Analysis: LeBron has defied odds, with no drop-off in sight
LeBron James is 38 years old. He is in Season 20 of his NBA career. He is, by conventional basketball-playing standards, ancient. History says his decline should have started already. Except it hasn’t. Not even close. And count that as just another example of what sets James apart from so many other greats, so many other superstars of their sport who were good enough for long enough to climb atop some lists in the record books.
Who has next for James’ scoring record: Luka? Tatum? Anyone?
James Harden averaged 36 points a few seasons ago. Devin Booker once scored 70 in one game. There are many more players doing much more scoring now than when LeBron James began his NBA career in 2003-04. A player scoring like Harden in his peak years could be flirting with 40,000 points in a mere 15 years, but even that might not reach where James will put the record. Perhaps young players such as Luka Doncic, Jayson Tatum or Victor Wembanyama could have a chance. Or maybe the player hasn’t even been born.
Super Bowl has rare matchup of top 2 regular-season teams
This year’s Super Bowl features a rare matchup of the NFL’s top two teams from the regular season. The Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs were the league’s only 14-game winners, marking just the sixth time since the 1970 merger that the squads with sole possession of the two best records in the regular season met for the championship. The last time it happened came after the 2013 season when Seattle beat Denver 43-8 in a matchup of 13-win teams.
Pro Picks: Eagles’ talent over Chiefs’ experience
PHOENIX (AP) — The Philadelphia Eagles left their dog masks at home. Back in the Super Bowl five years after winning the first Lombardi Trophy in franchise history, the Eagles took a different path to reach this one. They’re 1 1/2-point favorites against the Kansas City Chiefs, per FanDuel Sportsbook, after outscoring the Giants and 49ers 69-14 in the playoffs. Last time here, the Eagles became the first No. 1 seed to enter the playoffs as a home underdog. After sneaking past Atlanta in the divisional round, they were underdogs against Minnesota in the NFC championship game. They routed the Vikings and went on to beat Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the favored New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
Shiffrin’s silver at ski worlds inspired by LeBron’s record
MERIBEL, France (AP) — Mikaela Shiffrin woke up to the news that LeBron James had broken the NBA scoring record and the American skier immediately drew comparisons to her own record-breaking season. An inspired Shiffrin went out a few hours later and put an end to her uncharacteristically miserable run in major races lately by winning a long-sought after medal in the super-G at the world championships. She finished 0.11 seconds behind Italian winner Marta Bassino to take the silver. Shiffrin says that records “keep pushing the level of sports whether it’s skiing or it’s basketball or it’s anything.”
Probe into US Olympic failings stunted by red tape in DC
DENVER (AP) — More than two years since it was greenlighted by Congress, the panel established to probe the inner workings of the U.S. Olympics has yet to conduct a formal interview because of bureaucratic red tape in Washington. The Commission on the State of U.S. Olympics and Paralympics is charged with looking how U.S. leaders handled sex-abuse cases that were mismanaged for decades. It took 19 months after it was established in October 2020 for the commission to receive the $2 million Congress budgeted for its use. Then, it took eight more months to identify and hire the panel’s executive director. Now that those issues are resolved, however, the commission has to decide how to spend the money by Sept. 30 or risk not being able to use it.
Brittney Griner absent from USA camp, but keeping in touch
Brittney Griner texted her good friend Diana Taurasi on Tuesday asking how the USA Basketball training camp was going. Griner was back in Arizona, choosing to skip the camp in Minnesota so she can be with her wife and recover from her time in a Russian jail. She was traded in a dramatic prisoner swap in December. Taurasi said the two talk regularly now that Griner is home in Phoenix. They work out together as well as chat and text each other often. Griner has said she’ll play for Phoenix again this season although she’s still an unsigned free agent. She hasn’t talked about her international future and potentially playing for the U.S. at the Olympics next year in Paris.
Ishbia takes over Suns, works to improve team culture
PHOENIX (AP) — Mat Ishbia has been introduced as the new majority owner of the Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury. The NBA’s board of governors on Monday night approved his plan to purchase the controlling stake of those franchises from the embattled Robert Sarver. The crowd for Ishbia’s high-energy speech included former Suns players Kevin Johnson, Tom Chambers and Dan Majerle. Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego was also in attendance. The 43-year-old Ishbia’s first order of business is cleaning up an organization that was rocked after the NBA suspended Sarver for one year after an investigation found he had engaged in what the league called “workplace misconduct and organizational deficiencies.”
Mahomes, Hurts buoy Super Bowl teams amid QB injury spate
The Chiefs and Eagles are bringing MVP finalists Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts to the Super Bowl to cap a season in which the NFL had a glaring amount of instability at quarterback. A total of 68 QBs started at least one game, a record for a non-strike year. Nearly half of all changes during the regular season were because of injuries at the most important position, despite the league’s efforts to try to keep QBs healthy. A record 13 teams used at least three starters, including the San Francisco 49ers, whose season ended in the NFC title game when they had no healthy quarterbacks available.
NFL’s QB shuffle puts premium on offensive, defensive plans
The rash of quarterback injuries in the NFL made developing a game plan even more challenging. Game week preparations are still geared to developing offensive schemes around the projected starter and opponents plotting to derail those plans. But everyone is well aware how quickly that can change. So coaches and coordinators on both sides of the ball have to be even more flexible to adapt. The starting quarterback gets most of the practice snaps with the first-team offense. The backup is limited to running the scout team and has no chance to build chemistry with the starters. Defensive coaches and players make similar adjustments.