the Sala flight, so he asked Mr Ibbotson to do the job.Payment would usually be made after a flight due to the varying amounts paid for landing fees at different airports.He said he couldn’t do it himself but he was going to get someone. I trusted David, I had no reason not to,” said Mr McKay.“When you phone for a taxi you don’t ask him if he has a driving licence. I was just thinking about getting the boy home which he wanted and we were happy with what we did.“I’ve been told on good authority he was a very good pilot so for people to vilify the pilot after a man’s death is a disgrace. I don’t hold anyone responsible because it’s just a tragic accident.”McKay’s son Mark, agent to Nantes FC, who was also involved in organising and paying for flights for Mr Sala, said: “I don’t see how I would have done anything any differently. I’ve taken many flights – small aircraft, different types of aircraft, different pilots.“I look at the situation that came about and if it was me, I’d have taken that flight and I think a lot of people would have taken that flight and not asked anything.”Ibbotson studied for a commercial pilot’s licence (CPL) qualification from December 2012 until July 2014 through Cranfield Aviation Training School near Milton Keynes, but dropped out of the course without qualifying after failing to complete his theoretical training.The plane carrying Sala disappeared on January 21.The head of training for the school, Dr Stuart E Smith said: “It is common for middle-aged private pilots to undertake the CPL theoretical knowledge course so that they may then complete CPL flight training and be able to earn money as a pilot or flight instructor.”He said Mr Ibbotson got in touch in 2016 with the intention of resuming his training, but never followed it further.He added that he had sent a report to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) soon after the tragedy.Investigations will continue to analyse air traffic communications and radar for clues, while other lines of enquiry will investigate how gas boiler engineer and part-time DJ Mr Ibbotson came to be flying a £15m footballer back to his new club.The Piper Malibu was registered in the US, whose rules stipulate the use of aircraft commercially outside of the country must be approved by the CAA and Federal Aviation Administration. No permission was sought or granted by the owners of the plane before Sala’s flight.Martin Robinson, chief executive of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, told BBC that the association was concerned about the use of so-called grey charters, which are unlicensed flights and the use of foreign-registered planes for air taxi work, since the incident.“UK air charter companies pay a lot of money to the government for air operator certificates, without which they can’t run commercial air taxi operations.”“They know they’re being undercut by competitors who in some cases are not fully compliant with the law.“It’s the responsibility of the person who organised the flight to have a suitably qualified pilot at the controls and to ensure the pilot had sufficient flying experience for this kind of flight and for the weather conditions that may be encountered.“Sala would have had no knowledge of David Ibbotson’s licence but the person organising it should have known about that. They have let this man down.” The search for Ibbotson’s body resumed last week, but no trace was found.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram
The management of Kumasi Asante Kotoko has exclusively revealed to sportscrusader.com that rival club; Accra Hearts will have to break the transfer record in Ghana to sign their goalkeeper.After being faced with an astronomical sum from Aduana Stars for goalkeeper, Stephen Adams, Hearts are said to have turned their focus on Kotoko’s goalkeeper but the Porcupine warriors say they are not in any mood to lose their precious asset on a silver platter.For Hearts’ Manager, Herbert Addo, Kotoko’s young goalkeeper, Mutawakilu Seidu is the best possible option if they will not secure the services of their preferred choice, Stephen Adams.Mutawakilu Seidu, the current first choice for Ghana’s Under-20 men’s team, Black Satellites, is said to be favouring a move to Hearts because of fear that he could be limited to playing time at Kotoko because of the presence of experienced goalkeeper’s, Isaac Amoako and Joseph Addo and new signing, Eric Ofori-Antwi who joined Kotoko from Amidaus Professionals.But his wish could be blocked if Hearts do not meet the transfer demands of Kotoko who are claiming the Phobians must break the transfer record to secure the services of the 19 year old goalkeeper.“Yes, Mutawakilu Seidu is an option we are looking at. We have watched him several times and I must confess that we were convinced with what we saw of him” Herbert Addo confirmed. Meanwhile, sportscrusader.com sources have confirmed that the goalkeeper, Mutawakilu Seidu has failed to sign a contract extension at Kotoko though Kotoko were hoping to cash in on him on the purported move to Hearts.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Asante Kotoko Dr Kwame Kyei has been awarded an Honorary Professorship degree by the Alfred Nobel University of Ukraine.The degree, was conferred on Dr Kyei, who is also CEO of Unity Group of Companies, on Saturday, August 4, 2018, inside the Auditorium of the Bank of Ghana, at the University of Ghana (UG), Legon, in honour of his selfless contributions towards women empowerment and fight against poverty in Ghana and across Africa. The award is the first of its kind to be presented to a Black person on the African soil and was accordingly under the auspices of the Ukrainian Ministry of Education.It was presented to the renowned businessman and philanthropist by Professor Eugene Gromov, Dean of Research and Development of the Alfred Nobel University.Three other personalities namely Emmanuel Bortey Borketey, CEO of Happy Man Bitters; Dr K.K. Peprah, Managing Director of K.K. Peprah Company Limited and Fadda Dickson Narh, Managing Director of Despite Media Group, were also awarded doctorate degrees during the awards ceremony organized by Confederation of Governance Assessment Institute (COGAI), and the Bureau of Research and Governance Commerce and Administration (BORGCA)Touching on the criteria for conferring the Honorary Professorship Degree, Director in-charge of Strategic Communications, Business and International Relations, COGAI, Isaac Rockson, said by all assessments carried out, the Unity Group CEO was deserving of the honour done him. According to him, “per the research done on Dr. Kwame Kyei, first of all we looked at somebody who has been empowering women in terms of employment, and per our research, Dr. Kyei is the first Ghanaian that had the audacity to employ more women at his filling stations and kept employing more women in his businesses.He added that “And his reason for doing that is that women suffer a lot when they have problems with their husbands and they need to take care of their children, a lot of responsibilities.”The Communication Director said “So the factor that we considered was that “He has taken a good stand to support women in all fields. Supporting the widows in various times and supporting the poor in society, the needy, children who are in the hospital.”He underscored that “His Foundation, Dr Kwame Kyei Foundation has had so many impacts in paying for several people who are schooling at various universities in Ghana and in other countries.”Prof. Kyei, the first black man to have received such an award, was also honoured for his many years of contributing immensely to the development of Christendom and promotion of peace in Ghana. Mr Rockson indicated that “Every year, he has been organizing peace campaigns and thanksgiving services to thank God for Ghana.”Also commenting on the awards, Prof. Gromov indicated that the performance of Prof. Kyei to socio-economic and religious development over the years has been outstanding.It was his expectation that the award would spur Ghanaian businessman who doubles as Chairman of Asante Kotoko Football Club on to win more awards in the years ahead.Candidates of Alfred Nobel University were Dr Kyei(Honorary Professorship Degree), Fadda Dickson Narh (Honorary Doctorate Degree) Alhaji Labaran Issah Barry (Hon. Doctorate). The rest received from Vin Nitsya State, Pedagogical University and Ternopil State Economic University respectively.Meanwhile, Dr Borketey, who spoke on behalf of the other awardees, thanked the Alfred Nobel University for the honour done them and was hopeful that they would continue the good works for the development of Ghana. About The UniversityAlfred Nobel University is a higher educational institution in Ukraine with the IV level of accreditation.It is believed to be committed to enhancing innovative technologies in teaching, helping to strengthen the European nation’s position in global space.Professor Alla Kolomimiets, Vice Rector, Professor Eugene Gromov, Dean Department of Research and Development.—
(Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/a6/6a/kobe-bryant-01272-getty-ftrjpg_ufcy9dkhvvo919sirhsbquhia.jpg?t=-411253201&w=500&quality=80 I’m sure I had a common reaction when the news surfaced that Kobe Bryant had died in a helicopter crash Sunday morning.Disbelief came first. Denial came second. And finally, sadness and grief. The city of Los Angeles is hurting right now. It is in a daze. I saw people weeping in the streets. I was one of them. Most Angelenos never had the chance to meet the man. We could only watch his accomplishments from afar. And yet, the news of his death was a punch to the gut. It feels like we’ve lost a part of our family.MORE: Sports world reacts to Kobe Bryant’s deathFor a younger generation, Kobe was our Michael Jordan. He entered our living rooms at the perfect time. Someone was needed to fill the void left by MJ, and even though we didn’t know it at the time, we found that someone in Bryant.He joined the league in 1996 out of high school as a scrawny kid oozing with confidence. We watched him grow up in front of our eyes. We watched him and Shaquille O’Neal take over LA (and the entire NBA) and win three championships. We watched as his feud with Shaq played out publicly. He won two more championships without O’Neal, and further cemented his legacy in a city that has grown accustomed to greatness.As I sit and watch the highlights and tributes, it allows me to think about the relationship, albeit from afar, that I had with Kobe Bryant. It’s a strange one. My father is from the East Coast. There was no love for the Lakers in my house. In fact, there was hatred — and Kobe received the brunt of that hatred. I’ll remember the few short years after his retirement when I deeply missed watching him play at Staples Center as he started a new chapter in his life off the court. He showed us that he was capable of anything, winning an Oscar in 2018 for his animated short film “Dear Basketball.”Kobe, and his daughter Gianna, are no longer with us. Tears will be shed for quite some time. But we’ll always remember what he gave to the game of basketball, what he gave to the fans and what he gave to the city of Los Angeles.So from a former hater, a final message to the Mamba: Thank you, Kobe. Every season for 20 years, I watched 82 games of Lakers basketball, always praying they’d find a way to go down. Kobe was always at the forefront. I hated that he coined the term “Mamba Mentality.” I hated that incredible and unstoppable turnaround jumper. I hated that he had an 81-point game. I hated that no matter the score, I always had that sick feeling in my stomach knowing that Kobe wasn’t going to let his Lakers lose.And yet, as the years passed, I felt the “sports hate” that I had for Kobe begin to fade. I slowly realized, begrudgingly, that not only did I have immense respect for him, but I also admired him.He was everything I wanted in an athlete. His work ethic was legendary. The famous 5 a.m. gym sessions, countless hours spent perfecting his game, an absolute devotion to winning at all costs — his singular focus on the game he loved was intoxicating. I wanted to believe I would have been the same way if given the opportunity to stand in his Nike shoes.MORE: Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan and a legacy-starting 1998 All-Star GameHe struck fear in my heart when the game was on the line. Players say they want the shot at the end of the game, but do they really want the pressure of the final possession? Not only did Kobe want the shot, but you were convinced it was going in. When you watch an athlete deliver again and again on the biggest stage, you can’t help but learn to love it.I’ll always remember Kobe as the greatest basketball player of my generation. I’ll remember the incredible respect he garnered from his peers and the reverence the younger players showed him. I’ll remember standing and screaming at the TV for Kobe to keep shooting in the last game of his career.