TV

Why Women In Sports Need #WomenInSports

This is what it is to be one of the #WomenInSports: It is a duality of being pushed down and lifted up solely because of our gender.

Erin Andrews, Joy Taylor, Jourdan Rodrigue and Jessica Kleinschmidt illustrate the experiences women face in the sports industry.

On December 2nd, the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers played against one another in a rugged divisional matchup. Millions of Americans tuned in as announcer Cris Collinsworth intended to pay a compliment to an impressive group of Steelers fans he met. They just so happened to be women.

Keep Reading Show less

This past Monday, a panel of physicians for the WNBA denied Elena Delle Donne, of the Washington Mystics, her health exemption request to sit out this season inside the Florida bubble, despite her being at high risk for health complications due to her Lyme Disease.

Delle Donne published an emotional essay for The Players' Tribune in which she opens up about her battle with chronic Lyme disease and her feelings of betrayal by the league that she cares for tremendously.

Elena Delle Donne was diagnosed with Lyme Disease 12 years ago. Although Lyme is usually treated and cured within a few weeks, some people, like Elena, suffer from post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS). Although little is known about what causes PTLDS, it is known to trigger an auto-immune response. For someone like Delle Donne, even the common cold could turn into something far more lethal.

Keep Reading Show less
CULTURE

Kevin Love and Other NBA Stars Paving the Way for Mental Health in Sports

Professional athletes fear being seen as weak if they speak up about mental health issues, but they're not superheroes.

The NBA is leading the way in a mental health movement within the sporting world. Athletes such as Kevin Love want to create a better environment around mental health

Exacerbating mental health concerns in the NBA is the fact that 22 teams have headed to Walt DisneyLand Resort to finish the season inside "the bubble": the 220-acre ESPN sports complex that will be the home to NBA crew and teams over the next few months in order to finish the season with minimal exposure to the public.

With some athletes voicing concerns over having to live in isolation away from family and loved ones for possibly months, the NBA has reportedly put an emphasis on mental health and making resources available to the teams inside the bubble.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture Feature

Dennis Rodman's 10 Craziest Looks

From a wedding dress to a silk nightgown, Dennis Rodman had a lot of wild outfits.

The Netflix documentary series The Last Dance has made Dennis Rodman one of the most talked about people in the world, once again.

The docuseries follows the story of the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls. While the first two episodes dealt primarily with Scottie Pippin and Michael Jordan, the third episode delves into the strange trajectory of Dennis Rodman's career. The best rebounder to ever play the game, Rodman was undeniably talented but often unpredictable both on and off the court. He was known for his bizarre fashion choices, his dramatic dating life (he can count both Carmen Electra and Madonna among his exes), and habitual partying. Fans got even more of Rodman's eccentricities in the series' final two episodes, which outline the infamous incident in which Rodman blew off practice in the midst of the Bull's final championship run in order to attend a WCW taping. After a Game 3 blowout of the Utah Jazz, he flew to Detroit from Chicago to wrestle Diamond Dallas Page alongside Hulk Hogan.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture Feature

Here's What Would Have Happened in Every Major Sport This Season

The beauty of sport lies in its capacity for possibility.

The beauty of sport lies in its capacity for possibility.

Though only rarely is sport meaningfully memorable, there's always the potential that the game you're watching will matter historically. The batter walks to the box, knocking his bat on his cleats with that certain look in his eyes, and it's entirely in the realm of possibility that this is it, the home-run that goes farther than any ever has before.

In a time of frightening what-ifs, we could use the welcome and innocent unknown of sport more than ever. Alas, the seasons have been suspended or cancelled, and we are left with only our imaginations to fill in the blanks. But if our imaginations alone are going to decide the outcomes of such seasons, let's use that imagination to the fullest. Let's assume that every sport was going to have its most wild and historic season of all time. So, here are hyperbolic predictions for nearly all the major sports we won't actually get to see played this year.


National Basketball Association

The NBA never pauses play. Lebron James continues to lead the league in assists, continues to garner MVP-buzz over early-season favorite Giannis Antetokounmpo. With an eighth of the season left to play, however, many are still reluctant to cast their MVP vote for James. After all, Giannis had the highest PER (player-efficiency-rating) of all time. Of all time! Things look pre-decided.

Lebron holds a press conference with nine games left in the season, saying something along the lines of "I'm the best to do it. I'm no doubt the MVP. And I'm going to prove it." And then he proves it. Lebron goes at least 45-10-10 (points-rebounds-assists) every game until the end of the season, and copyrights the phrase Best To Do It, which gets immediately attached to shoe advertisements and Twitter bios alike. He wins MVP in a sudden landslide.


Lebron James goes up for a wind-mill dunk against the Houston Rockets NBA.com


The playoffs are otherwise a wash. Nothing else matters besides the collision course between Lebron, on a warpath, and Giannis, out to prove the doubters wrong. Both Lebron's Los Angeles Lakers and Giannis' Milwaukee Bucks sweep their first two playoff rounds, embarrassing teams by 20, 30, even 40 points. In the Conference Championships, the Lakers drop their first game to the Clippers, only to come back and win four straight. In that last game, however, Anthony Davis of the Lakers takes a hard fall and strains his back. Will he be able to play in the Finals? All anybody knows is that Giannis just went off for 60-21-8 as the Bucks beat the Boston Celtics in six games, setting up a showdown of titans.

Davis isn't coming back. He won't be cleared in time for anything but game seven, if the series even gets that far. And it doesn't look like it will. The Bucks beat the Lakers 122-100, 130-126, and 118-117 in three consecutive games. Lebron just ain't got it. Nobody's ever come back from 3-0. Khris Middleton of the Bucks says something acerbic in a presser, and fans on Twitter start making death threats, claiming he's jinxed the team.

And he's seemed to. The Bucks drop three-in-a-row, all close games, two of which go to overtime. Davis comes back in the Final game, and he helps the Lakers take a 25-point lead by the third quarter. They never let it go. The narrative around Giannis becomes dark: is he a born loser? Will he ever succeed in the NBA ? Can he be the best guy on a Championship team?

Meanwhile, Lebron gets another ring, and another MVP, and another Finals MVP. The line between him and Jordan looks cloudier than ever. Best to do it? Maybe so, after all.

Major League Baseball

The New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers (great fake season for Wisconsin), Cleveland Indians, and San Diego Padres all win 100 games a piece. It's the first time five teams have accomplished such a feat in League history. Meanwhile, the cheating Houston Astros lose six of their nine Opening Day starters to various injuries. Either they were intentionally hit by fastballs, or divine intervention saw fit to take them from the game: torn ACL's, hyperextended knees, groin sprains galore.

Actually, the violence surrounding the Astros becomes one of the League's great storylines. Never before has the entirety of the MLB been so united against a common enemy, and by mid-way through the season, any instance of hitting an Astros player with a pitch is punishable by a full year suspension, as per commissioner Rob Manfred.That stops most people, but not everyone. Astros game viewership skyrockets, highest in the League. Everyone wants to know who's going to get beaned next.

The Yankees break their own record for most consecutive games with a home-run, at the same time as the Dodgers' superstar pair, Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger, become an unprecedentedly efficient duo. The two coastal powerhouses meet in the World Series, which goes to seven games. Aroldis Chapman of the Yankees gives up a home-run in the top of the 9th-inning to put the Dodgers up by two. The Yankees get one more chance, however.


Yankee Stadium in all of its glory. Yankee Stadium - Wikipedia upload.wikimedia.org


The first two batters go down swinging. Yankee Stadium is almost silent as Aaron Judge, the potential last out, comes up to the plate. Boom, he hits a solo home-run to bring the game within one run. Giancarlo Stanton, who only played half the season due to injury, does the same. And then Gary Sanchez etches his own name in Yankees history, hitting a third consecutive solo shot, lifting the Bombers over the Dodgers 6-5. It's their 28th title of all time, and perhaps the most dramatic.

The trio come to be known as the Tri-State Toreadors, and all stay with the Yankees for their next nine seasons, five of which result in championships. T-shirt sales hit unprecedented numbers.


National Hockey League

The abysmal Red Wings of Detroit don't win again for the rest of the season. With 11-games left to play, the 17-54 Red Wings just kind of roll-over and die. After their losing streak climaxes with one of hockey's longest-ever scoring droughts, the performance is deemed so bad by fans that after pouring out of Little Caesar's Arena, the Detroit crowd becomes riotous, flipping cars and breaking glass windows and looting wildly. Mike Duggan, Mayor of Detroit, declares a State of Emergency. The National Guard is called in. The NHL convenes a meeting of the owners. Citing "destructive fan tendency" but really just making good on a tacit promise made years ago to a pair of oil men in Little Rock, the league ignores the Red Wings' unprecedented 22-year-playoff streak in favor of the recency bias. The team is moved out of Michigan altogether. Stripped of city and name, they are re-christened the Arkansas Spartans. Their new logo is fittingly the omega symbol, as they are cursed by the Hockey Gods not to win another title for 75 years, when the NHL is finally splintered and moved off-planet.



All of the Detroit Red Wings' championship banners and retired jerseys hanging from the rafters. Detroit Red Wings Retired Jerseys and Championship Banners… | Flickr live.staticflickr.com


Though still a spot out of the playoffs when the season briefly stopped, the Vancouver Canucks use the short break to recover from their multitude of injuries. Vancouver superstars Elias Petterson and Quinn Hughes combine talents with recently traded-for asset Tyler Toffoli, who spins his injury-replacement role into a full-time starting gig, and the team manages to squeak by into the playoffs. And they keep on squeaking by. They win series after series by late-game goals, by overtime magic, barely overcoming opponents. Yet despite Vancouver's best efforts, the Philadelphia Flyers (Flyers coach Alain Vigneault does incredible work with a young team and, especially, a young defense. Goalie Carter Hart proves himself one of the elite goaltenders in the sport, putting on a clinic night-after-night, helping the team remain nearly unbeatable at home) best them after six hard games in the Stanley Cup Finals. "Shockingly," Philadelphia also goes up in flames. Someone steals the Liberty Bell. Eight people die. A Ticker Tape Parade is still held. Cameras catch the deceased ascending to Valhalla.


The 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics

Simone Biles performs a coterie of unseen moves that come to be known as the Simone Sequence. Each one she has created, innovated, and mastered. They're aptly named the Biles, the Biles II, the Biles III, and the Gymnast Formerly Known as the Biles. No other entrant dares attempt even a single one of them. Biles breaks her own record for gold medals won (they make a new category for her, Women's Domination, at her behest), but after the Games have ended, she bafflingly announces that she's hanging up the leotard, opting instead to focus on philanthropy. The Biles Brigade helps bring school supplies and talented teachers to under-served communities. Biles, through smart investments and evergreen accomplishment, becomes the first Olympic Billionaire. In 2036, she runs for Governor of Ohio.


Simone Biles straight flexin' at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. File:Simone Biles na Rio 2016.jpg - Wikimedia Commons upload.wikimedia.org


The Tokyo Olympics elevate Competitive Rock Climbing to the world's stage. Niche climbers and amateurs alike fall in to watch the festivities, to see what was once a hobby become a sensation. There were more of them than even they thought. Led by a resurgent performance from American climber Brooke Raboutou (following in the footsteps of Phelps and Bolt), climbing enters the public imagination. A generation of kids dream of competing in the new events themselves, not least because it looks so fun, and the forthcoming, figurative Mt. Rushmore is in need of faces. Harvard announces the country's first climbing scholarships. Yale, steeped in tradition, defies the wave. Within five years, they're excommunicated from the Ivy League, replaced by Bard College. The number of climbing gyms triple in the United States, and professional climbers become household names. Watching the 2020 Games from her home in Upstate New York, eight-year-old Connie Rodriguez dreams of becoming the youngest Olympic-climbing qualifier ever. Four years later, she does just that, landing the cover of Time Magazine, with an interview titled "World Domination, and Home in time for Supper."


Professional Golf Association

Tiger Woods wins the Masters. Again. It's one of the greatest sports stories of all time, pulling him within two of Jack Nicklaus' all-time majors record. And the specifics of the feat are even more staggering. Tiger's first two rounds are so full of mistakes he nearly misses the cut, but then he plays the two greatest rounds in Masters history, shooting a 62 followed by a 61.


Brooks Koepka answering questions next to his 2018 U.S. Open Trophy. File:Brooks Koepka with the U.S. Open Trophy.jpg - Wikimedia Commons upload.wikimedia.org


Simultaneous to Tiger's comeback, Brooks Koepka, world number three and then-leader, struggles in the final round, feeling Tiger's breath on his neck. After losing in a tense three-hole playoff, Brooks snaps his club on his knee, rips off his shirt, screams something in Latin, approaches and then assaults Tiger Woods on the green, bashing him in the face and arms repeatedly with the broken broad-side of a golf club. Koepka is sentenced to 20 years in Federal Prison for the crime, the televised trial of which draws O.J. Simpson-like press. Tiger is never able to play Golf again, but spins tragedy into accomplishment. He becomes an ambassador for the Sport, a role model for children, and a philanthropist. He sets a new record, delivering the most all-time College Commencement Addresses. The British Open is renamed the Tiger Cup. The PGA logo is changed to a silhouette of Tiger fist-pumping. He goes down as the consensus best athlete of all time. And if that weren't enough, he lives to become the oldest ever American, finally dying from heat stroke during a marathon at the age of 121. He is survived by 27 children mothered by 26 women.


NCAA Basketball Tournament

Baylor wins the women's tournament. Kansas wins the men's.

Culture News

Coronavirus Puts Basketball into March Madness

COVID-19 causes NBA to suspend season

Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz who became the first NBA player who tested positive for coronavirus.

Photo by Paul Holcomb

Update:

The NCAA has canceled March Madness. Mark Emmert has wisely canceled 2020 basketball tournaments with the following statement:

"Today, NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors canceled the Division I men's and women's 2020 basketball tournaments, as well as all remaining winter and spring NCAA championships. This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities."

COVID-19 disease, better known as the coronavirus, has now affected three high profile athletes in the past two days.

Yesterday Daniele Rugani, who plays for the Italian soccer club Juventus, became the first confirmed case of coronavirus among professional athletes. Later that day, NBA player Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz became the second confirmed case. This morning Gobert's teammate Donovan Mitchell also tested positive for coronavirus. Sources from within the Jazz organization had stated that Gobert acted inappropriately in the locker room by handling others' personal property and invading people's personal space. Gobert had even joked about the coronavirus prior to testing positive.

NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, was quick to act after learning of Gobert's positive test last night, making the decision to suspend all league play indefinitely following the conclusion of Wednesday night's schedule.

Prior to any players being diagnosed with the coronavirus, Silver and teams had considered other precautions amid the health scare, such as playing games to empty arenas. The Golden State Warriors had already announced that it would do so, but now, with the league suspended, we won't see what that would've looked or felt like as a viewer. The NCAA March Madness Tournament had previously decided to play in front of empty seats and still play games; however, all five of the major NCAA conferences (the Big Ten, SEC, PAC-12, Big 12, and ACC) have canceled their individual tournaments after the World Health Organization classified the coronavirus as a global pandemic.

Now, it would be surprising, if not inappropriate, for NCAA president, Mark Emmert, to move ahead with the March Madness tournament, as it would present a huge risk to the student athletes involved to contract the coronavirus. This will be a difficult decision for Emmert to make as the March Madness Tournament brings in revenue of around $1 billion and represents around 75% of the NCAA's annual revenue as a whole. Thus, without the tournament being played, there may be a trickle down effect to collegiate athletics as a whole as a result. The NCAA's revenue is a shared operating budget that funds all athletic programs across the country, and if the Men's Basketball tournament isn't able to earn close to what's projected, smaller programs are likely to take the hit, from water polo to bowling, before football and basketball funding gets cut.

Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank star, was recorded at his team's game last night receiving the news about the decision to suspend the NBA season. His candid reaction likely mirrored most of our own, and the shock on players' faces as they learned the news mid-game was reiterated on social media by some of its biggest stars.




In reality, Silver and the NBA made the right decision to suspend play and avoid facilitating environments where the coronavirus can be spread. Major events such as Coachella and SXSW have been canceled or postponed due to the coronavirus, as any large congregation of people can cause the disease to spread rapidly. The fact that the disease is dangerous and potentially deadly to small children and the elderly means that anyone who becomes a carrier is a danger to others. While I am an avid sports fan, especially of basketball, and was looking forward to the start of the NBA playoffs and March Madness tournament, I'm encouraged that the NBA has taken the necessary steps to do its part in attempting to limit the spread of coronavirus and do their part as an influential global ambassador.

With the start of the Major League Baseball season, NFL training camps, and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics all right around the corner, the NBA has set a high standard to how sports leagues and organizations can be proactive in protecting their players, coaches, and fans. Adam Silver has done his due diligence, collecting the significant information, having contingency plans in place, and acting swiftly and definitively before making a difficult decision to protect people first, rather than worrying about lost revenue.