WNBA Star Brittney Griner Detained in Russia for 10 months
On February 5, WNBA champion and Olympic gold medalist Brittney Griner was detained in Russia as she flew in to compete for UMMC Ekaterinburg. Russian government arrested her for having cartridges of cannabis oil. The U.S. State Department declared her to be ‘wrongfully detained’ and Griner pled guilty during her trial. After being sentenced to nine years in prison, the U.S. government committed a prisoner’s swap with Viktor Bout to bring her back to the United States.
The Los Angeles Rams Win Super Bowl LVI
The L.A. Rams hit a winning streak late in the regular season to reach the NFC Wild Card game. They defeated the Arizona Cardinals 34-11 in the Wild Card and beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-27 in the second round. In the NFC Championship, they defeated the San Francisco 49ers 20-17 in SoFi Stadium. The Rams engaged in a close battle against the Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LVI. A touchdown late in the fourth quarter would give the Rams a 23-20 victory. Wide receiver Cooper Kupp became Super Bowl MVP.
Bill Russell Passes Away
NBA Legend and Civil Rights activist Bill Russell passed away at 88 years old. Russell won 11 NBA championships with the Celtics as a player and as a coach. He was also the first Black coach of the NBA. His talents were the foundation of the Lakers/Celtics rivalry. As an activist, Russell hosted the first integrated basketball camp in Mississippi. He also attended the March on Washington. To honor his life, the NBA chose to retire the no. 6 jersey across the league.
LeBron James Becomes Second All-Time Leading Scorer (AP Photo)
Lakers star LeBron James moves past Karl Malone in all-time scoring. James became the second all-time leading scorer in a loss to the Washington Wizards where he scored 38 points. James has been scoring 27.1 points per game this season and is currently less than 1000 points away from surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 33-year-old record of 38,387 points.
CIF City Section Football Game Has All-Female Officials
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, the regular season game against Maywood CES vs Marquez high schools had all-female referees officiating the game. This marks the first time a CIF City Section game had a crew of female officials. The crew consisted of LaQuica Hawkins, Kim Bly, Crystal Nichol, Zina Jones, and Connie Wells.
Serena Williams Plans to Move on From Tennis
Prior to the start of the U.S. Open, the 23-time Grand Slam champion and Compton native announced her plans to step away from tennis to pursue other business interests and expand her family. She competed in the 2022 U.S. Open, defeating Danka Kovinić in straight sets during the first round and beating Anett Konteveit in the second. Williams lost to Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round. After her first-round victory, the fans at the U.S. Open participated in a card stunt that said, “I love Serena.”
Allyson Felix Retires
11-time Olympic medalist Allyson Felix announced that she will retire after her 2022 season. The Los Angeles Native is the most decorated US track and field athlete; she competed in five Olympic Games. An iconic moment of her career was at the London 2012 Olympics when she helped the women’s 4x100m relay team break the World record with a 40.82-second time. Felix also earned 19 total career medals from the World Championships.
Caleb Williams Wins the Heisman
During his first season with the USC Trojans, sophomore quarterback Caleb Williams forced the program into the national spotlight, starting the 2022 season with a six-game winning streak. By the end of the regular season, USC was ranked fourth in the AP polls. Williams made 4015 passing yards and 37 touchdown passes; he completed 66.1 percent of his passes. The Washington D.C. native is the first USC Heisman winner since running back Reggie Bush won the award in 2005.
Local Athletes Advance
Former Notre Dame (Sherman Oaks) High School standout Hunter Greene was called to the Major Leagues. His first game with the Cincinnati Reds was on April 10 when they battled against the Atlanta Braves. Top girls basketball recruit of the 2023 class and reigning state champion Juju Watkins signed with USC. The five-star recruit has averaged 24.8 points and 10.3 rebounds per game with Sierra Canyon and has an endorsement deal with Nike. LA native and former Oregon defensive back Kayvon Thibodeaux was the fifth overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. He is currently a starting linebacker for the New York Giants.
LAFC Wins MLS Cup Final
In their fifth year of existence, the LAFC won their first MLS Cup title after an intense battle against the Philadelphia Union. The game went into extra minutes and Gareth Bale forced a tie at three points. The LAFC went 3-0 in penalty kicks to win. The LAFC is also the eighth team in MLS history to win both the Supporter’s Shield as the regular season champs and the MLS Cup title.