October 14, 2012

To the surprise of few, UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva easily disposed of light heavyweight Stephan Bonnar in the first round of the main event at UFC 153 in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday night.

After standing at the fence to dodge Bonnar's punches early in the round, Silva pounced. He landed a knee to Bonnar's chest, then followed up with ground and pound until the fight was stopped in the first round.

"I'm not the best. I just do things that people think are impossible," Silva said after the fight. "I'm not going to fight at 205 again. I fought at 205 to save the event."

Silva and Bonnar took this fight on short notice after UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo was injured and had to pull out of UFC 153. Silva moved up in weight, which meant questions about his intentions to fight at a bigger weight class.

Earlier in the night, Dave Herman said in his pre-fight video that jiu-jitsu doesn't work. He may want to rethink that stance after being submitted by Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the second round.

In the second round, Nogueira grappled to get Herman close to a submission, but Herman defended each hold. But late in the round, Nogueira used beautiful jiu-jitsu to maneuver Herman into an armbar that he couldn't get out of. Herman tapped at 4:31 of the second round, giving Nogueira the win.

"I feel so happy, because this man said jiu-jitsu doesn't work. But jiu-jitsu does work. Jiu-jitsu is Brazilian. Jiu-jitsu is an art," Nogueira said.

This was Nogueira's first fight since his arm was broken by Frank Mir at UFC 140. He had surgery and intense physical therapy to rehabilitate his arm, giving him a chance to win in front of a home crowd in Rio de Janeiro.

As expected, Glover Teixeira dominated Fabio Maldonado on the way to an early stoppage win. But what wasn't expected was how Maldonado stood in for 10 minutes of straight punishment.

Teixeira knocked Maldonado down early in the first round, and proceeded to ground and pound him in a full mount for most of the round. With his face badly swollen and bruised, Maldonado managed to work his way back to his feet. Though wobbly, he did managed to punch Teixeira with a big enough punch to send him reeling, but it was the last show of offense from Maldonado.

Teixeira dominated the second round in the same way. Maldonado's face was bruised and bleeding. The doctor checked the cut halfway through the round and let the fight continue. He checked again at the end of the second, and mercifully stopped the fight.

"He is not human! I told [trainer] John Hackleman in the locker room that I was going to knock this guy out. This guy got knocked down, and he held on. He is not human," Teixeira said.

Jon Fitch showed he was anything but boring in a decision win that stopped hot prospect Erick Silva. The judges saw it 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 for Fitch.

Fitch used grappling to control Silva in the first round, but things got interesting in the second. Silva took Fitch's back and sunk in a rear--naked choke. It was the kind of choke that would stop most fighters, but Fitch survived. When Fitch maneuvered out of the choke, he took top position, waylaid Silva with strikes, then worked his grappling game.

In the last 30 seconds of the second round, Fitch took Silva's back then transitioned to an armbar. Though Silva got out, the round clearly took its toll on Silva, the much younger fighter. The third round featured Fitch taking advantage of a clearly tired Silva. It was Fitch's ground and pound at its best. He landed 108 ground strikes throughout the bout.

"I didn't have a choice. I would have beaten anyone tonight. Any weight class. I needed a win. My family needed a win," Fitch said after the bout.

Their first fight ended quickly with a no contest after an unintentional eye poke stopped Wagner Prado. This time, it was all Phil Davis, as he outgrappled Prado for two rounds. Davis used his high-level wrestling skills to control Prado and stymie any shot at striking that the young fighter may have. In the second round, Davis was close to getting an arm triangle when he transitioned to an anaconda choke. Prado tapped at 4:29.

"Normally I'm the young lion coming in, but it's a different feeling getting in the gym, knowing someone like Wagner Prado is coming to knock your block off," Davis said after the fight.

Demian Maia started off the pay-per-view with a submission that showed his world-class submission skills. Maia had Rick Story in a a rear-naked choke in the first round, but had trouble getting his elbow underneath Story's chin. He then switch to crank Story's neck. Though Story tried to hold out, blood trickled out of his nose and he tapped at 2:30 in the first round.

November 11, 2012
After losing four of five games to start the season, the Los Angeles Lakers fired coach Mike Brown on Friday. Assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff will serve as interim coach while the Lakers search for a long-term replacement.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike Brown was fired Friday after a 1-4 start to his second season in charge. In a statement, Brown thanked the Buss family and the Lakers for the opportunity.

"I have a deep appreciation for the coaches and players that I worked with this past year and I wish the organization nothing but success as they move forward," Brown said.

Assistant coach Bernie Bickerstaff will take over as interim coach while the management begins their search for a new head coach.

"This was a difficult and painful decision to make," said Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak during a news conference. "Mike was very hard-working and dedicated, but we felt it was in the best interest of the team to make a change at this time. We appreciate Mike's efforts and contributions and wish him and his family the best of luck."

When asked if Phil Jackson would be considered in the hunt for a head coach, Kupchak responded, "When there's a coach like Phil Jackson, one of the all-time greats, and he's not coaching, I think we'd be negligent not to be aware that he's out there."

Jackson would bring a resume of 11 championships, including the five he won with Kobe Bryant. Kupchak says a list of candidates has been compiled, but they haven't reached out to any coaches yet. He did not talk to any players before firing Brown, but he said he may talk to some before hiring a new head coach.

"We have veterans on this team, two of which have almost 17 years, others played over 10, 12 years that played for many coaches," said Kupchak.

One of the coaching candidates is Mike D'Antoni. He is out of a job right now recovering from knee surgery. He ran a very fast-paced offense in Phoenix, which the ownership group has always loved, and he also had Steve Nash with him there.

The team may also consider Brian Shaw, who won a championship with the Lakers and coached under Jackson. Many felt Shaw would have been the smoothest transition after Jackson's departure.

"Perhaps a coach or two that we're considering, we'll run it past one of our veterans, not for their approval, but, tell us about this person," said Kupchak.

On Friday, Kobe Bryant posted his reaction to Brown's firing on Facebook:

"As a team we must focus our energy on tonight's game. We must block out the weight of today's news and simply do our jobs to the best of our ability. I'm not sure what direction we are heading in next. All I can do is focus on the here and now."

The Lakers begin a three-game homestand on Friday night against the Golden State Warriors, and there had been reports that if Brown and the Lakers had not made a good showing during their six-game homestand, that it would be the end of Brown's tenure as coach. But management did not give him that chance, giving him the boot before the game against the Warriors.

"This team was built to contend this year. There's no guarantee that this team can win a championship, but we feel they could be deeply in the hunt," Kupchak said.

Brown has been criticized for his offense this season, with many complaining that he was not utilizing Nash or Dwight Howard the right way by running a Princeton offense. One of the main things wrong with the offense was that Brown's offensive strategies did not utilize the inside game enough after trading for Howard.

The Lakers are off to the worst start in the Western Conference, despite carrying the league's largest payroll at just over $100 million.

Letting Brown go is something some say shouldn't be surprising for the Lakers.

"That's the Lakers. This is an organization, one of the few organizations in sports, that positively demands wins at every stage," said Mark Willard, 710 ESPN radio host.

Laker fans say Brown's sacking was just a matter of time.

"Laker fans are spoiled," said fan Curt Kilroy. "It was kind of fast. I thought, you know, at least give the guy 10 games, but hey, gotta make something happen."

Another fan supported the move.

"We should already have seen improvement for the first five games, and we haven't," said fan Eric Matheny. "So with a star-studded team as the Lakers are, I think this is the right decision."

Fans expressed an overwhelming desire to see Jackson back with the Lakers during the team's game against the Warriors at home Friday. Throughout the game, the crowd chanted "We want Phil!" The Lakers defeated the Warriors 101-77.

Meanwhile Jackson has canceled a paid, out-of-town appearance at a convention scheduled for next week without any explanation.

August 24, 2015

The 2009 Dominick's advertisement that resulted in a lawsuit.

It took Michael Jordan nearly six years, but he's finally come out victorious in the long-running Chicago court case over the use of his identity without permission in a grocery store advertisement.

A jury of Jordan's peers — ha! — ruled Friday in favor of the Chicago Bulls legend and Charlotte Hornets owner, ordering a grocery-store chain to pay the Hall of Famer $8.9 million for the unapproved and unlicensed use of his name in an ad. The decision brings an end to a legal action that actually outlived the supermarket that ran the ad in a special edition of Sports Illustrated commemorating His Airness' enshrinement in Springfield, Mass.

As we laid out a couple of summers ago, the beef stems from steak:

When Jordan was elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009, and prior to the wildly inappropriate speech he gave in the induction ceremonies, local Chicago grocery chain Dominick’s released an ad congratulating Jordan on his accomplishment, while pointing out that, while you’re at it, you can use your Dominick’s card or a coupon in the ad to take in the tasty two dollar savings on a “Rancher’s Reserve Steak.”

Jordan found out about it and decided to sue Dominick's for $5 million. The real kicker for Safeway, which bought Dominick's in 1998 for $1.2 billion, comes courtesy of's Darren Rovell:

In addition, the ad itself was of little benefit to the company. Since the ad was in a commemorative Sports Illustrated issue, those who bought the magazine were hesitant to tear out the ad. Only two people were found to have redeemed the $2 steak coupon.

Not exactly a killer return on investment, there.

While one judge took Jordan to task for attempting to make a "legal mountain" from a "legal molehill" by calling for Safeway, the parent company of the now-defunct Dominick's chain, it always seemed that the case had merit. Dominick's did use Michael Jordan's name without his permission in an ad aimed at selling discounted steaks; it stands to reason that this would irk M.J., considering he's already in the business of selling his own steaks.

Plus, as our Eric Freeman noted earlier this week, "the chain does not deny wrongdoing," meaning the main matter left to resolve was how much money to award Jordan. From Michael Tarm of The Associated Press:

Steven Mandell, the Dominick's attorney, [...] said Jordan's attorneys overvalued their client's name, saying jurors should award Jordan no more than $126,900.
Evidence presented during trial provided a peek at Jordan's extraordinary wealth, including the $480 million he made from Nike alone between 2000 to 2012.

That evidence included testimony from sports economist Andrew Zimbalist, who pegged the "fair market value" of Jordan's identity at about $10 million per business deal. That squared with the testimony of Estee Portnoy, the marketing executive who's been described as Jordan's "consigliere" and "the buffer between Jordan and the world", and who said Jordan will not do business with anyone unless the deal will ultimately be worth more than $10 million. (Subsequent answers, however, indicated that M.J. occasionally makes exceptions to that platinum rule.)

After six hours of deliberation, the jurors settled on a figure far closer to Jordan's $10 million asking price than Safeway's sub-$150,000 figure; at one point, according to Tarm, they sent a note to the judge reading, "We need a calculator." Those zeroes sure do add up, after all.

The mammoth award apparently won't be added to the top of billionaire Jordan's Scrooge McDuck vault, though. More from Rovell:

"I'm pleased with today's verdict," Jordan said in a statement. "No one — whether or not they're a public figure — should have to worry about their identity being used without their permission. The case was not about the money as I plan to donate the proceeds to charity. It was about honesty and integrity. I hope this case sends a clear message, both here in the United States and around the world, that I will continue to be vigilant about protecting my name and identity. I also hope the size of the monetary reward will deter others from using someone else's identity and believe they will only pay a small penalty."

If nothing else, it certainly gives Jordan and his representatives encouragement to continue their concerted efforts to protect M.J.'s brand, image and likeness from those who might look to leverage those valuable assets for their own benefit.

Jordan recently lost a trademark lawsuit against a Chinese footwear company he claimed was using a name and logo similar to his Nike brand, but he's still got one big iron in the fire: a suit filed at the same time as the one against Dominick's, calling Jewel Food Stores to task for running a similar ad featuring a pair of Air Jordan basketball sneakers with Jordan's number 23 on the tongues, juxtaposed with a congratulatory message capped with Jewel's "just around the corner" slogan.

That case has also wended its way through the courts for more than a half-decade, and is scheduled to go to trial in December. Depending on how quickly things move, that could mean a very happy holiday season for more Chicago-area charities.

By: Dan Devine

March 12, 2013

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Lawyers for an Atlanta woman who says basketball legend Michael Jordan is the father of her 16-year-old son asked a judge Tuesday to order Jordan to immediately take a DNA test.

Pamela Smith, 48, filed a paternity suit against Jordan last month seeking child support. Jordan denies he is the father of the child and has also filed a counterclaim seeking sanctions against Smith for making false claims.

Smith acknowledged in a divorce proceeding that her now ex-husband is the father of the child, according to Jordan's lawyers.

"It is unfortunate that well known figures are the target of these kind of claims," Jordan's spokeswoman, Estee Portnoy, said in a statement.

However, Smith attorney Randy Kessler said Tuesday that a simple $300 (201 pounds) saliva test will prove or disprove the paternity question.

In a court filing Tuesday, Kessler asked Fulton County Superior Court Judge Wendy Shoob to order Jordan to submit to "immediate genetic testing." There was no immediate ruling from Shoob following a 20-minute hearing Tuesday in the judge's chambers, Kessler said.

"My son has the right to know who his father is," Smith told reporters after the hearing. "He has had an issue with it over the years."

If Jordan is ordered to pay child support it would only be for about two years until the 16-year-old graduates from high school, Kessler said.

"If this was about money, she would have filed suit 10 years ago," the attorney said.
Jordan's attorney, John Mayoue, declined to comment following Tuesday's hearing. Jordan himself did not attend the hearing.

Jordan, 50, is widely hailed as the best basketball player of all time and was a member of six NBA championship teams with the Chicago Bulls. He is majority owner of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats team.

By David Beasley

September 14, 2012

Serena Williams has been spending a lot on time on the court with coach Patrick Mouratouglou this season, winning Wimbledon, gold at the Olympics and the U.S. Open to cap an impressive 2012 season.

But based on these photos from a French tennis website, Williams and Mouratouglou may be spending time together off the course as well. The two were spotted cozying up to each other on the streets of Paris recently, leading many to believe there's a budding relationship going on between player and coach.

Mouratouglou, who runs a tennis academy in France, started working with Williams after the French Open, and based solely on the number of major trophies she's won since he came on board, there's no question the switch has been beneficial.

I guess it could now be beneficial in other ways as well. Are they really dating? Who knows for sure. We'd all like to believe a photo or two tells the whole story, but maybe this is just two friends hanging out together in the City of Love, arms around each other ... with Williams putting her hand in Mouratouglou's back pocket.
OK, I'm not one to jump to conclusions, but I'm going out on a limb and saying the Williams-Mouratouglou are dating. It's hard to say otherwise after checking out the second picture of them looking at international properties in a storefront window.

October 4, 2012
The folks at TMZ have gotten their hands on legal documents related to Michael Vick's bankruptcy case, which is great news for those of you who closely follow the details of Vick's financial situation.

According to TMZ, Vick has banked $31 million since he filed for bankruptcy in 2008, and has spent nearly all of that. Don't get too excited ‒ it's not like he blew all the money on Bentleys or mansions or building a llama fighting pit in his backyard. Most of the money went to boring stuff. Quoth TMZ:

The math is pretty simple -- Vick had to pay a total of $29.6 mil -- of that, $10.9 went to taxes, $9.2 mil went to creditors, $2.7 went to lawyers and accountants, and the rest is for various things, including child support and living expenses.

All of which leaves Vick with about $1.5 million currently, which isn't bad for a guy who's bankrupt. And, as TMZ points out, things will turn up for Vick. In 2011, he signed a contract with the Eagles that guaranteed him $35.5 million.

He can make substantially more than that if he stays with the Eagles past this year, but there's no guarantee that will happen. He didn't have a great year in 2011, and his 2012 isn't off to a great start, either. At his salary, no one would blame the Eagles if they wanted to let him go, unless he quickly regains his form from 2010. His Sunday night performance against the Giants was a good start, but that's got to happen with more consistency.

But again, $35.5 million is guaranteed to be coming his way, no matter how poorly he plays. If you've been saving your pennies in a jar and sending them to Michael Vick, you can stop now.

May 3, 2013

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, right, and his wife Vanessa Bryant

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Kobe Bryant is in a court battle to try to keep his mother from auctioning off mementoes from his high school days in Pennsylvania and his early years with the Los Angeles Lakers.

A New Jersey auction house filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Camden on Thursday for the right to sell the stuff after the NBA star's lawyers wrote the firm telling it to cancel a planned June auction.

The disagreement is a high-value, high-profile version of a question many families face: Can Mom get rid of the stuff a grown child left at home?

In this case, the 900 mementoes happen to be worth upward of $1.5 million.

Among the first 100 or so items Pamela Bryant intends to sell: the NBA star's jerseys, practice gear and sweatsuits from Lower Merion High School; varsity letters; a trophy for being the outstanding player at the 1995 Adidas ABCD basketball camp; and a signed basketball from the 2000 NBA championship game.

And then there are rings, for the 1996 Pennsylvania high school championship, a pair that the Lakers made for Bryant's parents for the 2000 NBA championship and one from the 1998 NBA All-Star game.

According to court filings, Pamela Bryant struck a deal in January with Goldin Auctions in Berlin, N.J., which earlier this year sold a rare Honus Wagner baseball card for a record $2.1 million.

She got $450,000 up front, which she intended to use for a new home in Nevada.

In its court filings, Goldin says Pamela Bryant told the auction house that she asked her son five years ago what he wanted to do with the items that were in her home.

"Kobe Bryant indicated to Pamela Bryant that the items belonged to her and that he had no interest in them," the auction house's attorneys wrote. So she put them in a $1,500-per-month New Jersey storage unit.

The challenge came Tuesday when Goldin sent a news release announcing the auction. By day's end, Kobe Bryant's lawyer had sent a cease-and-desist letter telling the auction house to call off the sale and return the items to him.

Kenneth Goldin, owner of the auction house, says he can't cancel the auction because he's already advanced $450,000 to Bryant's mother and put money into advertising the auction.

Kobe Bryant's lawyer Mark Campbell said in a statement, "Mr. Bryant's personal property has ended up in the possession of someone who does not lawfully own it. We look forward to resolving this legal matter through the legal system."

Bryant has had a sometimes icy relationship with his mother and father, Joe "Jellybean" Bryant, a former pro basketball player who is now coaching in Thailand.

By Geoff Mulvihill, Associated Press

July 8, 2013

Lamar Odom could be staying in Los Angeles for next season, but it might not be with the Clippers. The 33-year-old has reportedly gained the interest of his former team which could lead to a reunion with Kobe Bryant.

According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles, the Lakers have reached out to Odom though their interest in the player is still unknown.

Times have been rough in Los Angeles this past week as Dwight Howard decided to take his talents to the Houston Rockets. A move for Odom surely won’t fill the void left by Howard, but it could bring back a vital piece to the team’s string of NBA championships in the recent past.

Odom won back-to-back rings with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010, but his role with the team vanished by 2011 before he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks. Since the trade, Odom was dealt again in 2012 to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Lamar Odom was very popular among Lakers’ fans and bringing him back seems to be a legitimate possibility. Kobe Bryant wants another ring or two and he’ll need all the support he can get.

Odom is a solid shooter who’s worked well with Bryant in the past. His game has fallen off little by little over the years, but age is never an issue in the playoffs.

The more experience the better and Odom is certainly no stranger to big games. The Lakers need to make a splash in the free agent market this offseason and bringing in their former star would add another piece to the puzzle.

Last season, Odom appeared in all 82 games for the Clippers. He finished with an average of four points a game, which is the lowest of his career.

His numbers over the past few seasons may push the Lakers away, but the thought of a return is quickly picking up steam.

Could you see Lamar Odom back with the Los Angeles Lakers next season?

October 4, 2012

Manu Ginobili and James Harden tangle, lose all their money (Tom Pennington/ Getty)

Since reports surfaced last week that the NBA was set to fine players for flopping, many fans and observers, including me, have wondered exactly how the league would set about policing these actions. Those rules and standards would go a long way towards defining exactly what the NBA thinks of flopping and why they're concerned with regulating it.

On Wednesday, the NBA unveiled its definition of flopping and their fine structure in response to them. From the official press release:

"Flopping" will be defined as any physical act that appears to have been intended to cause the referees to call a foul on another player. The primary factor in determining whether a player committed a flop is whether his physical reaction to contact with another player is inconsistent with what would reasonably be expected given the force or direction of the contact. Physical acts that constitute legitimate basketball plays (such as moving to a spot in order to draw an offensive foul) and minor physical reactions to contact will not be treated as flops.

Any player who is determined to have committed a flop during the regular season will be subject to the following:
Violation 1: Warning
Violation 2: $5,000 fine
Violation 3: $10,000 fine
Violation 4: $15,000 fine
Violation 5: $30,000 fine

If a player violates the anti-flopping rule six times or more, he will be subject to discipline that is reasonable under the circumstances, including an increased fine and/or suspension.

There is much to analyze here, so let's start with the definition itself. As I noted on Tuesday, a flop can be defined narrowly (pretending contact exists where there was none) 0r quite broadly (any embellishment that emphasizes contact beyond a basic physical reaction). A strict interpretation of this definition suggests the NBA has gone with the latter approach. If the reaction is "inconsistent with what would reasonably be expected" then the play will be a flop. (Never mind that those expectations could differ among reasonable judges.) Based on the amount of times that NBA players embellish contact in a regular game, the NBA would be set to levy many fines over the course of this season.

However, the fine structure itself indicates that they won't be fining with much regularity. Six instances of embellishment is relatively few, especially for defenders like Shane Battier or offensive players like Manu Ginobili who fall to the ground and flail their arms while driving several times per game. So, unless the NBA wants to start handing out suspensions a month or two into the season, they likely won't be policing flops very often. As a point of comparison, the league already suspends players for one game on their 16th technical foul of the regular season (plus another game-long suspension for every two techs after that). Over the course of a season, only a handful of players will see that penalty. If the flopping rules punish a similar number of players, then there's no way that the NBA can crack down on flopping (again, defined broadly) without drastically changing the structure of competition.

The approach, then, is expansive in theory but likely limited in practice. On top of that, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports that the NBA is unlikely to announce fines as they are handed out, instead posting a running tally of infractions. Anyone who wants to figure out the specific flops will have to reverse-engineer the totals and guess at which specific plays were deemed fine-worthy. (It's as yet unclear what that means for the players' appeals process.) So not only will fines be irregular — the NBA won't even announce them in an effort to shame floppers in public.

The difficulty here is in figuring what the NBA has to gain from this particular system. Henry Abbott of TrueHoop has smartly pointed out that the existence of these penalties will at least curb the embarrassment that flopping brings to the league, but it also won't embarrass particular floppers. So, in all likelihood, these flopping rules will help show that the NBA cares about the issue without really doing much to curb the practice. It's a public relations move, first and foremost.

The problem with that approach is that, if certain people don't like flopping, they aren't going to stop decrying it simply because the NBA has minor rules in place. (I find flopping to be a minor issue that doesn't majorly affect my enjoyment of the sport, but I certainly understand that others feel differently.) If flopping persists, then people will continue to notice it, no matter how often the NBA points to its rules as an effort to combat the activity.

UPDATE: As tweeted by Yahoo!'s own Marc Spears, the NBPA will file a grievance and unfair labor practice charge against the NBA. From the union's press release:

NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter stated that, "The NBA is not permitted to unilaterally impose new economic discipline against the players without first bargaining with the union. We believe that any monetary penalty for an act of this type is inappropriate and without precedent in our sport or any other sport. We will bring appropriate legal action to challenge what is clearly a vague and arbitrary overreaction and overreach by the Commissioner's office."

The Players Association will file its grievance with the NBA league office and its unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board.

Postgame flopping penalties were initially brought up by the league's competition committee, which includes players, only for it to decide that those discussions should be tabled for this upcoming season. By instituting these fines as postgame infractions, the NBA might have a technically sound argument for their actions (i.e., they're not exactly affecting the game as it's played on the court), but there is certainly a debate to be had over the issue.

September 15, 2013

Basketball player LeBron James married Savannah Brinson on September 14, 2013

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- LeBron James has another ring.

The Miami Heat star married Savannah Brinson at the posh Grand Del Mar Hotel in San Diego on Saturday, according to two people familiar with the details of the ceremony.

About 200 guests were present for the ceremony, said one of the people, both of whom spoke on condition of anonymity because the wedding was private and the couple had yet to release any details. The ceremony was the highlight of a three-day celebration that will conclude with a brunch on Sunday.

James and Brinson, 27, have been together since high school and have two sons. James, 28, proposed just after midnight on Jan. 1, 2012 in Miami Beach, flanked then by many of his teammates - just as he was again Saturday night for his wedding.

Intense security measures surrounded the wedding, and even some of the invited guests were unclear on some specific details in the days leading up to the long-awaited event that came less than three months after James and the Heat won their second straight NBA title.

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Guests were ushered into the wedding areas under the cover of tents, and television footage taken by news helicopters showed that even umbrellas were used to protect the identity of those arriving. Heat owner Micky Arison, coach Erik Spoelstra and many of James' teammates including Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were on the guest list.

And while some with ties to James, such as Wade and his actress girlfriend Gabrielle Union, tweeted that they were in the San Diego area for a wedding, none released any details Saturday night - since one of the many rules of the wedding was believed to be that no phones would be allowed.

Brinson spoke briefly with AP about the wedding last spring, saying she was both excited and nervous. James has only discussed the wedding in general terms, once describing his role as only to ensure ''that Savannah gets whatever she wants on her day, the wedding day she always dreamed of.''

James, a four-time NBA Most Valuable Player, and the Heat will open training camp next month. In June, they outlasted the San Antonio Spurs in seven games to capture the championship.


AP Sports Writers Tim Reynolds and Tim Sullivan contributed to this report.