Tennis greats have encountered lulls, rough patches, and career detours between their 13th and 14th Grand Slam singles titles for almost a century.
Read more. [Image: Manu Fernandez/AP]
The New York Knicks’ new president Phil Jackson knows a few things about overcoming obstacles: He’s won 11 NBA championship titles as a coach with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers and two as a player. But Jackson’s biggest challenge this offseason is supposedly figuring out how to keep Carmelo Anthony, a player so talented that the redoubtable Oscar Robertson recently called him one of the best players in the league—perhaps better than LeBron James or Kevin Durant.
The primary presumption in New York is that the Knicks have to keep Anthony because he is a rare talent belonging to the Mount Rushmore of contemporary scorers. After all, Anthony has scored nearly 20,000 points in his career and appeared in the All-Star game seven times. The secondary presumption—made by both Robertson and Frank Isola of the New York Daily News(among others, I’m sure)—is that the only thing keeping Anthony from winning a championship is the lack of better help around him.
But the empirical evidence suggests that 1) Anthony is not quite the star so many people see, 2) the Knicks’ problems aren’t entirely a result of their lack of help, and finally, 3) losing him might not be so tragic.
Read more. [Image: Matt York/AP]
On Saturday, the NBA launched an investigation into racist remarks attributed to Donald Sterling, outré owner of the Los Angeles Clippers since 1981. This afternoon, league commissioner Adam Silver announced that Sterling had therein admitted to making the comments, in which he told his girlfriend that he is bothered that her Instagrams include black people, namely Lakers legend Magic Johnson.
Accordingly, Silver said Sterling is now banned for life from any affiliation with the NBA. He cannot attend any league activity, including practices and games. Sterling will also be fined $2.5 million, the maximum amount allowed by the organization.
Sterling is worth around $1.9 billion, and remains, at least for now, the owner of the team.
"I will urge the board of governors to force a sale of the team," Silver said, "and do everything in my power to see that it happens." If three quarters of the owners of NBA teams vote accordingly, Sterling will have to sell.
"I was hoping that [the recording] was fraudulent," Silver said today. The Clippers’ president had said in a statement on Saturday, "Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings."
Read more. [Image: Mark J. Terrill/AP]
The sport isn’t in decline. Football isn’t more competitive. So why do people say otherwise?
Read more. [Image: AP Photo/ Gene J. Puskar]
As the NBA and NHL playoffs start, a Harvard sleep specialist advises rest, not more practice, for championship teams.
Read more. [Image: Adam Hunger/Reuters]
The NBA playoffs have begun. The emotions of millions are at stake every night.
But NBA franchises are also businesses, and those businesses depend on fans buying into the team, both literally and figuratively. And now, Facebook is the dominant place where those fans perform their identities online. The franchise Facebook page has become a key indicator of business health.
So, Spanish researchers at the University of Extremadura decided to create a tool that would let them at least quasi-objectively rank teams’ Facebook presences.
"Social media provide a unique and strategic means for sport teams to enhance brand management, encourage social interactions among fans, promote ticket sales, and cultivate a more favorable online experience," writes the research team, led by Francisco Javier Miranda in the International Journal of Sports Communication.
The list Miranda’s team compiled is interesting, too, because of how it intersects with the performance of the teams on the court.
RIO DE JANEIRO – Tall and tan and young and lovely, the girl from Ipanema goes … “Ew, what’s that smell?”
At Ipanema beach in January, the organization Meu Rio staged a protest in an attempt to make it known that thousands of gallons of raw sewage are dumped into the ocean off Rio’s coast each day.
“For three months we held protests every weekend to turn an invisible problem into a visible one,” Leona Deckelbaum, the campaign coordinator with Meu Rio, said in a recent interview. Only about 34 percent of Rio’s sewage is treated, and the rest simply washes into the azure waters, giving new meaning to the nautical term poop deck.
Guanabara Bay, the site of several 2016 Olympic sailing events, has 78 times Brazil’s legally allowed limit of fecal pollution, and 195 times the U.S. limit. In addition to human waste, the bay is also a receptacle for trash from ships and the bay’s 15 adjacent communities, as well as toxic runoff from a former landfill. And its not just Guanabara–the ritzy Leblon and Ipanema beach areas are plagued with similar pollution problems. The state environmental agency, INEA, found that Leblon and Ipanema were unfit for swimming for 40 percent of 2011. Botafogo Beach had so much fecal pollution that it did not pass a single INEA test in 2013, according to the BBC.
"In the waters just off Copacabana beach, the measurement of fecal coliform bacteria spiked to 16 times the Brazilian government’s satisfactory level as recently as three weeks ago, bad news for the marathon swimmers and triathletes set to compete there," the AP noted in November.
Olympic teams are getting grossed out and nervous.
Read more. [Image: Felipe Dana/AP]
PED use in baseball merited a Congressional hearing. A similar investigation should be probing into educational institutions’ use of athletics and athletes for profit.
Read more. [Image: Frank Franklin II/AP]
Are college athletes university employees? It’s a question that has gripped the sports world since January, when a group of Northwestern University football players petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to form a union. The debate has only intensified since March 26, when a regional director in Chicago surprised many by granting the players’ petition.
The backbone of regional director Peter Sung Ohr’s 24-page ruling that the players are employees and thus have the right to form a union was the exhaustive description of the responsibilities and time-consuming demands of Northwestern football players. The judge said the evidence put forth by the team members, led by former quarterback Kain Colter and the College Athletes Players Association, showed that football “student-athletes” at Northwestern spend 40 to 50 hours a week on football-related activities for the duration of the regular season and bowl season, and have a virtual year-round commitment to the program. Thus, they are employees under the National Labor Relations Act, Ohr concluded.
Read more. [Image: Paul Beaty/AP]
Happy Opening Day. What’s your favorite baseball team?
Wait, no, let me rephrase that: What’s the team you ‘like’ the most?
The Facebook Data Science has just answered that question for the whole country, at least at the county level. A representative of the team sent me the map above—here’s a link to a larger version.
Read more. [Image: Facebook Data Science]