Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Hendrick Motorsports announced Tuesday that Axalta Coatings Systems will serve as the primary sponsor of Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 88 Chevrolet SS for 13 Sprint Cup Series races annually, beginning in 2016. The company will also serve as a major associate sponsor during all non-primary events.
It's part of a contract extension between Axalta and Hendrick that will run through 2018.
Axalta has been a longtime sponsor of Earnhardt's teammate Jeff Gordon, who's retiring at the end of the season.
"Axalta and Hendrick Motorsports have an incredible story," Earnhardt Jr. said in a statement. "For me, it's meaningful to work with a sponsor that's been so committed to our sport and has such a rich history in NASCAR. Continuing the partnership is special for all of us, and I'm already excited about what the car will look like. I'm really looking forward to the opportunity."
Randolph Phillips(LOS ANGELES) -- A California resident is giving football fans a creative way to cheer on their favorite team: through painted lawn logos.
Fontana resident Randolph Phillips started this side business in 2009 when the Saints went to the Super Bowl, he told ABC News Tuesday. Phillips was living in Louisiana at the time and painted his first logo on his own front lawn.
“The next thing I knew people started asking who did it and how much it cost,” Phillips said.
The logos range in price depending on the difficulty of the logo and can take from 40 to 90 minutes, lasting about eight weeks.
“Something simple like the 49ers or Saints is $200. Something difficult like the Raiders, Patriots or Buccaneers, I’ll go up to $250 or $300,” Phillips said.
Because the logos are “free hand” with “no stencil or template,” Phillips said he has not had to worry about trademark violation.
Although he sees the most activity in his business during football season, he has painted logos for other occasions, like graduations and birthday parties, and has painted lawns all over Louisiana, Northern California, and, most recently, Southern California, he said.
Lake Elsinore resident Verneen Chenault is one of the Southern California clients, and just got the Green Bay Packers logo on her lawn Monday.
“I would have to say, for our neighborhood, it brings out a little more character,” Chenault said, adding that through her logo she has met neighbors she never knew before.
Phillips, who said he has gained clientele simply through word of mouth, and Chenault both credit the logos with bringing people together and creating fun rivalries.
“The main thing I think they do is they make every game a home game,” Phillips added. “You don’t want to leave your house if you have a logo. You want to invite people over and have a party.”
Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) -- Former superstar softball slugger Jessica Mendoza will have a seat at Tuesday night's Astros-Yankees playoff game that no woman has had before: She will be the first female ESPN MLB analyst in a post-season game.
Mendoza said she's been shocked by the outpouring of support from both men and women inside and outside the game. Tennis great Billie Jean King and her ESPN colleague Eduardo Perez told Mendoza they're rooting for her.
"It’s just another game. I’m not allowing myself to think anything else," Mendoza said. "But just looking at my phone, it’s more than just doing a game for a lot of people for a lot of reasons."
Mendoza, an Olympic gold and silver medalist, was a four-time first-team All-American softball player at Stanford from 1999 to 2002. Though she retired from playing last year, she first joined ESPN in 2007.
On Aug. 24, she became the first female baseball analyst on ESPN's Monday Night Baseball and later that week became the first female analyst on Sunday Night Baseball. The Walt Disney Company is the parent of ESPN and ABC News.
Mendoza took time before the historic broadcast Tuesday night in New York to talk about her favorite sportscast lines and how she prepares for a broadcast.
Favorite sportscasters or lines?
"Dallas Braden has a bunch of fun lines," Mendoza said of the former pitcher and her fellow ESPN analyst. These include:
"Oppo taco" = opposite field home run.
"Cheese biscuit" = a good pitch to hit.
"When you're listening as a viewer, it's nice to hear different terms," she said. "Did he just say cheese biscuit?"
Mendoza has called outfielders "outties," which Curt Schilling said he would have to add to his vocabulary. She also likes to say "cookie" when describing a "nice, sweet pitch to hit."
"I didn't come up with that," she admits.
How did you feel when you learned you would be the first female analyst for a post-season baseball game?
"I found out when [ESPN] added me to the Sunday night package in September," Mendoza said. "To be honest, I didn’t think of this game as any different."
She added, "This has been very much a learning experience to be in the booth and share any knowledge I have and build relationships with the players and the teams. I want to approach this game like the last six or seven I’ve done."
How do you typically prepare for a broadcast?
"I don’t have a specific thing I do, but one thing I like to do is watch games," she said.
Monday night in her hotel room in New York City, the southern California native spent two-and-a-half hours watching the Astros and Yankees play.
"Instead of reading so much and getting caught up in the numbers, just watch them play yourself over and over and come to your own perspective of why guys are hitting, why guys are in the lineup and doing well or not doing well," she said.
Mendoza said she grew up watching softball and seeing Olympians compete on television like Dorothy "Dot" Richardson.
"Seeing softball on television was a big deal for me because it didn’t happen until the 1996 Olympics when I was 14," she said. "As far as baseball, I grew up with the Dodgers and went to a ton of Dodger games."
One of her favorite players is Brett Butler.
"He exemplified the way I wanted to play the game," she said.
What do her sons think of her accomplishments?
Her sons, ages 2 and 6, have different reactions to seeing their mom on television.
When her husband had the television on during one of her broadcasts, "My 2-year-old came running around the corner and came up talking to me and babbling. He thought I was in the room. My 6-year-old thinks anyone can just go on TV," she said.
Rocky Widner/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The trial begins Tuesday for an Atlanta Hawks player who is accused of interfering with a police investigation in New York City. Defense for Hawks forward Thabo Sefolosha suggests racial bias was at play the night of Sefolosha’s arrest.
Sefolosha, who is black, was arrested outside a Manhattan nightclub earlier this year after former New York Knicks forward Chris Copeland was stabbed. While Sefolosha was not involved in the stabbing incident, police accused him and a teammate of interfering with the investigation.
Sefolosha, 31, accused the arresting officers — most of them white — of using excessive force.
“It’s a huge loss for the league to not have him on the floor,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said at the time.
Charges against the teammate were later dropped, and prosecutors offered a plea deal to Sefolosha. Sefolosha, however, declined the offer, his lawyer said, to make a point about police treatment of black men.
"Do you think it's possible that if a white cop sees an African-American man who is large, that something happens in his mind that is a little bit different than if he seems me in a suit?" defense attorney Alex Spiro asked potential jurors Monday.
Sefolosha's complaint about the treatment of blacks echoes the criticism from retired tennis star James Blake, who was recently detained by NYPD officers in a case of mistaken identity.
This trial comes just as the NYPD has announced a new use of force policy.
Stephen Lam/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Ayesha Alexander didn’t know anything about basketball when she finally went to her first game at the age of 19. Alexander had started dating the star player at a small school in North Carolina and wanted to see what all the fuss was about, while showing her support.
Walking into the Baker Sports Complex, home to the Davidson Wildcats, Ayesha was floored by the sea of jerseys she saw bearing the name of the young man she had met five years prior at a local youth group in Charlotte.
That was seven years ago. Today, you know that couple as Ayesha and Stephen Curry.
Ayesha married the NBA superstar in 2011 and since then, the pair has welcomed two beautiful daughters, Riley and Ryan. But as a child from an artistic family, she’s still taken aback by her husband’s evolution and success over the past decade. In fact, before the two got together, she didn’t even know Steph’s father Del was also a star.
“We actually just left from visiting his home in Charlotte,” Ayesha told ABC News. “Walking through his old room and looking at all his trophies, I feel like I’m watching a documentary.”
Ayesha, the 27-year-old entrepreneur, blogger and chef, is someone Stephen gives all the credit in the world to, especially after the whirlwind summer the two faced following Golden State’s run to an NBA Championship.
“The way we manage?” Ayesha said. “By not thinking about it.”
The 2015 NBA MVP just wrapped the Asian leg of his Under Armor tour and last week, was honored as he graced the cover of the new NBA 2K16. Landing the cover of a video game is about as good as it gets for a professional athlete.
“This is a dream come true. I’ve been playing video games since I was a kid,” Stephen said. “Every year, when you see the new games coming out, you want to know who is on the cover. That’s the kind of stuff you remember. I have a shelf full of games and to be able to put my cover with them, it’s amazing.”
Ayesha brings an outsider’s perspective to Steph’s historic run.
“I don’t think he’s even had to time to think about what’s happened,” she said. “He doesn’t take it too seriously. He’s obviously proud, but it’s still family first. At home, he’s still the same Steph.”
Stephen, 27, is hands down one of the best and brightest stars in the NBA. But coming out of high school in the late 2000s, he said there weren’t many suitors, even with his famed pedigree.
“There was definitely a certain level of pressure and expectation, especially from the Charlotte and North Carolina area, where Del made his name and I grew up,” Steph said. “I was Del’s son, coming up through the ranks and all that. In high school, when I played varsity, the spotlight was big on me.”
But Steph said outside his local bubble, “there was no story around me.”
“I was a scrawny kid, no college coaches from higher Division 1 schools wanted to recruit me and offer me any scholarships,” he added. “There was pressure, but also the opportunity to play that underdog role and create my own story.”
There were some “superficial” calls from college coaches, Curry said, but in the end, he only had 3 scholarships offers.
“Davidson was the only one that showed up to my front door and came to my house, talked to my family. The rest is history,” he said.
History is right. Steph led his school to the Elite 8 in just his freshman year. He’s also Davidson’s all-time scoring leader with more than 2,600 career points and was the NCAA overall scoring leader in 2009.
That was all by design, Steph said.
“When I got there, I knew I wanted to make an impression and show [everyone who passed on me] what they were missing,” he said.
Fast forward past his All-Rookie team selection in 2010 and two All-Star selections since, Curry is a big reason the Warriors just won the franchise’s first championship in 40 years. But he still plans to fight every day to stay on top.
“I don’t publicize workouts very much, but the amount of effort and time you put in is why all this stuff is possible,” he said. “I get in like 4 or 5 hours a day, strength and conditioning or all-court stuff.”
“That’s my regimen, but I try all sorts of stuff; cycling classes, running on the beach, random stuff. You have to be creative, especially traveling back and forth, coast to coast,” he added about his hectic schedule these days.
And then there’s his shooting regimen, which is why he has the sweetest stroke in the game.
“I go into the gym and give my trainer the look,” he said. “If you get up 400 shots, 150 will be pressure shots, with a penalty for not making 5 out of 7 in one spot. I also do a game when you have to make three in a row for five separate spots on the court. Then two in a row, then one from each spot, all in two and a half minutes. I won’t leave the gym till I finish that.”
Ayesha’s ‘Wolf Pack’
Steph may be a busy man, but his wife is just as swamped and surrounded — just not by defenders.
“I am blessed with a wife that’s willing to travel with me,” Steph told ABC News. “I don’t know what I’d do if she wasn’t able to be there with me to go to different events. I mean, I have a two-month-old daughter and she’s been on 10 flights already … It’s a lot to manage, and we are still learning as young parents.”
Ayesha has basically created a brand for herself in the kitchen.
“We travel as a pack, our little wolf pack,” she said, adding that when she’s filming her food demonstrations or writing her blog, there’s most likely, “a baby hanging off me or Riley is sitting at my feet playing with Legos.”
Plus, “Steph is the most hands-on father. He manages his life and his day with so much humility, I’m just lucky to have him as my husband.”
Ayesha’s latest venture includes a collaboration with TJ Maxx, but in typical Curry fashion, it’s not just about promoting the brand, but more importantly promoting women.
“We are trying to shed light on the fact that all women and all mothers are remarkable,” she said. “We did a study and it came back that only 19 percent of women saw themselves in this light. The rest think they are just average.”
“Before becoming a mom for the second time this summer, I also considered myself average,” she continued. “That is something we all need to change.”
In five years, Ayesha’s dream is a cookbook, coupled with her own cooking show. And who helps with the cooking now at home? Riley, of course.
But no, 3-year-old Riley does not have any clue of the star she became when her father decided to bring her to a post-game press conference back in May during the NBA Finals.
“And that’s exactly how we’d like to keep it,” Ayesha explained. “She already has so much personality, if she caught wind of this, who knows what would happen.”
The No. 88 car will be mostly red and prominently feature the TaxSlayer.com brand.
Earnhardt told a fan on Twitter that the inspiration for the design was the paint scheme his late father Dale Earnhardt Sr. used in 1987 for his No. 3 car.
TaxSlayer.com will serve as an associate sponsor for Earnhardt's No. 88 Cup car throughout the 2016 season. It will also serve as a primary sponsor for 10 XFINITY Series races for Earnhardt's JR Motorsports in 2016.
KOMO(SEATTLE) -- A high school football player died at a Seattle hospital Monday, days after he suffered an injury while playing, officials said.
Kenney Bui, a high school senior, died before noon PST Monday, a rep for Harborview Medical Center told ABC News.
Bui, who played wide receiver and defensive back, was injured during the fourth quarter of a Friday night football game, according to ABC affiliate KOMO-TV in Seattle.
It was unclear what his injuries were, KOMO-TV said. The cause of death was also not clear. The medical examiner could not immediately be reached for comment.
Susan Enfield, the superintendent of Highline Public Schools, said in a statement Monday: "It is with great sadness that School Board President Bernie Dorsey and I share with you that TEC High School senior Kenney Bui, who was critically injured in Friday night’s Evergreen v. Highline football game, died this morning.
"This is a devastating loss for all of us -- Evergreen students, families, and staff, and our entire Highline community.
Our deepest condolences go out to Kenney’s family and all who knew him. Please join us in keeping them in your thoughts and prayers."