Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.
NTSB to hold Feb. 9 hearing to determine probable cause of Kobe Bryant fatal crash
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said on Wednesday it would hold a hearing on Feb. 9 to determine the probable cause of the January 2020 helicopter crash that killed retired NBA star Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others. The board said in June the pilot of the Sikorsky S-76B helicopter that crashed outside Los Angeles into hilly terrain likely became disoriented in the fog.
NBA roundup: Sixers slip past Heat in OT
Joel Embiid scored 35 of his 45 points in the second half and overtime to lift the host Philadelphia 76ers past the Miami Heat 137-134 on Tuesday. Embiid was 13 of 13 from the free-throw line, including two with 8.9 seconds left in overtime, to go along with 16 rebounds, five steals and four assists. Danny Green tied a franchise record with nine 3-pointers on his way to 29 points, and he added 10 rebounds as the Sixers snapped a three-game losing streak.
Nadal, Thiem suffer coaching setbacks ahead of Australian Open
World number two Rafa Nadal and last year's Australian Open finalist Dominic Thiem have both suffered setbacks with their coaches unable to make the trip Down Under for the year's first tennis Grand Slam. Players and officials have to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival in Australia before they participate in warmup events from Jan. 31 at Melbourne Park, where the major will be held from Feb. 8-21.
Sailing: Top Gun on water with flight key to America's Cup fight
Kitted out more like fighter jet pilots than sailors, three crews from Britain, Italy and the United States begin a series of dog fights this week to claim the Prada Cup in New Zealand. At stake for INEOS Team UK, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team and New York Yacht Club American Magic is the chance to challenge Emirates Team New Zealand for the 36th America's Cup.
Rowing: Canada's Olympic gold medallist Heddle dies aged 55
Triple Olympic rowing gold medallist Kathleen Heddle, the quiet, stoic foil to flamboyant, gregarious pairs partner Marnie McBean, has died after a long battle with cancer, Rowing Canada said on Wednesday. She died at the age of 55 on Monday at her home in Vancouver, said a Rowing Canada statement issued on behalf of her family.
Sandgren allowed to board Australian Open flight despite positive test
Tennys Sandgren was granted special permission to board a chartered flight from Los Angeles bound for the Australian Open in Melbourne on Wednesday despite testing positive for COVID-19 earlier in the week, Tennis Australia said. Sandgren said on Twitter he had tested positive in November and returned another positive test on Monday and might not be able to board the flight, one of 15 carrying players and coaching staff to the first Grand Slam of the year.
Alex de Minaur wins Antalya Open
Fourth-seeded Alex de Minaur of Australia secured his fourth career ATP Tour singles title after Alexander Bublik of Kazakhstan retired two games into the first set of the final of the Antalya Open on Wednesday in Turkey. The eighth-seeded Bublik was unsuccessful in his bid to play through the pain after sustaining a right ankle injury in his semifinal victory over Frenchman Jeremy Chardy on Tuesday.
Sumo-Top Japan sumo wrestler Hakuho released from hospital after COVID infection: media reports
Japan's top-ranked sumo wrestler Hakuho has been released from hospital after being treated for a coronavirus infection, Japanese sports daily Sports Hochi reported on Thursday. Hochi reported that Mongolian-born Hakuho, who is the longest-serving yokozuna - top-ranked sumo wrestler - of all time, has now tested negative for COVID-19 and has left hospital to continue his recovery.
NBA postpones two games for Friday amid COVID-19 issues
The NBA has postponed two games scheduled for Friday as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage across the country. The game between the Washington Wizards and Detroit Pistons has been postponed, as has the game between the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns.
MLB suspending political contributions after Capitol rampage
Major League Baseball is suspending all political contributions after a mob exhorted by President Donald Trump rampaged through the U.S. Capitol last week, it said on Wednesday. MLB made the statement as the House of Representatives moved towards a vote to make Trump the first U.S. president to be impeached twice.