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Pioneering pro wrestler 'Prince' Neff Maiava dead at 93

Former professional wrestler “Prince” Neff Maiava, who battled legendary foes such as Fritz Von Erich and Killer Kowalski and even grappled with a real bear in the ring, died April 21, the Star Advertiser of Honolulu reported.

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He was 93.

Maiava was noted for wearing a necklace of boar’s teeth as he entered the ring.

During a National Wrestling Alliance event, the top wrestlers drew names to determine who their opponent would be. Maiava drew the bear, the Star Advertiser reported.

Maiava won the match when he put honey on his chest and lay on the canvas. While the bear licked the honey, Maiava rolled the animal over and “pinned” it, the Star Advertiser reported.

In his prime, Maiava stood 6 feet and weighed 285 pounds. Born in Samoa, he set the standard for future wrestlers of Polynesian descent, including Peter Maivia, the Wild Samoans and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

Maiava’s wrestling career spanned four decades, and he punctuated his entrance to the ring by breaking wooden boards over his head or walking on a board of nails, the Star Advertiser reported.

After retiring, Maiava started a tree-trimming business and also wrote several children’s books, the newspaper reported.

“He was a very colorful man,” Maiava’s daughter Pamela Maiava, told the Star Advertiser. “He was also the nicest man I’ve ever known. So many of his friends have told me how much he helped other people.”

Former Green Bay Packers lineman Carlos Gray shot to death in Alabama 

Former Green Bay Packers defensive lineman Carlos Gray was shot to death in his Alabama home, AL.com reported.

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Gray, 25, was found dead at his Pinson home Monday night, according to the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office. Police and first responders were sent to Gray’s home when a friend found Gray wounded and unresponsive, AL.com reported.

Authorities said they found marijuana, digital scales, a Glock handgun with an extended magazine and an AK-47 rifle with a large capacity magazine at Gray’s home, AL.com reported.

Gray played collegiately at North Carolina State University and left after his junior year to enter the 2014 NFL draft. He signed with Green Bay as an undrafted free agent in 2014. He played in four preseason games for the Packers in 2014 and was released in 2015. 

Gray was the father of two young children. He was renovating houses, selling cars and working as a party promoter, AL.com reported. 

Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s wife announces birth of baby girl

There’s a new Earnhardt on the racing scene.

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Amy Earnhardt announced the birth of Isla Rose Earnhardt on Twitter Tuesday morning.

“She’s finally here!” the wife of former NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. tweeted. “It feels like a dream. The best dream ever.”

It is the first child for the couple.

Dale Jr. has been busy since retiring from active racing, working as an analyst for NBC Sports Network’s “NASCAR America.” Before that, he covered the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics for NBC.

The baby was due May 2, but arrived a day early. Had she been born on April 29, she would have shared a birthday with her grandfather, the late Dale Earnhardt Sr.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., 43, and the former Amy Riemann, 36, were married on Dec. 31, 2016.

WATCH: 3-year-old baseball player's slow-motion 'run' to home plate goes viral

There's no need for a slow-motion replay of this tiny baseball star's "run" to home plate. 

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

According to ABC News, Lennox Salcedo, a 3-year-old who plays for a pony baseball league in Walnut, California, has become a viral sensation for his hilarious response to his coach's instructions "to run home as fast as he can."

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Naturally, Lennox did the exact opposite, delighting parents and other spectators. A video of the adorable moment, posted Sunday by Twitter user @TabbyRodriguez, has been viewed more than 5 million times.

>> Watch the video here

Read more here.

’Mr. Irrelevant’: NFL draft’s final pick has 'big chip' on his shoulder

Trey Quinn said he has “a big chip” on his shoulder, and he is determined to prove his relevance in the NFL.

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Quinn, a wide receiver from Southern Methodist University, was tabbed as “Mr. Irrelevant” -- the final pick in the 2018 NFL draft -- when he was drafted at No. 256 by the Washington Redskins.

It was the first time the Redskins chose the final player in the draft since 1992, when they picked Matt Elliott, ESPN reported.

“There's a big chip on my shoulder, and you'll see it on me, but I'm excited," Quinn told ESPN. “I'm excited to be a part of an organization, and after a long day, I'm kind of stressed out. I'm just excited to be a part of the Skins and go dominate a little bit.”

While quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy and was the No. 1 pick in the draft, Quinn receives a few perks for being the final pick. He will get a trip to Disneyland, a custom Rolex watch and a trophy that is called the Lowsman -- the opposite of the Heisman, ESPN reported.

Quinn was not irrelevant for SMU. He led the Football Bowl Subdivision with 114 catches in 2017 and scored 13 touchdowns.

"Trey Quinn is a very exciting prospect," Redskins coach Jay Gruden told ESPN. "He caught a lot of balls, did some punt returns. He's a great option route runner, great feel in the zones. Strong hands. Good physical blocker. Good after the catch.”

The final pick bounced around during the third day of draft. It was originally owned by the Falcons. Atlanta traded the pick to the Los Angeles Rams, who subsequently dealt it to Washington, NFL.com reported.

Brazilian surfer sets record by riding an 80-foot wave 

A Brazilian surfer caught a world-record 80-foot wave in November -- and now he’s sitting on top of the world.

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Saturday the World Surf League officially honored Rodrigo Koxa for riding the monster wave off the coast of Nazaré, Portugal, on Nov. 8, 2017, the New York Post reported.

Amazing footage includes the roar of the wave and Koxa’s ride, which earned him the Quiksilver XXL Biggest Wave Award at the WSL’s Big Wave Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. The award includes a $25,000 prize and is given to the surfer who catches the biggest wave of the year, CNN reported. That includes paddling into the wave or being towed in by a jet ski, CNN reported.

“I try to surf big waves all my life and I had a huge experience in 2014 where I almost died at Nazaré,” Koxa said in a statement. “Four months later, I had bad dreams, I didn’t travel, I got scared, and my wife helped me psychologically. Now, I’m just so happy and this is the best day of my life. Thank you to (World Surf League), it’s a dream come true,” Koxa said.

Koxa’s ride broke the record set by Garrett McNamara, who conquered a 78-foot wave at the same venue in 2011, CNN reported.

Panda was grand: Pablo Sandoval pitches perfect ninth for Giants

This Panda can bring some heat. His curveball isn’t too shabby, either.

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With the San Francisco Giants trailing the Los Angeles Dodgers 15-6 heading into the ninth inning of the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, manager Bruce Bochy brought in Pablo Sandoval to pitch.

Sandoval, a 5-foot-11, 268-pounder who normally plays third base, needed only 11 pitches to retire the Dodgers, as Max Muncy, Yasmani Grandal, and Chris Taylor all grounded out.

It was the only time during the game that a Giants pitcher registered a 1-2-3 inning.

Sandoval topped 87 mph with his fastball and showed a wicked curveball, causing Taylor to take a big whiff at one offering.

“I knew he had a pretty good delivery, I didn’t know it was quite this clean,” Bochy told KNBR. “He had a breaking ball like that, it was legit. He hit 87, that’s pretty impressive.”

Sandoval said Bochy broached the idea of pitching to him in the seventh inning.

“He asked if I could pitch an inning and I said, ‘For sure,’” Sandoval told KNBR. “He said, ‘Be ready, in case they score more runs you’re going to be our pitcher.’”

Sandoval became the Giants’ first position player to pitch since Greg Litton in 1991, and the first to toss a shutout inning since Matty Alou did it in 1965,” The San Francisco Chronicle reported. 

Shaquem Griffin's inspirational story not limited to football fans

Shaquem Griffin’s story is an inspirational one, and it moved to another level after he was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL draft. His legion of well-wishers continues to grow.

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Griffin, who was drafted in the fifth round, received encouragement and best wishes from players and fans on Twitter. 

The outside linebacker had his left hand amputated as a child because of amniotic band syndrome, but was a two-year starter at the University of Central Florida and was a first-team all-conference selection both seasons. 

He was reunited with his twin brother Shaquill when the Seahawks made him the 141st overall pick. That brought Griffin full circle from the NFL scouting combine, when he bench-pressed 225 pounds 20 times with a prosthetic left hand.

"I couldn't breathe," Griffin told ESPN said after he was drafted. "I didn't know what to say. I was trying to get the words out, but I couldn't talk."

Griffin’s well-wishers included pro athletes and people who have faced the same hurdles as the linebacker. They were joyous in their posts.

“Thrilled for you,” former major-league pitcher Jim Abbott, who was born without a right hand, wrote on Twitter. “Beyond words.”

“So grateful for this moment!!!” Twitter user Gienelle wrote, showing a picture of her son displaying a prosthetic left hand. “This pick is powerful for my boy!! His dreams just went through the roof!! “

Chris Pugh, whose daughter lost fingers to amniotic band syndrome, called Griffin “inspirational.”

“No matter what team he plays for, I'm a big Shaquem Griffin fan,” he wrote.

Drew Carfrae, a Steelers fan from Iowa who said he used a wheelchair, wrote that “to see someone that other people would say had a ‘disability’ prove doubters wrong, is amazing.” 

“Cheering and crying that his dreams came true,” wrote Amy Eldridge, whose son has one hand. 

Twelve-year-old Julianna Linton was born with amniotic band syndrome and posted a video before the draft. She also got to meet Griffin when the Knights played Houston in 2016.

On Twitter, Griffin thanked “everyone who has helped push me, motivate me and support me. Most importantly, thank you Seahawks.”

Buffalo superfan 'Pancho Billa' announces team's 3rd-round pick

The Bills Mafia took care of its biggest fan during the NFL draft Friday night.

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Ezra Castro, known as “Pancho Billa,” was called to the podium by Buffalo Bills legends Andre Reed and Fred Jackson to read the team’s third-round pick, The Buffalo News reported.

Castro, a Dallas resident, was in attendance at the draft, which was held at AT&T Stadium in nearby Arlington, Texas. 

Castro is president of the Dallas Fort-Worth Bills Backers chapter and a lifelong Bills fan. He has been battling cancer since last fall and recently had chemotherapy, the News reported.

At the podium, Jackson acknowledged Castro, calling him “one of the most recognizable fans in Buffalo’s history.”

Then Reed, the Bills’ the Hall of Fame wide receiver, said that Castro “has been battling cancer, but this is not to dampen his spirit and his love for the game and his Bills.

Jackson returned to the microphone and invited Castro on stage to read the Bills’ draft choice.

"With the 96th pick, the Bills Mafia selects Harrison Phillips, defensive tackle, Stanford," Castro said, his voice cracking.

Reed and Jackson presented Castro with a Bills No. 18 jersey that had “NFL Draft” stitched on the back.

General Manager Brandon Beane said Castro’s moment at the podium “sent chills up everybody’s spine in the draft room."

“We’re all praying for him,” Beane told the News.

Russell Westbrook rips Utah fans after Thunder eliminated

Russell Westbrook doesn’t mind criticism from fans, since it’s part of the game. But the Oklahoma City star had some harsh words for Utah’s fans after the Thunder were eliminated in the NBA playoffs Friday night.

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Westbrook was confronted by a fan as he left the court after Utah’s 96-91 victory in Game 6 eliminated the Thunder, ESPN reported.

"I didn't confront fans; fans confronted me," Westbrook said. "Here in Utah, man, a lot of disrespectful, vulgar things are said to the players here with these fans. It's truly disrespectful. Talk about your families, your kids. It's truly disrespectful to the game, man."

Westbrook scored 46 points in a losing effort. As he walked to the tunnel after the game, Westbrook slapped a fan’s cellphone. He had an exchange when he left the floor at halftime, ESPN reported.

"I think it's something that needs to be brought up," Westbrook said. “I'm tired of just going out and playing, then the fans saying whatever the hell they want to say. I'm not with that. If I was on the street, they wouldn't just come up to me and say anything crazy, because I don't play that (expletive). So, to disrespect me and do whatever they want to do needs to be put to a stop, especially here in Utah."

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