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CEO Jed York looks to lead 49ers back to greatness

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CEO Jed York looks to lead 49ers back to greatness

NEW ORLEANS (AP) When Jed York attended his first football game at age 3, he had already developed an eye for watching the way his uncle ran the San Francisco 49ers during their glory days.

Nearly three decades later, the Niners are York's team - and he is trying to build something just as special as the dynasty Eddie DeBartolo Jr. had when the franchise won five Super Bowls in as many tries.

That first game was in Cleveland, ``sitting on Jennifer Montana's lap,'' York recalled Thursday. ``I traveled with my family a lot to go see games. When you're a little kid and you watch how Eddie was with the players, it's just, `that's how you do it.'''

York has some catching up to do.

He can count the good seasons by his San Francisco franchise on one hand. That's why he keeps the comparisons between him and his uncle - ``he was the best ever'' - to a minimum.

``We're short, we're unathletic ... grew up in Youngstown, Ohio,'' York said of him and DeBartolo, who is up for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. ``I think we both dress very well.''

A casually dressed York hardly looked the part of an NFL executive and owner, wearing slightly baggy jeans, a polo shirt and sneakers for Super Bowl.

The shoes were designer, but still.

In a matter of months, the San Francisco 49ers CEO has become a first-time father, watched a new billion-dollar stadium take shape outside his office at team headquarters in Silicon Valley and seen his San Francisco franchise return to the Super Bowl - 18 years after the last championship. Not bad for a guy going on 32 (his birthday is in March).

The hands-on DeBartolo was a locker room fixture when he owned the team from 1977-98 and won five Super Bowls. He took care of his players - still does - even the injured ones, and was affectionately known as ``Mr. D.''

York does it his way, staying behind the scenes and trusting general manager Trent Baalke and coach Jim Harbaugh to make the right decisions.

After much change from top to bottom, York takes pride in the progress but won't be happy until his Niners are Super Bowl regulars again.

``I think we're proud. We've put in the work to get here but there's a long way for us still to go,'' York said. ``I don't know that there's a lot of reflection right now.''

Next up: bringing home another Lombardi Trophy to the sports-crazed Bay Area, where the San Francisco Giants captured their second World Series title in three years last fall. The 49ers are a remarkable 5-0 in Super Bowls heading into Sunday's NFL championship game against Baltimore.

They are on their ``Quest for Six'' - the slogan for this special run - thanks to York's aggressive leadership. He promoted Trent Baalke to general manager, and together they aggressively pursued Harbaugh before ultimately hiring him away from Stanford in January 2011.

``You can't worry about the negative things and even now, being in the final four the last two years, being in the Super Bowl now, I don't think I'm as good as people are saying, either,'' York said. ``Don't listen to the sweet words of praise because that's not what this is about, it's about working to get better each day and making sure you sustain success.''

As is his style, York blended in well Thursday during Super Bowl media festivities in his laid-back attire, saying, ``I'm just chillin' right now.''

And he was happy his phone stopped working to give him a short break from the daily chores of running a professional sports team, including managing a $1.1 billion stadium project in time for its 2014 opening and making a Super Bowl bid.

``When you think about it, what Jed York has done here the last two years, completely revamping his senior leadership team, bringing on coach Harbaugh, promoting Trent Baalke to general manager - those guys both won awards for the best in their field last year - we got financing for the new stadium this year, everything's going pretty well,'' second-year team president Gideon Yu said.

DeBartolo is still a regular sounding board and mentor for his godson.

They speak on the phone, they email. York invited him to Atlanta as the 49ers' honorary captain, then DeBartolo presented the George Halas NFC championship trophy to his sister, Denise DeBartolo York, after San Francisco's 28-24 victory at Atlanta two weeks ago.

Jed York was put in charge of the team by his parents three years ago in his late 20s - a daunting task to say the least. They had assumed ownership of the Niners after DeBartolo Jr. received a one-year suspension from the NFL after being found guilty of failing to report a bribe by a government official, a felony.

``I'm thrilled to death. He's done a fantastic job,'' DeBartolo Jr. said. ``I actually just told somebody that I think what his greatest achievement is, besides the hires that he's made, he has taken his time and done it right with the organization. Jed has been standing in the background and he's given his football people - his really, really great football people - the autonomy to do what they do best, and that's to build a team and to win.''

York and wife, Danielle, welcomed son, Jaxon, on Oct. 27. Now, York wakes up at 5 a.m. many days and heads to the office, where he gets in four hours of work before most of his employees even arrive.

That way, he gets home to see his baby boy before bedtime.

``It is good crazy, definitely a lot less free time, and that's probably a good thing for everybody,'' York said. ``He's been great. It's one of those things where you really look forward going home. It's OK waking up at 5 o'clock in the morning to come in to work because you can go home and get to see him at night. That's the best part of my day.''

If the 49ers can beat Baltimore on Sunday at the Superdome, there will be much more for the young family to celebrate.

York isn't getting ahead of himself, or ponder how San Francisco could soon be the new Titletown USA.

``I haven't thought about Super Bowl rings,'' he said. ``I haven't thought about parades.''

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Wizards at Heat Game: TV Channel, Live Stream, how to watch

Wizards at Heat Game: TV Channel, Live Stream, how to watch

Thursday’s 119-113 victory over the 76ers was by far the best victory the Wizards have had this season.

Davis Bertans was hot shooting 7-for-10 from three. He even set a career high of 25 points in 27 minutes.  

Miami, on the hand struggled Wednesday night and fell short to Boston 112-93. 

Who will get the victory Friday ngiht? Tune in to find out. 

WIZARDS at HEAT HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Wizards at Heat, Game 21

Where: American Airlines Arena, Miami, FL

When: Friday, December 6, at 8:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Wizards at Heat will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (NBC Sports Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can live stream Wizards at Heat on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the NBC Sports App.

Radio: Wizards Radio Network, 1500 AM

WIZARDS at HEAT TV SCHEDULE

7:00 PM: Wizards Outsiders (LIVE)

7:30 PM: Wizards Pregame Live (LIVE)

8:00 PM: Wizards at Heat (LIVE)

10:30 PM: Wizards Postgame Live (LIVE)

11:00 PM: D.C. Sports Live (LIVE)

11:30 PM: Wizards Talk (LIVE)

WIZARDS at HEAT INJURY REPORT:

Wizards: John Wall (OUT, Left Achilles rehab), Ian Mahinmi (OUT, Right Achilles strain), C.J. Miles (OUT, Wrist), Thomas Bryant (OUT, foot), Isaiah Thomas (OUT, Calf)

Heat: Justise Winslow (OUT, Back), Goran Dragic (OUT, Groin), KZ Okpala (OUT, Achilles), Udonis Haslem (OUT, Illness)

WIZARDS at HEAT PLAYERS TO WATCH

Davis Bertans, PF, (13.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.7 app, ): Bertans went off in the first half against the 76ers shooting 6-for-6 from deep to get 22 points going into halftime. Bertans finished Thursday nights game with a season high of 25 points, one rebound, one steal and seven 3 pointers within 37 minutes.

Ish Smith, G, Wizards (8 ppg, 3 rpg, 3.9 apg): With IT out Ish Smith stepped up to the plate dishing out a season high of eight assists with 19 points and one rebound in 34 minutes in Thursday nights win over the 76ers. Smith is averaging

Jimmy Butler, G, Wizards (20.1 ppg, 6 rpg, 6.5 apg): Jimmy Butler was on fire in Miami’s 112-93 loss to Celtics on Wednesday. Butler made 12-of-18 from the field and set a season high of 37 points.

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Davis Bertans reinforces status as Wizards' best offseason addition in win over 76ers

Davis Bertans reinforces status as Wizards' best offseason addition in win over 76ers

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards beat the Philadelphia 76ers 119-113 on Thursday night at Capital One Arena. Here are five takeaways from what went down...

1. The Wizards entered this season with the understanding they probably wouldn't make the playoffs. They wanted to play hard and be a team capable of pulling off upsets on nights their effort and scrappy play caught opponents off guard.

They wanted to have games like they had on Thursday night. For the first time this season, the Wizards jumped all over a very good team and held on for a victory.

The Wizards took out the Sixers 119-113 for what is so far their signature win of the season. Philly is one of the best teams in the East at 15-7 and it was mostly healthy, unlike the Wizards.

Washington snapped a three-game skid as it now flies to Miami for battle with the Heat, who may be the surprise team of the NBA so far this season with a 15-6 record.

2. Though it's not showing in the standings, the Wizards did a nice job in the offseason in flipping their roster and creating long-term financial flexibility. Their most impressive move may have been trading for Davis Bertans.

Bertans was essentially stolen from the San Antonio Spurs for Aaron White, who was likely to never play for the Wizards. And all Bertans has done is thrive in an expanded role with the green light to shoot as often as he wants.

Bertans was lights-out on Thursday with 25 points on 9-for-16 shooting. He set a career high with seven threes, going 7-for-13 from the perimeter. Bertans had 20 points and was 6-for-6 from three in the first half, tying his previous career high for makes.

As I've mentioned before, Bertans is going to be a commodity come the trade deadline and that is going to force a tough decision for the Wizards, whether to trade him or keep him and try to work out an extension in the offseason. If they are offered a first-round pick, it will be hard to pass up.

But there is an argument either way to hold on to him because he is such a good shooter. Just imagine how well he would fit with John Wall.

3. Rookie Rui Hachimura also had a huge game in what was his first career meeting with the Sixers. He popped off for 15 points in the second quarter and ended up with 27 points and six boards.

Hachimura did all of this while dealing with Al Horford and Joel Embiid down low and guarding those guys on the other end. He also spent some time checking Tobias Harris, so there was a lot on his plate.

Hachimura got many of his points with his bread-and-butter midrange game. He made one three and found trouble getting around Embiid at the rim. 

Hachimura took what the defense gave him and it worked. There were several occasions where defenders just let him take long twos and he made them.

Head coach Scott Brooks was just talking pregame about why the Wizards are okay with him living in the midrange, if that's what he is most comfortable with at this point. Good timing with those comments.

Hachimura, by the way, is averaging 22 points over his last four games while shooting 54.4 percent from the field (37-for-68).

4. The Wizards shared some good news on the injury front before the game as both of their backup centers returned. Moe Wagner, who was nursing a left ankle injury, came back after missing two games. And Ian Mahinmi made his season debut after missing two-plus months with an Achilles strain.

Wagner was put in the starting lineup due to Thomas Bryant's absence and, though he did not have his usual scoring numbers, he did what he could to bother Embiid and give the Wizards energy. Wagner finished with five points and 11 rebounds.

Mahinmi played surprisingly well, all things considered. He had some bad moments, some due to rust. Be he did a solid job guarding Embiid, which is no easy task. The Wizards also helped him out with double teams.

The best part of Mahinmi's night, though, was right when he checked in. He has developed a reputation for getting in foul trouble and, sure enough, he got one on his very first play.

5. Though the Wizards got two players back from injury on Thursday, they also lost two. Jordan McRae will be out a few weeks after having a second surgery on his right ring finger. And, in a bigger surprise, starting point guard Isaiah Thomas was a late scratch with a left calf strain.

The Thomas one is a newly disclosed injury and at this point it's unclear if he will miss any more time. But it was enough for him to sit after he had played in 17 straight.

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