Panama the Republic of Panama, is a country in Central America, bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the south. The capital and largest city is Panama City, whose metropolitan area is home to nearly half the country's 4 million people. Panama was inhabited by indigenous tribes before Spanish colonists arrived in the 16th century, it broke away from Spain in 1821 and joined the Republic of Gran Colombia, a union of Nueva Granada and Venezuela. After Gran Colombia dissolved in 1831, Panama and Nueva Granada became the Republic of Colombia. With the backing of the United States, Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903, allowing the construction of the Panama Canal to be completed by the US Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914; the 1977 Torrijos–Carter Treaties led to the transfer of the Canal from the United States to Panama on December 31, 1999. Revenue from canal tolls continues to represent a significant portion of Panama's GDP, although commerce and tourism are major and growing sectors.
It is regarded as a high-income country. In 2015 Panama ranked 60th in the world in terms of the Human Development Index. In 2018, Panama was ranked seventh-most competitive economy in Latin America, according to the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index. Covering around 40 percent of its land area, Panama's jungles are home to an abundance of tropical plants and animals – some of them found nowhere else on the planet. Panama is a founding member of the United Nations and other international organizations such as OAS, LAIA, G77, WHO and NAM; the definite origin of the name Panama is unknown. There are several theories. One postulates that the country was named after a found species of tree. Another that the first settlers arrived in Panama in August, when butterflies abound, that the name means "many butterflies" in one or several of indigenous Amerindian languages that were spoken in the territory prior to Spanish colonization. Most scientifically corroborated theory, that by Panamanian linguists, states that the word is a hispanicization of Kuna language word "bannaba" which means "distant" or "far away".
A relayed legend in Panama is that there was a fishing village that bore the name "Panamá", which purportedly meant "an abundance of fish", when the Spanish colonizers first landed in the area. The exact location of the village is unspecified; the legend is corroborated by Captain Antonio Tello de Guzmán's diary entries, who reports landing at an unnamed village while exploring the Pacific coast of Panama in 1515. In 1517, Don Gaspar de Espinosa, a Spanish lieutenant, decided to settle a post in the same location Guzmán described. In 1519, Pedrarias Dávila decided to establish the Spanish Empire's Pacific port at the site; the new settlement replaced Santa María La Antigua del Darién, which had lost its function within the Crown's global plan after the Spanish exploitation of the riches in the Pacific began. The official definition and origin of the name as promoted by Panama's Ministry of Education is the "abundance of fish and butterflies"; this is the usual description given in social studies textbooks.
At the time of the arrival of the Spanish in the 16th century, the known inhabitants of Panama included the Cuevas and the Coclé tribes. These people have nearly disappeared; the Isthmus of Panama was formed about three million years ago when the land bridge between North and South America became complete, plants and animals crossed it in both directions. The existence of the isthmus affected the dispersal of people and technology throughout the American continent from the appearance of the first hunters and collectors to the era of villages and cities; the earliest discovered artifacts of indigenous peoples in Panama include Paleo-Indian projectile points. Central Panama was home to some of the first pottery-making in the Americas, for example the cultures at Monagrillo, which date back to 2500–1700 BC; these evolved into significant populations best known through their spectacular burials at the Monagrillo archaeological site, their beautiful Gran Coclé style polychrome pottery. The monumental monolithic sculptures at the Barriles site are important traces of these ancient isthmian cultures.
Before Europeans arrived Panama was settled by Chibchan and Cueva peoples. The largest group were the Cueva; the size of the indigenous population of the isthmus at the time of European colonization is uncertain. Estimates range as high as two million people, but more recent studies place that number closer to 200,000. Archaeological finds and testimonials by early European explorers describe diverse native isthmian groups exhibiting cultural variety and suggesting people developed by regular regional routes of commerce; when Panama was colonized, the indigenous peoples fled into nearby islands. Scholars believe that infectious disease was the primary cause of the population decline of American natives; the indigenous peoples had no acquired immunity to diseases, chronic in Eurasian populations for centuries. Rodrigo de Bastidas sailed westward from Venezuela in 1501 in search of gold, became the first European to explore the isthmus of Panama. A year Christopher Columbus visited the isthmus, established a short-lived settlement in the Darien.
Vasco Núñez de Balboa's tortuous
Danilo Gallinari is an Italian professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association. After spending his first four years as a professional in his native Italy, Gallinari was drafted sixth overall in the 2008 NBA draft by the New York Knicks, he played with the Knicks for two and a half seasons before being traded to the Denver Nuggets in 2011. In 2017, he was acquired by the Clippers, his nickname is Gallo, Italian for "rooster". Gallinari started playing professionally in 2004 for Casalpusterlengo, a team in Serie B1. In 2005, Gallinari was acquired by Armani Jeans Milano, which sent him to Edimes Pavia, a team competing in the Italian league second division championship during the 2005–2006 season, so that he could earn more experience with extended playing minutes. Though he played only half of the season due to an injury, in 2006 he was nominated as the best Italian player of the Italian league second division championship, averaging 14.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.0 steals, 0.8 assists in 17 games.
In 2006, he was recalled by Olimpia Milano to play in the 2006–2007 Italian league first division championship and in the second level tier European wide cup competition, the ULEB Cup. In his first season in the top Italian division, Gallinari was named as the league's best player under the age of 22, averaging 10.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.7 steals, 1.0 assists per game in 34 regular season games and 11.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.1 steals, 0.9 assists per game in 8 playoff games. During the season, he won the 2007 Italian All Star Game 3-point shootout contest, he spent his last season with Milano in the top Italian league, finishing first in the league's overall efficiency ratings. During the 2007–2008 season, he averaged 17.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.0 steals, 1.3 assists per game in 33 regular season games and 18.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.5 assists per game in 8 playoff games. In the 2007–2008 season, he played for the first time in the elite Europe-wide competition, the EuroLeague, the first tier level continental club competition of Europe.
In the EuroLeague, he averaged 14.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.5 steals per game in 11 games. He made an instant impact on basketball courts around the continent, he was subsequently named the EuroLeague 2007-08 season's Rising Star award winner, his contract with Olimpia Milano had an escape clause for playing professionally in the United States eliminating major encumbrances that would have prevented him from joining the NBA. On April 23, 2008, he decided to declare himself eligible for the 2008 NBA draft. Gallinari signed an endorsement deal with Reebok before being drafted into the NBA, he has his own sneaker, made by Reebok, called "The Rooster." Gallinari was drafted 6th overall in the 2008 draft by the New York Knicks. He signed a two-year contract with the team. Just one game into the 2008–09 season, it was announced Gallinari would most miss most of the remainder of the season due to back problems. Despite his back problems, he came back into play on 17 January, during a game the Knicks lost to Philadelphia.
On 4 March, Gallinari scored a season-high 17 points against the Atlanta Hawks, shooting 4–5 on three-point field goal attempts. On October 23, 2009, the Knicks picked up Gallinari's contract option. With the Knicks freeing up roster space for Gallinari with the trade of Quentin Richardson, with Al Harrington being relegated to the bench, head coach Mike D'Antoni named Gallinari a starter two games into the 2009 NBA season. On October 31, 2009, the third game of the 2009 season, Gallinari scored a career-high 30 points and made eight three-pointers in an overtime loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, one short of tying a Knicks franchise record held by Latrell Sprewell and John Starks. Gallinari set a new career high on April 6, 2010, with 31 points in a 104-101 win over the Boston Celtics. On February 22, 2011, Gallinari was traded to the Denver Nuggets in a three-team trade, which involved the Minnesota Timberwolves, that brought Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups to New York. In just his second game with the Nuggets, he matched his career high with a 30-point effort in an overtime loss against the Portland Trail Blazers.
During the 2011 NBA lockout he returned to Italy to play for Emporio Armani Milan. On January 25, 2012, Gallinari signed a multi-year contract extension with the Nuggets. On April 5, 2013, it was announced that Gallinari would miss the remainder of the 2012–13 season because of an ACL injury; the same injury forced him out of the entire 2013–14 season as well. On October 29, 2014, Gallinari made his return for the Nuggets, scoring 7 points on 1-of-8 shooting in a season opening win over the Detroit Pistons. On March 22, 2015, Gallinari scored a career-high 40 points on 12-of-21 shooting in a 119–100 win over the Orlando Magic. Gallinari eclipsed his career high with 47 points in a double overtime loss to the Dallas Mavericks on April 10, 2015. On August 3, 2015, Gallinari signed a two-year contract extension with the Nuggets. On November 17, 2015, he scored a season-high 32 points in a 115–98 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. On February 5, 2016, he set a new season high with 33 points in a 115–110 win over the Chicago Bulls.
Gallinari missed the final 22 games of the season due to an ankle injury. On April 9, 2017, Gallinari scored 22 of his season-high 34 points in the third quarter of the Nuggets' 106–105 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. On July 6, 2017, the Los Angeles Clippers acquired Gallinari from the Denver Nuggets as part of a three-team trade
Shelden DeMar Williams is an American former professional basketball player and current assistant coach for the Erie BayHawks of the NBA G League. He played college basketball at Duke University, where his #23 jersey was retired on January 28, 2007, his size, aggressive style of play, shot-blocking ability earned him the nickname "The Landlord." During high school, Williams was a member of the National Honor Society and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He earned the 2005 and 2006 NABC Defensive Player of the Year Awards while at Duke, becoming only the fifth player in history to earn the award two consecutive years, he holds Duke's career blocks record, single-season blocks record, career rebounding record, while he is 17th in career blocks on the NCAA charts. He is the third player in ACC history to have 1,000 rebounds and 350 blocks, his 1,217 rebounds and 1,859 career points rank him seventh in ACC history and sixteenth in Duke history, respectively. Williams became only the third Duke basketball player to record a triple-double when Duke defeated Maryland on January 11, 2006, recording 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocks.
2002 EA Sports High School All-America selection Gatorade Oklahoma Player of the Year: 2001, 2002 2001 USA Today Oklahoma Player of the Year Oklahoma Player of the Year in 2001 by the Daily Oklahoman Oklahoma Defensive Player of the Year: 2000, 2001 Ranked number 49 in the nation among all players by ESPN.com following his senior season Rated the nation's fifth-best prep player by Future Stars and BlueChipHoops.com and sixth by College Basketball News entering the 2001–02 season The Sporting News listed Williams as the nation's sixth-best prep player entering 2001–02 Rated the nation's number one forward by Basketball News and Prepstar Three-time all-state, all-district and all-city selection 2001 Parade All-America Williams played for the Duke University men's basketball team from 2002–2006. He majored in sociology with a markets and management studies certificate; as of graduating from Duke University, Williams held records for: Duke all-time leader in blocked shots Duke all-time leader in rebounds Duke single season blocked shots Third player in NCAA history to score 1500 points, grab 1000 rebounds, block 350 shots, pick up 150 steals.
National Association of Basketball Coaches Defensive Player of the Year: 2005, 2006 Associated Press First Team All American: 2006 John R. Wooden First Team All American: 2006 Senior CLASS All-Senior All American Team: 2006 John R. Wooden National Player of the Year Finalist: 2006 NBA Rookie of the Month: April 2007 Williams was selected by the Hawks with the fifth pick in the 2006 NBA draft. On February 16, 2008, Williams was involved in a multi-player trade to the Sacramento Kings for Mike Bibby. On February 19, 2009, he was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves along with Bobby Brown for Rashad McCants and Calvin Booth. On August 7, 2009, he signed a one-year contract with the Boston Celtics. On July 14, 2010, he signed a one-year contract with the Denver Nuggets. On February 22, 2011, Williams was traded to the New York Knicks in a three-way blockbuster deal involving Minnesota Timberwolves that brought Carmelo Anthony to New York. On August 28, 2012 he signed a one-year contract with the French League champions Élan Chalon.
Over 10 games in the 2012 -- 13 Euroleague season, he averaged 7.6 rebounds per game. In October 2013, Williams signed with Tianjin Ronggang of China. On November 13, 2008, Williams married former University of Tennessee Lady Vols and current Los Angeles Sparks basketball star Candace Parker, they have a daughter named Lailaa. In November 2016, Williams filed for divorce claiming irreconcilable differences. They've been living separate for 3 months prior to the divorce. Note: The EuroLeague is not the only competition in which the player participated for the team during the season, he played in domestic competition, regional competition if applicable. List of NCAA Division I men's basketball career blocks leaders SheldenWilliams.com Shelden's Official Website Shelden Williams on Twitter Career statistics and player information from NBA.com Shelden Williams at Basketball-Reference.com Euroleague.net Profile Shelden Williams has spent the last four years at Duke coming out of his shell – ESPN The Magazine
The Denver Nuggets are an American professional basketball team based in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets compete in the National Basketball Association as a member club of the league's Western Conference Northwest Division; the team was founded as the Denver Larks in 1967 as a charter franchise of the American Basketball Association, but changed its name to Rockets before the first season. It changed its name again to the Nuggets in 1974. After the name change, the Nuggets played for the final ABA Championship title in 1976, losing to the New York Nets; the team has had some periods of success, qualifying for the ABA Playoffs for all seasons from 1967 to the 1976 ABA playoffs where it lost in the finals. The team joined the NBA in 1976 after the ABA–NBA merger and qualified for the NBA playoffs in nine consecutive seasons in the 1980s and ten consecutive seasons from 2004 to 2013. However, it has not made an appearance in a championship round since its last year in the ABA; the Nuggets play their home games at Pepsi Center, which they share with the Colorado Avalanche of the National Hockey League and the Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League.
The original Denver Nuggets was founded in the National Basketball League prior to the 1948–49 season. Following that season, the NBL was absorbed into the BAA, renamed to the NBA; the Denver Nuggets played the 1949–50 season as one of the charter NBA teams before folding. In 1967, one of the ABA's charter franchises was awarded to a group in Kansas City, headed by Southern Californian businessman James Trindle. However, Trindle was unable to find a suitable arena in the Kansas City area. League commissioner George Mikan suggested moving the team to Denver. After agreeing to name Denver resident and former NBA player Vince Boryla as general manager, Trindle moved his team to Denver as the Denver Larks, named after Colorado's state bird; the Trindle group was undercapitalized, leading Mikan to order the Larks to post a $100,000 performance bond or lose the franchise. Hours before the deadline, Trindle sold a ⅔ controlling interest to Denver trucking magnate Bill Ringsby for $350,000. Ringsby renamed the team the Rockets, after his company's long-haul trucks.
Playing at the Denver Auditorium Arena, the Rockets had early successes on the court, developing a solid fan base along the way. However, the team had a history of early playoff exits and failed to play in an ABA championship series. Early, they had a solid lineup led by Byron Beck and Larry Jones later by Beck and Ralph Simpson. Lonnie Wright of the American Football League's Denver Broncos signed with the Rockets during that first season and became the first player to play professional football and basketball in the same season. Wright played four seasons with Denver. Controversial rookie Spencer Haywood joined the team for the 1969–70 season. Haywood was one of the first players to turn pro before graduating from college, the NBA refused to let him play in the league. Haywood averaged nearly 30 points and 19.5 rebounds per game in his only ABA season, being named ABA MVP, ABA rookie of the year, as well as the All-Star Game MVP. The team finished 51–33, winning their division, before exiting the playoffs in the 2nd round.
Just before the start of the 1970–71 season, Haywood signed with the Seattle SuperSonics, jumping to the NBA. The team tumbled to a 30–54 record and attendance suffered. Ringsby sold the team to San Diego businessmen Frank Goldberg and Bud Fischer in 1972. In 1974, in anticipation of moving into the NBA, the new McNichols Arena, the franchise held a contest to choose a new team nickname, as "Rockets" was in use by the Houston Rockets; the winning choice was "Nuggets", in honor of the original Nuggets team in Denver from 1948–50, the last year as a charter member of the NBA. Their new logo was a miner "discovering" an ABA ball. Goldberg and Fischer in turn sold the team to a local investment group in 1976. With the drafting and signing of future hall of fame player David Thompson out of North Carolina State, Marvin Webster and the acquisitions of Dan Issel and Bobby Jones and with Larry Brown coaching, they had their best seasons in team history in their first two seasons as the Nuggets. Playing in the Denver Auditorium Arena for the last season the 1974–75 team went 65–16, including a 40–2 record at home.
However, a quick playoff exit followed. In 1975–76, playing at their new arena, the Nuggets edged the reigning champion Kentucky Colonels four games to three to make the 1976 ABA finals for the first time, they lost to the New York Nets and Julius Erving. They did not get a second chance to win an ABA league championship, as the ABA–NBA merger took place after the 1975–76 season; the Nuggets, Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs were merged into the NBA. The Spirits of St. Louis and Kentucky Colonels were disbanded; the Nuggets and Nets had applied to join the NBA in 1975, but were forced to stay in the ABA by a court order. The Nuggets continued their strong play early on in the NBA, as they won division titles in their first two seasons in the league, missed a third by a single game. However, neither of these teams were successful in the postseason. To the other new NBA teams, the Nuggets were given many financial issues including a $2 million entry fee. Red McCombs bought the team in 1978. In 1979, Brown left the team.
It ended in 1981. Moe brought with him a "motion offense" philosophy, a style of play focusing on attempting to move the ball until someone got open. Moe was known for not paying as much attention to defense as his colleagues; the offense helped the team become competitive. During the 1980s
Anthony Erwin Randolph Jr. is an American-Slovenian professional basketball player who plays for Real Madrid of the Spanish Liga ACB and the EuroLeague. He represents the senior Slovenian national basketball team, winning the 2017 EuroBasket with them. Born in Germany, to two American parents who served in the US military there, Randolph's family relocated to the United States, where he grew up in Pasadena, California; the family moved to Dallas, where Randolph soon became a standout at Woodrow Wilson High School being recruited by the Louisiana State Tigers. After one year, Randolph left college, entered the 2008 NBA draft, where he was chosen as the fourteenth pick overall by the Golden State Warriors. In 2016, he earned an All-EuroLeague Second Team selection. Anthony Erwin Randolph, Jr. was born to Anthony and Crystal Randolph in Würzburg, West Germany, where both of his parents served in the US military. Randolph spent the first year of his life in Germany, before his family moved to Pasadena, where he spent the majority of his childhood.
Randolph attended schools in Pasadena, as well as North Little Rock High School, in North Little Rock, before heading to Woodrow Wilson High School, in Dallas, for his junior year. Randolph's mother decided the school he was attending in Arkansas, was not right for him, because of the differences he had with the team's head coach, in school. At the time, he was a unknown player. Pat Washington, Randolph's high school head coach, stated that while Randolph was athletically gifted, he needed a lot of work on skills, such as ball handling, etc. Washington spoke of a technique the team had in workouts called the "LAB", where the basic rules were that all players in play were required to never stop running, under any circumstances, if the ball was turned over at any point, the player was to run back on defense immediately; the technique might have contributed to Randolph's defensive prowess, as he has been known to hustle back after turnovers, for defensive stops, in his professional career. In high school, Randolph played all five positions on the floor.
During his senior season, Randolph's team did not qualify for a playoff position, which coach Washington attributed to bad chemistry. Washington called the team talented, referred to Randolph as the best player on the roster, but stated that, "as time went by, jealousy and agendas set in and took over." Randolph averaged 12.6 rebounds per game, as a senior. Although Randolph was named to the first team All-Area The Dallas Morning News boys basketball team, played in the Reebok Round Ball Classic, in Chicago, the Adidas Derby Festival Classic in Kentucky, he was not chosen to play in the McDonald's All-American Game his senior year. Considered a five-star recruit by Rivals.com, Randolph was listed as the No. 4 small forward and the No. 12 player in the nation in 2007. Glen "Big Baby" Davis had just left Louisiana State University's basketball team as well as seven-foot center Magnum Rolle, who transferred to Louisiana Tech, leaving the team with only two bigs, one being a junior college transfer.
Due to this fact, LSU told Randolph that if he joined their team, he could play right away as a freshman. Washington said that Baylor, Kansas and Texas were interested in recruiting Randolph. Though Memphis was Randolph's early choice in the recruitment process, he wanted to attend a school where he could play big minutes, which he figured he would not get to do at Memphis since the team's roster was so deep at the time. Randolph made an impact in college right away, as he had six blocks in just his third game during his freshman season. During his lone season at LSU, Randolph earned Honorable Mention All-SEC and First Team All-Freshman Team honors. Randolph was the only LSU Tiger to start all thirty-one games in his freshman season, averaged 15.6 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.13 steals, 2.26 blocks per contest. Although the team only ended the season with a 13-18 record, Randolph finished strong by averaging 20.1 points during the last nine games of the year. Randolph ranked third in the Southeastern Conference in rebounding and blocked shots, twelfth in scoring, posted nine double-doubles his freshman season.
Knowing there was a good chance he would be chosen in the first round, Randolph declared himself eligible for the 2008 NBA draft at the end of his freshman year at LSU. Some projected Randolph to go high in the year's draft because of his versatility and potential, while his detractors thought he might drop because of his thin frame and raw overall game. In either case, many believed Randolph could be the steal of the draft with his talent and tremendous potential. In the draft, the Golden State Warriors selected Randolph with the fourteenth overall pick; the Warriors were coming off a disappointing 2007-08 season where the team was unable to qualify for the playoffs despite finishing the year with a 48-34 win-loss record. Early in his rookie season, Randolph received minimal playing time, causing some to question his attitude and work ethic, or if a possible rift might be developing between him and head coach Don Nelson. Many of the Warriors' main rotation players suffered injuries throughout Randolph's rookie campaign, the team ended the season with only a 29-53 record.
Nonetheless, the Warriors did play a strong second half of the season, including Randolph, who averaged 13.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, 1.4 steals over the last twelve games of the year. After attending a Dallas Mavericks-San Antonio Spurs playoff game during the Warriors' offseason, Randolph became motivated to improve his play, hitting the gym ha
Pepsi Center is a multi-purpose arena located in Denver, Colorado, USA. The arena is home to the Denver Nuggets of the National Basketball Association, the Colorado Avalanche of the National Hockey League, the Colorado Mammoth of the National Lacrosse League; when not in use by one of Denver's sports teams, the building serves as a concert venue. The arena is named for PepsiCo. Pepsi Center was constructed as part of a large six-year sporting venue upgrade in Denver along with Coors Field, home of the Colorado Rockies, Broncos Stadium at Mile High, home of the Denver Broncos; the complex was constructed to be accessible. The arena is situated at Speer Boulevard, a main thoroughfare in downtown Denver, is served by 2 nearby exits off Interstate 25. A light rail station is on the western side of the complex. Ground was broken for the arena on November 1997, on the 4.6-acre site. Its completion in October 1999 was marked by a Celine Dion concert. Included in the complex are a basketball practice facility used by the Nuggets, the Breckenridge Brewery Mountain House, a restaurant accessible from within and outside the Center itself.
The atrium of the building houses a suspended sculpture depicting various hockey and basketball athletes in action poses. Before the construction of Pepsi Center, the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche played in McNichols Sports Arena, a building that has since been torn down to serve as a parking lot for nearby Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Coincidentally, prior to the Avalanche relocating to Denver, the then-Quebec Nordiques played at another arena to which Pepsi owned naming rights: the Colisée Pepsi. Pepsi Center hosted the 2001 NHL All-Star Game, the 2001 Stanley Cup Finals, the 2005 NBA All-Star Game. From 2004 to 2006, the center hosted the Mountain West Conference men's basketball tournament; the National Collegiate Athletic Association Men's ice hockey Frozen Four West Regional was hosted on March 24 and March 25, 2007. The Centrix Financial Grand Prix of Denver was held in the parking lot from 2002 to 2006. In 2004, Colorado was selected as one of five cities in the U. S. to host the Dew Action Sports Tour, a new extreme sports franchise that began in 2005.
Titled the Right Guard Open, the inaugural event was held at Pepsi Center from July 6 to July 10. The Dew Action Sports returned to Denver for its second year in 2006 during July 13–16; the NCAA Men's ice hockey Frozen Four tournament was held at the arena on April 10 and April 12, 2008. Pepsi Center hosted games of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament in 2004, 2008, 2011, 2016. In 2012, the NCAA Women's basketball Final Four was held here. During the week of July 2–8, 2007, the arena hosted the International Convention and Contests of the Barbershop Harmony Society, a men's singing organization; the arena hosted the 2008 Democratic National Convention, although the party's presidential nominee, then-Senator Barack Obama, made his acceptance speech at the nearby Invesco Field at Mile High. To prepare for the convention, Pepsi Center underwent large scale projects including electrical power increases and the installation of new transformers by Xcel Energy and telecommunications wiring by Qwest.
A backup generator was installed. 12 miles of optical fiber cables were installed for the massive communication needs of the convention. The UFC has hosted four events at the arena. Prior to the 2013–14 season, the octagonal scoreboard, in use since the arena's opening was replaced with a new four-sided rectangular scoreboard; the two center faces measure 27 feet high by 48 feet long, while the two end faces measure 21 feet high by 25 feet wide. On August 15, 2008, World Wrestling Entertainment booked an internationally televised event, WWE Raw, to take place at Pepsi Center on Monday, May 25, 2009. However, Denver Nuggets and Pepsi Center owner Stan Kroenke arranged a verbal agreement to book Game 4 of the NBA Western Conference Finals between the Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers on the same date prior to the Nuggets earning a slot in the playoffs. Though a contract existed to hold the venue for the WWE event and only a verbal agreement granted the Nuggets the venue, Kroenke stood firm that the Nuggets game would take precedence.
WWE chairman Vince McMahon said, "Even though the Denver Nuggets had a strong team this year and were projected to make the playoffs Nuggets and Pepsi Center owner Stan Kroenke did not have enough faith in his own team to hold the May 25 date for a potential playoff game."For the WWE event, Ticketmaster refused to refund their processing fee, thereby only giving fans a partial refund. The fee, however, is charged by Ticketmaster alone and not WWE or KSE. On May 20, 2009, it was announced that the WWE event scheduled for Pepsi Center would be moved to Staples Center in Los Angeles, return to the Denver area for a non-televised event at the Denver Coliseum on August 7, 2009, with refunds for the original date made available at points of purchase. Official website Media related to Pepsi Center at Wikimedia Commons
Renaldo Miguel Balkman is a Puerto Rican professional basketball player who last played for the San Miguel Alab Pilipinas of the ASEAN Basketball League. He played college basketball for the University of South Carolina and has represented the Puerto Rico national team in international competition. Balkman was born in Staten Island, New York, prior to attending Laurinburg Institute, he was at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. At Laurinburg, he led his team to 40 -- No. 1 national prep school ranking. Balkman was a little known player in high school at the Laurinburg Institute, but he was discovered in 2002 by University of South Carolina head coach Dave Odom, who saw his potential. According to Odom, "I remember the first time. I was sitting in Orlando in a gym with Barry Sanderson and I asked him'who is that kid with the dreadlocks? That's the guy we need', he came back and said nobody knows his name." Balkman was recruited and signed by Carolina, having received little to no interest from any other major basketball programs.
Balkman played an integral role in South Carolina's two wins over eventual national champion Florida during the 2005–06 college basketball season. He was the 2006 NIT Most Valuable Player, averaging 9.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. Balkman's highlight for the season was a team-leading 28-point, 16-rebound, 4-steal performance in a 67–56 win over Alabama on February 14, 2006, he was 11 of 15 from the field and had a team-high 2 blocks. For Balkman, a defensive banger whose style Knicks general manager Isiah Thomas had likened to Dennis Rodman and Ron Artest, the 2006 NIT MVP award was a fitting capper to a three-year college career that produced 7.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and a.553 shooting average. The Knicks' choice of Balkman in the first round surprised many, notably ESPN's Jay Bilas, who noted that projected lottery pick Marcus Williams was still available as well as future All-Star guard Rajon Rondo. ESPN columnist Bill Simmons, among others, joked that Isiah Thomas thought he was drafting Rolando Blackman, a former Knicks player and NBA All-Star.
However, other analysts praised Balkman's work ethic and attitude, as he had transformed himself from a relative unknown into a first round NBA draft pick over the course of a few months. There was further controversy. In the NBA's official draft guide, released to all reporters covering the draft, Balkman was not included in the list of the 300 top players eligible to be drafted in the 2006–07 rookie class. However, the Knicks selected Balkman with their first of two draft picks, 20th overall; the Knicks selected Mardy Collins with the 29th pick. It has been speculated that Thomas and the Knicks selected Balkman because his agent, Leon Rose, was the agent of soon-to-be free agent LeBron James. In the Las Vegas Summer League before the 2006–07 season, Balkman averaged 7.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.4 steals, 1 block and 2.4 turnovers during the span of 5 games. He played along David Lee, Nate Robinson and Mardy Collins. During his first season, Balkman played in 68 games, averaging 15.6 minutes, 4.9 points, 4.3 rebounds.
He logged four double-doubles and showed promise on the defensive end where he was called upon to guard multiple positions, from shooting guard to center. The press praised Balkman, describing him as a "sparkplug off the bench" and a "crowd favorite for his hustle and enthusiastic defense," though he was criticized for his poor outside shooting. Balkman led the league's rookies in steals plus blocks per 48 minutes; the 2007–08 season saw a decline in most of Balkman's stats. He played in 65 games, averaging 14.6 minutes, 3.4 points, 3.3 rebounds per game. On July 28, 2008, Balkman was traded to the Denver Nuggets along with cash considerations in exchange for Taurean Green, Bobby Jones, a second round pick in the 2010 draft; the Knicks waived both Green and Jones, solidifying the fact that the deal was a salary dump. Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni stated, "Renaldo had no role after we drafted Gallinari, with the emergence of Wilson Chandler his minutes would be nonexistent, so it wasn’t fair to him to keep him in a spot that he wouldn’t play and gives us an opportunity to clear up a roster spot and move on."
Said Balkman, "I'm going to make the best of my opportunity. New York was great. Denver is my future."During the 2008–09 season, Balkman played in 53 games, averaging 5.0 points and 3.8 rebounds per game. He started 10 games, after Kenyon Martin was injured, his best game was on March 2009 against the Los Angeles Clippers. Balkman scored a double-double, with 22 points, 11 rebounds, 2 blocks. Balkman played during the 2009–10 season, averaging 1.1 points and 1.8 rebounds in 7 minutes per game. He only played in 13 games, never scoring in double figures. Balkman again began the 2010–11 season as part of the Nuggets bench, he was scarcely used, playing in only 5 games, averaging 2.6 points and 0.8 rebounds per game. His most notable game was on December 29, 2010, against the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he scored 10 points in 19 minutes, including four dunks. On February 22, 2011, Balkman was reacquired by the New York Knicks in a blockbuster trade which brought Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Shelden Williams, Anthony Carter to New York.
However, Balkman only played in three games after returning to New York. Balkman saw game time during the 2011–12 season, playing only in 14 games, averaging