Michael Jordan in town, unseen at Infineon AMA race


Michael Jordan in town, unseen at Infineon AMA race

May 14, 2011MOTORSPORTS PAGEJohn Crowley

SONOMA -- In addition to the hum of high-horsepower motorcycles, the buzz in the Infineon Raceway paddock is that NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan is visiting.

The odds, however, of seeing his 6-foot-6 frame hanging around the grassy hillsides that flank the 2.32 mile, 12 turn road course are decidedly low.

Make no mistake, his presence at the AMA Pro Road Racing weekend and ownership of the Michael Jordan Motorsports operation is not a hobby.

But unless events require him to pay a visit to Victory Lane, Jordanprefers the comfort of a suite, where he was ensconced Saturday,according to an AMA spokesman.

NEWS: Hayes wins Superbike Race 1 Saturday

Said John Cardinale, the track's vice president of communications: "I know he's here this weekend but I haven't seen him," adding, "we've tried to get him to do some media stuff in the past but he always declined."

Founded in 2004 as an outgrowth of his passion for motorcycles and myriad business interests, Jordan's outfit is partnered with Suzuki and sponsor National Guard in the premiere AMA Superbike class. The team broke through in 2010 with a win in the high-profile Daytona 200.

In a press box conversation about the six-time NBA champion, a reporter from a prominent motorcycle magazine said he's heard that Jordan is friends with members of the Chicago police force, and the group takes to the Windy City on two wheels late at night, flouting the posted speed limits on spacious and fast Lakeshore Drive.

Saturday, he was distinctly off the radar.

A Bay Area newspaper photographer who was shooting a scenic from an adjacent suite did confirm Jordan was at the track, estimating the basketball legend's group at "15-to-20" people.

"He looked at me, he definitely saw my camera," said the photographer, who said the superstar was casually attired in a brown sportcoat. "But I knew better than to point it at him. That wasn't my assignment."

Jordan doesn't meet with the media on race weekends, nor does he spend any time in the garage area, which is typically a magnet for celebrities on race day.

A stop by the team's hauler only served to prove the point.

Riders Ben Bostrom (who carries the No. 23 on his motorcycle) and Roger Hayden (No. 45) were seen there earlier in the day signing autographs, working with engineers and having lunch with family and business associates.

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But the man who Forbes Magazine ranked in 2010 as the 20th most powerful celebrity in the world was nowhere to be found.

"Is the boss around?"a bystander asked a Michael Jordan Motorsports cook, cleaning up the team's hospitality lounge.

"He's upstairs," was the response, with a nod to the luxury suites above the front straightaway.

And that's apparently, where he's going to stay.

Report: Giants discussed Panik, top prospects in potential Stanton trade


Report: Giants discussed Panik, top prospects in potential Stanton trade

On Monday morning, some important details emerged.

The Giants discussed Joe Panik and top prospects Tyler Beede and Chris Shaw with the Marlins in a potential trade for Giancarlo Stanton, according to sports radio host Craig Mish.

Last week, San Francisco reportedly made an actual offer for Stanton.

The Giants selected Beede, 24, in the first round (14th overall) of the 2014 draft.

The right-handed pitcher went 6-7 with a 4.79 ERA over 19 starts in Triple-A last season.

[RELATED: Healthy Tyler Beede shows why he's Giants' top pitching prospect]

The Orange and Black took Shaw, 24, in the first round (31st overall) of the 2015 draft.

In 37 games for Double-A Richmond in 2017, he hit .301 with six home runs and 29 RBI.

He was promoted to Triple-A and hit .289 with 18 home runs and 50 RBI in 88 games.

Shaw recently played in the Arizona Fall League, but only saw action in five games because of a sore shoulder.

In his own way, David Lee was a launching pad for the new age Warriors


In his own way, David Lee was a launching pad for the new age Warriors

So we say Goodbye, once and for all, to David Lee, who was nothing less than the visible lightning rod for all that was good and bad about the Warriors during their advancement from a hut on the outskirts of the NBA to the league’s penthouse suite.

Lee was, in his own way, every bit as much of a launching pad for the New Age Warriors as was Stephen Curry.

Lee, who disclosed his retirement Sunday in a very 2017 America way -- with an Instagram post -- came to the Warriors from the New York Knicks in a July 2010 sign-and-trade deal. He was the one-man brass band providing accompaniment to the announcement of the team being purchased by Joe Lacob and Peter Guber.

An expensive band, too, as the Warriors handed Lee a six-year contract worth $80 million.

Fairly popular in New York, having been the team’s only All-Star in the nine-season span from 2001-02 to 2010-11, Lee became a fast favorite among many Warriors fans because he produced impressive individual numbers for a struggling team with a richly earned inferiority complex.

In 2012-13, Lee’s third season as a Warrior, he became the team’s first All-Star since Latrell Sprewell 16 years earlier. Lee led the NBA in double-doubles, his favorite statistical category. That season, not coincidently, also marked the team’s return to the playoffs after a five-year absence.

Lee by then was partnering with Curry as the leaders of a team -- no, a franchise -- determined to became a player in the NBA. With Guber’s theatrical flair and Lacob’s naked ambition, the Warriors were not going to be stopped.

It became apparent the following season, even as the team was making its second consecutive playoff appearance, that Lee had a ceiling. He could score and rebound well enough to rack up double-doubles, but he was giving away points on the other end. Lee was an awful defender, constantly picked on by opponents.

The Warriors could win a lot of games with Lee as their starting power forward, but they weren’t going to win any championships.

That door didn’t crack open for the Warriors until late in the 2014 season, and it opened wide during the playoffs against the Clippers. Three games into the series, with LA’s Blake Griffin having his way with Lee, Warriors coach Mark Jackson realized he had an answer to his Griffin problem.

Jackson turned to Draymond Green, who played well over the final weeks of the season as Lee recovered from an injury. Green immediately got under Griffin’s skin and stayed there for the rest of the series. More than three years later, Green still terrifies Griffin, which is why the Warriors own the Clippers.

The Clippers won the series in seven games, but the Warriors were enlightened.

Jackson was fired after that series, and Steve Kerr was hired as the new coach. Kerr says he came in believing Lee would be his starting power forward. Lee had the misfortune of straining a hamstring in the final preseason game, pressing Green into the starting lineup. He has been there ever since.

As their 2014-15 season marched on, the Warriors coaching staff began carefully rationing Lee’s reserve minutes to obscure his defensive limitations. In two years, he had gone from a numbers beast and Curry’s chief sidekick to being marginalized on a team bound for a championship.

A member of the 2015 championship team, Lee also was the most glaring casualty of the Warriors amazing ride to the top of the NBA.

His arrival had given them a modicum of credibility, something utterly lacking at the time. That helped the franchise. His departure, traded to the Celtics in July 2015 -- five years to the day after he came to the Bay -- gave the Warriors some immediate cap relief. That also helped the franchise.

After two years bouncing around the league, from the Celtics to the Mavericks to the Spurs last season, Lee is hanging up his sneakers. He’s diving into life with his new fiancée, the tennis star Caroline Wozniacki. Life was good and it should stay good.

Lee has much about which to be proud. He did his job well enough for the Warriors, but not as well as they needed it to be done to reach the very top. No shame in that, none at all.