Bubba Chuck may not be broke.
At least that’s the word being passed around in many circles these days.
Bubba Chuck is also known as Allen Iverson. Some may remember him as the high-scoring, fast-living, non-wanting-to-practice guard who made cornrows and arm sleeves fashionable in the NBA while thrilling fans at the Wells Fargo Center as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers.
Others may remember him as a smart-mouthed, Hall of Fame-bound talent from Hampton, Va. who preferred gaudy platinum jewelry, athletic attire and baseball caps to custom-made suits, collared shirts and stylish shoes.
A few weeks ago, many believed Iverson had joined the club of superstar athletes who became broke after the cheering stopped. The rumors began to circulate wildly after a Georgia judge seized his bank account to pay off a jewelry debt that totaled almost $900,000. He’s also in the process of divorcing his wife, with whom he has five children.
But according to New York Post basketball columnist Peter Vecsey, Iverson has an account worth $32 million that he cannot access until he turns 55. That account also gives him $1 million annually. Apparently, someone thought it was best to save A.I. from A.I. by putting some of those funds away.
If the story is true, it would appear that Iverson should be set for life, financially speaking.
Yet, there is still a tear to be shed for the former NBA All-Star.
To have his personal business discussed openly by many is sad. The world shouldn’t know the most intricate aspects of Iverson’s financial life.
The Allen Iverson story should be inspiring, a feel-good tale for all to enjoy. Instead, it’s a human soap opera with plenty of drama.
Iverson grew up poor; became a budding two-sport high school star; got locked up for his participation in a bowling alley brawl; was given clemency by L. Douglas Wilder, the first African-American governor of Virginia; received a scholarship to Georgetown University; played only 2 years before becoming the first overall selection of the 1996 NBA Draft; was named rookie of the year; guided the Sixers to the 2001 NBA Finals during an MVP season; was an 11-time All-Star, a two-time All-Star game MVP and the winner of four scoring titles.
The credits should begin rolling there but they don’t.
Iverson is 36 now and after stops in Denver, Detroit, Memphis, another abbreviated tour with the Sixers, and a forgettable stint in Turkey, he still thinks he can play in the NBA.
No teams have shown interest in a 6-foot, 165-pound guard whose skills have diminished and whose off-the-court activities and behavior has been well publicized. From getting kicked out of casinos, to exhibiting crude behavior while with friends in public establishments, Iverson’s actions have been juvenile and embarrassing.
A.I. has the right to spend money like a drunken sailor on leave. It’s his loot, and he’s free to do with it as he pleases.
But fans also have the right to feel empathy or sympathy for him.
For some reason, the tear refuses to fall.
Team celebrates half century in Philadelphia
The Philadelphia 76ers are celebrating their 50th season in Philadelphia this year. Before coming to Philly and becoming the 76ers in 1963, the franchise was known as the Syracuse Nationals and played there for 14 seasons, winning an NBA title in 1955.
Since then, the Sixers have won two NBA championships in Philadelphia in 1967 and 1983. The franchise has produced a lot of outstanding players such as Wilt Chamberlain, Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Billy Cunningham, Charles Barkley and Allen Iverson.
The Philadelphia Tribune has selected 50 players over the last half century who should bring back some great memories for fans.
7-1, 275 pound center
Chamberlain was undoubtedly one of the greatest players of all time. He led the 76ers to an NBA championship in 1966-67. He averaged 24.1 points a game that season. That team was voted one of the top 10 greatest teams in NBA history.
6-6, 200 pound forward
Erving was one of the game’s most spectacular players. He guided the Sixers to the 1983 NBA title. Fans will always remember his spectacular dunk over Lakers guard Michael Cooper.
6-10, 275 pound center
Malone was the missing piece to the Sixers championship puzzle in 1983. He was a great scorer and rebounder. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001.
6-6, 220 pound forward
Cunningham was one of the greatest sixth men in NBA history. He averaged 18.5 points a game for the 76ers 1966-67 championship team. He won a championship as a player and coach in the Sixers organization.
6-2, 175 pound guard
Greer was a tremendous shooter from 15 feet. Once he got his feet set he rarely missed a shot. He was a key player on the Sixers 1966-67 championship team.
6-61/2, 215 pound forward
Walker was recently inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He was a great player on the Sixers 1966-67 championship team. Walker was known for backing his man down and shooting the fade away shot.
6-5, 250 pound forward
Barkley was a special player with his size. He had the ability to get position around the basket against anybody. Barkley could really jump and dunk the basketball and was a great rebounder. During the 1985-86 season, he grabbed 1,026 rebounds.
6-0, 175 pound guard
Iverson was a scoring machine. He was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft. He could break his man down and take the ball to the basket like no other. Iverson led the 2001 Sixers to the NBA Finals. He was an MVP and four-time NBA scoring champion.
6-1, 180 pound guard
Cheeks was a great floor general. He looked for the open man. He didn’t turn the ball over. A lot of fans will remember the dunk he had in the final game of the Sixers NBA championship series victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in 1983.
6-3, 185 pound guard
Toney had a great first step off the dribble. He could shoot from long range. Unfortunately, injuries to both feet shortened his career. Toney was a big part of the Sixers 1983 championship team. In 1982 he scored 34 points against the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to lead the Sixers to victory.
6-2, 180 pound guard
Jones played in the backcourt with Hal Greer on the Sixers 1966-67 NBA championship team. He was a great ballhandler, shooter and defender. Jones was a hometown favorite. He was a big star at Overbrook High and Villanova.
6-9, 210 pound forward
Jones was a tremendous defensive player. He usually guarded the opposing team’s best scorer. He was the sixth man on the Sixers 1983 NBA championship team.
6-9, 250 pound forward
Jackson was a rugged rebounder. If Wilt Chamberlain didn’t get the rebound, that meant Jackson usually had it. He was the starting power forward on the Sixers 1966-67 NBA championship team.
6-2, 175 pound guard
Clark was known for his shake and go moves. He used to make some terrific moves to the basket. Clark also played in the Baker League during the summer months.
6-6, 180 pound guard
Collins was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1973 NBA Draft. He did a great job of getting open for his shots. He moved well without the ball. He was a good shooter. He played on the Sixers 1976-77 team that reached the NBA Finals. He’s now the Sixers head coach.
6-8, 235 pound forward
McGinnis helped put the Sixers back on the NBA map. McGinnis and Julius Erving led the Sixers to the NBA Finals in 1977. He was known for his one hand push shots. He could handle the ball, too.
6-6, 207 pound guard
Iguodala was traded to the Denver Nuggets this past summer. He spent eight seasons with the Sixers. Iguodala had arguably his best season last year, leading the Sixers to a first round playoff series win over the Chicago Bulls. He was named to the all-star team and won a gold medal with the U.S. Olympic basketball team.
6-5, 209 pound guard
McKie played eight years with the Sixers. He was a real fan favorite growing up in Philly playing at Simon Gratz and Temple. In 2001, he was named the NBA Sixth Man of the Year. He also helped the Sixers get to the NBA Finals. He’s now an assistant coach with the Sixers.
7-2, 260 pound center
Mutombo was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2001. He was a great shotblocker and rebounder. He played on the Sixers team that reached the 2001 NBA Finals.
6-11, 217 pound center
Jones was a terrific defender. He had great timing in terms of shotblocking. He played on three Sixers teams that went to the NBA Finals.
6-11, 250 pound center
Dawkins was known for his spectacular dunks. In fact, he had names for some of his dunks like Chocolate Thunder, Spine-Chiller Supreme and Sir Slam. He played on some of the Sixers best teams.
World B. Free
6-2, 185 pound guard
When he first came to Philly, he was known as Lloyd Free. He’s now World B. Free. He used to shoot those rainbow jumpshots. He was a magnificent scorer. He scored 17,955 career points.
6-7, 215 pound forward
Anderson was one of the great sixth men in the Sixers organization. He played with Charles Barkley and Rick Mahorn.
6-3, 185 pound guard
Carter played on the Sixers 1972-73 team that had a horrible 9-73 record. He was the best player on that team. He averaged 20.0 points a game that season. Carter also played with Doug Collins and George McGinnis on the Sixers 1975-76 playoff team that lost to the Buffalo Braves in a best of three games series.
6-10, 260 pound center
Mahorn and Charles Barkley formed one of the toughest frontcourts in the NBA. They were known as “Thump and Bump.” Mahorn was a very physical player around the basket.
6-9, 250 pound forward
Gilliam was a great low post player. He was a good scorer. He played three seasons with the Sixers. He played with Charles Barkley and Rick Mahorn. Gilliam passed away in 2011.
6-3, 190 pound guard
Hawkins was a good shooting guard. He played on three playoff teams. He averaged 20.3 points a game his final season (1992-93) with the Sixers.
6-2, 200 pound guard
Miller had great three years with the Sixers. Two of those years, the Sixers made the playoffs. He was a sensational point guard. He’s still one of the league’s savvy playmakers.
6-7, 215 pound forward
Mix had a special place on the court. It was called Mixville. It was in the corner on the right hand side of the basket. That’s where he scored most of his points. He played nine seasons with the Sixers.
6-6, 218 pound guard
Stackhouse was a first round pick of the Sixers in 1995. He played two seasons with the Sixers. In 1996, Stackhouse and Allen Iverson both averaged over 20 points a game. They were one of the NBA’s top scoring backcourts.
6-7, 240 pound forward
Weatherspoon played six years with the Sixers. He usually had to play against players a lot bigger than him up front. Nevertheless, Weatherspoon had some big years with the Sixers. In 1994, he averaged 18.4 points a game.
6-1, 175 pound guard
Williams played seven seasons with the Sixers. He signed with the Atlanta Hawks over the summer. Williams was a second round pick of the Sixers right out of South Gwinnett High School near Atlanta, Ga. He could shoot the basketball. He led the Sixers in scoring (14.9) off the bench last season.
6-3, 204 pound guard
Snow was the floor leader on the Sixers 2001 NBA Finals team. He was a tough defender. He took care of the ball. Snow did a good job of getting the ball to Allen Iverson in scoring position.
5-11, 165 pound guard
Barros could really shoot the basketball. He played just two seasons with the Sixers. He averaged 20.6 points a game in 1994-95. He also made the all-star team in 1995.
6-9, 254 pound forward
Brand was a big free agent signing in 2008. He had shoulder surgery in 2009, but bounced back from the injury to play some good basketball for the Sixers during his four years. The team released him last summer with the NBA’s amnesty clause. He now plays for the Dallas Mavericks.
6-10, 270 pound forward
Coleman could play inside as well as outside. He could handle the ball. He had some of his best games in the playoffs.
6-2, 170 pound guard
Dawkins played in the backcourt with Hersey Hawkins. They formed a tandem of Dawkins and Hawkins. Dawkins also played with Charles Barkley and Rick Mahorn. He’s now the head basketball coach at Stanford.
6-3, 201 pound guard
Green played seven seasons with the Sixers. He was a solid player. Green was a second round pick out of Detroit Mercy. He started and came in off the bench for the Sixers.
6-3, 185 pound guard
Hollins played on two great Sixers teams. In 1980, he helped the Sixers get to the NBA Finals. He brought a lot of experience with him from Portland where he guided the Trail Blazers to the 1977 NBA title. He played in the backcourt with Maurice Cheeks. He’s now the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies.
6-1, 190 pound guard
Costello played for head coach Alex Hannum with the Sixers. He played on the Sixers 1966-67 NBA championship team. Unfortunately, he tore his Achilles tendon that season. He had a good career as a player. He also was an NBA head coach with the Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks.
6-10, 225 pound forward
Ratliff was a great defender and rebounder. He could run the floor. He had two stints with the Sixers. He played well both times.
6-11, 250 pound center
Gminski played with Rick Mahorn and Charles Barkley. The Sixers had a solid frontline with him. He had the ability to step out and hit the 12 to 13 foot shot. He played four seasons with the Sixers.
6-9, 218 pound forward
Catchings could really jump. He was a great shotblocker. He ran the floor. He hustled for loose balls. He played five seasons for the Sixers (1974-79). Catchings played on the Sixers 1977 team that went to the NBA Finals.
6-9, 200 pound forward
Bryant played four seasons with the Sixers. He was a very popular high school player at Bartram and La Salle respectively. He played on the 1977 NBA Finals team, which featured Julius Erving, George McGinnis and Doug Collins. Bryant came off the bench with Darryl Dawkins and World B. Free. Of course, he’s the father of Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant.
6-4, 190 pound guard
Hornacek came to the Sixers from the Phoenix Suns in the Charles Barkley deal. He spent two seasons in Philly. In 1993, he had his best season averaging 19.1 points a game.
6-4, 205 pound guard
Malone played three seasons for the Sixers. He was a great shooter. He had a knack of getting open for his shots by using picks. In 1995, he averaged 18.4 points a game.
6-2, 185 pound guard
Threatt was a sixth round pick out of West Virginia Tech by the Sixers in the 1983 NBA draft. He came into camp and landed a spot with the Sixers. Threatt played four seasons with the Sixers. He also played in the Charles Baker League during the summer months.
6-1, 185 pound guard
Bibby was an All-American at UCLA. He won three NCAA championships. He won a NBA championship with the New York Knicks. He played on two Sixers teams, which advanced to the NBA Finals (’77, ’80). He was a good ballhandler with a nice touch from long range.
6-8, 230 pound forward
Lynch did all the little things to help the Sixers get to the 2001 NBA Finals. He played defense, rebounded and hit some timely jumpshots. He was a big contributor.
6-9, 210 pound forward
Cureton was good player off the bench. He played defense, rebounded and went after loose balls. Cureton’s big moment came during the Sixers championship run in 1983. He hit a hook shot over Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with the shot clock winding down in the second game of the championship series. It was a big play for him as well as the Sixers.
The Sixers open their 50th season on October 31 when they host the Denver Nuggets at the Wells Fargo Center.
It’s been a big year for Andre Iguodala. Actually, it’s been a special year for Iguodala, the Philadelphia 76ers’ small forward, when you stop and think about it. During the season, he was named to the NBA all-star team for the first time in his career.
In the Sixers playoff series against the Chicago Bulls, Iguodala put on quite a show in Game 6, making two crucial free throws with 2.2 seconds remaining to give the Sixers a 79-78 win over the Bulls, helping the Sixers advance to the semifinals of the Eastern Conference before losing to the Boston Celtics in seven games.
Then, on Saturday night, he was one of 12 players chosen to represent USA Basketball at the 2012 London Olympics. Iguodala is the first Sixer to compete in the Olympics since Allen Iverson in 2004.
“Congrats to Dre,” said Doug Collins, Sixers head coach. “Nobody could be more pleased than I am that he’s starting to get the recognition for being a great player. Being an Olympian in 1972, I know what this means for him and I’m very proud.”
Collins will have a chance to see him in person. He will be the basketball analyst for NBC’s Olympic coverage. Obviously, he’s proud of Iguodala. In fact, a lot of people should be proud of him.
This is quite an honor for a player who some people don’t regard as an all-star caliber player in spite of his accomplishments this season. Well, they can’t say that now. You can’t be a member of this team without having some ability.
There’s nothing but talent on this roster. The players on this team include: Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks), Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers), Tyson Chandler (New York Knicks), Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers), James harden (Oklahoma City Thunder), LeBron James (Miami Heat), Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves), Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers), Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder) and Deron Williams (Brooklyn Nets). This is a big time team.
Mike Krzyzewski, Duke University’s Hall of Fame and the head coach of the USA basketball team, knows basketball as well as any coach in the country. Coach K realizes that each player brings something unique to the table.
Iguodala brings something that all coaches love. And that’s defense. The 6-foot-6, 207-pounder, is a lock-down defender. He always draws the toughest assignment. He played Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce extremely well in the playoffs. He has guarded LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. Iguodala should be a great asset at the defensive end.
But his skills aren’t just limited to defense. On this team, he should be able to get out on the fastbreak where he can utilize his speed and leaping ability. He should also be able to break his man down off the dribble.
Today, a lot of people look at statistics. Iguodala didn’t put up big numbers this season. He averaged 12.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists a game. Nevertheless, he was a major reason why the Sixers had a strong run in the postseason.
He has a chance to do a lot of the same things and more for the Olympic team.
Now that the NBA and the NBA Players Association have reached a tentative agreement to end the 149-day lockout, it’s time for the Philadelphia 76ers to put their plan of action in place. Training camp will begin on Dec. 9. Teams are expected to play 66 regular season games, according to published reports. The games will begin on Christmas Day.
In looking back, the key to being successful in an NBA lockout-shortened season is getting off to a good start. You can’t afford any long losing streaks. The Sixers found that out during the 1998–99 season, which was the last lockout in the NBA.
Actually, that was a 50-game season. The Sixers finished with a 28-22 record. They were 17-8 at home and 11-14 on the road. Moreover, they had a nice playoff run that year. The Sixers eliminated the Orlando Magic in the opening round of the NBA playoffs. They defeated the Magic 3-1 in a best-of-five game series. However, the Indiana Pacers swept them in the second round.
Larry Brown was the Sixers’ head coach at that time. The team had all-star guard Allen Iverson along with some solid players such as Aaron McKie, Theo Ratliff, George Lynch and Eric Snow. The Sixers had been together the year before. The team had been making some strides in terms of their development. That was a huge accomplishment, getting to the playoffs and winning a series.
There are some similarities between the 1998–1999 team and the present Sixers. Of course, they don’t have anybody as talented as Iverson. However, they have been together for a couple years now. It looks like head coach Doug Collins has developed some kind of chemistry with Elton Brand, Jrue Holiday, Andre Iguodala, Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young. That makes a difference. In addition, Evan Turner will be entering his second year.
The Sixers finished last season with a 41-41 record. They were the sixth seed in the NBA Eastern Conference and lost to the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs. They were able to win a game in the series, losing 4-1. They were pretty competitive in most of the games.
It’s going to be important for the Sixers to play well during the early portion of the schedule. The team struggled in the first couple months last season. They began the season with a 3-13 record. As of Nov. 14 last season, they had the second-lowest winning percentage of any team in the league. After that, the Sixers finished the season in good fashion. They posted a 38-28 record the rest of the way.
The first month of the season will be crucial. If they can play some good basketball in the beginning, that should put them in good shape for another return to the postseason. And once you get into the playoffs, anything can happen. The 1998–1999 team proved that.
SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Former NBA star Allen Iverson is joining a regional basketball league in the Dominican Republic for a month.
Team president Milton Nunez said Thursday the 36-year-old guard will play for Pueblo Nuevo. He declined to say how much Iverson will be paid.
Iverson is to arrive Sunday and play for his second-place team that same day against GUG in Santiago province, Nunez said.
"He and his agent have told us that he has been training a lot and that even if he hasn't been playing anywhere, he has what we need to help Pueblo Nuevo," Nunez said.
Iverson had been considered a potential recruit for the Santo Domingo Lions last year, but no contract was signed.
Iverson left the NBA in 2010 and spent part of that year playing in Turkey. He was the NBA's MVP in 2001, when he led the Philadelphia 76ers to the NBA finals. In 14 seasons in the NBA, he averaged 26.7 points. -- (AP)
LAS VEGAS — Former NBA star Allen Iverson is set to host a two-day professional basketball tournament in Las Vegas.
Iverson is working with the Justice Entertainment Group on the four-team Las Vegas Superstar Challenge slated for Nov. 12–13 at the Thomas and Mack Center.
He is to appear at a news conference Wednesday to announce captains and players for each team.
Iverson has been out of the NBA since 2010 and spent part of last year playing in Turkey. He was the NBA MVP in 2001, when he led the Philadelphia 76ers to the NBA finals.
With the NBA in a lockout, the league’s top stars have been playing in charity and exhibition games. — (AP)
PHILADELPHIA — Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner hopped on the scorer's table and played to the crowd as the catchy 76ers theme song blared in the arena.
Eight years of going home empty was over. The Sixers were ready for a long overdue postseason celebration.
Iguodala made the go-ahead free throws with 2.2 seconds left and Philadelphia rallied for a 79-78 victory over the top-seeded Chicago Bulls in Game 6 on Thursday night, advancing to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs for the first time since 2003.
The 76ers will face Boston, which beat Atlanta in six games, in the conference semifinals.
Omer Asik missed two free throws that would have given the Bulls a three-point lead in the final seconds. Iguodala grabbed the second miss, sprinted the length of the court, and was fouled by Asik on the driving layup. He made both and 20,362 fans went absolutely wild.
The Sixers are the fifth No. 8 seed to win a first-round series against a No. 1 seed. Memphis eliminated San Antonio last season, while Golden State (2007), New York (1999) and Denver (1994) also pulled off the rare feat.
In his second season, coach Doug Collins had already led the Sixers to their first winning season in seven years. Now, it's on to the second round for the first time Allen Iverson was an All-Star.
"I don't know how we won this game," Collins said.
The Sixers were smiling and mobbed each other as they dashed to the locker room to keep the party going.
The Sixers were 2.2 seconds from playing Game 7 in Chicago.
Now, they will pack their bags for the second round.
Iguodala scored 20 points, and Jrue Holiday and Lou Williams each scored 14. The Sixers won even though the Bulls crushed them 56-33 on the boards.
Iguodala snagged the one that mattered.
"We win on a rebound. Something we don't get all night," a smiling Collins said.
Iguodala made nine of 10 free throws in the fourth quarter in this series after shooting 45 percent (23 of 51) from the line in the period this season.
"I just wanted it for Dre so badly," Collins said.
Luol Deng had 19 points and 17 rebounds for the Bulls. Richard Hamilton scored 19 points and Carlos Boozer grabbed 13 rebounds.
The Sixers started 20-9 and led the Atlantic Division for the first half of the season until a late fade sent them tumbling toward eighth place.
None of that matters now.
Not even the fact that the series win comes with a bit of an asterisk. The Bulls lost star guard Derrick Rose to a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee late in their series-opening victory. Center Joakim Noah was on the bench Thursday but failed to play in his third straight game with a sprained left ankle.
Without their stars, the Bulls found it tough to gut one out against the Sixers.
"I thought we had more than enough to win with," Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. "I'm disappointed in the loss but I'm not disappointed in our team."
Williams, second in the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year Award voting, buried a 3-pointer for a 73-72 lead with 4 minutes left.
The jubilation was short lived.
The Sixers were whistled for goaltending and Taj Gibson later made two free throws for a 76-73 lead.
Spencer Hawes tried to draw the foul but settled for a basket underneath to shrink the deficit to one. Asik scored to push the lead back to three with 25.8 seconds left and Philadelphia's Thaddeus Young made it 78-77 to set the stage for the dramatic finish.
The Bulls had the lock-down defensive effort to nearly pull off the win.
The signature series came in the fourth quarter when the Sixers wasted a forced turnover on the other end with a brutal offensive possession.
Hawes missed a shot, Young missed two straight in the paint, and Hawes missed again against hands-up defense that sent the bench into a frenzy. Noah was the first one up pumping his fist and screaming encouragement for the fantastic defensive effort.
Hawes fired an airball next time down and there was a collective groan from the crowd.
Iguodala made up for a string of Sixers misses with a tying 3 that made it 70-all.
The Sixers tried to get a laugh by showing the Bulls bench on "Kiss Cam." Noah popped his warmup jacket toward the camera and the crowd booed the oversized "Chicago" on the big screen.
Noah was one of the top offensive rebounders in the league and the Bulls figured on missing his presence in the middle. Led by Deng and Boozer, the Bulls instead went out and controlled the boards, holding a 49-29 edge early in the fourth.
"We have to use this as motivation to move forward," Thibodeau said.
Notes: The Sixers scored a measly 26 first-half points in their Game 5 loss. They led Game 6 48-40 at halftime. ... The Sixers started 12 of 20 from the field and finished the half at 50 percent. They shot a season-low 32 percent in Game 5 and failed to shoot better than 40 percent in three other games. ... The Bulls had a 3-pointer taken off the board right before the first half. -- (AP)