Wizards

Friend: Chiefs LB, slain girlfriend 'seemed fine'

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Friend: Chiefs LB, slain girlfriend 'seemed fine'

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend briefly lived apart before he killed her and then committed suicide in front of his coach and general manager, a friend of the woman said Sunday.

But Brianne York, 21, said that Belcher and his girlfriend, 22-year-old Kasandra M. Perkins, had gotten back together by Thanksgiving.

When she learned Saturday that Belcher had fatally shot Perkins at the couples' home, York said, she thought someone must have been mistaken.

Afterward, Belcher drove about five miles to Arrowhead Stadium, where he thanked general manager Scott Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel for all they'd done for him. Belcher then fatally shot himself in the practice facility's parking lot, police said.

Belcher and Perkins have a 3-month-old daughter.

``They just don't seem like they're that kind of people,'' said York, who met Perkins while taking prerequisite classes at the Blue River campus of the Metropolitan Community College. The women bonded during their pregnancies. York's baby, a boy, was born about three months before Perkins' daughter.

York recalled that her friend was ``really happy about being a mom.''

``It doesn't seem that that would be the end of their story,'' York said. ``It just seems like if things didn't work out, they would have gone their separate ways. I would never have thought that this would be how it ended.''

York said the couple had argued about ``normal couple stuff'' and sometime after Halloween Perkins had gone to visit her family in Texas. Perkins also briefly stayed with her cousin, who is married to Chiefs player Jamaal Charles. Belcher and Perkins met through Charles, York said.

A message left for Charles and his wife through an assistant was not immediately returned.

York said the root of the argument was that Belcher, ``sometimes he would just be down in his man cave or whatever,'' and Perkins wanted to spend more time together as a family.

Initially, York said Perkins told her that ``they weren't sure if they were going to be able to work things out and stay together.'' But York said, ``They ended up wanting to try to work it out, and the next time I went over and visited she told me everything was good and things were better so I thought everything was fine.''

Kansas City police spokesman Darin Snapp reiterated Sunday that the couple had argued recently but he could provide no additional details.

At the couple's former home, people could be seen coming and going Sunday. ``Can you all respect grieving?'' said a man who answered the door at the couple's home. A short time later, at the same time the Chiefs were playing the Carolina Panthers, two men loaded bags into a car, and two women drove away.

Attempts to reach various members of Perkins' family in Austin, Texas, were unsuccessful.

Neighbors in the newly built Kansas City subdivision where the couple had lived since April were stunned by Saturday's violent events.

Kristen VanMeter, 31, lives near the couple and said also she had taken community-college courses with Perkins. VanMeter said the couple threw ``a lot of parties'' but said she heard nothing unusual the morning of the killing.

``It's a surprise,'' she said. ``There had to of been something that triggered it.''

Belcher's mother, who was staying with the couple, called 911 after her son shot Perkins. Snapp said 911 tapes aren't public records in Missouri.

Shawn Martin, vice president of the neighborhood homeowners association, said she wasn't aware of any problems that preceded the shooting.

She described the parties at the home Belcher and Perkins shared as ``nothing more than any other young couple'' would have.

After having the baby, Perkins was taking the fall semester off school. York said Perkins planned to return in January and wanted to become a teacher.

Police said Belcher's mother was living with the couple, but York said she just made frequent visits, sometimes lasting a couple weeks at a time. She doesn't know who will care for the baby now.

``Jovan is pretty laid back and calm and collected,'' York said. ``And they just seemed really happy around each other, and I just don't understand where things went wrong.''

York said the only other stress Perkins mentioned was whether Belcher would stay with the Chiefs.

``She was a really good person to be around and a lot of fun,'' York said. ``She was somebody you could call when you were down and she would talk you through it. She would lift you back up and make you feel happy again if you were sad or upset.''

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Otto Porter, Jr. wants to be more like Klay Thompson on offense and Kawhi Leonard on defense

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USA Today Sports Images

Otto Porter, Jr. wants to be more like Klay Thompson on offense and Kawhi Leonard on defense

Otto Porter, Jr. has heard it from coaches and teammates for over a year now, that they want him to shoot the ball more often. He is the team's most efficient player and the more he shoots, many believe the better off the Wizards will be.

Porter took that idea, and his general quest to be a better player, in a new direction this offseason. He specifically wants to take after Klay Thompson of the Warriors and Kawhi Leonard of the Raptors.

Porter says he can be more like Thompson in that Thompson is not gun-shy with his shot. He has no hesitation to shoot, even while on a team stacked with scorers like Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant.

If Thompson can get his while playing with Curry and Durant, Porter should be able to do the same with John Wall and Bradley Beal. Thompson has averaged 16 field goal attempts or more in the past four years while running with other superstars, while Porter topped out at a career-high 11.5 shots per game last season.

"That's definitely going to be a goal of mine, just to be ultra-aggressive. I think it's best for the team and best for me to put out that effort and be more involved and kind of be like Klay Thompson and take my shots. I'm very confident in that. I'm going to instill that in every game," Porter said.

As for Leonard, Porter hopes to take after him on the defensive end. Leonard, who was traded from the Spurs to the Raptors in July, has won two defensive player of the year awards and he's only 27 years old.

Also a small forward, Porter believes he can model parts of his defensive game after Leonard.

"I watched tons of film," Porter said of his regimen this summer. "I'm learning how to guard on-ball; take my angles and be able to master that. I studied Kawhi Leonard a lot, and the angles he takes. He's very strategic with how his movements are. He never seems tired. I was able to get in [better] shape this summer. There are a lot of games, so I wanted to be in the best shape possible."

Porter has proven he can shoot at a high percentage. Now, he wants to put up volume numbers like Thompson.

Porter has proven a solid team defender. Now, he wants to become a dominant on-ball force like Leonard.

Both of those things should be good news to the Wizards.

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Dwight Howard explains beef with Shaq, says he's ready to take it up a notch

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NBC Sports Washington

Dwight Howard explains beef with Shaq, says he's ready to take it up a notch

Dwight Howard is engaged in a battle with one of the best big men to ever play the sport of basketball and all of it is happening off the court.

Howard locked horns with NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal on social media this week and their beef took another turn on Monday at Wizards media day, Howard's first since signing with Washington. 

First, some context. Howard and O'Neal first got into it on Instagram after Howard appeared on MTV's 'Wild-N-Out.' There were some jokes made by comedians at Howard's expense that Shaq apparently found funny, as he reposted a clip to his Instagram.

Howard saw that message and got into it with Shaq in the comments. O'Neal then went straight for the jugular, saying Howard hasn't won any NBA championships.

Ouch. Clearly, O'Neal took that from zero to 100 very quickly. 

Howard saw that message, too, and responded at media day:

"What's going on between me and Shaq? I don't know. I woke up and saw that he posted something about a roast they had against me. So, I decided to clap back. Obviously, he's got some things he wants to get off his chest about me. I don't have any personal issues with him.

"But if you do want to get to a roast, I can roast with the best of them. I'm ready. I've got some in the chamber, some jokes in the chamber. Let me say that so people don't think I'm gonna do anything crazy. It's all love. I don't have anything against him. He came before me as a pioneer in the game for a lot of guys that play my position. But I'm not gonna be quiet."

Howard went on to say that his goal this season is to win a championship, regardless of whether Shaq said he should or not. And, when pressed for the jokes on O'Neal that he has "in the chamber," Howard declined... sort of.

"No, I can't tell you my Bigfoot jokes yet," he said, dropping a sly hint.

There you go. Bigfoot, er, Shaq has found a dance partner and Howard is ready to take it to the next level if the Big Diesel so chooses.