lebron james and kobe bryant
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 15: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers laughs with Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers during a 109-102 Cavalier win at Staples Center on January 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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LeBron James Reflects On Kobe Bryant's Career Ahead Of Wednesday's Matchup

The reality of No. 24 no longer taking center court is starting to hit a few of his fellow players, namely LeBron James.

Just last year, Kobe Bryant announced his retirement from the league which rattled his fans and peers. While many believed his NBA career was nearing its final run, the Black Mamba confirmed speculation in a lengthy note. With his tear-jerking appearance on the hardwood nearing, the reality of No. 24 no longer taking center court is starting to hit a few of his fellow players, namely LeBron James.

In an interview with ESPN, the Cleveland Cavaliers small forward said Bryant's presence will still be felt even when he's no longer facing off against the 5-time championship winner. "Anytime I even watch his games, even when I'm not playing him, it's always like, very emotional just knowing it's his last hurrah," James said. "And he's done so much, not only for the Lakers organization, but for me as a kid growing up watching Kobe and things of that nature and also competing against him."

The Cavs will play against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday (Feb. 10) for the first time this 2015-16 season, a game that James said he's looking forward to. "So it's going to be really cool to see him on Wednesday for sure, and hopefully -- I know our fans -- they're going to give him a great reception, well-deserved."

While in reflection mode, James also revealed a moment he shared with Bryant as a high schooler. "I think I was playing in a tournament in Teaneck, New Jersey, and they were playing in the [2002] All-Star game in Philly," James recalls. "And I had an opportunity to go meet him, and he gave me a pair of his shoes, and I actually wore them in a game against Oak Hill, against Melo, actually. So, six degrees of separation right there."

James and Bryant will face-off again in March after their East vs. West All-Star game in Toronto this weekend.

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LaVar Ball Is Requesting $3,500 From Anyone Planning On Recording Son During Tournament

As we know, LaVar Ball goes above and beyond in terms of making sure his sons become the superstar basketball players he wants them to be. His youngest son LaMelo is currently playing for SPIRE Institute in Ohio, and they have an upcoming tournament taking place in Kentucky. Mr. Ball is reportedly asking outlets to pay $3,500 at the door to videotape his son playing.

"All games are free to film except for the Spire Institute games,” an email reportedly sent by LaVar read. “To film either of the 2 Spire Institute games, you will have to present $3,500 at the gate, as per rules of the Big Baller Brand media credential… If you accept these conditions, you may present this email at the gate as proof of our approval where you will be given a media pass.”

While a few Internet folks are scoffing at the idea of having to pay that sort of money, others are pointing out the fanbase of LaMelo, stating that there are outlets who certainly would (and have) paid the fee for the chance to record LaMelo and SPIRE moments from the game. According to Forbes, this is one of many revenue streams for the Ball family.

"The Ball Sports Group in November entered into a partnership with FloSports Inc. to live stream five SPIRE games featuring LaMelo, beginning with one on Tuesday (Jan. 14) at Brush High School in Ohio," the site reports. "FloSports Inc. agreed to pay $5,000 per game, according to the contract which was signed by Foster."

Here's the email telling video outlets they must pay $3,500 to film LaMelo and @SpireBasketball this weekend in Kentucky. pic.twitter.com/XoiiorNxVr

— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) January 17, 2019

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Louisville International Airport To Be Renamed After Muhammad Ali

Louisville, Kentucky's hometown hero will have an airport named after him.

Mayor Greg Fischer announced Wednesday (Jan. 16) that the Louisville International Airport will be renamed after Muhammad Ali.

"Muhammad Ali belonged to the world, but he only had one hometown, and fortunately, that is our great city of Louisville," Fischer said.

"Muhammad became one of the most well-known people to ever walk the earth and has left a legacy of humanitarianism and athleticism that has inspired billions of people."

The city is hoping to finalize the renaming of the Louisville International Airport to the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport by June. The news was shared a day before the two year anniversary of Ali's 2016 death. Ali would've been 77.

Officials with the Louisville airport are currently working on receiving approval from Ali's family, however, they say an agreement is near. The decision for the rename to hopefully increase tourism.

"It is important that we, as a city, further champion The Champ's legacy," the mayor added. "And the airport renaming is a wonderful next step."

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Gladys Knight To Sing National Anthem At Super Bowl LIII

As reported by the National Football Leauge (NFL) and CBS, Gladys Knight will sing the National Anthem at the 53rd Super Bowl event. The Motown legend will usher in the final game of the season in her hometown of Atlanta, Georgia.

"I am proud to use my voice to unite and represent our country in my hometown of Atlanta," Knight said. "The NFL recently announced their new social justice platform Inspire Change, and I am honored to be a part of its inaugural year."

In more recent years, Beyonce, Diana Ross, Luther Vandross, Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, Jordin Sparks, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Natalie Cole, and many more have performed the anthem on this stage.

Alongside Knight, the National Association of the Deaf (NAD), will have a performer and deaf activist by the name of Aaron Loggins sign the National Anthem and "America The Beautiful."

Super Bowl LIII will take place Feb. 3 at Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The playoffs are currently underway.

Atlanta, I’m coming home! #NFL #SBLIII pic.twitter.com/8rH0O5OAAo

— Gladys Knight (@MsGladysKnight) January 17, 2019

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