Patricia Phillips, the mother of former NBA player Bison Dele, a.k.a. Brian Williams, arrived in Tahiti on Monday after receiving permission from a French Polynesian judge to access her son's $600,000 catamaran, the "Hakuna Matata."
Dele, his girlfriend Serena Karlan and boat captain Bertrand Saldo have been missing in the South Pacific since July 6, and they are presumed dead. The leading suspect in the deaths was Phillips' only other child, Kevin Williams, a.k.a. Miles Dabord, who died Sept. 27 after an apparent suicide attempt.
Phillips said she plans to spend three weeks in Tahiti and New Zealand, citing her primary objectives as securing a death certificate for Dele from French Polynesian authorities and gathering her son's belongings. The catamaran, Phillips said, remains docked where Kevin Williams left it -- a marina in Taravao, Tahiti. She said it requires some repairs and maintenance. After doing that, Phillips said she will explore a sale.
Phillips has been named conservator of Dele's estate. "I can't spend a penny of the money, except for what bills are required from Brian's affairs," Phillips said.
She has a court date at the Santa Monica-based Los Angeles County Superior Court probate division Feb. 7 to pursue the restoration of the allowance Dele formerly paid her, believed to be $5,000 a month. Should Phillips receive a death certificate for Dele, she said it will ease her bid to become executor of Dele's estate. Dele did not have a will, Phillips said.
-- Lance Pugmire
State high school officials in Ohio are investigating whether LeBron James broke any eligibility rules with his new car. James, expected to be the No. 1 pick in this year's NBA draft if he goes pro, has been driving a Hummer H2 that he reportedly got as an 18th birthday gift from his mother, Gloria. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that the vehicle, which has a base retail price of $49,190, is equipped with three televisions and a hookup for computer games.
Kentucky hired former Utah coach Ron McBride as an assistant coach in charge of linebackers.... Texas Coach Mack Brown realigned his staff by hiring Louisiana State assistant Mike Haywood as running backs coach and dismissing offensive line coach Tim Nunez. Secondary coach Duane Akina, who had been considered for UCLA's defensive coordinator's job, became assistant head coach.... Colorado tailback Marcus Houston was released from his scholarship, and will talk to Colorado State about a transfer.... Oklahoma State receiver Rashaun Woods, a second-team All-American who had 107 receptions last season, will return for his senior season.
Boxer Johnny Tapia was sent home from a Las Vegas hospital, two days after collapsing unconscious at home with what had been described as a head injury. Tapia, 35, had been admitted to University Medical Center in critical condition early Saturday, and spent the weekend on life support.
Michelle Wie, a 13-year-old golfer from Honolulu, failed to make the cut in a qualifier at Aiea, Hawaii, for the PGA Tour's Sony Open. She shot a one-over-par 73 and was the only female in the field of 96 players.
Ron Jackson was chosen assistant general manager of the Sparks after serving in a variety of capacities for the WNBA team since 2000.
The Venezuelan Winter League canceled the rest of its season because it can't guarantee security, supplies and media coverage during an anti-government strike.
Boxing referee Larry Rozadilla, who was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame in 1999 and lived in Manhattan Beach, died Saturday after a year-long battle with cancer. He was 72.