BASKETBALL

Pau Gasol is going home, announcing Tuesday that he will sign to play with FC Barcelona again and rejoin the franchise with which he started his professional basketball career more than 20 years ago.

Gasol is a six-time NBA All-Star, winning a pair of championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. The 40-year-old who was born in Barcelona last appeared in the NBA on March 10, 2019, for Milwaukee.

“I’m happy to return to the club where I began, and I’m excited about this new opportunity,” he wrote in a post on social media. “I hope to contribute to the first team very soon. I want to thank Barca and its technical staff for making it possible to join them.”

Gasol debuted for Barcelona in the 1998-99 season, was part of two Liga ACB — the top Spanish league — championships in three years, then was the No. 3 pick in the 2001 NBA draft. He was the rookie of the year for Memphis in 2002, won three Olympic medals with Spain and was part of the team that won the FIBA world championship, now called the Basketball World Cup, in 2006.

GOLF

PGA: The PGA Championship will cap attendance at 10,000 spectators per round when it plays The Ocean Course in May at Kiawah Island.

The PGA of America announced the decision Tuesday. The move to play with limited spectator capacity due to coronavirus concerns was made in coordination with the state of South Carolina, area medical authorities, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There were an estimated 30,000 people per day when Rory McIlroy won the 2012 event on Kiawah Island. PGA of America president Jim Richerson said organizers hoped to open the event to the same sellout crowds as nine years ago, but was grateful to have golf fans on hand for this one, unlike the 2020 tournament. Collin Morikawa won the event at TPC Harding Park in front of no spectators.

LACROSSE

NLL: The New England Black Wolves of the National Lacrosse League are relocating to Albany, New York, the league announced Tuesday.

The franchise played six seasons at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. It was sold to a group headed by Oliver Marti, a former league player and two-time All-American at Brown in the 1990s. Mike French, a three-time All-American at Cornell in the mid-1970s, Brad Brewster and Ted Goldthorpe will retain a minority stake. The team will play its home games at Times Union Center in downtown Albany.

The NLL canceled its 2020 season last April because of the novel coronavirus. The league initially planned a shortened season this year beginning in April, but that also was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. A traditional season is scheduled to begin in the fall.

The franchise’s move marks the return of box lacrosse to the Albany area for the first time in nearly two decades. The Albany Attack left the area in 2003 after four seasons because of decreasing attendance.

TENNIS

ADELAIDE INTERNATIONAL: Coco Gauff’s decision to extend her stay Down Under after a second-round loss at the Australian Open is paying off, at least so far.

The 16-year-old American beat Jasmine Paolini 6-4, 6-7 (4), 6-2 on Tuesday in Adelaide, Australia, in a first-round match at the Adelaide International. It follows Gauff’s two wins in weekend qualifying in the South Australian state capital to advance to the main draw.

Gauff lost to fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina in straight sets at the Australian Open. In 2020 during her Australian Open debut, she lost to eventual champion Sofia Kenin in three sets in the fourth round.

In other Adelaide matches Tuesday, French Open champion and fifth-seeded Iga Swiatek of Poland beat American Madison Brengle 6-3, 6-4, sixth-seeded Petra Martic defeated Ludmila Samsonova 4-6, 6-0, 7-5 and Jil Teichmann beat Kristina Mladenovic 6-2, 7-6 (5).

Top-ranked Ash Barty, who lost in the Australian Open quarterfinals, is the Adelaide defending champion. The Australian received a wild-card entry and plays American Danielle Collins in a second-round match on Wednesday.

SOCCER

UEFA INVESTIGATION: UEFA appointed a disciplinary investigator on Tuesday to look at allegations Zlatan Ibrahimović was racially abused when AC Milan played at Red Star Belgrade last week.

Ibrahimović was sitting in the stands as a substitute during the Europa League game in Serbia and footage appeared to detail insults shouted at him. The alleged abuse targeted Ibrahimović’s Balkan family roots. He was born in Sweden to parents from Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia.

Though no tickets were sold to fans for the round of 32 game, Red Star club officials and guests were in the main stand.

UEFA disciplinary rules hold home clubs responsible for incidents inside their stadium. UEFA gave no timetable for its investigator to report to the disciplinary committee.

Milan hosts the second leg on Thursday after drawing in Belgrade 2-2.

WORLD CUP QUALIFYING: Norway’s national soccer team will play its first “home” World Cup qualifying game at a neutral venue in Spain next month because of travel restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Norwegian soccer federation said Tuesday the game against Turkey on March 27 will be played in Malaga instead of Oslo. No fans will be allowed to attend.

Norway will begin its World Cup qualifying program with a game at Gibraltar on March 24 before going to Spain to play Turkey three days later. The group also includes the Netherlands.

The change in venue is the first in European qualifying to be forced by travel and quarantine rules.

In Asia, only four World Cup qualifiers are going ahead next month – involving only eight of the 40 teams still involved. The rest of the program has been postponed to June because of current health protocols.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Bayer Leverkusen’s stuttering pursuit of the Champions League places took another blow Tuesday when defender Lars Bender was ruled out until the end of March following surgery on his right knee.

Leverkusen said Bender is not expected to return until after the international break late next month. The right back last played on Jan. 23 against Wolfsburg, injuring a muscle and damaging meniscus tissue in his knee. The damage to the meniscus worsened and required the operation on Friday and a longer period on the sidelines.

That comes after goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky was ruled out Monday until late March after injuring his Achilles tendon in a game on Feb. 13. He is likely to miss the start of Finland’s World Cup qualifying campaign next month.

Leverkusen led the Bundesliga standings in mid-December but has since slid to fifth after a poor run, including one win from its last five league games.

MOTORCYCLE RACING

FORMER CHAMPION DIES: Fausto Gresini, a former motorcycling world champion and team owner, died Tuesday from complications linked to the coronavirus. He was 60.

Gresini Racing said he died in the hospital in Bologna, Italy, exactly a month after his 60th birthday. It also posted the news on its official Twitter account.

“The news we would have never wanted to give, and that unfortunately we are forced to share with all of you,” the team said. “After nearly two months battling against Covid, Fausto Gresini has sadly passed away, few days after turning 60. #CiaoFausto.”

Gresini won two world titles in the 125cc class, in 1985 and 1987. He retired as a rider in 1994 and founded his team three years later. Gresini tested positive for COVID-19 in December. He was hospitalized on Dec. 27 after an initial period at home.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.