Carried onto the floor by an emotional ovation building for years, LeBron James is back where he began. Introduced to a deafening roar from Cleveland fans, James was welcomed back Thursday night by a city desperate to end a championship drought that's about to turn 50 years old. At 8:08 p.m. all was right in Cleveland again. Nearly four months since proclaiming ''I'm coming home'' and shifting the NBA's balance of power, James is again playing in front of family, friends and the Cleveland fans who had their hearts broken when he left for Miami four years ago.
One of the NFL's most dynamic play-makers - and personalities - is set to return Sunday, and the rest of the season could go far in determining his future in the league. Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden made it all but official Thursday when he said he has ''every intent'' of starting Robert Griffin III against the Minnesota Vikings. Gruden said Griffin is fully recovered from a dislocated left ankle suffered in Week 2 and that the third-year quarterback took most of the first-team snaps in practice ahead of Colt McCoy, who started Monday night's upset over the Dallas Cowboys.
Mark Ingram and Jimmy Graham each scored late in the second quarter to give the New Orleans Saints a 14-0 lead over the Carolina Panthers at halftime of Thursday night's game. Ingram's short run gave the Saints an immediate score after a fumble by Cam Newton deep in Carolina's end that got New Orleans on the board.
Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy's domestic violence appeal trial set for Nov. 17 has been postponed until after the NFL season, a person familiar with the situation said Thursday night. The change could signal the end of Hardy's season - and perhaps his career - with the Panthers. The NFL and the Panthers have said Hardy would not play until after his trial was resolved, although he is still collecting more than $770,000 per week as Carolina's franchise player. The Panthers placed Hardy on the exempt-commissioner's permission list on Sept. 17 after he was convicted in July of assault on a female and communicating threats.
The St. Louis Cardinals have exercised their 2015 contract option on pitcher John Lackey, which is at the major league minimum. Lackey did not pitch in 2012 after reconstructive elbow surgery. The major league minimum next year will be $500,000 plus a cost-of-living adjustment to be determined Nov. 20, which is likely to be $9,000 to $10,000. Lackey, who turned 36 on Oct. 23, was 14-10 with a 3.83 ERA last year with the Red Sox and Cardinals and was 1-0 in two postseason starts for the NL Central champions.
By Piya Sinha-Roy LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Pop singer Justin Timberlake scored his second chart-topping album this year on Wednesday as his latest record debuted at No. 1 on the weekly Billboard 200 album chart, capping the singer's successful return to the musical spotlight. Timberlake's "The 20/20 Experience - 2 of 2," which follows the first set of 10 songs released in March this year, sold 350,000 copies in its first week, according to figures compiled by Nielsen SoundScan. The first installment of "The 20/20 Experience" sold 968,000 copies, the biggest opening week sales of the year so ...
By Patricia Reaney NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hip-hop artists Macklemore & Ryan Lewis scored the most American Music Awards nominations on Thursday with nods in six categories, followed by country-pop star Taylor Swift and singer Justin Timberlake with five each. The duo will compete in the top category, artist of the year, against singer Bruno Mars, Swift, Timberlake and pop singer Rihanna, who collected four nominations. Also getting four nominations were country music pair Florida Georgia Line and R&B singer Robin Thicke. Rapper will.i. ...