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Hot Button: Mavs won’t issue No. 24 … Hurdle blasts cheating … Dodgers fans to taunt Astros

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Hot Button is a 'round-the-clock feature that covers anything across the scope of sports. We're here to bring you everything hot: news items, highlights, takes — everything but hot meals — whether local, national or international. Better yet, it’s interactive. Share your thoughts in comments, and even post your own links to interesting, safe-for-work, sports stories.

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📌 CUBAN HONORS KOBE

Sunday, 1/26: Mavericks owner and Pittsburgh native Mark Cuban announced that the team will honor Kobe Bryant, who died tragically in a helicopter crash Sunday, by never again issuing the number 24:

That's a class move and a nice tribute. — Bob

HURDLE SLAMS ASTROS

Sunday, 1/26: Former Pirates manager Clint Hurdle gave an impassioned response when asked about the Astros sign-stealing scandal, taking the league to task as well:

No surprise at all that Hurdle stuck up for the integrity of the game. — Bob

BRYANT, DAUGHTER DIE IN CRASH

Sunday, 1/26: NBA legend Kobe Bryant is reported to have died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif., Sunday along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Maria, and seven others. Bryant was 41 years old.

There are additional reports that Bryant and his daughter were in transit to Gianna's travel basketball game and that two of the victims were a teammate and her parent.

Bryant, the fourth all-time leading scorer in NBA history with 33,643 points, played 20 seasons for the Lakers from 1996-2016, winning five NBA championships and two championship MVPs. He was an 18-time all-star, 15-time all-NBA and was league MVP in 2007-08.

A shocking and terrible tragedy. — Bob

FAN GROUP HEADED TO ANAHEIM

Sunday, 1/26: A Dodgers fan group is organizing a trip to Anaheim on April 3 when the Astros visit the Angels for the purpose of letting the Astros know the depths of their displeasure over the sign-stealing scandal that they contend cost their team a fair shot at a World Series title in 2017.

I'm not sure Angels fans will need any help. I imagine the Astros are going to be hearing it from road fans all season. — Bob

UMASS TOPS DUQUESNE

Saturday, 1/25: Duquesne dropped it's second consecutive conference game, 73-64, to UMass Saturday at Mullins Center in Amherst, Mass.

The Dukes had no answer down low for Minutemen freshman center Tre Mitchell who had 25 points and eight rebounds, while UMass guard Preston Santos (15 pts., 12 rebs.) and forward Samba Diallo (12 pts., 13 rebs.) contributed double-doubles.

Duquesne, usually disciplined, allowed UMass to get to the line 35 times. Guard Sincere Carry led the Dukes with 20 points and forward Marcus Weathers added 13 points and a team-leading nine rebounds.

Did the Dukes overlook UMass (8-12, 2-5)? Perhaps. Duquesne (15-4, 5-2) now heads home to face No. 7 Dayton (17-2, 6-0) Wednesday night at PPG Paints Arena. The contest will tip-off at 7 p.m. and is scheduled to be broadcast on CBS Sports Network. — Bob

BUCS PROSPECTS HIT TOP 100

Saturday, 1/25: RHP Mitch Keller (N0. 39), 3B Ke'Bryan Hayes (No. 41), and SS Oneil Cruz (No. 64) made MLB Pipeline's list of Top 100 Prospects for 2020, which was announced on MLB Network Saturday afternoon. Keller and Hayes both placed higher than their rankings in Baseball America's Top 100 — released earlier in the week — while Cruz was ranked lower.

The Pirates did well inside the NL Central as just Cardinals OF prospect Dylan Carlson (No. 17) was ranked higher than Keller and Hayes. The Brewers had no prospects listed while the Cubs led the division with four prospects, but none higher than SS Nico Hoerner at No. 51.

The top 10 overall: SS Wander Franco (Rays), 2B/SS Gavin Lux (Dodgers), OF Luis Robert (White Sox), C Adley Rutschman (Orioles), LHP Mackenzie Gore (Padres), OF Jo Adell (Angels), RHP Casey Mize (Tigers), RHP Nate Pearson (Blue Jays), SS Royce Lewis (Twins) and SS Bobby Witt Jr. (Royals). — Bob

BACKBOARD SMASH AT 32

Saturday, 1/25: Because fans of the sport never get tired of seeing it ... On this date in 1988, Jerome Lane did this:

'Nuff said. — Bob

GRETZKY WELCOMES CHALLENGE

Friday, 1/24: Wayne Gretzky's been surprisingly visible at NHL All-Star weekend in St. Louis, if only because he wasn't exactly beloved there after his brief flirtation with the Blues in his playing days. So maybe it's to make amends that he's openly embracing the increasingly realistic possibility Alexander Ovechkin will eventually take Gretzky's most cherished record of 894 goals.

"I'm a big believer that records are made to be broken," Gretzky told reporters there Friday. "What I accomplished, I'm very proud of. It's hard to do what I did, and it's really hard to do what he's doing now. But there's no question in my mind that he has a real legitimate chance of doing it. The two things that you need; you've got to stay healthy, and he's proven that over his career. He plays hard and he stays healthy. And, secondly, you've got to be on a good team, and he plays on a good team."

Ovechkin has 693 goals, so he needs 202 more. He's 34 years old and currently enjoying a 34-goal season. -- DK

KEUCHEL APOLOGIZES 

Friday, 1/24: Former Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel admitted that the Astros cheated and personally apologized for "what's come about the whole situation" while talking with media at the White Sox's SoxFest on Friday.

Keuchel, who signed a three-year deal with the White Sox in December, pitched seven seasons for the Astros from 2012-2018. He was less gracious, however, in discussing former teammate Mike Fiers — who blew the whistle on the whole scandal — saying that he was disappointed that Fiers broke the "clubhouse rule" by breaking ranks and announcing the cheating.

Keuchel is the first former or current Astros player to apologize for the sign-stealing scandal. — Bob

BUCS FOLLOW FAMILIAR SCRIPT

Friday, 1/24: The Pirates had players Josh Bell and Joe Musgrove model their new road uniforms for 2020, ahead of PiratesFest. Bryan Reynolds was part of the photo release. Back is the Pittsburgh script that was donned by the division winning teams of the early 90's:

The gray uniform will be the standard road threads, with the black jersey representing the road alternates. Pretty sharp, if you ask me. Hopefully, it's not the highlight of their season.

You can follow this story and all other news from Friday's PiratesFest here— Bob

BRYANT DREAMING OF STEELERS?

Friday, 1/24: Wide receiver Dez Bryant took to Twitter to announce his dream NFL teams should he return to play:

Those colors represent the Cowboys, Steelers (Saints?), and Ravens.

Bryant, 31, has not played since the 2017 season — he was cut by the Cowboys in March 2018 for salary cap reasons. He later signed with the Saints in November 2018 but tore his Achilles tendon in his first practice and was done before he got started. Bryant dropped clues of a comeback in 2019, but did not sign with any teams.

What say you? Would Dez look good in black and gold? — Bob

HUNT NABBED FOR SPEEDING, POT

Friday, 1/24: Browns running back Kareem Hunt was pulled over for speeding Thursday night, then had a backpack seized as evidence because it contained small amounts of marijuana.

At present, Hunt has only been cited for speeding pending further investigation. The Browns released a statement confirming they were aware of the situation and investigating. Hunt served an eight-game suspension to begin 2019 for violating the league's personal conduct policy after being caught on camera physically assaulting woman in February 2018. — Bob

BELL 'SMASH'-ING

Friday, 1/24: Jets running back Le'Veon Bell showed up at an sports Smash Bros. tournament on Thursday, and apparently he's pretty good:

Bowling? Esports? Sounds like Bell has a ... uhh ... lucrative retirement plan. — Bob

SAINTS EMAIL COVER-UP?

Friday, 1/24: The Associated Press reports the New Orleans Saints are headed to court in hopes of preventing the release of "hundreds" of emails that "allegedly show team executives doing public relations damage control for the area's Roman Catholic archdiocese to help it contain the fallout from a burgeoning sexual abuse crisis."

Saints attorneys are disputing any suggestions that the team was complicit in covering up crimes and called the allegations "outrageous."

The Saints' owner, Gayle Benson, is a devout Catholic and has given millions of dollars to Catholic institutions in the area, per AP. -- Hunter 

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