Basketball, Baseball, Hockey, Postpone Seasons Due to Coronavirus

Basketball

The NBA season has been suspended:

The NBA suspended its season after a Utah Jazz player tested positive Wednesday for the coronavirus.

“The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of [Wednesday’s] schedule of games until further notice,” the league said in a statement issued shortly after 9:30 p.m. ET. “The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”

The baseball season is expected to be suspended:

Major League Baseball is expected to suspend the remainder of spring training Thursday in response to the coronavirus pandemic, sources tell ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

Sources tell Passan that they expect the league will likely delay the beginning of the regular season as well.

The MLS is postponed for 30 days:

MLS has suspended its season for 30 days while the U.S. Soccer Federation has canceled scheduled friendlies due to the coronavirus pandemic, the organizations have announced.

The NHL has been suspended:

The NHL has suspended its season because of the rapid spread of the coronavirus but hopes to resume in the future.

There are 189 games and three and a half weeks remaining in the NHL’s regular season. There were 10 games on the NHL slate Thursday.

“The NHL has been attempting to follow the mandates of health experts and local authorities, while preparing for any possible developments without taking premature or unnecessary measures,” the league said in a statement. “However, following last night’s news that an NBA player has tested positive for coronavirus — and given that our leagues share so many facilities and locker rooms and it now seems likely that some member of the NHL community would test positive at some point — it is no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time.

The college basketball tournaments are being canceled:

The Power 5 leagues — the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, SEC and Pac-12 — canceled their men’s basketball conference tournaments on Thursday while a pair of historic schools announced an indefinite shutdown of athletic travel.

This is unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my lifetime.

Green Day Team Up With NHL

Green Day have teamed up with the NHL:

The league is announcing a two-year partnership with Green Day that includes an opening song for NBC Sports’ “Wednesday Night Hockey.” The song, “Ready, Fire, Aim” isn’t custom-made for the NHL and will be on Green Day’s next album, though it’s likely a matter of time until Green Day or another band follows what Hank Williams Jr. and later Carrie Underwood did for the NFL.

Review: Elevated: The Global Rise of the NBA

Elevated: The Global Rise of the NBA

Now that the NBA Playoffs have begun, Elevated: The Global Rise of the NBA arrives at the perfect time. The book takes a look at the history of the league through the lens of the New York Times writers who have covered the sports over the decades, as edited and annotated by Harvey Araton. Due to the nature of the book, you won’t find one specific writing style throughout. Although, there’s a high level of quality to the writing and you get a look at how the writers have changed their approach to covering the sport as new things like social media came into play.

Since I’m someone who doesn’t have a subscription to the New York Times, I otherwise would not have been able to read many of these articles. It’s an excellent chance for NBA fans to get a look into how devoted one publication was to covering a variety of teams, not just the ones in the New York area. You’ll find articles from the 1970s, to ones as recent as 2018, and everything in between. However, don’t expect the story to unfold in chronological order.

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When Winter Never Ends

Baseball

Wright Thompson, writing for ESPN:

Ichiro is a meticulous man, held in orbit by patterns and attention to detail. This place specializes in beef tongue, slicing it thin by hand and serving it raw alongside hot cast-iron skillets. They do one thing perfectly, which appeals to Ichiro. Tonight he’s got dark jeans rolled up to the calf, each leg even, and a gray T-shirt under a white button-down with a skinny tie. His hair looks darker than in some recent photos, maybe the lighting, maybe a dye job. Either way, not even a 44-year-old future Hall of Famer is immune from the insecurities and diminishments that come with time. This winter is the most insecure and diminished he’s been.

Mariano Rivera Is a Hall of Famer

Tyler Kepner, writing for The New York Times:

Mariano Rivera, the career saves leader whose elegant efficiency helped the Yankees win five World Series, on Tuesday became the first player ever elected unanimously to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

It is bonkers to me that no one else had been elected unanimously before.

Here’s Derek Jeter, writing at The Player’s Tribune:

I heard a stat the other day and it blew my mind:

In human history, more people have walked on the moon than have scored an earned run off of Mariano Rivera in the postseason.

Sounds crazy, right? But it’s true.

According to NASA, 12 people have had the privilege of walking on the moon.

According to Baseball Reference, 11 people have scored an earned run off of Playoff Mo.

And while no statistic could ever truly encapsulate Mariano, I figure this one is as close as we’re going to get. Because I think it really gives you a sense of what sort of greatness we’re dealing with, when it comes to Mo. It’s hard to compare him to other closers — in fact, it’s hard to compare him to other pitchers.

Travis Scott and Big Boi Added to Super Bowl Halftime Show

Football

Travis Scott and Big Boi have been confirmed to perform at the Super Bowl with Maroon 5. Travis Scott only agreed to perform if a donation would be made to Dream Corps:

“I back anyone who takes a stand for what they believe in. I know being an artist that it’s in my power to inspire. So before confirming the Super Bowl Halftime performance, I made sure to partner with the NFL on this important donation,” he said in a statement. “I am proud to support Dream Corps and the work they do that will hopefully inspire and promote change.”

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What the Hell Happened to Darius Miles?

This is a few weeks old now, but it’s a really great read:

Dudes like me ain’t supposed to talk about this type of stuff. I’m about to tell you some real shit. Things I haven’t told anybody. But first, we gotta go back in time. We gotta go back to when the NBA was still the NBA. Way back when I had the pager with the two-way alert.

I’m about to tell you the most Y2K story ever.

The Courageous Fight to Fix the NBA’s Mental Health Problem

Basketball

Jackie MacMullan is doing a five part series on mental health in the NBA for ESPN:

Yet there remain many obstacles to confront, chief among them the stigma attached to mental health that prompts many players to suffer in silence. There’s another critical sticking point: The union insists that mental health treatment be confidential, but some NBA owners, who in some cases are paying their players hundreds of millions of dollars, want access to the files of their “investments.”

It’s KD’s Fault

Basketball

Craig Fehrman, writing at Slate:

The NBA has been bad for two years, and it’s Kevin Durant’s fault.

If the Warriors beat the Cavaliers on Friday night, they’ll clinch a second straight title, compiling a playoff record of 32–6 along the way. This team has erased two seasons of potentially exciting basketball as thoroughly as Ted Williams’ military service erased several years of his prime.

The Warriors aren’t the ’96 Bulls. The Warriors were the ’96 Bulls—a 70-plus-win team with a superstar and a championship-level supporting cast. Then they added the second-best player in the league. It’s as if David Robinson decided to join Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen in Chicago and coast his way to some mid-’90s titles.

I love the NBA and have hated this year’s playoffs and finals. It’s not fun to watch. This article really gets to the why and how an un-competitive league is bad for basketball.