Gibbs says English revolt against racism is 'testament to the country'

By Sports Desk July 16, 2021

Kieran Gibbs took strength from the pushback against the racism aimed at Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka after England's penalties heartbreak.

Former England defender Gibbs, who was speaking at his Inter Miami presentation, believes the fallout from the Euro 2020 final highlighted the best and worst of society in his home country.

Saka said on Thursday that he "knew instantly the kind of hate that I was about to receive", and called on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to tighten up controls over content on their platforms.

Sancho and Rashford have also spoken out powerfully this week. A mural of Rashford's image in Manchester was defaced before it became a positive focal point in the local community, with messages of praise, sympathy and solidarity posted on the wall.

"I'm pleased with the reaction from the country," said Gibbs. "Maybe not the initial reaction. Obviously, most things these days are spoiled by a few individuals.

"But the way everyone has responded is testament to the country and where we're at in society.

"i was really pleased to see that, especially being on this side of the water when the game was on.

"I still felt that attachment from home and it was great to see."

Gibbs is relishing his chance to make an impact in Major League Soccer, joining a team who have made a slow start to their second campaign, collecting only eight points from 11 games under Phil Neville's leadership.

 

They have scored just nine goals and conceded 17 already. Neville's side are slightly underperforming against their expected goals (11.3 xG) and expected goals against (16.3 xGA) figures.

Gibbs, 31, who made over 200 appearances for Arsenal before joining West Brom in 2017, will be expected to add strength to the defensive unit.

Inter Miami will also be hoping Gibbs can turn back the clock and bring some of his creative spark to MLS.

In 2017-18, the last campaign where he made more than 20 top-flight appearances, Gibbs created 22 goalscoring chances from his left-back station for West Brom. That was the fourth highest number on the team.

 

Gibbs said of his move to Miami: "It's just a challenge for me to grow as a person off the pitch.

"I've been in the UK all my life and had everything done for me in a way because that's the route that you go down.

"I want to try and explore a different side of life, a challenge of setting up a new life somewhere else and seeing how it goes. I felt that this was the best place to do that.

"I come here humble, I don't want any expectation, I just come willing to give 100 per cent and the rest will be history."

Gibbs could make his debut for Inter Miami on Saturday as Neville takes his struggling team on the road to face the New York Red Bulls.

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  • LeBron on top as Lakers dominance continues – The numbers behind James' new NBA record LeBron on top as Lakers dominance continues – The numbers behind James' new NBA record

    LeBron James brought the NBA to a standstill on Tuesday. Even the Los Angeles Lakers' game against the Oklahoma City Thunder was paused.

    With 38 points at Crypto.com Arena, James moved to 38,390 in his regular season career, surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's long-standing record of 38,387.

    The four-time champion has been the league's pre-eminent star across stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Miami Heat and the Lakers.

    Now, across basketball history, he stands alone.

    It is a remarkable achievement and only becomes more impressive when delving into the numbers behind James' new record.

    Beating the Thunder

    The Thunder may have put a slight dampener on James' big night by winning Tuesday's game, but the 38-year-old actually has more career points than Oklahoma City's entire active roster combined (21,900).

    Indeed, the Thunder are merely one of five rosters James can better, along with the Indiana Pacers (36,515), the Orlando Magic (33,164), the San Antonio Spurs (32,364) and the Houston Rockets (28,642).

    Had James not got over the line on Tuesday, he would have done instead against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday – and that would have been fitting, too.

    James has scored more points against the Bucks (1,751) than against any other team. In fact, the Thunder (994) are the team he has scored the third-fewest against – more only than against the Lakers (829) and the Cavaliers (580), two teams he represented.

    The Lakers forward scored at least 1,000 points against each of the other 27 teams, while he has scored 1,000 in each of his 20 NBA seasons. That is another record he has taken from Abdul-Jabbar (19).

    James would have no doubt enjoyed being able to achieve this legendary feat in front of a home crowd, but he has actually scored more points on the road (19,251 in 694 games) than at home (19,139 in 716).

    Unsurprisingly, however, Cleveland's Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse is the arena to have seen the most James points (11,670). The Lakers' Crypto.com Arena (4,649) nudged ahead of the Heat's Miami-Dade Arena (4,613) into second place on Tuesday.

    Wade's helping hand

    In that home crowd in LA, sitting in front of Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, was Dwyane Wade, a two-time title-winning team-mate of James' on the Heat.

    Wade also joined James on the Cavaliers for a season and, although now retired, has assisted more points for the new all-time scoring leader than any other player (776).

    Eric Snow (630) is second on that list, with Mario Chalmers (591) third and Mo Williams (501) fourth, followed by Kevin Love (486) and Kyrie Irving (469).

    Russell Westbrook has only been playing with James in LA since 2021, but he is ninth on 375. Anthony Davis (269) is 11th and Chris Bosh (267) 12th.

    Ricky Davis assisted James' first NBA points and 42 altogether. Davis, who retired in 2010, was the first of 148 different players to assist James.

    But the bulk of James' points have been unassisted, of course. His 26,855 unassisted points alone would rank him 13th in the all-time list, ahead of Kevin Durant (26,684), who is second to the Lakers man among active players.

    James has scored 10,882 points from layups, 8,074 from two-point jump shots and 8,047 from free throws. Of the rest, 6,711 have come from three-pointers, 4,190 from dunks, 310 from hook shots and 176 from tip-ins.

    Another Lakers record

    The record was reached with a fadeaway jumper, and several members of Lakers royalty were in the house to see it – including Abdul-Jabbar.

    James followed Abdul-Jabbar as the seventh different player to lead the NBA in all-time scoring since the end of the league's first season in 1946-47.

    Four of those seven have now represented the Lakers, with James and Abdul-Jabbar joined by George Mikan (1952-53 to 1957-58) and Wilt Chamberlain (1965-66 to 1983-84). Chamberlain took ownership of the record while a Philadelphia 76er, before playing for the Lakers.

    Chamberlain succeeded Bob Pettit, one of the remaining three who did not turn out for the Lakers. Joe Fulks, the leading scorer in the NBA's first season, and Dolph Schayes are the others.

    Luka Doncic, just 23 and with 8,531 points through 311 career games, is perhaps the most credible challenger to James' crown. James had 8,319 points through 311 games, albeit he was only 22.

    Matching James' longevity is a huge ask; either way, he will be number one for a long, long time.

    Time spent at the top is a record Abdul-Jabbar can at least retain for now, having ranked first in scoring for a mammoth 14,187 days. The NBA was only 13,671 days old when he took the record, meaning he led the league for more than half of its existence.

    Still more to achieve

    That is not the only Abdul-Jabbar mark that remains, with the 75-year-old out in front on 57,446 minutes played. James (53,743) is third, while he is tied for ninth in games played (1,410) – a statistic led by Robert Parish (1,611).

    Abdul-Jabbar is the man to beat for MVP awards, too, with six, and James' four appear unlikely to be added to now, given his age and the Lakers' woes.

    James should pass Abdul-Jabbar for All-Star selections, though, as the pair are tied on 19, while the modern great already has a leading 13 All-NBA First Team selections.

    In the playoffs, James already topped the charts for points (7,631) and games played (266), although the 'GOAT' debate will rage on as Michael Jordan has the edge in Finals MVPs (six to James' four).

    Among players with 500 or more games, Jordan (30.1) is also the leading man for points per game in the regular season, even if James (27.2 in fifth) is averaging 30.2 this year, the third-highest mark of his career.

    At that rate, even if James cannot reel in Jordan, he should be able to establish a considerable buffer to any and all pretenders to his new crown.

  • LeBron on top as Lakers dominance continues – The numbers behind James' new NBA record LeBron on top as Lakers dominance continues – The numbers behind James' new NBA record

    LeBron James brought the NBA to a standstill on Tuesday. Even the Los Angeles Lakers' game against the Oklahoma City Thunder was paused.

    With 38 points at Crypto.com Arena, James moved to 38,390 in his regular season career, surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's long-standing record of 38,387.

    The four-time champion has been the league's pre-eminent star across stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Miami Heat and the Lakers.

    Now, across basketball history, he stands alone.

    It is a remarkable achievement and only becomes more impressive when delving into the numbers behind James' new record.

    Beating the Thunder

    The Thunder may have put a slight dampener on James' big night by winning Tuesday's game, but the 38-year-old actually has more career points than Oklahoma City's entire active roster combined (21,900).

    Indeed, the Thunder are merely one of five rosters James can better, along with the Indiana Pacers (36,515), the Orlando Magic (33,164), the San Antonio Spurs (32,364) and the Houston Rockets (28,642).

    Had James not got over the line on Tuesday, he would have done instead against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday – and that would have been fitting, too.

    James has scored more points against the Bucks (1,751) than against any other team. In fact, the Thunder (994) are the team he has scored the third-fewest against – more only than against the Lakers (829) and the Cavaliers (580), two teams he represented.

    The Lakers forward scored at least 1,000 points against each of the other 27 teams, while he has scored 1,000 in each of his 20 NBA seasons. That is another record he has taken from Abdul-Jabbar (19).

    James would have no doubt enjoyed being able to achieve this legendary feat in front of a home crowd, but he has actually scored more points on the road (19,251 in 694 games) than at home (19,139 in 716).

    Unsurprisingly, however, Cleveland's Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse is the arena to have seen the most James points (11,670). The Lakers' Crypto.com Arena (4,649) nudged ahead of the Heat's Miami-Dade Arena (4,613) into second place on Tuesday.

    Wade's helping hand

    In that home crowd in LA, sitting in front of Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, was Dwyane Wade, a two-time title-winning team-mate of James' on the Heat.

    Wade also joined James on the Cavaliers for a season and, although now retired, has assisted more points for the new all-time scoring leader than any other player (776).

    Eric Snow (630) is second on that list, with Mario Chalmers (591) third and Mo Williams (501) fourth, followed by Kevin Love (486) and Kyrie Irving (469).

    Russell Westbrook has only been playing with James in LA since 2021, but he is ninth on 375. Anthony Davis (269) is 11th and Chris Bosh (267) 12th.

    Ricky Davis assisted James' first NBA points and 42 altogether. Davis, who retired in 2010, was the first of 148 different players to assist James.

    But the bulk of James' points have been unassisted, of course. His 26,855 unassisted points alone would rank him 13th in the all-time list, ahead of Kevin Durant (26,684), who is second to the Lakers man among active players.

    James has scored 10,882 points from layups, 8,074 from two-point jump shots and 8,047 from free throws. Of the rest, 6,711 have come from three-pointers, 4,190 from dunks, 310 from hook shots and 176 from tip-ins.

    Another Lakers record

    The record was reached with a fadeaway jumper, and several members of Lakers royalty were in the house to see it – including Abdul-Jabbar.

    James followed Abdul-Jabbar as the seventh different player to lead the NBA in all-time scoring since the end of the league's first season in 1946-47.

    Four of those seven have now represented the Lakers, with James and Abdul-Jabbar joined by George Mikan (1952-53 to 1957-58) and Wilt Chamberlain (1965-66 to 1983-84). Chamberlain took ownership of the record while a Philadelphia 76er, before playing for the Lakers.

    Chamberlain succeeded Bob Pettit, one of the remaining three who did not turn out for the Lakers. Joe Fulks, the leading scorer in the NBA's first season, and Dolph Schayes are the others.

    Luka Doncic, just 23 and with 8,531 points through 311 career games, is perhaps the most credible challenger to James' crown. James had 8,319 points through 311 games, albeit he was only 22.

    Matching James' longevity is a huge ask; either way, he will be number one for a long, long time.

    Time spent at the top is a record Abdul-Jabbar can at least retain for now, having ranked first in scoring for a mammoth 14,187 days. The NBA was only 13,671 days old when he took the record, meaning he led the league for more than half of its existence.

    Still more to achieve

    That is not the only Abdul-Jabbar mark that remains, with the 75-year-old out in front on 57,446 minutes played. James (53,743) is third, while he is tied for ninth in games played (1,410) – a statistic led by Robert Parish (1,611).

    Abdul-Jabbar is the man to beat for MVP awards, too, with six, and James' four appear unlikely to be added to now, given his age and the Lakers' woes.

    James should pass Abdul-Jabbar for All-Star selections, though, as the pair are tied on 19, while the modern great already has a leading 13 All-NBA First Team selections.

    In the playoffs, James already topped the charts for points (7,631) and games played (266), although the 'GOAT' debate will rage on as Michael Jordan has the edge in Finals MVPs (six to James' four).

    Among players with 500 or more games, Jordan (30.1) is also the leading man for points per game in the regular season, even if James (27.2 in fifth) is averaging 30.2 this year, the third-highest mark of his career.

    At that rate, even if James cannot reel in Jordan, he should be able to establish a considerable buffer to any and all pretenders to his new crown.

  • Ten Hag defends Weghorst impact: 'He is making others play better' Ten Hag defends Weghorst impact: 'He is making others play better'

    Erik ten Hag is not concerned by Wout Weghorst's lack of goals since joining Manchester United on loan as he believes the striker is helping to get more out of other players.

    Weghorst has started all six of United's matches since arriving from Burnley last month but has scored only once, in the 3-0 EFL Cup semi-final first-leg win at Nottingham Forest.

    The 30-year-old has also yet to assist a goal in his 439 minutes on the field and was substituted off shortly before the hour mark in Saturday's 2-1 league win over Crystal Palace.

    However, United have scored 13 goals across the six games Weghorst has played in, winning four of those, and he has received the backing of manager Ten Hag.

    "He is the one who makes players around him play better," Ten Hag said ahead of Thursday's Premier League meeting with Leeds United.

    "As a team we have to work better to anticipate his movements because his movements are good, and quite a lot of times he was close [to scoring]. 

    "He had many good actions and already a lot of good contributions to our results. He will score, but in the meantime he will do the other stuff, and do it good."

    Weghorst has an expected goals (xG) value of 1.66 since making his debut against Crystal Palace on January 18, which is the fourth most of any United player across that time.

    By comparison, United team-mate Marcus Rashford has scored three goals from an xG of 1.98 in that period.

    "It is not just about scoring as an individual but scoring from the team," Ten Hag added. "The team has to win. He is doing a very good job at this moment in several aspects."

    Weghorst is set to start against Leeds – the first of two league meetings between the sides in the space of four days – as Anthony Martial is once again ruled out with a hip injury.

    Martial has not played a full 90 minutes for United in the Premier League since January 2021 against Sheffield United and has started only six games in the competition this term.

    Ten Hag has been impressed by what he has seen from Martial, though, and insists the France international is working hard to return to full fitness.

    "He is not always available, but also I see the other side when he is available," Ten Hag said. 

    "He was never 100 per cent this season but he had a big impact every time he is available, even when he is at 80, 85, 90 per cent.

    "I think Anthony Martial is the player who has spent the most hours at Carrington this season, to return to recover, to get back, it is really so a pity for him that he is disappointed.

    "He's not always available and we want him to be always available as that will improve our game and because routines can't become routines when you're not always available."

    United are unbeaten in their past 17 home league games against Leeds, stretching back to a 1-0 loss in February 1981.

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