What Had Happened Was: 12/19/17
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- John Skipper resigned as president of ESPN and co-chairman of the Disney Media Networks on Monday. “Today I have resigned from my duties as President of ESPN,” Skipper said in a statement. “I have had a wonderful career at the Walt Disney Company and am grateful for the many opportunities and friendships. … I have struggled for many years with a substance addiction. I have decided that the most important thing I can do right now is to take care of my problem.” Skipper joined ESPN in 1997 and had served as president since 2012. Former ESPN president George Bodenheimer will take over as acting chairman while Disney chairman and chief operating officer Bob Iger launches a search for Skipper’s permanent replacement in the next 90 days.
- The Los Angeles Lakers retired Kobe Bryant’s No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys at halftime of Monday’s 116-114 loss to the Golden State Warriors. In honor of the momentous night, several current and retired players, including LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Lamar Odom, Scottie Pippen and Chris Paul took to social media to congratulate Bryant, who spent 10 seasons in No. 8 and 10 seasons in No. 24 before retiring from the game in 2016 and becoming the first player in league history to have two jerseys retired by the same team. “It’s about embodying the spirit that exists in those jerseys up there and carrying this organization forward,” Bryant said during his halftime speech, “so that the next 20 years is better than the past 20 years.”
- American sprinter Justin Gatlin denied the use of performance-enhancing drugs after allegations set forth in a report from London’s The Telegraph led the United States Anti-Doping Agency and the Athletics Integrity Unit to launch an official investigation. “I am not using and have not used PEDs,” Gatlin, the world champion in the 100 meters, wrote in a statement posted Tuesday to Instagram. The two investigating groups will look into Gatlin, his coach Dennis Mitchell and Robert Wagner, an agent who has worked for the sprinter. “Investigations from tips and whistleblowers play a critical role in anti-doping efforts,” an agency spokesperson told The Telegraph. “We are presently coordinating with the Athletics Integrity Unit in order to investigate these claims fully.”
— ESPN (@espn) December 19, 2017
Top three tweets (IN HONOR OF KOBE BRYANT)
1. THAT KOBE BRYANT WORKOUT PLAN!
Down 170 lbs since @kobebryant 's last game. Took it one day at time with that #MambaMentality. Happy #Ko8be24 !! #KobeWeek #KobeBryant #Ko8e24ِ #LakeShow @Lakers @JeanieBuss @geeter3 @LAIreland @ @ramonashelburne @LakersReporter #bestever pic.twitter.com/FeW0245MjC
— Chris Huerta (@Huertaweightgo) December 18, 2017
2. THE TRASH TALK EXTRAORDINAIRE
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) December 18, 2017
3. FROM THE MAMBA’S MOUTH!
8 v 24. Discuss…
— Nike Basketball (@nikebasketball) December 18, 2017
Different animal, same beast. https://t.co/1VEmcfG4Be
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) December 18, 2017
"The Tale of Two Mambas." From the airballs in Utah, the Shaq-Kobe era, the case that nearly killed his career, the birth of 24, redemption vs. Boston, the injuries and his iconic last game, @aardodson + myself tell the story of @kobebryant. #Ko8e24 https://t.co/9dqVsYBez6
— Justin Tinsley (@JustinTinsley) December 18, 2017
ON This day in sports history
On Dec. 19, 1961, Hall of Fame defensive end Reggie White was born. The 6-foot-5, 300-pound native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, entered the NFL as the 1984 NFL supplemental draft’s No. 4 overall pick of the Philadelphia Eagles after two seasons with the United States Football League’s Memphis Showboats. In 14 NFL seasons, White was a 13-time Pro Bowler, 10-time first-team All-Pro selection, two-time NFL sacks leader and two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He finished his career with 198 sacks (the most ever until 2003), 33 forced fumbles, three interceptions and two defensive touchdowns before retiring in 2000. White died of cardiac arrhythmia in 2004, and two years later he was posthumously enshrined in Canton, Ohio.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 18, 2017