Edition 8.25.14

Guess what?? The US Open starts today! Tune in as many of the best players in the game compete for the championship trophy in of tennis’ biggest events of the season. And to get even more in the spirit, see Serena Williams have a little fun smashing windows with tennis balls on Letterman last week. Boom!

QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK

Basketball

Kevin Love is officially a Cleveland Cavalier. After a wild summer in the NBA, the stars are really aligning in Cleveland. Love was traded as part of a three team trade between the Cavs, the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Philadelphia 76ers that sent him to the Cavs, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett to the TWolves. The 76ers sent Thaddeus Young to the TWolves in exchange for Alexey Shved, Luc Mbah a Moute and the 2015 first round draft pick that belonged to the Cleveland Cavaliers on behalf of the Miami Heat. Yes, that’s slightly complicated…but long story short, the Cavs are going to be very very good next season.

Coach K and Team USA has selected its 12-man roster that will compete for a championship at the FIBA World Cup in Spain. After two exhibition games in New York’s Madison Square Garden this past week against the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, the United States cut Damian Lillard, Kyle Korver, Chandler Parsons and Gordon Hayward from the team. The final roster includes: Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry, Derrick Rose, Klay Thompson, DeMar DeRozan, James Harden, Rudy Gay, Kenneth Faried, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Andrew Drummond and Mason Plumlee. Games begin August 30th and will go until September 14th.

2014 MVP Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder has a big decision to make regarding sponsorship. Under Armour has reportedly offered KD a deal roughly worth between $265-$285 million dollars over a 10 year period. Durant is currently represented by Nike but has the opportunity to sign his next contract with UA. What will he do? It likely depends on whether or not Nike will match the deal.

Baseball

The Little League World Series concluded Sunday afternoon as Illinois took on South Korea in the championship game. After building an early lead, South Korea defeated Illinois 8-4 to claim the championship title. Congrats to South Korea and to all the amazing kids who played in this year’s tournament!

Justin Verlander got his 11th win of the season as the Detroit Tigers defeated the Minnesota Twins on Saturday night. It’s a big win for both Verlander, who has struggled at times this season, and the Tigers, who are aiming to make some noise this October.

22 year old Manny Machado is officially done for the season. The Baltimore Orioles star third baseman will have knee surgery after re-injuring his right knee on August 11th against the New York Yankees. It’s a tough loss for the O’s who are competing for a division title. Did we mention it’s been 17 years since they last won one? They currently lead the AL East.

Some of MLB’s top all-stars have committed to play in November as part of the “All-Star Series” against Japan ‘s national team. Yasiel Puig, Robinson Cano, Albert PujolsAdam Jones, and more of baseball’s best will travel to Japan after the season for the 5-game series. It’s the 11th “All-Star Series” that first began in 2006.

Football

Sadly, it’s more bad luck for Sam Bradford of the St. Louis Rams. The quarterback is out for the season after suffering a torn ACL on his left knee. The injury occurred Saturday night in a preseason game against the Cleveland Browns and it’s the same injury that kept Bradford out all last season. In other injury news, Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers suffered a hairline fracture in his rib during this past Friday’s game against the New England Patriots. He will sit out of the final preseason game on Thursday, but Coach Ron Rivera is hopeful he will be ready to go by the season opener in early September.

Saturday’s game between the Browns and Rams also featured two of the most talked about rookies in Michael Sam and Johnny Manziel. There’s really nothing too interesting to report… well, except for that moment when Sam sacked Johnny Football with roughly 11 minutes left in the game and then broke out Mr. Football’s famous celebration money sign. Until next time.

The Denver Broncos’ Wes Welker left Saturday night’s game against the Houston Texans with a concussion after a hit by Texans safety D.J. Swearinger. It’s reportedly the third concussion in less than 10 months for Welker, once again raising concerns over head injuries in the NFL.

The Miami Dolphins are bringing a familiar face back to their organization. That’s right, former star quarterback Dan Marino will return to the team in a new role as a team advisor.

Other

In  Tennis, the US Open kicks off today in New York and will run through September 8th. Be sure to check out when all of your favorites play here. Of note, Rafael Nadal will not be playing in this year’s Open after he withdrew due to a wrist injury.

And the winner of the PGA Tour at the Barclays is Hunter Mahan. He sealed the victory with a birdie and it’s his first win in 48 golf tournaments.

It’s been a tough start to the Premier League season for Manchester United. After finishing Sunday’s match against Sunderland in a draw, Man-U has yet to win their first game. What will they do? Rumor has it, they’re making moves to add Angel Di Maria to the roster. Will this help? Time will tell.

Not surprisingly, the NCAA is planning on filing an appeal to the O’Bannon case ruling. The official appeal will go to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Finally, let’s talk swimming. On Saturday, 17 year old American Katie Ledecky set a world a new world record in the women’s 1,500-meter freestyle event. It’s her second world record set this week at the Pan Pacific Championships in Australia. Oh, and remember Michael Phelps? He had quite the comeback weekend at the Pan Pacific Championships himself, winning 3 gold medals in the 100 butterfly, the medley relays and the 4×200 events.

 

JUST FOR FUN

Exercise your mind
Ever wonder what it takes to be the best? Check out Nigel Richards, the best Scrabble player on earth

STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE

Brad Kaaya
This freshman will be the Miami Hurricanes’ starting QB
It’s rare to start a true freshman, but Brad Kaaya might just have what it takes to ramp up UMiami’s football team

Little Leaguer in the Big Leagues
Mo’ne Davis is on the cover of Sports Illustrated
Rarely does an African American female athlete get the spotlight like this — and she’s only 13

Best Men
A history of the best positional groupings in the NFL
Batman has Robin, Spongebob has Patrick… these guys all have each other to lean on and share the glory with

Leading Lady
Andy Murray’s bringing a new coach to the US Open – Amélie Mauresmo
It’s very rare for a top male pro to be coached by a woman, but we’re so excited to see what she’s got!

And then, there’s Kobe
We were wondering when Kobe Bryant was going to rise back up…
China may love him, but we’ll see how much America really loves him once he returns to the Staples Center

 

Edition 8.18.14

Happy Monday! By now we’re sure you’ve seen many videos of the ice bucket challenge that’s raising awareness on behalf of ALS. We challenge each and everyone of you to support the challenge whether via ice bucket, donation or by learning more about ALS and telling a friend. And, in the spirit, here’s a video of one of our favorite examples of the ice bucket challenge… hint, hint — it’s Duke related! 

 

QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK

Basketball

Team USA defeated Brazil in an exhibition game Saturday night in Chicago, but the bigger story here was Derrick Rose’s return to the court. Rose was saluted by his hometown fans and showed why he’s a former league MVP in a start for the United States. It’s been a long road to recovery for Rose after two devastating knee injuries have kept him off the court, and it’s great to see him return to the game better than ever.

Things continue to look up for LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers as sources report that forward Shawn Marion will join the team for the upcoming season. Marion was previously with the Dallas Mavericks and is widely expected to officially sign with the Cavs this week. Marion is a former all-star and will be able to help the young Cavs on both offense and defense with his years of experience in the league.

Paul George spoke with reporters last week about his injury during a Team USA scrimmage and his long road to recovery. He spoke specifically about his desire to come back stronger than ever, the lack of blame he places on Team USA, and the potential to play in the 2016 Olympic Games. Team USA honored Paul in Chicago this weekend with “United We Stand” warm-up shirts.

Baseball

Baseball has officially named their next Commissioner. After a lengthy voting process, Rob Manfred was selected as the man for the job and will replace Bud Selig next season. Manfred has been with the league since 1998 and currently serves as Chief Operating Officer.

Mo’ne Davis is the most exciting thing about the Little League World Series. Davis (age 13) is dominating the field as a pitcher for her team. In fact, she pitched a very impressive shut-out on Friday night that left the sports world in awe. Did we mention that she is only the 4th American girl to play in the LLWS?  In an interview she had this to say: “It’s very unreal, I never thought that at the age of 13 I would be a role model, but now it’s real. I always wanted to be a basketball role model; being a baseball role model is really cool.” — Go Mo’ne, Go!

David Ortiz is now a member of the 400 club and even more of a Boston legend. In a game against the Houston Astros, Big Papi recorded his 400th home run for the Red Sox, making him one of 25 players to have that many home runs for one team in MLB history.

Football

The AP released their first pre-season poll of the upcoming college football season this weekend. Not surprisingly, defending champ Florida State is number 1 to start the season followed by Alabama, Oregon, Oklahoma and Ohio State respectively. The countdown to college football season has begun!

In other college football news, Notre Dame is investigating 4 athletes for potential academic dishonesty. Coach Brian Kelly defended his program in a press conference, but there is no set timetable for when the investigation will be completed.

The NFL is reviewing its Domestic Violence Policy and is reported to be strongly considering making changes. It is expected that the new rules would be much tougher on policy violations going forward.

Other

62 minutes. In tennis, that’s how long it took Serena Williams to defeat Ana Ivanovic and win the Western & Southern Open title in Cincinnati, Ohio. The title is a big deal for Serena as it was her first time winning the event (after 6 tries). Congrats!

In racing, Jeff Gordon won his 3rd Sprint Cup victory of the season in Michigan on Sunday. The big win at the Michigan International Speedway is his first win on the track since 2001. Tony Stewart sat out again this weekend after the tragic death of Kevin Ward Jr. last weekend.

Usain Bolt is back to winning things. Bolt won an 100-meter race on Sunday in Rio De Janeiro with a time of 10.06 seconds. Yeah, that’s fast.

In soccer, Man City won a big road match against Newcastle on Sunday. Man City defeated their opponents 2-0 and got their first win of the season.

JUST FOR FUN

Bryant Court
This LED Court, built in China and named after Kobe Bryant, is pretty cool — but, how does it work? #complicated

STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE

History
The Story of Danny Almonte
Don’t recognize his name? That’s because Danny was accused of cheating in Little League in 2001

Dynamic Duo
The (two) stars of USA Swimming
Do you prefer Missy Franklin or Katie Ledecky? We love to win, so we like ’em both!

The closest you can get to flying
Robin Williams and his passion for bicycling
Learn about a different side of Robin Williams through the eyes of master bike builder Dario Pegoretti

Spike!
AVP Salt Lake City
Pro volleyball is no joke — check out these awesome photos of the tournament

She’s a Woman
Michele Roberts discusses the elephant in the room during her interview — her gender
Her integrity and passion helps her to rise above gender barriers, but when will the barriers disappear completely?

Edition 8.11.14

Good Morning! August is usually quiet, but this past week gave us lots to talk about! From golf to basketball to football to baseball, a ton happened in the sports world. But, before we get into what you need to know, let’s start our Monday morning by getting to know some of the NBA’s newest rookie class with this fun, musically-inclined video:

 

QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK

Golf

The PGA Championship started out with a bang last week and was nothing short of awesome in Sunday’s finale as Rory McIlroy overcame strong challenges from Rickie Fowler and Phil Michelson to pick up the big win and championship trophy. The victory not only gives him his 2nd PGA Championship, but also his 4th major all at the ripe young age of 25. Watch out golf world, Rory doesn’t look like he’ll be slowing down anytime soon.

Basketball

The San Antonio Spurs announced that they would be adding Becky Hammon to their coaching staff. After a long career as a basketball player, Hammon will retire from the WNBA at the end of this season and will take on a new challenge as the Spurs’ newest assistant coach. Reaction has been overwhelmingly positive and it’s always awesome to see more women in leadership roles in professional sports. Just another reason to love Hammon and the Spurs.

It looks like Kevin Love is officially going to be traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers… just not for a couple more weeks. Sources say that both teams have agreed to a deal that would send the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Love to the Cavs in return for Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a first round draft pick. Not only will Love agree to go to the Cavs, but it’s reported that he will also agree to re-sign on a 5 year contract extension. We won’t know exact details until August 23rd when the deal can be officially signed. The delay comes from a NBA rule that teams cannot trade first round rookies until 30 days after they sign their contract, see: Wiggins. There’s been a lot of talk about whether this deal is in Cleveland’s long term interest, but in the short term, having a roster that consists of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love sure sounds promising for championship hopes.

As the FIBA World Cup approaches, Team USA will have to compete without another one of their best players. Last week, Kevin Durant withdrew from the roster of players that will compete later this month in Spain, citing exhaustion and the need for more rest. While Team USA will undoubtedly miss him, players need to do what’s best for their overall health. We’ll be excited to see KD back on the court when the NBA season kicks off in the fall. It will be interesting to see how Team USA builds their 12-man roster going forward, but there’s every reason to believe that the great talent they still have will win big when the international competition heats up.

Baseball

Even in his last season, Derek Jeter is accomplishing some pretty amazing things. This past weekend, Jeter passed Honus Wagner and moved up to 6th all-time on the career hit list with his 3,431 single on Saturday in a loss to the Cleveland Indians.

LA Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw continued his dominance and collected win #14 in a 5-1 win against the Milwaukee Brewers. Kershaw has been brilliant all season for the Dodgers, who remain on top of their division.

Speaking of standings, there are many teams doing their thing at the top of each division. In the American League, the Baltimore Orioles lead the AL East, the Detroit Tigers lead the AL Central and the Oakland A’s currently sit atop the AL West. On the National League side, the Washington Nationals lead the AL East, the Milwaukee Brewers lead the AL Central and LA Dodgers hold strong in the NL West. It’s still early, but each of these teams are looking strong this August.

Football

It’s never easy to walk away from the game you love, especially when the choice isn’t yours. Sadly, for David Wilson of the New York Giants, a repeat neck injury will force him to retire at age 23. Wilson was emotional and full of gratitude when reflecting on his retirement in this brave speech last Thursday.

It wouldn’t be August if NFL buzz wasn’t loud and growing as preseason games are in full effect. This past week, we saw the debuts of two big names in Johnny Manziel and Michael Sam. Both had solid debuts in their first games, Sam for the St. Louis Rams and Manziel for the Cleveland Browns. Both express confidence, but time will tell whether Sam will make the roster and whether Johnny Football will win the starting job.

In other football news, Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers was officially medically cleared to play. Newton had ankle surgery in the off-season but will be ready to go in next week’s preseason game when the Panthers take on the Kansas City Chiefs.

Other

It was a tragic weekend for NASCAR, as Kevin Ward Jr. died after being hit by Tony Stewart‘s car on the dirt track during a sprint car event that featured hostility between the two drivers. There are further investigations into what happened, but currently there are no criminal charges. Stewart did not race in Sunday’s NASCAR event.

The O’Bannon Trial has officially come to a close as Judge Claudia Wilken ruled against the NCAA citing that they were in violation of anti-trust law. What exactly does this mean? It’s too soon to tell but for more information check out these breakdowns of the decision, and what type of reforms might come into play in the future. NCAA President Mark Emmert gave these comments in response to the ruling.

Agnieszka Radwanska defeated Venus Williams to win her first Rogers Cup in Montreal. On the men’s side, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Roger Federer to win the Rogers Cup title on Sunday.

Do you miss international futbol? Good news, the Premier League comes back next week! And just this Sunday, Arsenal defeated Manchester City (the reigning champs) 3-0 victory that awarded them the Community Shield Title. Between this and the MLS, get excited for more soccer!

JUST FOR FUN

Want to change your name?
Check out these athletes’ name changes for some inspiration

STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE

Sports Literacy and Career Advancement
Advice for Aspiring CEOs
Our premise in starting SQ is that sports are such a major part our of cultural makeup that sports intelligence can help you get “into the conversation” in business and social settings. In his LinkedIn Influencer post, CEO recruiter and career expert Jim Citrin gave us a shout out and talks about how sports intelligence can help advance careers.

The first cancer-surviving world champion
Daniel Jacobs beat osteosarcoma, and then went on to win the vacant middleweight world title 
After he was diagnosed, doctors told him he might not ever walk again — but now he’s back in the boxing ring

Michele Roberts
Congrats to the new executive director of the NBA Players Association
She credits the diversity of the NBA as a whole for opening doors for female leadership

Little League Ladies
These two stars will be leading their (all-male) teams to the regional championship
Since girls started playing in Little League in 1974, only 16 have made it all the way to the World Series. Will these girls beat the odds?

Can you feel the Love tonight?
In light of his move to Cleveland, let’s consider what Kevin Love brings to the court
How can someone be that good as an individual player without it translating to team wins?

Oscar Pistorius
The trial’s closing arguments suggest the murder of Pistorius’ girlfriend was a tragic mistake
Did the double-amputee Olympic runner really make a mistake? What do you think?

Edition 8.4.14

What would you do if someone told you you weren’t good enough? Ballerina Misty Copeland shows us how to work hard to accomplish our dreams in this inspiring new ad. Oh, and ballet is definitely a sport. Wow!

 

QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK

Basketball

Paul George of the Indiana Pacers broke his lower right leg on a play by the baseline during one of Team USA‘s scrimmages on Friday night in Las Vegas. The freak injury was gruesome to watch and will likely keep George out for the entire next NBA season. Like Kevin Ware, George suffered an open fracture and will need significant time to recover. It’s always difficult to see an athlete get hurt and any injury to a franchise-level player brings up the debate about the risks of playing in off-season tournaments. The counter to that point is that any professional athlete will be practicing their craft in the off-season no matter the setting. The good news here is that George is expected to make a full recovery and is resting comfortably.

Outside of Team USA, the Kevin Love trade rumors still continue. Over the weekend, Minnesota Timberwolves’ owner Glen Taylor spoke with local Minneapolis Press about the likelihood of a trade by mid-to-late August. The odds that this trade involves the Cleveland Cavaliers is also likely, as is the probability that Andrew Wiggins, the overall top pick in this year’s draft, is included in the deal. Wiggins — for what it’s worth — stated that “I just want to play for a team that wants me. So whichever team wants me I’ll play for.” Time will tell which team that is going to be.

In other NBA news, Tony Parker signed a 3-year extension with the San Antonio Spurs for roughly $43.3 million dollars. Parker, who has said he “wants to be a Spur for life” might just get his wish, as the deal is likely to keep the 32 year old point guard in San Antonio for the rest of his career. Talk about another off-season win for Parker, who also married his long-time fiance this weekend in Texas.

Football

The NFL celebrated its Hall of Fame weekend on Saturday night in Canton, Ohio.  2014’s class included: defensive end Michael Strahan, offensive tackle Walter Jones, linebacker Derrick Brooks, defensive back Aeneas Williams, defensive end Claude Humphrey, wide receiver Andre Reed and punter Ray Guy. There were many important things throughout the ceremony including a special moment between Andre Reed and Jim Kelly, who is battling cancer.

Marshawn Lynch has ended his hold-out with the Seattle Seahawks. Well sort of. The star running back returned to the field but sat out after spending time trying to negotiate a new deal. The contract that he ended up taking is similar to one he was offered in May and gives him an additional $1.5 million.

The first pre-season game of the season kicked off with the New York Giants beating the Buffalo Bills 17-3 on Sunday night. Next week continues with more games as the season gets closer to it’s official start.

Other

College football is right around the corner, and it’s time to talk rankings. Okay, pre-season rankings. Defending national champions Florida State will start the season ranked #1. They are followed by Alabama, Oklahoma, Oregon and Auburn respectively. But, like we said, these are pre-season rankings, and the real rankings will be determined on the field.

Tiger Woods is hurt yet again. Over the weekend at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Tiger withdrew from the competition after a back injury flared up while he was on the course at the 9th hole. Expect the golfer to try to get some rest before the PGA Championship starts later this week.

Congratulations to Rory McIlroy, who came up from behind to win the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. He has now regained the number one world ranking.

Don’t call it a comeback or anything but Dale Earnhardt Jr. is continuing to dominate this season. In the latest of great successes, Jr. won another race at the Pocono Speedway to sweep the season on that track. Needless to say, NASCAR fans are enjoying seeing him back in the winner’s circle.

 

JUST FOR FUN

HELL, YEA!
Do you jump around when you get excited? Check out these guys’ celebratory moves

STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE

Basketball belongs to the cities
But, what has happened to NYC’s prowess?
The best of the best in the NBA used to come from the streets of Manhattan… but now, the city’s star power is declining. Why?

Meya Bizer
What do you know about the Women’s Rugby World Cup?
Did you know there was a Women’s Rugby World Cup? Or that USA has a team? Well, we do — and they’re awesome (especially Meya)

Icing on the Cake
Celebrating Michael Strahan’s induction into the Hall of Fame
From the football field to the television screen, we’ve fallen in love with this star

@NBA
Twitter is making its mark on the game ball
Starting this October, the NBA will have its Twitter handle printed on game balls

Cheater, Cheater, Pumpkin Eater
New Zealand is looking to make fixing in sports a criminal offense
Cheaters ruin the game for everyone, but should they be sent to prison for up to 7 years?