The former Atlanta Braves great and future Hall of Fame third baseman was on hand at Talladega Superspeedway Chipper Jones retired after last season as one of the greatest players ever for the Atlanta Braves, and a likely future first-ballot selection to the Baseball Hall of Fame. The former third baseman and eight-time all-star has followed NASCAR since his days growing up in Pierson, Fla., not far from Daytona Beach. He gave the command to start engines as grand marshal for the recent Sprint Cup Series event at Talladega Superspeedway.How did you become such a big NASCAR fan?I grew up about 20 miles inland from Daytona Beach, Fla., and I think when they revved the engines up, you could hear them in my backyard, to be honest with you. It was always a fun time to go over to Daytona twice a year. Back then it was the Firecracker 400 in the summer, and obviously the big Daytona race every February. We always had a blast. That’s where my love of NASCAR started.Who are your favorite drivers?I was in the house for Richard Petty’s 200th win. Ronald Reagan flew in on Air Force One. Richard wasn’t my favorite, though. I was a Cale Yarborough fan. I loved Cale’s grit and determination. He’d fight you in a heartbeat on the backstretch if somebody wrecked him. That was always something that I liked. But I always thought he had one of the prettiest cars, to be honest with you. That Hardee’s 28 and Valvoline 27 were some good-looking cars. Now, I’ve gotten to know so many of the racers over the years going to driver’s meetings and going to Daytona so many times walking up pit road, it’s hard to put a finger on a favorite. I guess if you held a gun to my head, I’d probably say Jeff Gordon and I go back a long way. We’ve had some of the same representation, and he’s gotten me tickets in years past. So I’d probably have to say Jeff is my guy. How has life been post-baseball?I’m knocking off bucket-list items left and right right now. I’ve been to Augusta (for The Masters), which I’ve never been able to do. Been able to go turkey hunting for the first time in my life — on purpose, anyway. I’ve always said, my love for NASCAR has never faded. I’ve wanted to hop in a bus or hop in a camper and do the tour. I’ve always wanted to go up to Bristol. I’m a big either short-track guy, or super speedway guy. I’m not big on the mile-and-a-halves, but I’d like to go to some and continue to make the circuit as much as I can.What about jumping in a race car?I’ve done it in Las Vegas, actually. Did it a couple of years ago. I have a couple of outdoors shows on the Sportsman Channel, one on the Outdoors Channel. So the big Shot Show for the outdoor industry was in Las Vegas, and we jumped in a car out there. I think I got the most careful driver of the bunch. I probably went the slowest out of everybody. But I’d love to do it again. It’s something that if I wasn’t a baseball player, I’d have wanted to be a race car driver or a country singer or something like that. Not that I can sing. But I can dang sure drive. I like to go fast.Where’s your favorite place to watch a race?I used to watch from the stands as a kid at Daytona, and I thought that was great. But getting down on those pit boxes –I’ve stood on Richard Childress’ tower with him at Daytona, and being able to see those cars go all the way around … that’s a thrill for me. I like to be down here in the midst of it.Are you surprised your adjustment to retirement has been so smooth?For the last 23 years I’ve been living out of a suitcase, playing the game of baseball. I’ve loved every minute of it. But I think now, just being able to set up some roots, being able to see my kids whenever I want to — I’ve got four boys, ages 15, 12, 8 and 7. Being able to go to games on Saturdays. Being able to actually sit down and watch a race on the weekend from the drop of the green flag to the drop of the checkered flag. Most of the time Sunday afternoons, I’m having to catch the last 50 laps on the radio driving home from the ballpark. There are a lot of cool things that I want to do. People are so surprised that I haven’t had more trouble adjusting to life after baseball. I wasn’t just a baseball player. I have a lot of other interests in life, whether it’s NASCAR, whether it’s deer hunting, whether it’s coaching my kids’ baseball team, or whatever. So I’m going to be just fine, and I’m having a blast thus far. FULL SERIES COVERAGE• View all articles • View all videos • View all photos
Ghana Striker Richmond Boakye Yiadom has set a 12-goal target on his debut season in the Spanish La Liga.The on loan Juventus player at Elche has scored 2 goals in 4 appearances for the newly promoted side.“I have set a target of scoring 12 goals in my first season of playing in a highly competitive league like the Spanish La Liga so I’m working towards achieving that target,” he told Joy sports“I was so happy to have scored against Real Madrid in our 2-1 defeat, the response from my colleagues and the fans at the stadium was great.“It has not been easy playing in the La Liga but I believe I can hit the mark.”Boakye raked in 11 goals last season on loan at Italian side Sassuolo which helped them to qualify to the Serie A.
EL SEGUNDO — One gets the sense that if it were up to Rajon Rondo, he would be playing.Since suffering a sprained finger on Dec. 25 that required surgery, the 32-year-old point guard has been seen in the gym, defending when he can, dribbling with his injured right hand, even taking a few shots to Coach Luke Walton’s gentle rebukes.It’s fairly common to see Rondo jabbing his good hand in the face of would-be shooters after practice. It’s a sign of his spirit, which is alive and kicking even as his body continues to recover.“He can’t really do too much with his hands,” second-year point guard Lonzo Ball said. “But he runs up and down with us. He’s talking the whole time, what he’s been doing all year for us.” Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersRondo is still expected to be out for some time, but he’s progressing: He was officially cleared to dribble on Monday morning, and he also will be able to travel with the Lakers for their upcoming trip to Oklahoma City and Houston.Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here.“My ban has been lifted,” he deadpanned after practice, in his first public availability since the injury.In the meantime, it has been a restless few weeks for Rondo: He said he’s fed his competitive spirit with games of Connect 4, UNO, Spades and Bourre, mostly with his family. He’s longed for team plane rides when he could play games on the flight – “I wouldn’t say gambling, but just competing,” he said with a sly look.Related Articles How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed But of course he’s missed playing most of all. After sitting out 17 games when he broke his hand back in December, he’s scheduled to miss probably about as many this time around, already having missed 10. He’s been on the sideline for every Lakers home game since he was injured – and he made it out for the Rose Bowl, too, as Ohio State topped Washington.This time, he has had a partner in recovery: LeBron James. Walton said Monday afternoon that James has mostly been getting shots up and doing treatment at the team facility – not exactly a sure-fire sign that he’ll be back after the medical evaluation the Lakers have said is scheduled for Wednesday before the team travels. James has never missed more than 13 games for injury in any season. But even though Rondo has more experience dealing with the mental side of injury, he’s confident that James doesn’t need any advice.“He’s got a lot of answers himself,” Rondo said. “He’s in good spirits. He’s always positive and he never lets anything pretty much get him down. He’s always had good energy when he walks into the building and he’s gonna try to continue to get forward. Pretty much the advice from me is, like I said, whatever he’s been doing, he seems fine to me.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error