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LeBron debuts with Lakers, Big Bird milestone, Saudi case: 5 things you need to know Thursday

LeBron debuts with Lakers, Big Bird milestone, Saudi case: 5 things you need to know Thursday

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Editors, USA TODAY
Published 3:49 a.m. ET Oct. 18, 2018

Mystery of missing Saudi journalist grows as column hits papers

As Jamal Khashoggi’s last — and apparently posthumous — opinion piece for the Washington Post runs in Thursday’s print editions, his whereabouts remain unknown. The native of Saudi Arabia who lived in the United States was last seen in another country, Turkey, while visiting the Saudi consulate there Oct. 2. A critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, he sought documents allowing him to marry his fiancee. Unnamed Turkish officials have been cited as saying audio evidence indicates Khashoggi was killed in grisly fashion at the diplomatic post. President Donald Trump has withheld criticism of the Saudis so far. Khashoggi’s column, posted online Wednesday night, laments a lack of freedom of expression in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Middle East. 


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Man who gave life to Big Bird steps down

It’s the end of an era at the children’s TV show “Sesame Street.” The man who for nearly 50 years played Big Bird and also Oscar the Grouch is retiring. Caroll Spinney, 84, told the New York Times that Thursday will be his last day on the program, which he joined at its start in 1969. Spinney said that almost from the very start, playing the child-like Big Bird became not just a job, but a calling. “Big Bird helped me find my purpose,” he said. Spinney’s apprentice, Matt Vogel, who also plays Kermit the Frog, will succeed him in the Big Bird role.

LeBron James’ LA era officially begins

After all the offseason hype, LeBron James will step on the court in the Los Angeles Lakers’ purple and gold for the team’s season opener Thursday in Portland as the new-look Lakers take on Damian Lillard and Trail Blazers (10:30 p.m. ET, TNT). James left his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers — for the second time — in July to join the Lakers. While he says he didn’t join the team to be closer to L.A. for his blossoming career in the entertainment business, it’s worth asking: Will Hollywood LeBron will get in the way of Basketball LeBron? The three-time NBA Champion and four-time MVP’s journey in L.A. will undoubtedly be one of the most important storylines to watch this season, especially with James not knowing what to call his coach!


SportsPulse: Jeff Zillgitt and Trysta Krick put their prediction hats on for some bold takes as the NBA season gets set to begin.

Bluegrass museum opens in Kentucky

Thursday marks the start of grand opening events at the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky. The $15.3 million attraction, which traces the roots of bluegrass in America and honors dozens of bluegrass greats, includes the 447-seat Woodward Theatre, an outdoor stage and private event spaces. An invitation-only event will be held Thursday. Mandolinist Sam Bush performs in a sold-out show on Friday. The museum opens to the public Saturday with an all-day slate of outdoor shows.

MLB playoffs: Red Sox one win away from the World Series

After a long, controversial night full of lead reversals and big hits, the Boston Red Sox could secure a World Series berth Thursday as they take on the Houston Astros in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series. On Wednesday, the Red Sox outlasted the defending champs for an 8-6 win, which was overshadowed by a fan interference call that cost 2017 AL MVP Jose Altuve of a pivotal home run. With Chris Sale not yet ready to return from the stomach ailment that landed him in the hospital after his Game 1 start, the Red Sox will count on pitcher David Price to face Astros ace Justin Verlander for Thursday’s start. 


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