en-US Russell Westbrook Signs New Contract: Takeaways from Thunder Press Conference The Oklahoma City Thunder and their fans received some much-needed good news Thursday when All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook agreed to a contract extension, the team officially announced.  ESPN's Ramona Shelburne first reported Westbrook's new pact, adding it's a renegotiated deal for this season. The agreement reportedly includes one guaranteed year for 2017-18, a player option the following season and is worth a total of $85.7 million.  On Thursday, Westbrook and Thunder general manager Sam Presti held a press conference to discuss the 27-year-old's decision and what it means for him and the franchise's future.  ESPN's Royce Young provided video from the scene outside Chesapeake Energy Arena. Thunder fans were present to warmly greet Westbrook when he arrived: Presti opened the press conference with kind words about Westbrook and his importance to Oklahoma City, per Erik Horne of the Oklahoman: [Westbrook] has become synonymous with not just the Thunder but the city and the spirit of the city." Westbrook echoed Presti's sentiments, per Fred Katz of the Norman Transcript: "There is nowhere else I’d rather be than Oklahoma City…You guys have basically raised me." Per Young, Westbrook added he is being "loyal" to the Thunder fans and that "loyalty is something I stand by." As for his extension coming one year before he was eligible for free agency, Westbrook said, “If you know where you want to be, there’s no need to waste time,” per Sports Illustrated's Jeremy Woo.  He also addressed the Kevin Durant-sized elephant in the room. Westbrook said he heard his former teammate was signing with the Golden State Warriors "like y’all found out. On the news on the social media," per Katz.  It wasn't until after Durant's article appeared on the Players' Tribune that Westbrook received a text from Durant, per Charlie Hannema of Tulsa's News on 6.  However, Durant's departure did not lead to Westbrook tossing aside their friendship, per NBA Updates: "We played together for eight years. You don't just throw that away." With Durant gone, Westbrook is the unquestioned face of basketball in Oklahoma City. He got a brief taste of that role two years ago when Durant missed most of the season with foot issues. However, per Woo, Westbrook said his game won't change: “I play the same way every night, regardless of if I‘m the guy, the next guy or the guy in the spotlight. That’s who I am.” Westbrook echoed that notion when he was asked about specifically playing Golden State next season, per Horne: With a new deal in hand, Westbrook is ready to get started on the 2016-17 season, per Woo: “I wish the season started tomorrow, honestly.” Westbrook has forged a bond with the Thunder and Oklahoma City fans and showed his commitment to them. But the mission does not end with his extension. He is still on a quest to bring Oklahoma City a championship. It's a tall task in a loaded Western Conference, but it's one he will happily take on. Thu, 04 2016 22:11:24 GMT Obama Holds Press Conference After Pentagon Meeting On ISIS Strategy President Obama held a press conference Thursday ahead of his August vacation where he talked about his meeting with the Pentagon on the administration's strategy to counter ISIS. Thu, 04 2016 21:39:00 GMT Dispatch From Halfway Through The TV Critics#039; Press Tour: Mariah, What#039;s Good? Linda Holmes has been to 77 press conferences and counting (including one about a duck documentary); she updates us on what the networks are prepping for fall. Thu, 04 2016 16:00:30 GMT Egyptian chemist Zewail, Nobel prize-winner, dies at 70 Ahmed Zewail, a science adviser to President Obama who won the 1999 Nobel Prize for his work on the study of chemical reactions over immensely short time scales, has died Thu, 04 2016 06:14:51 GMT Life Is Precious: Don#039;t Take Anything For Granted Three years ago, one of my best friends almost died. He was having a relatively routine heart procedure called an ablation. However, he coded while it was happening and nurses and doctors worked on him for over an hour to bring him back. One nurse in particular did CPR on him for 45 minutes. I'm not a nurse nor in the medical profession, but I do have friends who are. And they say that working on someone for that long is practically unheard of. The man who saved my friend's life name was Greg. I never met him, but from his pictures, he appeared to be in this late 30s or early 40s. The reason I'm telling you about Greg is because he just died unexpectedly the other day. I don't know why, but he did. And my friend is devastated. The man who worked so diligently to save his life just lost his for some unknown reason. Here's another tragedy -- one that hits much closer to home for me. In 2004, my 20-year-old cousin was hanging out with some of his friends at a gas station. He had been in trouble with the law for some things in the past, so the local police apparently knew who he was. However, at this particular time, he wasn't doing anything wrong. And while I don't know all the details of the story, I think the owner of the gas station called the police because he thought the kids were stealing from him. They weren't (which was proven), but the police came anyway and were pretty brutal to my cousin. One of the officers threw what he thought was a spit bag over my cousin's head and put him in the back seat of the squad car. By the time they got to the police station, he was dead. There was even an audio recording of my cousin screaming and banging on the back of the seat in the car shouting that he couldn't breathe. But nothing was done. They didn't pull over to try to help him; they simply let him die. And as most of us know, this isn't the only case of police negligence or wrongdoing. Another person I know has a terrible disease called gastroparesis. It paralyzed her digestive system, and she has to be tube fed for the rest of her life. As if that wasn't bad enough, she is struggling on a daily basis just to stay alive. In about three years, she had had sepsis at least twice (an infection of the blood which is often fatal) and been in a coma clinging to life. She's also had many amputations. It started with her toes that got infected and had to be cut off. Then it moved to one of her legs, and they amputated it below the knee. Six months later, it happened to the other leg. Now it's happening to one of her knees. It's almost as if God is taking her piece by piece. It seems like she is in the hospital more than she's out, and although she fights every day to stay alive, her quality is life is terrible and she's frequently in a lot of physical pain. I tell you these stories to remind you of just how precious life is. I know it sounds cliché. And as we know, we could all get hit by a bus at any time and our time would be up. But do you live your daily life remembering this? Do you constantly remind yourself how lucky you are to be healthy, alive, and to have your loved ones here with you too? Many people don't. In fact, I'd be willing to bet that most people don't. It's so easy to take life for granted. I know, because I have to constantly remind myself of this when life gets stressful. For example, I have two teenage boys. And while I love them with all my heart and soul and would literally give my life for them, sometimes I want to strangle them. They make me crazy. Sometimes I have very little patience with them! So to overcome my urge to become the next child abuser (just kidding), I constantly remind myself how lucky I am that they are healthy and alive. I know way too many people who have had to bury their child and/or have a child dealing with a terminal illness. Trust me, I think God every day that my boys are healthy and here to annoy me. As frustrating as it is, I wouldn't have it any other way. I challenge each and every one of you to re-frame your life's annoyances and constantly focus on how precious all of our lives are. Because as we know, things can change in a blink of an eye. Go hug your loved ones right now. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website. Wed, 03 2016 21:48:20 GMT Last house in Rio#039;s Olympic Park slum demolished The last house of a Rio de Janeiro slum in the region of the Olympic Park was demolished late Tuesday Wed, 03 2016 17:03:27 GMT A wild Pikachu appears: Pokémon statue built in New Orleans park Pokémon fans flocked to Coliseum park to witness the #Pokémonument put in a broken fountain amid the craze over the augmented reality gameAmid the craze over virtual characters in the smartphone-based Pokémon Go game, a Pokemon that people can see with their own eyes is grabbing attention in New Orleans. Continue reading... Wed, 03 2016 12:41:45 GMT Turkish Officials Visit Washington To Press For Cleric#039;s Extradition Turkish lawmakers want the U.S. to extradite a cleric they accuse of backing a failed coup. But the process is far from easy and depends on international politics as much as courts. Wed, 03 2016 10:16:00 GMT The Basketball Tournament 2016: Championship Winner, Prize Money and Reaction As Overseas Elite saw the deficit go from five, to 10, all the way up to 20, it looked like their dream had vanished. But then something happened: They never gave up. Soon, Elite had dwindled the lead down to 15, 10 at the half and all the way to zero as they stormed from behind to earn a 77-72 victory over Team Colorado to win the 2016 Basketball Tournament. The roster will split a grand prize of $2 million, which was doubled from 2015 and 2014. Overseas Elite are the first repeat winner of the nascent Basketball Tournament, which pits current and former professionals, amateurs and celebrities in a winner-take-all tournament format. Each player is designated a salary, and some of the biggest fan backers are even able to earn back their donations, which are necessary for the team to participate. Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum, who served as a booster because of his brother Errick's participation, commented on the win:  Overseas Elite's effort was led by tournament MVP Kyle Fogg, who averaged 21.8 points for the tournament. D.J. Kennedy and Myck Kabongo were also stellar, as the collection of players—nearly all playing basketball outside the United States, as their name would suggest—flexed their muscles in the second half.  The Elite held Colorado to just 26 points in the final 18 minutes and scored 41 of their own. Playing before a nationally televised audience on ESPN and with a major sponsor in Jack's Links, The Basketball Tournament has become a source of competitive pride for these players.  “At first, when I heard about this last year, I thought it was fake,” Fogg said, per Jeff Goodman of “It’s an amazing event—and it’s not even about the money. It’s great competition in the summer, they run it so well, and it gives our family and friends a chance to see us on national TV.”  Kabongo was sporting a championship belt after the game: The first half was a story of surprising dominance from Team Colorado. Comprised of a group of Buffaloes alumni, Colorado got off to a red-hot start on both ends of the floor. They started off with a 7-0 run and never trailed in the first half. Overseas Elite trailed by as many as 20 points and were consistently down by double digits in the first 18 minutes. If it weren't for foul trouble—Marcus Hall was sensational early on but had to sit when he picked up three fouls—it's possible Colorado would have pulled away. But Overseas Elite showed their experience by keeping a level head and inching their way back into the game. Defensive pressure forced Colorado into turnovers and bad shots, and by the break, Overseas Elite had trimmed the lead to a much more manageable 46-36. The narrative shifted quickly in the second half. Overseas Elite came out strong, quickly closing the gap to within a couple of baskets and settling the contest into a new normal of back-and-forth play. After the game did not see a single lead change or tie for the first 24 minutes, Elite and Colorado battled down the stretch in some of the most exciting, intense basketball you'll see all summer. D.J. Kennedy came through with one of the finest blocks you'll see this side of LeBron James thanks to international goaltending rules, which was captured by Def Pen Sports: Kennedy was also clutch in the final minute, knocking down an impossible contested shot that stretched the lead back to two possessions: Kennedy and Fogg were named to the all-tournament team. Overseas Elite were the only team with multiple players considered among the five best. Hall was listed as an all-tournament performer for Colorado.   All told, it was a matter of Overseas Elite's talent winning out. Team Colorado played valiantly and held on to make it a game in the second half—a feat made all the more impressive by the fact they were down to one timeout most of the way—but the collection of talent on the other sideline was too much.  After the game, it didn't take long for Overseas Elite players to start discussing a three-peat. With a 13-0 record over two years and a pair of thrilling comebacks in the semis and finals under their belt, it's hard to count them out. Wed, 03 2016 01:28:18 GMT Hollywood Park rescue horse finds himself in the Olympics 2016 Rio Summer Olympics: Keep track of all the Rio Olympics news Aug. 2, 2016, 1:47 p.m. Full coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. 4:00 P.M. Reporting from Rio de Janeiro Hollywood Park rescue horse finds himself in the Olympics David Wharton Hollywood Park rescue horse finds himself in... Tue, 02 2016 23:05:00 GMT