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Vikings fans share ideas for new football stadium

Vikings fans share ideas for new football stadium

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Minnesota Vikings fans expressed strong opinions late Monday about features they want in the team's new stadium, from a retractable roof and more leg room - to it being shaped like a giant castle.

An architect with Dallas-based HKS Sports & Entertainment, which is designing the nearly $1 billion stadium, listened to public comments during a forum in Minneapolis. Mark Williams said the downtown Minneapolis stadium will be architecturally distinct, reflect the personality of the team and of Minnesota, and be suited to host other major events.

But fans had their own quirky ideas. Season ticket holder Jeff Jackson said the stadium's ceiling should have acoustical tiles to make game days louder, while longtime fan Brandon Fraher said it should be shaped in a way to pay tribute to the long-gone world of the real Vikings.

``Ever since I was a kid, I thought that it would be really cool if the Vikings played in something that looked like a castle,'' said Fraher, from the Minneapolis suburb of Burnsville.

They were among more than a dozen fans and others who sounded off during the forum with requests for everything from a retractable roof to more leg room in the aisles.

Williams, a principal at HKS Inc., which recently scored the $34 million design contract, made no promises to the fans. But he did vow that the stadium would be distinct and well-suited to host events such as rock concerts, pro wrestling and college sports tournaments.

``This building will represent Minneapolis and Minnesota when they show shots of it on Monday Night Football,'' Williams said.

Several other public forums are planned in upcoming weeks, and Williams said a preliminary design would likely be unveiled early next year.

HKS Inc. designed two of the newest NFL stadiums: Cowboys Stadium in suburban Dallas and Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. But the buildings are vastly different. While Cowboys Stadium is rounded and futuristic, Lucas Oil Stadium has the classical look of a traditional college field house.

Ananth Shakar, a St. Paul architect, said he hoped the new Vikings stadium would be more like the Cowboys' stadium. He said it should be a companion to several recent, lauded additions to Minneapolis architecture.

``I'm hoping it's in the tradition of the Guthrie Theater, the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis Library,'' Shakar said. ``The architecture of this stadium needs to look to the future, not to the past.''

Lynn Garthwaite of Bloomington had a much less lofty request.

``I think it'd be great to be the first stadium with enough leg room that you don't have to stand up when someone in your row leaves for a beer,'' she said.

Several fans said it should have a real grass field. Advocates for the disabled said it should have a greater level of accessibility than the Metrodome it's replacing, and a number of fans said a retractable roof is a must. That last feature could increase the $975 million price tag, but Williams said it's under active consideration.

``My fantasy would be that it's snowing out, and the roof is open. How cool would that be?'' said Larry Spooner, a die-hard Vikings fan who lobbied hard at the Minnesota Capitol for public funding of the stadium. ``You should be able to smell the barbeque ribs from the tailgaters.''

Officials hope for a ground-breaking later next year, with the stadium to be built roughly on the site of the current Metrodome. The plan is that it will be ready in time for the 2016 football season.

Jeff Jackson of Coon Rapids, a 26-year season ticket holder, said he hoped one feature of the widely disliked Metrodome would survive in its predecessor.

``We're very proud of the fact that we have the loudest, noisiest game day in the NFL,'' Jackson said. ``So what I'd love to see would be acoustical ceiling tiles in the new stadium that would reflect the fan noise right down onto that field.''

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Bradley Beal makes most of his opportunity in first All-Star Game

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Associated Press

Bradley Beal makes most of his opportunity in first All-Star Game

Bradley Beal may have had a slow start in the three-point contest on Saturday night, but in Sunday's All-Star Game he worked quickly to make the most of his relatively small window of playing time.

Beal checked in for the first time with 5:45 left in the first quarter and less than 25 seconds later had his first points on a two-handed dunk assisted by LeBron James.

In his All-Star debut, Beal helped lead Team LeBron to a 148-145 victory over Team Stephen as the league utilizied a new format for the annual showcase.

RELATED: BEAL BOUNCED EARLY IN THREE-POINT CONTEST

Beal finished with 14 points and a steal in a productive night. He shot 5-for-10 from the field and an impressive 4-for-8 from long range. 

Beal also tried to get a travelling call from the refs on Karl-Anthony Towns. Yeah, that's not likely to happen in an All-Star Game:

Beal more than held his own and only played 16 minutes, which was good considering he has logged the fifth-most minutes of any player so far this season. A realistic best-case scenario was a strong showing and a short night and that's exactly what he got.

Not only does Beal play a lot of minutes, the Wizards need him now more than ever with John Wall's injury. He needs whatever rest he can get during this All-Star break.

Speaking of Wall, he was in the house despite being in the middle of his rehab from left knee surgery. Per usual, Wall was shining bright:

RELATED: BEST WIZARDS/BULLETS MOMENTS ON ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

The All-Star Game wasn't all about Beal, of course. Here are some other things that stood out...

*The new format and increased financial incentive were intended to make the game more competitive and that's what happened late in the fourth quarter. Usually, that's how these things go where the players will start trying at the end. But this time it seemed to be up a few levels and it was fun to watch. 

Both teams scored in the 140s, so it wasn't exactly a defensive battle. No matter what the league does, the players will only try so hard for so long. The main goal of everyone's is to not get injured in a game that ultimately doesn't count for anything. Still, this was different and appears to have been a success.

*While everyone was focusing on the reunion of LeBron and Kyrie Irving the best beef was Joel Embiid vs. Russell Westbrook. Those two have traded waves to taunt each other at the end of wins in head-to-head matchups and it was clear on Sunday they still don't like each other. Westbrook tried to dunk all over Embiid in the first half, only to get blocked at the rim.

Westbrook's determination to dunk on Embiid was out of the ordinary for an All-Star Game. It was obvious what was on his mind:

*Irving's handles are simply ridiculous. Check out this fake behind-the-back move he pulled with Giannis Antetkounmpo guarding him. Yes, it didn't fool the defender but it was impressive nonetheless:

*LeBron is 33 years old, yet he was still running up and down the court faster than anyone and leaping above the rim to thrown down alley-oop after alley-oop. It is truly amazing and everyone should enjoy watching him while they can, regardless of whether they like the guy or not.

This was one of his dunks:

LeBron took home MVP with a game-high 29 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and a steal.

*The pregame show was quite bad. It was anchored by comedians Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle and, though they had some funny jokes, it lasted nearly 30 minutes. The whole thing was pretty much universally panned on social media. Fergie's national anthem was also roasted by the masses.

*The halftime show was much better. It began with N.E.R.D taking it back to their older days with 'Lapdance,' went to Migos performing 'Stir Fry' and swung back to N.E.R.D. who did their latest hit 'Lemon.' 

RELATED: LATEST 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT

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The NBA All-Star pregame introductions were, uh, something

The NBA All-Star pregame introductions were, uh, something

Whoever put together the NBA All-Star Game player introductions has some 'splainin to do. 

The NBA introduced a kinda-full Staples Center to their 2018 All-Stars about an hour ago, and boy was it weird. There were a lot of dancers in different themed costumes. Kevin Hart was screaming. Rob Riggle was screaming. Ludacris showed up? Hey! Did you know that the Barenaked Ladies are still a band? The NBA would like you to know they're still around.  The whole thing was like when you're at an art museum and you're told that abstract piece in the corner is actually really meaningful but you gotta be honest, you don't get it. 

Anyways, the internet hated it. Here are some highlights from the internet hating it:

The lesson here is that you never need Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle. One will do.