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Former NBA star's lavish birthday gifts for 'friend for life' Kim Jong-un may have violated international sanctions imposed on North Korea

British team on court when basketball begins Park life

It will fall to the basketballers of Australia and China to launch the first competitive event in the Olympic Park when they play the opening game in the London International Basketball Invitational this afternoon, the latest test event for next year's Games.

NBA star Artest to give Jets a blast

The BBL side Cheshire Jets have pulled off an audacious swoop for the Los Angeles Lakers forward Ron Artest, rated one of the NBA's best defensive players, who has confirmed he will start in November on a £1,000-per-month deal as long as the NBA's current labour dispute is unresolved.

Basketball: China's diplomatic all-star bows out of NBA

At 7ft 6in, the 30-year-old was the tallest player in the league, and brittle bones in his lower body forced his retirement

Basketball: Foot injury makes Chinese giant Yao walk away from NBA

The Houston Rockets centre Yao Ming, China's most recognisable athlete, has retired from basketball.

Basketball: NBA season at risk after owners lock out players in pay dispute

A second major league US sport shut down yesterday, as National Basketball League team owners imposed a lockout on players after talks on a new labour contract broke down – making it likely that some, if not all, of the 2011-12 NBA season due to begin in October will be lost.

LA Dodgers file for bankruptcy in last-ditch attempt to save team

The tragicomedy that is the Los Angeles Dodgers intensified yesterday as one of US sport's most famous franchises filed for bankruptcy – a last ploy by its heavily indebted owner to keep the team from being taken over entirely by Major League Baseball.

SW19 Diary: Will Coco be an American idol or a basket case?

If it really is nature and not nurture then look out for the American teenager Coco Vandeweghe, who makes her Wimbledon bow today against the Greek Eleni Daniilidou. Sport is in her blood: her grandfather played in the NBA, her great uncle played in the NBA, her uncle played in the NBA and has coached in the NBA, her mother swam in the 1976 Olympics and her brother is an international beach volleyball player. Her grandmother, by the way, was a former Miss America, which may or may not add to the equation. US tennis is in the doldrums and Vandeweghe, who at 19 was briefly inside the top 100 earlier this year, is seen by some as a player who could one day bring the good(ish) times back, although with her family background you have to fear she's got involved with the wrong sort of nets.

Outside Edge: The bottomless wishing well

Make a wish? How about a nice, big present, weighing 457kg, which is 3.35m long, 2.44m wide and 1.88m high? The Make-a-Wish Foundation is celebrating 25 years of fulfilling the dreams of children with life-threatening illnesses and the charity has just broken the world record for the biggest game of pass-the-parcel, the package arriving in London last week after travelling 1,680 miles around the UK.

How the Dallas Mavericks conquered the NBA

ESPN America’s Michael Kim speaks to ESPN’s NBA expert Marc Stein about Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James, and the NBA Finals.

Basketball: Miami Heat blown away by NBA's least likely hero

Dirk Nowitzki, a white European tagged as a 'bottler', has just led Dallas to title in sport dominated by blacks

Amaechi wants his OBE to inspire

Former NBA player John Amaechi hopes his OBE for services to basketball can inspire other British prospects.

Hold The Back Page: 11/06/2011

Windies forget Gayle force wins

What does a man have to do to bat for West Indies? Clearly, being a brilliant batsman from Jamaica is insufficient.

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Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
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Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

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Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

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