Puma names Jay-Z creative director of basketball branch

June 19 (UPI) — Music mogul Jay-Z has been named the creative director of Puma basketball.

Jay-Z was originally rumored to have been given the title of president of basketball operations, but Puma global director of brand and marketing Adam Petrick later clarified the position.

“I can confirm that according to his deal with Puma, Jay-Z’s official designation is Creative Director,” Petrick told ESPN. “I referred to him [earlier] today by an informal designation.”

Petrick also clarified Jay-Z’s title during an interview with Complex.

Puma announced Jay-Z’s role with the company on Monday. The company has also signed prized college prospects Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III and Zhaire Smith ahead of Thursday’s NBA Draft.

Puma also inked NBA legend Walt “Clyde” Frazier to a lifetime contract, according to ESPN.

“We’re making a serious statement about the entry of the category, that we want to be a performance brand, but then also very culturally focused,” Petrick told Complex.

Puma recently released 73 limited-edition pairs of Walt Frazier Clydes at the Puma Hoops HQ in Brooklyn, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Jay-Z, who goes by the given name of Shawn Carter, is also founder of the entertainment company and sports agency Roc Nation. The company represents several high-profile athletes, including: Robinson Cano, Kevin Durant, Todd Gurley, Leonard Fournette and Saquon Barkley.

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Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinateri: No retirement in sight

Adam Vinatieri will turn 46 years old in December and, if he can stay healthy, he will have spent half his life playing in the NFL.

But as he prepares to enter his 23rd season overall and 13th with the Indianapolis Colts, Vinatieri is not counting the days down to his retirement.

“I love it as much today as I had when I started 23 years ago,” Vinatieri told the Colts’ official website on Tuesday. “I’m not looking to hang them up anytime soon, unless something happens that needs to be that way.”

Vinatieri signed a one-year contract in February to return for another season. He showed he has plenty of life left in his leg, connecting on 29 of 34 field-goal attempts in 2017, including five of six from at least 50 yards out. Two of his misses came during blizzard conditions in Buffalo.

A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Vinatieri is on the threshold of setting league records for the most career field goals and most points.

Vinatieri has kicked 559 field goals, which puts him just six shy of Hall of Famer Morten Andersen for the most in NFL history. His 2,487 points trail only Andersen (2,544) and his 337 career games played ranks him fifth all-time in league history.

“Obviously this all-time leading scorer thing I knew was out there and I thought, ‘Man, if I stay healthy, I would like to reach that goal,'” said Vinatieri. “But for me, like I said before, more importantly if our team is a team that is a contender to continue to make playoffs and have a chance to play in another Super Bowl and stuff, that is a huge, huge driving factor for me.”

Vinatieri has won four world championships, connecting on the game-winning kicks in each of the New England Patriots‘ first two Super Bowl wins — in 2001 versus the then-St. Louis Rams and 2003 against the Carolina Panthers.

The potential return of a healthy Andrew Luck at quarterback and general manager Chris Ballard‘s hire of Frank Reich as the team’s head coach has Vinatieri thinking a fifth Super Bowl ring is possible.

“We have a lot of things that can make this team successful and I look at this as a team that can make the playoffs moving forward,” Vinatieri said. “I clearly wanted to stay in Indy. … But I also felt like I wanted to play for a team that can win and I feel like Chris Ballard and hiring Frank … I think these two gentlemen can definitely turn this organization around so I’m happy and excited to sign with this team and to see where we can go with it.”

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Marlins' Prado makes diving catch on bunt, going from third to first-base line

May 16 (UPI) — Third baseman Martin Prado left his spot to make a diving catch on a bunt down the first-base line during a Miami Marlins win against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Prado made the out in the top of the fifth inning of the Marlins’ 4-2 victory Tuesday at Marlins Park in Miami, Fla. Yasiel Puig was on first base after taking a walk to start the inning. Dodgers starting pitcher Alex Wood then stepped to the plate to face Marlins starter Wei-Yin Chen.

Chen tossed in a 90.9-mph fastball with his only offering of the exchange. Wood extended his bat into the strike zone, deflecting the pitch for a bunt down the first baseline. The ball popped up high between Marlins catch J.T. Realmuto and Chen, but neither were in a position to make a play.

But Prado got an excellent jump on the ball. He sprinted from his spot on the hot corner and dove toward the line before snatching the above the grass with his glove. He then threw to first base, but failed to double up Puig.

“Sometimes you just react to plays,” Prado said. “The first time I saw him i knew that he was going to bunt down first base just the way I was attacking the play. Just the second time he just hit it in the air and gave me some time to get there.”

“Sometimes there are pitchers where if they see you, instead of bunting they just swing,” Prado said. “So you are taking that risk.”

Chris Taylor hit a single in the next at-bat, before Chen got Joc Pederson to fly out to left field. Prado put out Justin Turner by catching his line drive for the third out of the frame.

Prado went 2-for-4 at the plate and scored a run in the Marlins victory. The Marlins and Dodgers meet again at 7:10 p.m. Wednesday at Marlins Park.

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Marcelo's son shows soccer skills in bin challenge with Real Madrid

May 16 (UPI) — Marcelo’s 8-year-old son recently showed off his own soccer skills while playing the bin challenge in the Real Madrid dressing room.

Enzo Vieira stood surrounded by the La Liga and Champions League stars. He headed the ball back and forth with each player in the room, before finishing his last touch with a header into a clothing bin. He touched with 12 players during the sequence.

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos gave Enzo the final assist. Luka Modric, Marco Asensio and Marcelo also helped him along the way with some soft touches.

Enzo plays on the junior level for Real Madrid. He scored a hat trick in his debut for Real Madrid’s ‘Benjamin B’ squad.

“Daddy’s pride,” Marcelo wrote for the caption on an Instagram video he posted Tuesday. “This is a family @RealMadrid.”

The Real Madrid website offers a scouting report on Enzo.

“Enzo is a very skilled and powerful player,” the report reads. “A very mobile forward who always works for the team. He stands out for his sacrifice and perseverance. He knows how to read the plays well and has good completion, which guarantees a good number of goals for the team.”

Marcelo and Real Madrid battle Liverpool in the Champions League final on May 26 in Kiev, Ukraine.

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Stanley Cup Playoffs: Predators even series vs. Jets in Game 4

May 4 (UPI) — Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne was a brick wall in a 2-1 Game 4 win against the Winnipeg Jets in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Rinne made 32 saves in the victory Thursday at Bells MTS Place in Winnipeg Manitoba. The Western Conference series is now tied 2-2.

“We really focussed on playing solid defensively, which we did,” Rinne told reporters. “That was an amazing team game. We played a really solid game throughout the 60 minutes and obviously a big win for us.”

Nashville’s net minder made his best save about eight minutes into the contest. Jets center Adam Lowry was skating along the boards on the right side of the Predators net in the first period. He eventually passed off to Josh Morrissey. The defenseman fed Bryan Little in front of the net, but Little had his shot denied by Rinne.

Morrissey skated behind the net and collected the rebound. He tried to sneak a slow shot past Rinne, but the Predators’ goal tender used the knob of his stick to keep the puck from crossing the line.

“It was so lucky,” Rinne said. “I’ll take that any day. It was so lucky. I wish I could say I did that on purpose.”

Predators right wing Ryan Hartman got the scoring started 17:20 into the game. Hartman was standing in traffic in front of the Jets’ net late in the first period. He eventually gained control of the puck behind Jets defenseman Tyler Myers. Hartman shot the puck between Myers’ legs and beat Connor Hellebuyck top shelf.

P.K. Subban added a second score for the Predators during a power play in the second period. The Predators defenseman passed back and forth with Filip Forsberg before lacing a deep shot past Hellebuyck on the stick side with 5:24 remaining in the frame.

Winnipeg finally lit the lamp with about 50 seconds remaining in the game. Patrik Laine gained control of the puck off of a face-off and ripped a shot from out past the circle, beating Rinne and cutting the deficit in half.

Rinne denied the Jets in the final seconds to secure the win.

The Predators host the Jets in Game 5 at 9:30 p.m. Saturday at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn.

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Penguins even Stanley Cup playoff series vs. Capitals, get crazy goal from Malkin

May 4 (UPI) —Evgeni Malkin scored while diving at the net in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 3-1 win in Game 4 of its Stanley Cup playoff series against the Washington Capitals. Jake Guentzel scored twice in the victory.

“I think it was just good defense,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan told reporters. “There wasn’t a lot of room on either end out there. I think both teams are defending extremely hard.”

Malkin made the brilliant effort in the second period Thursday at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pa. The Penguins and Capitals were tied at 1-1 with 2:29 remaining in the frame. Malkin ripped a shot toward the Capitals’ net, but the attempt hit the far post behind Braden Holtby.

The puck then sat just in front of the line, before Holtby could snatch it. Malkin then dove at the goal, hitting the puck with his stick and knocking it past the line to give the Penguins a 2-1 advantage.

Pittsburgh earned its initial lead 9:21 into the second period. Sidney Crosby slid the puck over to Dominik Simon on that play. Simon then found Guentzel to his right. The Penguins center crossed the puck in front of Holtby, beating him stick side.

The Capitals evened the score 3:34 later while on a power play. Nicklas Backstrom was skating on the right flank on that play, near the Penguins’ net. He hovered around the circle and did some light stick work, before firing a pass to T.J. Oshie in front of the net. Oshie ripped a screaming one-timer past Matt Murray.

Then came Malkin’s improbable score. The Capitals challenged for goaltender interference, but the goal was upheld.

Guentzel returned for his second score of the night with 58 seconds remaining. He scored his tenth goal of the playoffs while on a power play, draining an empty netter from out near the blue line.

“I think we all knew we had to get this one, especially at home ice,” Guentzel said. “I think right from the drop of the puck we played a full 60 minutes. That just shows what we can do. It was definitely a huge win for us.”

Game 5 of the Eastern Conference series is set for 7 p.m. Saturday at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.

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