<![CDATA[NBC New York - Sports]]>Copyright 2017https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/sports http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/4NY_Horizontal.jpg NBC New York https://www.nbcnewyork.comen-usTue, 21 Nov 2017 11:05:44 -0500Tue, 21 Nov 2017 11:05:44 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Trump Slams Marshawn Lynch for Anthem Protest in Mexico ]]> Mon, 20 Nov 2017 11:20:27 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/lynchtrump.jpg

President Trump took to social media Monday to slam Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch for not standing during the U.S. national anthem as the team played the New England Patriots in Mexico Sunday.

Lynch, who has not stood for the anthem since returning from retirement at the beginning of the season, was spotted standing during the Mexican anthem.

"Great disrespect! Next time NFL should suspend him for remainder of season. Attendance and ratings way down," Trump tweeted Monday morning.

Lynch is among the NFL players who have refused to stand for the national anthem in a movement started by former San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick, who began his protest last year to draw attention to racial injustice and social inequality across America. Critics of the protest have slammed it for being disrespectful to the U.S. military and armed forces.  

Trump's prior calls for the NFL to suspend kneeling players have not yet produced a rule change. Commissioner Roger Goodell said last month in a memo that the league believes everyone should stand for the anthem, but still does not mandate it.


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<![CDATA[CTE Turned Ex-NFL Star From Top Lawyer to ‘Other Person']]> Sun, 19 Nov 2017 18:54:12 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-822512332.jpg

After completing an NFL career that included two Super Bowls, Fred McNeill got an advanced law degree and practiced law. But within just a few years, he began to fall apart, losing his temper, losing his memory and losing job after job, NBC News reported.

“Here is this person who was so kind, so intelligent, so special, so loving, so easygoing. He made things look easy. And then he flipped to be this other person,” Tia McNeill, Fred McNeill’s widow, said in an interview.

McNeill died in 2015. He was bankrupt, unable to eat or care for himself. A positron emission tomography (PET) brain scan done in 2012 showed he had chronic traumatic encephalopathy or CTE — the degenerative brain disease being linked increasingly to professional football and to head injuries sustained in combat.

The confirmation comes too late to help McNeill. But if the findings hold up in other patients with similar symptoms, such a scan may be able to diagnose CTE in time to give patients hope for recourse while they are still alive and, perhaps, eventual treatment.



Photo Credit: Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer/MCT]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Says He Should Have Left UCLA Players in Chinese Jail]]> Sun, 19 Nov 2017 19:02:58 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/212*120/11-8-2017-ucla-basketball-hill-riley-ball-2.jpg

Two days after LaVar Ball, father of detained UCLA player LiAngelo Ball, downplayed President Donald Trump's role in the return of three UCLA men's basketball players detained in China, the president fired back.

LiAngelo Ball, brother of Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball, was one of the three UCLA basketball players detained in China on suspicion of shoplifting before Trump helped return them to the United States. In a Sunday morning tweet, Trump criticized LaVar Ball for being "unaccepting for what I did for his son."

"I should have left them in jail!" Trump added.

Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee, retweeted Trump's tweet and included his own comment.

"The President would have left American students in a foreign jail because their families didn't lavish sufficient praise on him," Schiff wrote. "How can someone in such a big office be so small?"

Freshman LiAngelo Ball was detained along with Jalen Hill and Cody Riley nearly two weeks ago and returned last week after Trump said he had a long conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping about the incident. 

At a press conference after their return, all three players had individually thanked Trump, and initially, Trump seemed to acknowledge the players' gratitude.

"To the three UCLA basketball players I say: You're welcome, go out and give a big Thank You to President Xi Jinping of China who made ... your release possible and, HAVE A GREAT LIFE! Be careful, there are many pitfalls on the long and winding road of life!" Trump said in two tweets.

However, by Sunday remarks LaVar Ball made on ESPN Friday caused the president to change his tune.

LaVar Ball had seemingly diminished Trump's role in getting the three players back home when he spoke on the sports network.

"What was he over there for? Don't tell me nothing. Everybody wants to make it seem like he helped me out," LaVar Ball said. "Like I told him, 'They try to make a big deal out of nothing sometimes.' I'm from LA. I've seen a lot worse things happen than a guy taking some glasses," he said.

All three UCLA players have been indefinitely suspended from the team, coach Steve Alford said. They will not travel with the team or suit up for home games.

"They will have to earn their way back," Alford said.



Photo Credit: UCLA Athletics
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<![CDATA[Dale Earnhardt Jr. Prepares for Final NASCAR Run on Sunday]]> Sat, 18 Nov 2017 09:41:45 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/DaleEarnhardt1.jpg

When the checkered flag stops flying and the fans have filed out of Homestead Miami Speedway following Sunday’s Ford EcoBoost 400, the career of one of NASCAR’s biggest names will come to an end.

Plenty of fans are going to pile into the grandstands to see who will be crowned champion of the Monster Energy Series – but just as many, if not more, will be there to see Dale Earnhardt Jr. take his final laps as a full time NASCAR driver after announcing his retirement in April.

"We want to end well. We want to be competitive. We want to work...we want to put in a good effort this weekend. That will be fun to try to figure out if we have a competitive car. I look forward to getting to work on it," Earnhardt Jr. said.

The son of NASCAR legend Dale Sr., the driver known as “Little E” joined his father in the sport’s top level in 1999. He finished second in the 2001 Daytona 500 in which his father crashed into a wall and died at an area hospital – thrusting Dale Jr. into the spotlight of not only making his own name, but living up to his father’s legacy.

Over his 19 season career, Earnhardt Jr. won 26 Monster Energy Series races and was consistently voted the most popular driver in the sport – all while never being able to bring home a championship that his father won seven times during his career.

His final race will come at a Homestead track where he hasn't had much success, finishing 10th or better just twice in his career.

"I'm looking forward to getting on the track and get our car handling, and see if we can make the thing get around there pretty good so we can have some fun on Sunday," he said.

Earnhardt Jr. has battle concussions throughout his career, including one that sidelined him for the second half of the 2016 season. After getting married last New Year’s Eve and expecting a baby in early 2018, Dale Jr. knows he has plenty of excitement coming despite leaving the track.

"I've felt very good about that decision before the race in Daytona started in February, that this was it. And I was more thankful to be able to compete this year than I was to ever question whether I should go farther," said Earnhardt Jr.

He won’t be leaving the sport, though, as Earnhardt Jr. will join the NBC Sports team as a color commentator of NASCAR coverage on the network starting in 2018.

Earnhardt Jr. is one of three drivers who will be closing out their careers this weekend in Homestead. Matt Kenseth, a long time friend of "Little E", announced this season will be his last as did Danica Patrick, who made the shocking announcement this weekend that she will retire from NASCAR after this weekend and racing all together after next year's Indy 500.



Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tampa Bay QB Denies Allegations of Groping Uber Driver]]> Fri, 17 Nov 2017 14:31:04 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/winstonuber.jpg

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston took to social media Friday denying an allegation he groped an Uber driver in 2016.

In an interview with Buzzfeed News, a woman who identified herself only as Kate said she was hailed to downtown Scottsdale, Arizona to pick up a passenger Sunday March 13, 2016. There, she told BuzzFeed a small group of men placed Winston in the front passenger seat.

"I started driving, and right away, Jameis behaved poorly," she said. The driver says while waiting in line at a food drive-thru Winston "reached over and he just grabbed my crotch." She says he held his hand there for three to five seconds and removed it only after she looked up in shock and said, "What’s up with that? I wasn't just creeped out. I was frozen."

Winston took to social media to respond to the allegations.

"A news organization has published a story about me regarding an alleged incident involving a female Uber driver from approximately two years ago. The story falsely accuses me of making inappropriate contact with this driver," Winston wrote. "I believe the driver was confused as to the number of passengers in the car and who was sitting next to her."

Winston went on to say the accusation was false. He says he addressed the report immediately with Uber after the driver reported it, but his Uber account was still suspended.  

"I am supportive of the national movement to raise awareness and develop better responses to the concerns of parties who find themselves in these types of situations, but this accusation is false," Winston wrote.  "While I am certain that I did not make any inappropriate contact, I don’t want to engage in a battle with the driver and I regret if my demeanor or presence made her uncomfortable in any way."

According to ESPN, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed the "allegation was shared with the NFL and we have reached out to Uber to request any information they may have."

This isn't Winston's first foray into controversy. While in college the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner settled a dispute involving two federal lawsuits with a woman who accused him of rape, although Winston had said their encounter was consensual.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Has a Ball as NCAA Champion Teams Visit]]> Fri, 17 Nov 2017 13:47:28 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/trumpballvb.jpg

President Donald Trump hosted 18 NCAA national championship teams at the White House on Friday, Nov. 17, even tossing around a volleyball with one.

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<![CDATA[CTE Found in Living Ex-NFL Player for 1st Time: Study]]> Fri, 17 Nov 2017 09:52:15 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP_764021564440-Fred-McNeill-NFL-Player.jpg

The "unique pattern" of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the debilitating brain disease known as CTE, has been found for the first time in a patient before he died, NBC News reported.

It was detected in a brain scan of former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Fred McNeill, according to the doctors behind a study published in the journal Neurosurgery last week. The scan could lead to the development of treatments for the incurable disease.

CTE is caused by repeated blows to the head, and has been found in many dead NFL players' brains, including former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez, who killed himself in April before a murder conviction against him was cleared.

So far, the only way to definitively diagnose CTE is by looking at the brain after death, but a 2012 scan of McNeill's brain that seemed to show protein deposits characteristic of CTE was confirmed in an autopsy after McNeill died last year.



Photo Credit: AP Photo, File]]>
<![CDATA[Olympians' Favorite Thanksgiving Dishes]]> Wed, 15 Nov 2017 13:42:11 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/180*120/AdobeStock_95072047.jpeg

White meat or dark meat? Fresh cranberries or canned? Sweet potatoes or regular mashed potatoes? When it comes to Thanksgiving dishes, Team USA athletes are taking sides.



Photo Credit: evgenyb - stock.adobe.com]]>
<![CDATA[Roy Halladay Remembered By Family, Friends, Teammates]]> Tue, 14 Nov 2017 20:00:59 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/halladaymemorial.png

Former Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Roy Halladay was remembered by friends, family and teammates at a celebration of life in Clearwater, Florida, Nov. 14. Halladay died in a plane crash on Nov. 7.

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<![CDATA[UCLA Basketball Players Detained in China Returning Home]]> Tue, 14 Nov 2017 15:19:18 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/212*120/UCLA.jpeg

Three freshman UCLA Basketball players are on their way home from China after being detained on suspicion of shoplifting in Shanghai.

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<![CDATA[These US Olympians Made the Jump Between Summer and Winter Games]]> Tue, 14 Nov 2017 15:10:07 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/eddie-egan.jpg Since the modern Olympics were founded in 1896, there are only a handful of Americans who have participated in both the Summer and Winter Games. Here are the athletes who have competed in both.

Photo Credit: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['Muchas Gracias, Beisbol': Beltran Retires After 20 Seasons]]> Mon, 13 Nov 2017 14:10:24 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP_17317625723703.jpg

After 20 seasons, Carlos Beltran is leaving baseball on top.

After winning his first World Series ring with the Houston Astros this year, the outfielder is retiring, he announced Monday in a personal essay for The Players' Tribune

"I am blessed to have played this game for 20 years. I am blessed to have played for so many great organizations," he wrote. "And I am blessed to be a champion."

Beltan played for seven teams -- Kansas City Royals, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees, Texas Rangers and Houston Astros -- and made nine All-Star appearances. He won the 1999 AL Rookie of the Year award and three Gold Gloves.

But he almost didn't even pursue the sport, he revealed in his Tribune essay. The Puerto Rican native was equally passionate about volleyball as a teenager, but he ultimately realized there is more opportunity for success in baseball. 

Baseball, he wrote, was always about more than winning.

"And as I got older, and I became the player that the younger guys came to for advice, I started to understand something … that my purpose in this game is not only to hit home runs or to win championships. It is to share what I know with the younger players, like so many other players have done for me," he wrote. "It is to give back to the game of baseball."

He realized this purpose when he nervously approached slugger Barry Bonds during the 2007 All-Star weekend to ask for hitting advice and Bonds received him with kindness and a willingness to coach him. 

He finishes his 20-year career with with a .279 average, 435 homers, 1,587 RBIs and 312 stolen bases.

Beltran said he never felt pressured to win a World Series before he retired, determined instead to "give back to the game of baseball."

"But it still feels nice to have a ring," he wrote. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File]]>
<![CDATA[LeBron, Cavs Hop on NYC Subway; One Rider Is NOT Impressed]]> Tue, 14 Nov 2017 05:41:16 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/SPORTS+LEBRON+JAMES+-+11093512_WNBC_000000018618977.jpg

A Monday morning subway ride with a team of NBA players? Only in New York. 

Video posted to the Cavaliers' Twitter account shows LeBron James and his teammates, in town to play the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, hopping on the subway from Penn Station back to their hotel after practice Monday morning. Former Knick J.R. Smith was among the train-taking contingent.

"We had two options: a 45-minute bus ride or a six-minute train ride, so we decided to hop on the train with the squad," James says in another video. 

James and Dwyane Wade managed to grab seats, but their other teammates who had to stand didn't exactly have much clearance in ceiling room.

"We're squishing," James remarks as he films his teammates scrunched over in the subway car. 

James said it was his first time riding the subway in New York.

Despite their apparent effort at staying incognito in hoodies, the players didn't exactly blend in. Eagle-eyed straphangers who noticed them on the train waved and said hello. But a man -- later identified as James Michael Angelo -- seated next to James became irritated when James pointed the camera in selfie mode toward him and says, "Can you not?" before putting his hand in front of his face.

New Yorkers, after all, are notoriously hard to impress.

Later Monday, Angelo posted his own video inside his office explaining himself. 

"I had no idea who LeBron James was, because I don't watch football," he said. 

The woman filiming Angelo corrects, "Basketball."

"Oh it's basketball?" he says. 

The MTA, for its part, tweeted in response to the video: "Thanks so much for taking the subway Lebron, but the King of this town is @kporzee and we're riding with the Knicks tonight." 



Photo Credit: News 4 New York
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<![CDATA[Colin Kaepernick Named GQ's 'Citizen of the Year']]> Mon, 13 Nov 2017 14:11:42 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-6302161901.jpg

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who ignited a national movement last year after refusing to stand during the national anthem before NFL games, has been named GQ's "Citizen of the Year."

The men's magazine wrote that Kaepernick's kneeling in protest of racial inequality and police brutality "changed everything."

"It cost him his job," editors wrote. "It also transformed Colin Kaepernick into a lightning rod and a powerful symbol of activism and resistance."

Kaepernick took to Twitter on Monday to announce that he was "honored" to be recognized by GQ.

The former signal caller, who opted out of his contract with the 49ers after the 2016-17 season, has yet to sign with a new team. Last month, Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL claiming that he doesn't have a new home in the league due to owner collusion. 

Kaepernick may be out of the league, but his protest has not been forgotten. A number of players this season have continued to kneel, raise fists, sit or outright stay off the field during national anthems this year. 

Opponents, including President Donald Trump, believe Kaepernick and other players are disrespecting the nation and the flag by not standing for the anthem.

49ers defensive back Eric Reid, Kaepernick's former teammate, has reiterated that the purpose of the protest is to not disrespect the military, the flag or the anthem itself.

"This is about systemic oppression that has been rampant in this country for decades on top of decades," Reid told NBC Sports Bay Area last month. "And I will continue to encourage people to educate themselves of how we got to where we are today, because it didn’t happen overnight. It’s not going to happen overnight to fix these issues, so we’re going to keep talking about it. I know I will keep doing what I feel is necessary to use the platform I have to make those changes."



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Heartbreaking Loss For 49ers Player Hours Before Team's First Win]]> Mon, 13 Nov 2017 13:56:55 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/180*120/Week_10_49ers_Giants_1.jpg

Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin played a football game just hours after he and his wife, Morgan, lost their baby boy due to complications during pregnancy, he revealed on Sunday evening.

"(We) had to prematurely deliver him early this morning around 4 a.m.," Goodwin wrote in a post on Instagram. "Although we are hurt, I am grateful for the experience and grateful that God blessed me with a wife as courageous and resilient as Morgan.

The pain (physically, mentally, & emotionally) that she has endured is unbelievable. Please Pray for the Goodwin family."


Goodwin somehow played Sunday and came through with an 83-yard touchdown reception. He also provided a huge block on tight end Garrett Celek’s 47-yard touchdown pass in the 49ers’ 31-21 victory over the New York Giants on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium.

After Goodwin caught the deep pass from C.J. Beathard and avoided the tackle attempt of Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins, he blew a kiss to the sky before crossing the goal line. Then, Goodwin showed his emotion as he dropped to his knees in prayer while in the end zone before his teammates rushed to congratulate him.


Goodwin left the Levi's Stadium locker room immediately after the game to be with his family.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Marathoner Meb Keflezighi Reflects on His Career, Final Race]]> Mon, 13 Nov 2017 13:24:35 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/meb.PNG

San Diegan Meb Keflezighi, one of the most accomplished marathon runners in American history, retired after finishing 11th in the New York Marathon at age 42. It was his 26th and final career marathon. Keflezighi won the 2004 Olympic silver medal, the 2009 NYC Marathon and the 2014 Boston Marathon. He joined NBC 7 on Sportswrap with Bob Babbitt to talk about his amazing career that spanned nearly two decades.

 



Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Ball Surpasses James, Becomes Youngest to Get Triple-Double]]> Sat, 11 Nov 2017 23:34:56 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/Lonzo-Ball-triple-double-youngest-player-NBA-ever.jpg

On Saturday night in Milwaukee, Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball made history by becoming the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double at 20 years and 15 days, which beat the previous record held by LeBron James at 20 years and 20 days.

Ball started the game by making his first two three-point shots after missing 17 of his previous 20 attempts from distance, which had led analysts nationwide to question his strange shooting stroke. Ball started the season shooting horrendously, but the early makes hinted at a special Saturday night brewing in the beer capital of America for the former UCLA Bruin.

By halftime, Ball already had 11 points, 10 assists and six rebounds, and a first-career triple-double seemed imminent. In addition, the no. 2 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft swiped two steals and recorded a block shot before heading to the locker room. Perhaps most impressively, Ball only had one turnover to his name during the break.

By the end of the third quarter, Ball increased his tally to 13 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds.

Before a single minute elapsed in the fourth quarter, though, Ball made history when he collected an air ball tossed up by Thon Maker. With the rebound, Ball officially became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double.

The Lakers' previous record for youngest player to record a triple-double was Earvin "Magic" Johnson at 20 years and 75 days, accomplished by the Lakers' legend in 1979. Ball beat Johnson's record by 60 days.

Eventually, Ball finished his historic night with 19 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds, to go along with three steals and three blocks in 38 minutes. When James, who was Ball's favorite player growing up, recorded his historic triple-double, the Cleveland Cavaliers forward was in the second half of his second season in the NBA. 

Meanwhile, Ball had his record night in only his 13th game as a professional.

Though Ball's net rating was a plus-10 against the Milwaukee Bucks on the night, the Lakers lost to the Milwaukee Bucks 98-90. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 33 points and 15 rebounds in the win, but this night will likely be remembered for Ball's historic performance far longer than it will be remembered for the Bucks' winning on an early Saturday night in November.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[World Series Trophy Damaged at Charity Event: Report]]> Fri, 10 Nov 2017 20:14:02 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-869213682.jpg

The 2017 Commissioner's Trophy awarded to the Houston Astros earlier this month was damaged during a charity event on Wednesday.

The Houston Chronicle reports that the table that the trophy was sitting on collapsed, sending the trophy to the floor.

This all happened during the "One Great Night in November" at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston.

The Chronicle reports that the trophy was quickly picked up and placed back on the table, but several people quickly realized that some of the flags were bent out of shape.

A museum staff member told the Chronicle that the trophy was sent back to the museum's restoration department to be fixed. Some people in the crowd used the accident as a joke, saying, "We'll just have to win another one."



Photo Credit: Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Surfer Breaks Back in Massive 50-Foot Wave Wipeout]]> Fri, 10 Nov 2017 23:41:01 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/surfer.jpg

Big wave surfer Andrew Cotton suffered a broken back while surfing one of the world’s biggest waves.

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<![CDATA[Woman Runs 26-Mile NYC Marathon Backwards: Report]]> Fri, 10 Nov 2017 17:45:53 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/AP_17309638849155.jpg

A San Diego woman who thought she’d never run again completed the New York City Marathon on Sunday — backwards.

Justine Galloway has a rare condition called runner’s dystonia that causes her brain to activate not only the muscles needed for running, but surrounding muscles too. This muscle control problem causes people with the condition to have an awkward posture and stumbling gait while running, according to Runner’s World.

“I started running funny, like my left leg just started not listening to my brain,” Galloway told Runner’s World. “It just wouldn’t turn, wouldn’t do what it had done for the past 30 years.”

Unfortunately for Galloway, she’d been actively running, including competitively, since she was 3 years old. But while researching the condition, she discovered a way to trick her brain: running in reverse.

She began preparing for the New York City Marathon, running backwards twice a week, sometimes up to 21 miles. She also biked, swam and did cross-training every other day, Runner’s World reported.

On Sunday, a guide who helps visually impaired runners supported her as she completed the 26.2 miles of the New York City Marathon in a time of 6:06:51.

“I didn’t even fall once, though there were a few close calls” she told Runner's World. 


Cameras captured a special moment between Galloway and actor Michael J. Fox. The two shared a hug around mile 23. Galloway previously raised more than $5,000 for Parkinson's disease research through Fox's foundation Team Fox. 

Galloway said she’s not sure if she’ll run another marathon in reverse. She said completing the marathon has helped bring her added peace with her diagnosis.



    Photo Credit: AP
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    <![CDATA[UCLA Basketball Players Arrested in China on Suspicion of Shoplifting]]> Wed, 08 Nov 2017 08:24:17 -0500 https://media.nbcnewyork.com/images/213*120/11-07-2017-china-police-van-ucla-1.jpg

    Three UCLA men's basketball players were arrested Tuesday for allegedly shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store in China, where the team is scheduled to open the season Saturday against Georgia Tech, NBC News confirmed.

    Citing unidentified sources, ESPN reported that freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were involved in a shoplifting incident. Ball is the younger brother of Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball. Their father, LaVar Ball, is also in China and told ESPN that he was "going to wait until I get more intel on what's going on" before commenting.

    A spokeswoman for the Hangzhou police told NBC News that three players were being detained and would be released or charged within 48 hours of their arrest. ESPN reported the players were released on bail late Wednesday (local time). NBC News has not independently confirmed that report.

    "We are aware of a situation involving UCLA student-athletes in Hangzhou, China," the school said in a statement. "The University is cooperating fully with local authorities on this matter, and we have no further comment at this time."

    UCLA basketball coach Steve Alford said Wednesday he will sit the three players and declined to address the issue further.

    "The University came out with a statement, so I won't have any further comment on this other than in answering that question — those individuals won't play on Saturday," Alford said during a press conference in Shanghai.

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that police were called to the hotel where both teams were staying in Hangzhou and inspected UCLA's bus as players waited to depart for practice. Police interviewed players from both teams before clearing three players from Georgia Tech, according to a statement released by the school.

    The teams were staying at the Hyatt Regency Hangzhou on Tuesday before leaving for Shanghai, where Georgia Tech and No. 21 UCLA are set to open the season.

    The U.S. State Department said it is aware of reports that three U.S. citizens were arrested in China and "stand ready to provide appropriate, consular assistance for U.S. citizens."

    All three players are from Southern California, part of a highly acclaimed recruiting class for the Bruins.

    Ball averaged 33.8 points as a senior at Chino Hills High School. Riley is a power forward out of Sierra Canyon High School in Chatsworth. Hill attended Centennial High School in Corona. 

    Georgia Tech officials said three of its players were questioned by authorities in China and released. 

    "On Tuesday morning in Hangzhou, China, three Georgia Tech men’s basketball student-athletes were questioned by local authorities at their hotel," the school said. "During the questioning, it was determined that Georgia Tech student-athletes were not involved in the activities being investigated. They have resumed their scheduled activities in advance of Saturday’s season opener versus UCLA in Shanghai." 

    The teams are playing at Baoshan Arena in the annual Pac-12 China game, in which a conference school plays another American opponent as part of the league's global initiative, The Associated Press reported.



    Photo Credit: Atlanta Journal-Constitution]]>