The Atlanta Hawks' real-life mascot had a little flying time during the playoffs. "Spirit," an actual hawk that flies down from the rafters during the pregame introductions, decided to hang around for the start of Game 2 against the Miami Heat on Wednesday night.
The bird was perched atop the scoreboard at tipoff, refusing to go to his handler.
Then he swooped around the arena while the game was going on, landing on a railing in the lower deck before he settled on the top of the basket at the Hawks' end of the court.
When the players spotted the bird, they refused to go on. The game was halted with 8:28 remaining in the first quarter until the handler finally arrived, luring Spirit to his arm and carrying him out of the arena to cheers from the crowd and some of the players.
GATORS TO MAKE RETURN TRIP TO WHITE HOUSE FOR BCS TITLE
The Florida Gators will be back in Washington, D.C., today for another visit to the White House to celebrate a BCS national championship.
The Gators beat Oklahoma 24-14 in Miami to claim their second national title in three seasons.
Florida beat Ohio State 41-14 in Glendale, Ariz., after the 2006 season. That also earned the Gators a trip to the White House.
PHELPS TRYING OUT NEW FREESTYLE TECHNIQUE
Michael Phelps will be trying out a new freestyle technique when he returns to competition next month.
Phelps isn't revealing what he's changed, but he said the difference will be obvious once he takes his first stroke. He's set to race at the Charlotte UltraSwim on May 14-17.
Tommy Oravetz hit a home run in the bottom of the 11th inning to lead Florida State's baseball team (27-12) to an 11-10 win over visiting UNC Asheville. ... Florida's baseball team (28-14) beat visiting USF 5-4 in 10 innings. ... North Florida's men's golf team finished with an 874 for second in the Atlantic Sun championship in Buies Creek, N.C., seven strokes behind Campbell. Jacksonville University finished ninth in the 11-team field with an 896. ... JU's Natasha Harvey was named the Atlantic Sun Conference track and field athlete of the week.