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In a franchise that has no time for spotlights, with a roster that has no interest in headlines, R.C. Buford may be the very embodiment of the all-for-one San Antonio Spurs. For more than two decades he has toiled in the shadows, happy to let the attention fall on coach Gregg Popovich and the team that Buford has played such a pivotal role in assembling. He quietly -- happily -- lives in the back channels and has built a reputation as one of the most respected executives in the NBA. Yet for all his impressive work over the previous 11 years as a general manager and architect of the most enduring success story in modern American sports, Buford had never been honoured by his peers as the leagues executive of the year. Until now. Buford won the award Wednesday, and as is the custom in the Alamo City, did as much as he could to downplay his significant contributions to a team that posted the best record in the NBA. "I think its not why we do what we do," Buford said. "I think its a great honour for the group of people that have been here and have been through here that have built and an ownership group thats allowed a continuity to build a program that were proud of so to be recognized as a program that people respect by your peers, thats rewarding." That Buford had never won the award before while helping to put together a team that won four championships and has posted a staggering 15 straight 50-win seasons has been one of the great mysteries in league annals. Hes helped put the Spurs at the forefront of the international invasion, implemented a system that demands commitment and humility over recognition and individual achievement, and has been partly responsible for so many teams pilfering his staff to run front offices or teams across the league. Yet he may have finally earned the award in his 12th season as GM because of what he didnt do. In the wake of a devastating loss to Miami in the NBA Finals last season, Buford didnt panic. He didnt give up on an aging Manu Ginobili. He didnt let Tiago Splitter get lured away by big money elsewhere. He followed the Spurs creed: Stay the course. Believe in the system. Never give in to outside influence. While other teams chased huge stars and made big splashes, Buford quietly re-signed Ginobili and Splitter and added second-tier free agent Marco Belinelli. The moves werent flashy, but were exactly what the Spurs, who enter Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals on Friday night leading Portland 1-0, needed to recover from that bitter defeat. "Its pretty cool," Popovich said. "Were all excited for him; long overdue. Hes done a great job for a very long time. Were giving him the requisite amount of you-know-what all over the offices. He walks down the halls we hit the walls we hit the sides to make room for him." Buford received nine first-place votes and 58 total points to win the award. Phoenixs Ryan McDonough (47) finished second for his superb job in turning the Suns from an afterthought into a 48-win team that just missed the playoffs. Neil Olshey, who added Robin Lopez, Dorell Wright and Thomas Robinson to bolster the Trail Blazers depth and get them into the playoffs, finished third in the voting with 34 points. Torontos Masai Ujiri and Miamis Pat Riley rounded out the top five. Popovich and Buford have made the Spurs the envy of the league, assembling one of the most uniquely stable systems in professional sports built around Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Ginobili, a trio that has won three championships together and keep coming back for more. "Weve been working with each other for a long time," Popovich said. "We participate in everything. Its been a great relationship in that regard. We share everything its benefited both of us and the organization without a doubt. Just having that ability to communicate and having an owner that allows us to do that." Popovich gets more of the credit for making the Spurs machine go, and thats just fine with Buford. But most around the league, and certainly everyone in San Antonio, recognizes what a big role Buford has played in helping the Spurs avoid the teardowns that almost every franchise has endured since he and Pop took over. "You recognize how difficult that is and how fortunate weve been that an ownership group has allowed us to stay together and have the opportunity to survive through the growing pains," Buford said. "To have a group of players that have wanted to be a part of what this community of San Antonio and what our fans mean to them. To have wanted to stay with an ownership group the sacrifices that theyve made to make this a unique environment and then how theyve handled themselves that presents a platform that other players want to come join. "Again, were not in this to win an award. Were in this to try to win a championship. Thats the reward were all hoping for." Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. .The result meant Juventus will spend the winter break three points clear of Roma after the league leader beat Cagliari 3-1 on Thursday.Milan remained seventh ahead of the rest of the weekends fixtures, but was provisionally two points behind third-place Napoli in their duel for the final Champions League spot. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. . -- Cincinnati Reds closer Aroldis Chapman is undergoing surgery to repair a broken bone above his left eye but has no other serious injuries after being hit in the face by a line drive in a spring training game. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link.. -- Pitcher Carl Pavano is retiring after 14 major league seasons. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. . General manager David Poile called signing Ribeiro a great opportunity to add a talented, experienced and creative centre Tuesday when he introduced the veteran at a news conference. Ribeiros contract is worth $1.05 million after being bought out of the final three years of a $22 million contract by the Coyotes recently. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. .I get texts: Do you know Drake? Have you met Drake? He sits there every night, he hears me cuss out the referees every night, Casey said, laughing.ROME - Security will be tight when Roma meets Napoli on Saturday for the first time since clashes that led to a fans death from a shooting before the Italian Cup final in May.Roma fans have been barred from travelling to Naples for the game but there are still concerns of reprisal attacks.Napoli fan Ciro Esposito died 50 days after he was allegedly shot by Roma fan Daniele De Santis. An investigation over the shooting is ongoing.The match is a big one for both sides.Roma pulled level on points with Serie A leader Juventus after it won and the Bianconeri lost Wednesday, while Napoli is still trying to shake off a slow start that has left the southern club seven points behind the leaders.Later Saturday, Juventus visits struggling Empoli and Inter Milan meets last-place Parma. On Sunday, third-place AC Milan hosts Palermo at the San Siro.Here are some things to know about this weekends Italian league matches:___PRECAUTIONARY MEASURESThe Napoli-Roma match will kick off at 3 p.m. local time (1400 GMT), an earlier-than-usual start time for matches on Saturdays in Serie A, as a precautionary measure to avoid violence.Roma is planning to make the short trip to Naples by airplane rather than bus, and the squads hotel is being kept secret.Weve been making appeals and releasing precautionary messages for months, Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi said. Its going to be a risky day. ... I just hope that things calm down.Napoli coach Rafa Benitez didnt want to discuss the violence concerns.Im only concerned with the football that is played, Benitez said. I hope its just a regular football match and Im only focusing on the technical aspects.___ROAD BUMPSJuventus allowed an injury-time goal in a 1-0 loss at Genoa on Wednesday for its first domestic defeat of the season.Combined with Juves struggles in the Champions League, the Turin side has gained only one point in its last four away matches.You cant allow a goal in the 90th minute, Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri said. And we conceded it with a 6-on-2 situation inside our area.To win the title you dont need 128 points, you need to earn one more point than the second-place squad, Allegri added.dddddddddddd This will serve as a lesson for us. If you hit posts, crossbars and (Genoa goalkeeper Mattia) Perin makes two great saves, you can go home with regrets for not having won, but not with a loss. We need to improve in this department.___HOT SEATSThe job of Inter Milan coach Walter Mazzarri remains in jeopardy even after a 1-0 win over Sampdoria on Wednesday, which was earned with a penalty in the 90th minute from Mauro Icardi.The San Siro was less than half-filled for the match with an attendance of 28,057 — a sign that fans are losing confidence in the club.But Mazzarri denied hearing whistles aimed his way by fans.I didnt hear them, the coach said. It was a great atmosphere. Samp hadnt lost yet and we deserved the victory. Were improving. We played a great match and Im proud of this squad.Next up for Inter is Parma, which has lost eight of nine matches, with coach Roberto Donadoni also in danger of losing his job.___SENEGALESE SURPRISEWith Giuseppe Rossi and Mario Gomez each out injured, Khouma Babacar has been a surprise in attack for Fiorentina.The Senegalese striker scored twice in a 3-0 win over Udinese on Wednesday to bring his total to four goals in eight Serie A matches this season.He could have scored more. Baba needs to improve and eliminate the pauses he takes during matches and training. But hes open to learning and he has big margins for improvement, said Fiorentina manager Vincenzo Montella, who was a prolific scorer during his playing days with Sampdoria and Roma.The 21-year-old Babacar came up through Fiorentinas youth system and made his first-team debut at the age of 16.Fiorentina is also excited about 20-year-old forward Federico Bernardeschi, a member of Italys under-21 squad who has scored twice in the Europa League this season.Next up for Fiorentina, which is in 10th place, is a visit to Sampdoria on Sunday.___Andrew Dampf can be followed at Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. Trebuie să fii logat sau înregistrat pentru a vedea acest link. ' ' '
Now Fuji ought to market their Neopan Motion Picture film here in the US. Has anyone on this site ever used it?
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