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‘I thought We Had a Chance’ at Signing Kawhi Leonard

LeBron James figured the Lakers had a good shot at forming a formidable Big Three Anthony Davis and fellow superstar Kawhi Leonard this summer.

It wasn’t meant to be, of course, as Leonard picked the Clippers instead, but James says “that was just as cool.”

AD, meanwhile, adds that he enjoyed the recruitment process was enjoyable even though the outcome was less-than-desirable.


James said he believed the Lakers would add Leonard to a team that already featured him and Anthony Davis “because I’m a positive guy,” admitting he envisioned what that Big Three would look like.

“You ask me was I getting excited about it? I don’t get too excited until things actually happen, but I thought we had a chance,” James said. “That’s all you can ask for. We put ourselves in position to have a chance to get [Leonard]. When he went to the Clippers, I thought that was just as cool. It was great for our league, and he had to do what was best for him. And we all respect that.”

Davis said he hasn’t communicated with Leonard since their summer dalliance. And like James, he has moved on from what could have been.

“It was fun just to go through it, for me, with a player like Kawhi, trying to recruit him to come here. It was fun,” Davis said. “We had one conversation, and I think he came out with a statement, or his uncle or something … somebody said he don’t really like all the recruitment and all that stuff, so I felt like I overstepped my boundaries.

“But it was a fun process. I would do it all over.”

Related Kobe Bryant: Kawhi Leonard Wanted Challenge of Winning Without LeBron James

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MLB to investigate clubhouse incident involving Astros executive

Major League Baseball says it will look into allegations that Houston Astros assistant general manager Brandon Taubman shouted at female reporters regarding the club’s acquisition of closer Roberto Osuna following Game 6 of the ALCS on Saturday.

According to Stephanie Apstein of Sports Illustrated, Taubman turned to three female reporters in the clubhouse and yelled six times, “Thank god we got Osuna! I’m so f—— glad we got Osuna!”

The Astros traded for Osuna during the 2018 campaign while he was serving a 75-game ban for violating the league’s domestic violence policy.

The team called Apstein’s report “misleading” and “completely irresponsible,” but two other reporters corroborated the story.

“Domestic violence is extraordinarily serious and everyone in baseball must use care to not engage in any behavior – whether intentional or not – that could be construed as minimizing the egregiousness of an act of domestic violence,” the league said Tuesday in a statement.

“We became aware of this incident through the Sports Illustrated article. The Astros have disputed Sports Illustrated’s characterization of the incident. MLB will interview those involved before commenting further.”

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America also released a statement Tuesday calling for the Astros to publicly apologize to Apstein for initially discrediting her reporting.

“The Astros’ initial denial of the incident reported by SI was an unethical and intentional fabrication, designed to discredit our members and all journalists,” BBWAA president Rob Biertempfel said. “The BBWAA is encouraged by MLB’s decision to investigate this matter and will fully cooperate. We expect that appropriate disciplinary measures will be handed out and made public.

“Also, a public apology to the media outlets involved – particularly Stephanie Apstein, Sports Illustrated, and the BBWAA – should be forthcoming.”

Taubman apologized Tuesday for his actions, but said his comments were “misinterpreted.”

“This past Saturday, during our clubhouse celebration, I used inappropriate language for which I am deeply sorry and embarrassed,” Taubman said in a statement. “In retrospect, I realize that my comments were unprofessional and inappropriate. My overexuberance in support of a player has been misinterpreted as a demonstration of a regressive attitude about an important social issue.

“Those that know me know that I am a progressive and charitable member of the community, and a loving and committed husband and father. I hope that those who do not know me understand that the Sports Illustrated article does not reflect who I am or my values. I am sorry if anyone was offended by my actions.”

Astros owner Jim Crane also commented on the situation.

“The Astros continue to be committed to using our voice to create awareness and support on the issue of domestic violence,” Crane said in the same release. “We not only ensure mandatory training annually for all of our employees, we have also created an important partnership with the Texas Council on Family Violence, and have raised over $300,000 through our initiatives to help various agencies providing important support for this cause. We fully support MLB and baseball’s stance and values regarding domestic violence.”

Astros manager AJ Hinch discussed the incident in front of reporters before Game 1.

“I’m very disappointed for a lot of reasons,” the manager said of Taubman’s comments, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. “It’s unfortunate. It’s uncalled for … We all need to be better across the board in the industry.”

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Florida AD Scott Stricklin takes to social media for schedule help

Florida Gators athletic director Scott Stricklin is going public with his attempts to upgrade the team’s future nonconference schedules.

Stricklin on Tuesday wrote on Twitter that Florida is seeking additional home-and-home series with Power 5 conference opponents. He addressed the message to athletic directors from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12, inviting them to “connect and schedule quality games the fans want to see!”

Florida has recently added home-and-home series with Miami, Texas, Utah and Colorado. The Gators opened the 2019 season against Miami in Orlando. Florida hasn’t played a true nonconference road game outside the state since visiting Syracuse in 1991. The Gators play annually against in-state rival Florida State in Gainesville or Tallahassee. Florida State and Florida, which have played annually since 1958, are contracted to play through the 2022 season.

Coach Dan Mullen recently raised concerns about the SEC’s schedule model, which rarely pairs certain cross-division opponents. He also said nonconference teams “aren’t jumping up and down to play us. We’re calling Power 5 teams, trying to get more games, and it’s not like, ‘Hey, everybody we call can’t wait to come play Florida.’ That’s not always an easy deal.”

UCF expressed interest in scheduling a home-and-home series or a neutral-site game with Florida, which would agree to only a two-for-one agreement — two games in Gainesville, one in Orlando — because UCF is not in a Power 5 conference. The schools did not reach an agreement.

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Tv Shows

VH1 Expands ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ Franchise, Announces Celebrity Version – TV Insider


It’s RuPaul‘s world and we’re just living in it. VH1 announced that it’s expanding the RuPaul’s Drag Race franchise with a greenlight for RuPaul’s Celebrity Drag Race.

Slated to hit screens in 2020, the four-episode event series will feature 12 celebrities as they compete for the first ever title of “America’s Next Celebrity Drag Superstar.” A premiere date and star-studded cast of competitors will be announced at a later time.

The newest addition to the Emmy-nominated franchise will see three celebrities undergo a complete drag transformation in each episode. Along the way, celebs will get a helping hand from some of the franchise’s most iconic queens.

Among the returning queens are Alyssa Edwards, Asia O’Hara, Bob the Drag Queen, Kim Chi, Monet X Change, Monique Heart, Nina West, Trinity the Tuck, Trixie Mattel and Vanessa Vanjie Mateo.

Competitors will be vying for the top prize title and money, which will be given to a charity of their choosing. “Doing drag does not change who you are, it reveals who you are,” said host and executive producer, RuPaul Charles. “I can’t wait for the world to see what happens when our celebrity contestants get all up in drags!”

Keep an ear out for any potential news in the coming months as the show’s expected to air by next year. Until then, get hyped for a unique new adventure in the RuPaul world.

RuPaul’s Celebrity Drag Race, Premieres 2020, VH1

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Snapchat beats in Q3, adding 7M users & revenue up 50% – TechCrunch

The Snap-back continues. Snapchat blew past earnings expectations for a big beat in Q3, as it added 7 million daily active users this quarter to hit 210 million, up 13% year-over-year. Snap also beat on revenue, notching $446 million, which is up a whopping 50% year-over-year, at a loss of $0.04 EPS. That flew past Bloomberg’s consensus of Wall Street estimates that expected $437.9 million in revenue and a $0.05 EPS loss.

Snap has managed to continue cutting losses as it edges towards profitability. Net loss improved to $227 million from $255 million last quarter, with the loss decreasing $98 million versus Q3 2018.

CEO Evan Spiegel made his case in his prepared remarks for why Snapchat’s share price should be higher: “We are a high growth business, with strong operating leverage, a clear path to profitability, a distinct vision for the future, and the ability to invest over the long term.”

Snapchat’s share price had closed down 4% at $14, and had fallen roughly 4.6% in after-hours trading as of 1:50pm pacific to $13.35 despite the earnings beat. It remains below its $17 IPO price but has performed exceedingly well this year, rising from a low of $4.99 in December.

Snapchat DAU Q3 2019

That’s partially because of the high cost of Snapchat’s growth relative average revenue per user. While it notes that it saw user growth in all regions, 5 million of the 7 million new users came from the Rest Of The World, with just 1 million coming from the North America and Europe regions. That’s in part thanks to better than expected growth and retention on its reengineered Android app that’s been a hit in India. But since Snapchat serves so much high-definition video content but it earns just $1.01 average revenue in the Rest Of World, it has to hope it can keep growing ARPU so it becomes profitable globally.

Some other top-line stats from Snapchat’s earnings:

  • Operating cash flow improved by $56 million to a loss of $76 million in Q3 2019, compared to the prior year.
  • Free Cash Flow improved by $75 million to $(84) million in Q3 2019, compared to the prior year.
  • Cash and marketable securities on hand reached $2.3 billion.

Snapchat ARPU Q3 2019

Interestingly, Spiegel noted that “We benefited from year-over-year growth in user activity in Q3 including growth in Snapchatters posting and viewing Stories.” Snapchat hadn’t indicated Stories was growing in at last the past two years, as it was attacked by clones including Instagram Stories that led Snapchat to start shrinking in user count a year ago before it recovered.

Since Stories viewership is critical to total ad view on Snapchat, we may see analysts insisting to hear more about that metric in the future. Snap also said users opened the app 30 times per day, up from 25 times per day as of July 2018, showing its still highly sticky and being used for rapid-fire visual communication.

The other major piece of Snapchat’s ad properties is Discover where total time spent watching grew 40% year-over-year. And rather than being driving by just a few hits, over 100 Discover channels saw over 10 million viewers per month in Q3. With Instagram’s IGTV a flop, Discover remains Snapchat’s best differentiated revenue driver, and one it needs to keep investing in and promoting. With Instagram trying to compete more heavily on chat with its new close friends-only Threads app, Snapchat can’t rely on ephemeral messaging to keep it special.

3 TikTok Ad

TikTok buys ads on Snapchat that could steal its users

Surprisingly, Spiegel said that “We definitely see TikTok as a friend” when asked about why it allowed the competitor to continue buying ads on Snapchat. The two apps are different, with Snapchat focused on messaging and biographical social media while TikTok is about storyboarded, premeditated social entertainment. But this could be dangerous friendship for Snapchat, since TikTok may be taking time away that users might spend watching Snapchat Discover, and its growth could box Snapchat out of the social entertainment space.

Looking forward, in Q4 Snap is estimating 214 to 215 million daily active users and $540 million to $560 million in revenue. It’s expecting between break even and positive $20 million for Adjusted EBITDA. That revenue guidance was below estimates for the holiday Q4, contributing to the share price fall.


Snap has a ways to go before reaching profitability. That milestone would let it more freely invest in long-term projects, specifically its Spectacles camera-glasses. Spiegel has said he doesn’t expect augmented reality glasses to be a mainstream consumer product for 10 years. That means Snap will have to survive and spend for a long time if it wants a chance to battle Apple, Facebook, Magic Leap, and more for that market.

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Watch Macaulay Culkin join Lizzo onstage for a surprise dance-off

The star made an appearance at last night’s LA show

Lizzo was joined onstage by Home Alone actor Macaulay Culkin at her show in Los Angeles last night – check out the footage below.

The ‘Juice’ singer was performing at the Hollywood Palladium in LA yesterday evening (October 21) when the former child star made a surprise appearance.

During the set, Lizzo invited Culkin onstage to take part in a round of the ‘Gigolo Game’ before launching into ‘Cuz I Love You‘ highlight, ‘Like A Girl’. “Make some noise for Macaulay Culkin, everybody,” she told the crowd.

Sharing fan-shot footage of the moment on his official Instagram account earlier today (October 22), Culkin wrote in the caption: “When Lizzo asks you to do a silly dance… You get up there and do a silly dance.”

He later uploaded another clip on Twitter, posting: “Here’s a better angle…”. In a previous tweet, Culkin shared the video while saying he “went to see [his] friend @lizzo tonight…”.

Lizzo responded to Culkin by retweeting his clip and writing “LOVE UUUU” in the caption. See that post below.

Meanwhile, Lizzo has been hit with another accusation of plagiarism after she was recently accused of stealing a line in ‘Truth Hurts’ from producers Justin and Jeremiah Raisen.

“This is a clear example of #copyrightinfringement,” singer CeCe Peniston wrote. “Cece Peniston versus @lizzobeeating y’all check this out.”

This accusation stems from Lizzo’s use of the “YaYa EE” ad-libbed line from ‘Juice’, which Peniston claims is lifted from her track ‘Finally’.


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The Rise Of Skywalker’s Final Trailer

At long last, we finally got a good look at J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker last night when the trailer dropped during Monday Night Football and then on YouTube for millions of fans to see. The trailer naturally inspired plenty of reactions, speculation and more than a few tears as the final chapter in the Skywalker Saga. Perhaps the best response to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’s final trailer came from the director of the not-at-all controversial Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson. Take a look:

Simple and concise, Rian Johnson’s Twitter reaction to the Rise of Skywalker trailer was one of pure glee and appreciation for the Star Wars franchise. He clearly was a big fan of what he saw from the follow-up to his own Star Wars film. Watching the Rise of Skywalker trailer, the thing that came to Rian Johnson’s mind that he felt he had to express was just how much he loves Star Wars.

Although there are undoubtedly dissenters who disliked the trailer (this is the internet after all), Rian Johnson’s reaction is one many of us felt watching the Rise of Skywalker trailer. I mean, how could you not just feel full of love for Star Wars watching that trailer? It has lightsaber fights, Palpatine and battles on a scale we’ve never seen before.

The stirring music (seriously, give me that on streaming or vinyl now) and all the emotional moments conjured up all kinds of feelings for Star Wars fans. It was especially powerful because it is the final trailer for the final Skywalker Saga film, so it packs an extra punch. We are seeing characters we love for the final time knowing that “The saga will end” even though “The story lives forever.”

Amid all the dissention the Star Wars fandom has had in recent years, in no small part thanks to Rian Johnson’s own film, the trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was just a huge reminder of why we love this franchise. Episode IX will give us things old and new to love as well. We don’t want this Saga to end because we love it, and Rian Johnson does too.

Rian Johnson is a Star Wars fan even if his take isn’t for everyone (I’m kind of in the middle). Those who completely hate what he did in The Last Jedi (minus the bad faith trolls) do so because they too love Star Wars and care about the story. So Rian Johnson’s reaction to The Rise of Skywalker trailer is one that all Star Wars fans can (but won’t) agree with, regardless of individual tastes.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opens in theaters on December 20. Check out our 2019 Release Schedule to keep track of all of the movies still to come this year.

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Urban Outfitters Is Now Selling Exclusive Lavender Ugg Boots

It is officially UGG season! If you’re among the UGG enthusiasts who are pulling out your sweaters, coats, and last season’s UGGs from the back of your closet, we get it. But, what’s even more exciting than breaking out an old pair of UGGs is shopping the newest boots they release every season. There’s always fresh colors and styles to try for the colder months. With their recent Eckhaus Latta collab, UGGs have officially become our furry fashion friends again. So, who wouldn’t want multiple shades in their personal collection?

Luckily for pastel lovers, Urban Outfitters has teamed up with UGG for an exclusive mini lavender classic boot this fall. From the dreamy pastel color to the perfect classic crop, we are beyond obsessed with these new UGGs. The mini nature of the boot adds just enough warmth to the feet while just skimming the ankles, leaving just enough room for a cute pants look or even some jazzy tights. But, let’s be honest, the lavender will make any look a headturner. There’s truly nothing like copping an exclusive style that’s also a classic, so we recommend getting the lavender ones so you can make pretty pastel moments all fall long and in future seasons to come.


The boots are available now on UrbanOutfitters.com for $140, the same price as the original mini boot. UGG has always offered a slew of colors, but this exclusive lavender definitely takes the cake. The entire Urban Outfitters UGG 15-piece collection includes the mini boots in classic chestnut and chocolate colorways, fluffy slides, classic wool seamed boots, and more.

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Nike CEO Mark Parker to Step Down | News & Analysis, News Bites

BEAVERTON, United States — Nike Inc’s long-time chief executive officer, Mark Parker, will step down next year and be replaced by John Donahoe, the CEO of cloud computing firm ServiceNow Inc, the footwear and apparel maker said on Tuesday.

Parker had said last year he would remain CEO and chairman of the footwear maker beyond 2020, with his remarks coming at a time the company was hit by a series of executive departures and probes on workplace complaints.

Separately, cloud computing company ServiceNow said it appointed Bill McDermott as its CEO. McDermott helmed software maker SAP from 2014 until recently. ServiceNow shares fell about 16% on the development.

Donahoe, who has been on Nike’s board since 2014, will take over Jan. 13, while Parker will become executive chairman and continue to lead Nike’s board.

Stay tuned for updates to this story.

By Noor Zainab Hussain; editor: Shailesh Kuber and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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Zojirushi Makes the Best Stainless Steel Travel Mug for Coffee

Buy $30, amazon.com

Welcome to The Esquire Endorsement. Heavily researched. Thoroughly vetted. These picks are the best way to spend your hard-earned cash.

Coffee ought to be hot. Even when you made the batch you’re currently sipping two hours ago. Even after you’ve commuted miles away from the coffee maker. That coffee should till be hot. And although you likely have plenty of travel coffee mugs stashed in your kitchen cupboards or in the back seat of the car, none of them are all that good. They’re either too flimsy, they imbue the drink with a metallic-y flavor, or they splash hot liquid all over every time you open the cap. Zojirushi doesn’t make mugs like that. It makes mugs that retain heat, stop spillage, and defy all expectations. Its SM-TA vacuum-insulated mug is a mug worth buying, and it won’t cost you all that much it do it.


This mug comes in nine colors and three sizes.

Tim Mulcare

It keeps coffee hot for hours.

Zojirushi’s mug keeps your beverage steaming for an astonishingly long time—long enough to survive terrible commutes and early-morning meetings. Technically speaking, the midsize, 16-ounce model preserves drinks at 189 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour, and at 160 degrees for six hours. Its cold retention is just as good, should you prefer cold brew or iced tea. This is all thanks to the construction of the stainless steel bottle itself, with a double-layered interior, and the lid, which keeps it all locked down. You won’t be sipping tepid, lukewarm coffee from this thing.

Buy $30, amazon.com


The locking system keeps the mouthpiece from dripping beverage everywhere.

Tim Mulcare

It locks tightly and flips open for easy drinking.

Spills are not an issue with this Zojirushi mug, even when you’re flipping the lid open to drink. If its lid is locked up tightly, you won’t get coffee everywhere should you drop the mug or drive over a big bump in the road; that lock means business. And when you’ve unlocked it and hit the big button to open the lid, you won’t have to duck out of a splash zone—unlike a lot of cheaply constructed mugs that spit coffee when the vacuum seal is broken. Zojirushi also built in an air vent into the lip if the lid, so the liquid inside flows out steadily. You’d think that’d be a no-brainer for all travel coffee mugs. It’s not.


These four pieces come apart and go back together with ease.

Tim Mulcare

It’s very easy to clean.

Cleaning a mug is the worst part of owning a mug. You put it off for one day. Then another. Next thing you know, it’s been a week since it’s seen soap, and there’s a scum building along the spout. Just me? Anyway. Zojirushi engineered a cap system that not only does the stuff I talked about before—locks tightly, stops spillage, prevents heat escaping—but also comes apart into four pieces that you can clean. Sure, it’s not as simple as your standard reusable, two-piece plastic mug. But all the pieces are necessary for making this mug what it is: the best travel coffee mug you can get for cheap.

Buy $30, amazon.com

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