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NEWS REAL

• FIFA has postponed plans to expand the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams for the 2022 event in Qatar. The plan is still being considered for the 2026 World Cup, which will be staged in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. According to FIFA, “(There was not enough) time for a detailed assessment of the potential logistical impact.” The World Cup is scheduled for Nov. 21-Dec. 18, 2022.

• The NFL and NFL Players Association have unveiled two joint agreements that are intended to “support further resources directed to address pain management and behavioral health.” Full story here.

• The U.S. Women’s National Team Players Association, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, and social impact education innovator EVERFI, Inc. have oined the students of Santee Elementary School in San Jose to launch The Compassion Project for the 2019-2020 school year, described as a “national nonprofit dedicated to providing compassion education to elementary school students across the U.S.”

• The U.S. Golf Association has aligned with Marvel Entertainment to create exclusive golf education products to “engage junior golfers on the essential elements to learning the game." Scheduled to launch in June at the 2019 U.S. Open Championship at Pebble Beach, the collaboration features printed and digital comic books with many of Marvel’s super heroes The story follows Tony Stark (Iron Man) and other Avengers as they teach the next generation of Marvel Super Heroes about golf. Limited-edition Marvel-themed golf posters will be distributed (while supplies last) at the Junior Experience at the 2019 U.S. Open.

• Major League Lacrosse has signed a deal with Anheuser-Busch to have its Bud Light brand become the official beer partner for the 2019 MLL All-Star Game, being played in Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, Annapolis, MD on July 27. The deal includes “prominent signage on the playing field, fan zone activation and various on-site promotions at several sports bars and retail locations in the Greater Annapolis area leading up to the All-Star Game.”

• Stating that “we are continually seeking opportunities to evolve our product offerings,’ Kohl’s has signed an exclusive long-term alliance with Fanatics, a global leader in licensed sports merchandise with the addition of “hundreds of thousands of items.” Full story here.

• Pete Frates and Pat Quinn, co-founders of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, have launched with The ALS Assn. the 5th anniversary of “Challenge Me” with a “new call to action to reignite the passion and generosity of the millions of people who dumped ice water on their heads in the summer of 2014.” 

POLL POSITION

U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis has named the 23 players who will represent the U.S. in France and seek to defend their FIFA Women’s World Cup crown (July 7-Aug.7).

GOALKEEPERS

Adrianna Franch* (Portland Thorns FC), Ashlyn Harris** (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher** (Chicago Red Stars)
DEFENDERS
Abby Dahlkemper* (NC Courage), Tierna Davidson* (Chicago Red Stars), Crystal Dunn* (NC Courage), Ali Krieger*** (Orlando Pride), Kelley O’Hara*** (Utah Royals FC), Becky Sauerbrunn*** (Utah Royals FC), Emily Sonnett* (Portland Thorns FC)
MIDFIELDERS
Morgan Brian** (Chicago Red Stars), Julie Ertz** (Chicago Red Stars), Lindsey Horan* (Portland Thorns FC), Rose Lavelle* (Washington Spirit), Allie Long* (Reign FC), Samantha Mewis* (NC Courage)
FORWARDS
Tobin Heath*** (Portland Thorns FC), Carli Lloyd**** (Sky Blue FC), Jessica McDonald* (NC Courage), Alex Morgan*** (Orlando Pride), Christen Press** (Utah Royals FC), Mallory Pugh* (Washington Spirit), Megan Rapinoe*** (Reign FC)
* First Women’s World Cup
** Second Women’s World Cup
*** Third Women’s World Cup
**** Fourth Women’s World Cup

KEEPING SCORE

Luka Dončić, Trae Young Head NBA All-Rookie Team
Dallas Mavericks guard-forward Luka Dončić and Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young have been unanimously selected to the 2018-19 NBA All-Rookie First Team.

Dončić and Young both received NBA All-Rookie First Team votes on all 100 ballots to finish with 200 points each.  They are joined on the NBA All-Rookie First Team by Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (195 points; 95 First Team votes), Memphis Grizzlies forward-center Jaren Jackson Jr. (159 points; 60 First Team votes) and Sacramento Kings forward Marvin Bagley III (156 points; 56 First Team votes).

The 2018-19 NBA All-Rookie Second Team includes LA Clippers guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (138 points), Cleveland Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton (132), Clippers guard Landry Shamet (85), New York Knicks center Mitchell Robinson (77) and Hawks guard Kevin Huerter (45).

BUY SELL

Weekend Box Office May 17-19
1. John Wick 3 $57M
2. Avengers: Endgame $29.4M
3. Pokemon Detective Pikachu $24.8M
4. A Dog’s Journey $8M
5. The Hustle $6M
6. The Intruder $4M
7. Long Shot $3.4M
8,. The Sun Is Also A Star $2.6M
9. Poms $2M
10. Uglydolls $1.6M
Source: Box Office Mojo

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COLLEGE

BodyArmor Into NCAA
No. 1 Colleges Since '92
Notre Dame Builds Brand
Cancer Drives Home
Men's Hoops Are 'Toxic'

Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#JZxA5jXY4rCwemgZ.99
Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnfkenn121400.html#46Ul8rBF4XpB4lo0.99
Channel Chasers

NFL UK 2019
• Oct. 6 Chicago Bears v Oakland Raiders Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
• Oct. 13 Carolina Panthers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
• Oct. 27  Cincinnati Bengals v Los Angeles Rams Wembley Stadium
• Nov. 3 Houston Texans v Jacksonville Jaguars Wembley Stadium

NFL Mexico 2019
• Nov. 18 Kansas City  Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers Mexico City Estadio Azteca (ESPN Monday Night Football).

Wednesday
Jun282017

John McEnroe: The NY Knicks Are Toxic, Have Hit Bottom . . . Now Move Forward

By Barry Janoff

June 27, 2017: In anticipation of his role as analyst and commentator during ESPN’s exclusive coverage of The Championships, Wimbledon (July 3-16), John McEnroe held court during a media conference today talking about the Grand Slam event (during which ESPN will have 140 hours of coverage on TV and 1,500 on ESPN3 and streaming live on the ESPN App).

He spoke about his recent comments on Serena Williams (responding to an earlier statement that "On the men’s circuit she would rank around No. 700" he offered "Obviously if it wasn't for Serena, American tennis would even be in a lot deeper trouble. She, in my opinion, is the greatest female player ever") and match-fixing ("The cheating in the game is worse than ever").

But McEnroe also weighed in — quite heavily — about a special passion, the New York Knicks, of which the Queens, NY-raised 58-year-old, seven-time Grand Slam winner has been a high-profile fan for decades.

On Tuesday (June 26), McEnroe appeared on The Dan Patrick Show and sang (while playing guitar) a parody about the Knicks, covering Green Day’s "Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)."

"Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road. What do we do with Melo (Carmelo Anthony) now that Phil doesn’t want to stay home? I still believe, or at least I can hope, that the Knicks don’t keep being the butt of everyone’s joke. Something unpredictable but in the end I hope he’s right. But Phil . . . don’t trade (Kristaps) Porzingas tonight.” (See the full segment here.)

During the ESPN media conference the next day, his tone was a bit more serious.

"As of yesterday (June 26) it was my understanding that Phil was going to finish out his contract. Try to turn things around," said McEnroe. "Although, obviously, that wasn’t going too well.

"It seemed," he emphasized, "as if it had gotten so toxic it just wasn’t going to be able to work out."

From McEnroe’s perspective, "The things that he did try — trades, free agents — hadn’t worked out. The way he handled the situation with Melo (saying, among other things, that he would be better of with another team), I don’t think anyone, including himself, would have thought that was the right approach. Even if it was better for the team and for Melo to leave, it wasn’t handled well."

McEnroe, although somewhat acquiescing to the outcome, admitted that Jackson and the Knicks deciding today to "mutually" part ways was, for him, unexpected.

"I was surprised that this happened,” said McEnroe. "I don’t hang around with NBA players but now and then I am around a couple and with people who are involved with the NBA. It seemed like there was no question that (players) were less-inclined to make a move toward the Knicks at the moment. Which I always found amazing."

McEnroe, who was in his tweens when the Knicks won their last NBA titles (1969-70, 1972-73) did see reasoning behind the timing of the move, but reacted like a true New Yorker at heart.

"I am biased, but I think that New York is the greatest city in the world. And I’m thinking, We can’t get guys to play for the New York Knicks?! In Madison Square Garden? That just seems beyond belief," said McEnroe.

“If it had something to do with Phil Jackson, even though he was a legendary Knick (he was a member of both Knicks title teams) and was one of the greatest, if not among one of the best couple of head coaches (ever) in the NBA (11 titles with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers), if it’s better moving forward, then I guess it’s better now," he said.

"I’m thinking, We can’t get guys to play for the New York Knicks?! In Madison Square Garden? That just seems beyond belief."

Like other fans of the team, McEnroe said he anticipated better times for the Knicks in 2016-17, but they finished with a poorer won-lost record (31-51) than the previous season (32-50), when they actually showed marked improvement over 2014-15 (17-65).

"I would have sworn to you before the season started last year I believed they could win 50 games," he said. "Having (signed) Joakim Noah, whose father, (former tennis star) Yannick, is a long-time buddy of mine, a former defensive player of the year who had some skills. I know, knowing him, that he dreamed of coming to New York, a kid who spent a lot of his life growing up in the city.

"Picking up Derrick Rose (in a trade from Chicago) at the time seemed to be a sensible risk, a one-year deal. Kristaps Porzingas (in his second season) was coming along. And you had some other players.

"I know some of it was bad luck. Unfortunately, the knock on Melo seemed to be and continued to be true — that even though he is such a great offensive player and a great guy, he wasn’t making the guys around him better. Or better enough, the way some of these other guys do, with LeBron (James) as the most obvious example.

"But that’s easier said than done. Maybe Melo would have been better off allowing Porzingas to get more of the spotlight and taking some of the pressure off of him. So if it ends up that he (Anthony) does stay — which who knows what the hell is going to happen now — but if he does, it would be better for Melo if he allowed Porzingas to flourish. It would actually help him (Anthony).

"That fact that he feels he is being over-shadowed in some ways is not accurate. It’s going to take Porzingas even in a best-case scenario a few more years to get to the level we hope he gets," said McEnroe.

Is this new chapter a foreshadow of better things to come for the Knicks, he was asked.

"Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom, or what appears to be rock bottom, to move forward," said McEnroe.

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