Larry Miller, the chairman of Nike’s Jordan brand, says he killed an 18-year-old after a gang fight in 1965

Larry Miller Nike
Larry Miller said he kept his crime a secret from Michael Jordan for years.

  • The chairman of Nike’s Jordan brand told Sports Illustrated he murdered an 18-year-old in 1965.
  • Larry Miller said he shot the teenager following a gang fight. Miller was 16 at the time.
  • Miller said he kept it a secret for decades but had begun opening up over the past several months.

Larry Miller, the chairman of Nike’s Jordan brand, fatally shot a teenager in 1965, he told Sports Illustrated in an interview published Wednesday.

Miller told the publication that he shot an 18-year-old named Edward White following a gang fight in West Philadelphia. Miller was 16 at the time, and in a gang called Cedar Avenue, he said.

Miller’s friend, who Miller considered “an innocent,” was stabbed to death in the fight, he said. Later that month, Miller and others went out looking for anyone affiliated with the rival gang, and shot the first person they encountered, he said.

He said he didn’t know White and wasn’t sure whether White was even connected to the rival gang, which was called 53rd and Pine.

“We were all drunk,” Miller told the publication. “I was in a haze.”

He spent most of his teens and 20s in prison or juvenile detention facilities, he told Sports Illustrated, including for his role in the teenager’s death.

“By the time I was 16, I was just a straight-up gangbanger, thug,” he said. “I was drinking every day.”

He had tried to hide his criminal past from friends and colleagues, he said, before recently telling some of the people close to him.

“If I could go back and undo it, I would absolutely do that,” Miller said. “I can’t. So all I can do is try to do what I can to help other people and try to maybe prevent this from happening to someone else.”

Miller, who also spent five years as the president of the NBA team the Portland Trail Blazers, told the publication that he had been a “straight-A student, teacher’s pet,” but that he joined the Cedar Avenue gang, in West Philadelphia, aged 13.

Miller said that while in prison, he studied for an accounting degree with Temple University. After he left prison, he almost got a job with accounting firm Arthur Andersen, but after he disclosed his criminal past in a final interview, the company’s hiring partner changed their mind on offering him a job, Miller said.

From then on, Miller tried to keep his crime a secret, which led to recurring nightmares and migraines, he said.

After roles at Kraft Foods and Campbell Soup Company, Miller became vice president of Nike Basketball in 1997, then president of the Jordan brand in 1999, and then president of the Trail Blazers in 2007.

He returned to the Jordan brand in 2012, and is currently chairman.

Miller kept it a secret from his friends and colleagues

Miller told Sports Illustrated that he had previously kept his past concealed from some of his children, who he eventually told around 2003.

He had also kept it a secret from his close friend Michael Jordan, NBA commissioner Adam Silver, and Nike founder Phil Knight.

But he told the publication that he’d been increasingly speaking out about it this year, and would recount it in his upcoming book, “Jump: My Secret Journey From the Streets to the Boardroom.”

Miller said that by coming forward, he could now freely speak to at-risk youth and prisoners and try discourage them from violence.

He had told Jordan, Silver, and several Nike executives within the past several months, he said.

Miller said that the people he had told had reacted positively to the news.

Nike CEO John Donohoe told Sports Illustrated: “Larry Miller has played an influential role in Nike history and is a beloved member of the Nike family.

“I hope his experience can create a healthy discourse around criminal justice reform, by helping remove the stigma that holds people and communities back,” Donohoe said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A-Rod’s SPAC has reportedly ended merger talks with a sports collectibles maker after it lost a licensing deal with the NBA and NFL

Alex Rodriguez
  • The SPAC backed by Alex Rodriguez has ended talks with Panini after it lost licensing deals with NBA and NFL, Bloomberg reported.
  • The SPAC, Slam Corp. had been conducting due diligence on a transaction that would value Panini at $3 billion.
  • NBA and NFL trading cards were supposed to be exclusively manufactured by Panini through 2025 and 2026.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

The blank-check company backed by retired baseball star Alex Rodriguez has ended merger talks with Panini after the sports collectibles maker lost licensing deals with the National Basketball Association and National Football League, Bloomberg first reported.

Slam Corp. had been conducting due diligence on a transaction set to value the iconic Italian sticker brand at $3 billion, Bloomberg reported in July.

The discussions, however, ended following news that sports merchandising company Fanatics had signed with leagues including the NBA, NFL, and MLB, multiple reports said.

NBA and NFL trading cards were supposed to be exclusively manufactured by Panini through 2025 and 2026. Now, the company will lose those rights to Fanatics.

In a similar move, the MLB this summer ended its long-standing partnership with Topps and agreed to a new contract with Fanatics. This led to another SPAC, Mudrick Capital Acquisition, to terminate its proposed merger with Topps in August.

Panini, named after the brothers who founded it, was established in 1961 in Modena, Italy. It made its first FIFA World Cup stickers for the 1970 soccer tournament in Mexico, making trading cards and sticker collections a part of the experience ever since. Some rare stickers can fetch high prices on the collectors’ market and at an auction.

SPACs, shell companies that list with the aim of merging with private companies and taking them public, have exploded in popularity in the past few years.

But the frenzy is also drawing the attention of regulators, who are looking into tightening the rules, particularly around projections of future earnings potential and conflicts of interest among dealmakers.

In 2020, a total of 248 SPACs raised $83.3 billion according to SPAC Analytics. 2021 has far outpaced that total already, with data showing 421 SPACs raising $122 billion, comprising 44% of initial public offerings.

Read the original article on Business Insider

‘NBA 2K22’ launches on September 10 and you can preorder the game now to snag exclusive bonuses

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Luka Doncic NBA 2K22
Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic appears on the cover of “NBA 2K22” ahead of his fourth NBA season.

2K22 (medium)

NBA 2K22,” the world’s top basketball simulation game, will launch on September 10 for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC. Special editions of the game are available in celebration of the NBA’s 75th anniversary and the 25th anniversary of the WNBA.

Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic graces the cover of the standard edition, while the 75th anniversary edition features Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant, Mavericks all-time great Dirk Nowitzki, and NBA all-time leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Chicago Sky forward Candace Parker is the first WNBA player to be featured on an “NBA 2K” cover, appearing on the WNBA 25th anniversary edition.

Players interested in upgrading their game from PS4 to PS5 or Xbox One to Xbox Series X|S will need to buy the digital cross-gen version of the game from the respective console store for $80.

In the past, 2K has given customers who preorder a chance to play the game a few days early, but “NBA 2K22” will have a simultaneous release for all versions. All players who preorder “NBA 2K22” will receive in-game rewards when it launches, as long as they buy before September 10.

What’s new in ‘NBA 2K22?’

“NBA 2K” saw major graphical improvements with the leap to the next-gen PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S consoles last year. “NBA 2K22” further optimizes those visuals on the new consoles, while players on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC can expect improved animations compared to last year’s game.

PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X versions will also let players explore a new city environment in the game’s MyCareer and Neighborhood modes. Meanwhile, the neighborhood mode on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC will be staged on a cruise ship.

All versions of “NBA 2K22” incorporate seasonal rewards across multiple modes, challenging players to complete tasks and unlock in-game items. Each season will last six weeks, with nine total seasons of rewards planned before the release of “NBA 2K23.”

NBA 2K22” will also include more robust features for WNBA modes, like improved progression during season and MyCareer modes, and easier matchmaking with friends when playing online. 2K Games plans to release more details about the MyCareer mode and gameplay changes in the days before release.

‘NBA 2K22’ preorder bundles

NBA 2K22 Covers
The cover stars of “NBA 2K22” include Candace Parker, Luka Doncic, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dirk Nowitzki, and Kevin Durant.

NBA 2K22” will launch with four different editions on September 10. Every edition includes preorder bonuses, but they vary based on which version you buy.

The standard version of “NBA 2K22” starts at $60 on Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Players on PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X|S will have to pay $70. If you think you’ll be upgrading to a PS5 or Xbox Series X|S in the future, you can pay $80 for the cross-gen bundle (PlayStation, Xbox) to access “NBA 2K22” on current and next-gen consoles without having to re-purchase the game.

The $100 NBA 75th anniversary edition of “NBA 2K22” offers the most rewards, while the $70 WNBA 25th Anniversary Edition features the same rewards as the standard edition, but with a special cover featuring Candace Parker that’s only available from GameStop or the 2K store.

Here’s a full breakdown of preorder bundles for each ‘NBA 2K22’ edition.

‘NBA 2K22’ standard edition

  • Price: PS5 ($70), Xbox Series X|S ($70), all other platforms ($60)
  • Virtual currency: 5,000 VC
  • MyTeam points and tokens: 5,000 MyTeam points
  • MyTeam packs: 10 MyTeam promo packs (one per week)
  • MyCareer boosts: A boost for each MyCareer skill type
  • Gatorade boosts: A boost for each Gatorade boost type
  • MyTeam cards: 95 Rated Luka Doncic MyTeam free agent card
  • MyPlayer rewards: Luka Doncic MyPlayer Jersey

2K22 (medium)

‘NBA 2K22’ cross-gen edition

  • Price: PS4/PS5 ($80), Xbox One/Xbox Series X|S ($80)
  • Virtual currency: N/A
  • MyTeam points and tokens: 10,000 MyTEAM points, 10 MyTeam tokens
  • MyTeam packs: 22 MyTEAM promo packs (receive 10 at launch, then three per week for four weeks), 10 MyTEAM tokens
  • MyCareer boosts: 10 boosts for each MyCareer skill boost type
  • Gatorade boosts: 10 boosts for each Gatorade boost type
  • MyTeam cards: Sapphire Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dirk Nowitzki, and Kevin Durant; Diamond Jordan Shoe; and Coach card MyTeam pack
  • MyPlayer rewards: MyPlayer backpack and arm sleeve, custom-design skateboard, four cover athlete t-shirts

‘NBA 2K22’ 75th anniversary edition

  • Price: All platforms ($100)
  • Virtual currency: 100,000 VC
  • MyTeam points and tokens: 10,000 MyTEAM points, 10 MyTeam tokens
  • MyTeam packs: 22 MyTEAM promo packs (receive 10 at launch, then three per week for four weeks), 10 MyTEAM tokens
  • MyCareer boosts: 10 boosts for each MyCareer skill boost type
  • Gatorade boosts: 10 boosts for each Gatorade boost type
  • MyTeam cards: Sapphire Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dirk Nowitzki, and Kevin Durant; Diamond Jordan Shoe; and Coach card MyTeam pack
  • MyPlayer rewards: MyPlayer backpack and arm sleeve, custom-design skateboard, four cover athlete t-shirts

‘NBA 2K22’ WNBA 25th anniversary edition

  • Price: PS5 ($70), Xbox Series X|S ($70)
  • Virtual currency: 5,000 VC
  • MyTeam points and tokens: 5,000 MyTeam points
  • MyTeam packs: 10 MyTeam promo packs (one per week)
  • MyCareer boosts: A boost for each MyCareer skill type
  • Gatorade boosts: A boost for each Gatorade boost type
  • MyTeam cards: 95 Rated Luka Doncic MyTeam free agent card
  • MyPlayer rewards: Luka Doncic MyPlayer Jersey
Read the original article on Business Insider

NBA Top Shots creator Dapper Labs will offer NFTs of highlights of this year’s Summer League basketball games

Basketball Olympics
Basketball Olympics

  • NBA Top Shots, the second-biggest NFT marketplace, will sell moments from Summer League basketball games in Las Vegas.
  • It will be the first time the platform has created NFTs of great plays of games that fans have seen in person.
  • Sports teams are turning to NFTs as a way to generate more revenue from their fanbase.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

NBA Top Shot will sell highlights from the upcoming Summer League basketball competition as non-fungible tokens for the first time, it said on Tuesday.

The NFTs will feature outstanding play “moments” from three days of games at the NBA Summer League meet in Las Vegas, those on August 8-10. Fans will be able to pre-order the $5 moments from a kiosk at the venue.

“For the first time ever, NBA Top Shot fans will have the ability to purchase a moment in an arena, and receive a moment from a game they saw in-person,” the company said in its statement.

NBA Top Shot will let collectors know which games the NFTs will be from in advance. There will be a minimum of 1,000 and possibly more based on demand from fans, who will be able to purchase up to 10 moments per day.

All 30 NBA teams will compete in the Summer League, which features 75 games over 10 days in total.

The move is another key step in NFT adoption in sports. The Golden State Warriors basketball team launched a NFT collection in April this year as a way to generate more revenue.

Until now, NBA Top Shot sold NFT videos of highlights from previous basketball games. It was started in 2019 by the National Basketball Association and Dapper Labs, the creator of NFTs such as CryptoKitties and the Flow blockchain.

NBA Top Shot is one of the biggest NFT marketplaces, recent data shows. In the month to August 4, it hosted 109,351 traders and carried out 671,149 sales, according to DappRadar. However, those tallies were down month-on-month by 35.15% and 53.39%, respectively.

In March, NBA Top Shot closed a $305 million funding round with investments from the likes of actor Will Smith and former NBA all-star Michael Jordan.

NFTs are unique digital tokens that represent real-world assets like video, audio or pieces of artwork, among others. They are a form of collector’s item that are based on blockchain networks, much like cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. Unlike cryptocurrencies, though, they are not mutually interchangeable.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to watch the NBA Finals without a cable subscription

When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Giannis Antetokounmpo dunk
Giannis Antetokounmpo goes to the basket as Chris Paul looks on in game 2 of the NBA Finals.

  • The 2021 NBA Finals are now underway between the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks.
  • You can watch the remaining NBA Finals on ABC and ESPN3.
  • Many internet providers offer ESPN3 for free, and Sling is the cheapest streaming service with the channel.

Table of Contents: Masthead StickyTV (small)

The 2020-21 NBA regular season concluded on May 16 and the Finals began on July 6. Remaining games are being broadcast live on ABC and ESPN3.

The Chris Paul-led Phoenix Suns defeated LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, NBA MVP Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets, and the Los Angeles Clippers to represent the Western Conference in the Finals. In the Eastern Conference, the Milwaukee Bucks beat the star-studded Brooklyn Nets, the Miami Heat team that eliminated them last year, and the surprising Atlanta Hawks to earn their first Finals appearance since 1974.

You can see the full 2021 NBA playoff bracket below, including the matchups following the play-in tournament that ended on May 21.

NBA Playoff Bracket
The 2020-21 NBA playoff bracket.

Key dates for the 2020-21 NBA season

The 2020-21 NBA season is coming to a close with the Finals now in full swing. Here’s a rundown of key post-season dates.

  • May 22 – NBA playoffs officially began
  • July 8 – NBA Finals began
  • July 22 – NBA Finals Game Seven, if necessary

How to watch the 2021 NBA Finals

The NBA Finals are being broadcast live on ABC and ESPN3. ABC is available through several subscription streaming services without cable, and you may be able to stream the game online for free via ESPN3 depending on your internet provider. You can see if your internet provider includes ESPN3 here.

You can also stream the NBA Finals via the ESPN app, ABC.com, or the ABC app if you already pay for those channels through your TV provider.

If you don’t have a cable or satellite subscription, you can sign up for a live TV streaming service with access to ABC and/or ESPN3, like Sling TV, AT&T TV, Hulu + Live TV, Fubo TV, or YouTube TV, to watch the Finals live.

Sling TV

Sling TV includes ESPN3 as part of its Orange plan for $35 a month. Sling doesn’t include ABC, but NBA Finals airing on that network are simulcast on ESPN3.

New Sling subscribers can get their first month for a discounted rate of just $10, which makes Sling one of the cheapest options for people who just want to stream the NBA Finals.

TV (small)

YouTube TV

YouTubeTV offers channels like ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV for $65 a month, providing full access to all of the major broadcast and cable networks that show NBA games, including the Finals.

TV (small)

Hulu + Live TV

Hulu + Live TV features access to channels like ESPN, TNT, and ABC for $65 a month, offering full access to the NBA Finals. However, NBA TV is not offered which could be an issue for viewers who want to catch more games during the regular season.

On the plus side, Hulu + Live TV does include access to Hulu’s entire on-demand library of shows and movies. You can also bundle Hulu with ESPN+ and Disney Plus for an extra $8 a month.

+ Live TV (small)

Fubo TV

Fubo TV includes ABC under its Starter plan for $65 a month, so you can catch the NBA Finals. On the downside, TNT is not currently available, which could be an issue for fans who want to watch games during the regular season and playoffs.

TV (small)

AT&T TV

AT&T TV is one of the most comprehensive options for streaming the NBA all season long. Plans start at $70 a month, but NBA fans who want access to the most games will need the Choice plan for $85 a month. This package includes ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV.

That said, viewers who just need ABC or ESPN3 to watch the Finals have cheaper options to consider.

TV (small)

2021 NBA Finals schedule

The 2021 NBA Finals began on July 8. You can find dates and times for the remaining games below.

Wednesday, July 14

Game Four: Phoenix Suns at Milwaukee Bucks, 9 p.m. ET on ABC and ESPN3

Saturday, July 17

Game Five: Milwaukee Bucks at Phoenix Suns, 9 p.m. ET on ABC and ESPN3

Tuesday, July 20

Game Six (if necessary): Phoenix Suns at Milwaukee Bucks, 9 p.m. ET on ABC and ESPN3

Thursday, July 22

Game Seven (if necessary): Milwaukee Bucks at Phoenix Suns, 9 p.m. ET on ABC and ESPN3

Read the original article on Business Insider

The WNBA is more popular than ever, but watching the games on League Pass is an absolute nightmare. ‘It sucks being a fan’

A basketball player shoots as she leaps above multiple hands trying to block her.
Guard Jazmine Jones of the New York Liberty shoots defended by guard Erica Wheeler of the Los Angeles Sparks on June 20, 2021.

  • The WNBA is more popular than ever. During any game, Twitter is overtaken by complaints about the league’s steaming platform.
  • WNBA League Pass has myriad problems that frustrate even the most ardent fans.
  • Highlights reels often favor white players, while the announcer regularly mispronounces players’ names.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The WNBA is in its 25th season and more people are watching than ever.

But fans say that WNBA League Pass – the WNBA’s streaming platform and app – is not doing the sport any favors.

Local games are blacked out so that, without a cable subscription, such that fans in New England, for example, can’t watch the Connecticut Sun. Users have to repeatedly sign in to use the platform, sometimes multiple times per game, and can’t be logged in on more than one device at a time. So, if someone logs in on their phone to check a score, it will log them out on their AppleTV app.

The volume of the highlight packages played during commercial breaks is so poorly balanced that it’s 10 times louder than the broadcast itself. And the highlights don’t automatically update, so – for first month of the season – fans were stuck watching the same few highlights. Those clips heavily featured New York Liberty’s Sabrina Ionescu, a white player, reinforcing the league and the media’s tendency to over-promote white players at the expense of the Black players, who make up the majority of the WNBA.

During any game, Twitter is overtaken by complaints about the platform.

“Hey @WNBA your league pass audio levels are a hot mess,” a Minnesota Lynx fan account tweeted on July 3. “Every commercial break is twice as loud as the game. This has been an issue since the season started over a month ago.”

“Between the Sabrina highlights and the jersey reveal, WNBA League Pass I am tired,” another user said. “I can recite it at this point.”

“I shouldn’t need a subscription to Amazon Prime, CBS Sports, Bally Sports, and whoever else to watch all the games ‘in my region,'” a fan from Houston told Insider.

For anyone who cares about the WNBA, which has long fought against sexism to be seen as more than playing second fiddle to the men in the NBA, the problems that plague League Pass speak to a larger issue. The league is exciting, the players are fun, and the quality of play is superb; there are a lot of reasons to love this league, but you wouldn’t always know it based on the way it is promoted and supported.

This season, which runs from May to September, over 100 games will be nationally televised-the most in league history. For the first five games aired on ESPN this year, viewership was up 74% over 2020 and up 45% from 2019, while, on ABC, numbers are up 28% from last year.

A basketball player stands open-mouthed as players stand to her either side.
Jonquel Jones of the Connecticut Sun reacts to a play against the Washington Mystics on June 30, 2021 in Washington, DC.

The remaining games, which are not airing on a national platform, are available on League Pass, which costs $16.99 for the season.

Just before the start of the season, League Pass relaunched a huge redesign: fans could watch up to four games at once, statistics appeared on the screen, and there was a library of games going back to 2015.

But the overhaul failed to address several key user experience issues, including volume balance.

There’s also evidence of sloppiness: The version of the app that runs on AppleTV app displays a lot of the old Cyclone font branding and even the old Seattle Storm logo – both of which have been retired by the league. “Things like that, which are as simple as an artwork asset swap before an update, feel like sloppy oversights,” said Eric Schwarz, an Indiana Fever fan from Indianapolis.

When Schwarz complained to customer support about the volume isse, the response was less than satisfying: “We ask to please bring the volume to low when the game is about to go on break.”

For a sport that is desperately trying to grow the game and garner the respect it deserves, the quality of League Pass is a glaring oversight.

“The fact that nothing gets fixed, how do you expect to keep your new fans if every time they watch League Pass they are locked out, their screen goes black, they get signed out, or they have an issue where they can’t watch the games?” WNBA writer Drew Ivery said on a recent episode of the Leading With The W podcast. “If I were a new consumer, it would be hard to keep me.”

Two basketball players wear black t-shirts that read, respectively, "Say her Name" above a picture of Breonna Taylor, and "Arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor."
Alysha Clark and Jewell Loyd of the Seattle Storm wear t-shirts honoring Breonna Taylor prior to Game Two of their Third Round playoff against the Minnesota Lynx on Sept. 24, 2020.

On its website, Turner Sports – which owns NBA Media Ventures and League Pass, and is a division of WarnerMedia and AT&T – says it is “giving fans the best content and experiences on the best platforms in sports.”

“WNBA League Pass is an integral part of the WNBA’s multimedia landscape,” Phil Cook, WNBA Chief Marketing Officer, told Insider. “As it relates to our digital footprint, we have a longer-term road map to transform our digital offerings and to continuously improve the fan experience.”

The league declined to answer specific questions about who is responsible for managing League Pass and addressing user issues, or how large the team who works on the platform is. A source within the league acknowledged that the league is aware that “the commercial break highlight experience could be improved” and also said the WNBA is working “with the appropriate resources” to create more highlights and to fix audio issues.

The viewing experience is so bad that some fans said they’ve stopped watching games that air on League Pass – or they’ll wait until the games are available on-demand.

“I have a disorder that comes with a sensitivity to sound, so if I have a game on and I don’t get to the remote in time, I get overstimulated and overwhelmed pretty much immediately when those loud commercials come on,” said Christine Salek, a freelance sports writer. “This season especially, if I see a game is on League Pass, it’s gotten to the point that I’ll just not watch. It ruins the experience for me to have to be on alert at all times just to watch a game unscathed.”

And it’s not just that the highlight packages are too loud; they’re also incredibly repetitive.

For the first month after the season kicked off on May 14, fans were subjected to the same few clips over and over again, all from the first two weeks of the season. Fans that wanted to relive the six buzzer beaters in the first month of the season were left watching multiple clips that focused on a single player, Ionescu.

A basketball player hold the ball over her head as another player reaches out her arm to block her.
Forward Nia Coffey of the Los Angeles Sparks handles the ball defended by center Kia Vaughn of the Phoenix Mercury on June 18, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.

This might have simply been frustrating, but Black players are routinely promoted and written about at a lower rate than their white teammates. According to an analysis published in May in the Sports Business Journal, Black WNBA players won 80% of postseason awards, including Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year, and make up 80% of the league. Yet the three players most mentioned in media coverage are all white.

After the first month, League Pass did switch up the highlight packages, featuring a much larger and more diverse range of players, but the same package plays back-to-back.

The announcer who reads League Pass’ “Top 5” countdowns regularly mispronounces the players names-one recent clip bungled the names of both the Dallas Wings’ Satou Sabally and the New York Liberty’s Betnijah Laney. It’s bad enough when the mispronunciations come from broadcasters; it’s even worse when it’s happening on the league’s own streaming platform.

Despite the major user experience issues on the streaming platform, there are a lot of things fans like about the service. The flat rate of $16.99 is a huge selling point, making it accessible to more fans.

Fans and media members are doing what they can to make sure League Pass is available to the ever-growing fanbase. Subscriptions to The Next, an independent newsroom dedicated exclusively to women’s basketball, comes with a League Pass subscription.

One basketball player is seen diving over another as she holds the ball.
Natasha Cloud of the Washington Mystics and Candace Parker of the Chicago Sky dive for a loose ball on May 15, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Terrika Foster-Brasby, the espnW Around the Rim podcast host, teamed up with Alexis Robinson, the owner of One Brand Agency, on a “pay it forward” campaign to give away League Pass subscriptions to fans who couldn’t afford it. As Foster-Brasby told ESPN in May, “people find it hard to find or access the games” and “would watch more WNBA if they knew where the games were airing.” In the end, they gave away over 350 subscriptions.

Some fans mentioned they’d be willing to pay more for a better quality app, or other features like a way to stream games on AT&T U-Verse, like they can for NBA games, or on other apps or consoles like X-Box, Roku, or Firestick-which NBA League Pass is also compatible with, and would make it easier for fans to watch the games on a TV rather than a computer or tablet.

“The WNBA could definitely attract more eyes if they made it easier on us,” Travis Ostrander, an Indiana Fever fan living in North Carolina. “Furthermore, I’d be able to entice friends to watch if I just had it on the TV during game nights or cookouts.”

At this point in the league’s existence, fans are ready for more.

As Schwarz, the Indiana Fever fan, puts it: “I’m getting a little sick of the ‘well, it’s great they’re being broadcast’ attitude that some fans have. With the player name misspellings, mispronunciations, using the wrong photos, it just makes it seem like no one running the whole thing actually watches the games.”

“And, it sucks being a fan who cares and I would hope the people getting paid also care.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Giannis Antetokounmpo had an incredible chase-down block that looked almost identical to LeBron James’ most famous play

Giannis Antetokounmpo prepares to block Mikal Bridges.
Giannis Antetokounmpo blocks Mikal Bridges.

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo had an incredible chase-down block on the Suns in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.
  • The play looked nearly identical to LeBron James’ chase-down block in the 2016 Finals.
  • James’ occurred on a bigger stage, but both players were similar in set-up and impressiveness.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Giannis Antetokounmpo may have closely studied LeBron James and the art of the chase-down block.

During Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday, Antetokounmpo skied and swatted a layup attempt by the Phoenix Suns’ Mikal Bridges off the glass to save a basket.

It was an incredible display of effort and athleticism from Antetokounmpo, who was returning from a hyper-extended knee for the Milwaukee Bucks. He was questionable for Game 1, but suited up after missing the previous two games of the playoffs.

Here’s the play:

Another look:

It likely looked familiar to NBA fans. The play was almost identical to James’ now-legendary chase-down block of Andre Iguodala in the final minutes of Game 7 of the 2016 Finals. Even ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy noted the similarities on Tuesday.

  • Both were chase-down blocks, of course.
  • Both blocks occurred on the right side of the rim, with the shot-blocker coming across the basket from the left side to swat the ball.
  • In both plays, the player attempting the layup was slowed down by just a fraction of a second by a defender contesting the shot. That small hesitation allowed time for the block.
Giannis Antetokounmpo's block side-by-side with LeBron James'
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s chase-down block looked like LeBron James’ in the 2016 Finals.

Of course, James’ block happened on a bigger stage, but both were amazing showcases of will and NBA players’ incredible athleticism.

Read the original article on Business Insider

21 famous athletes who retired earlier than expected

calvin johnson
Calvin Johnson still seemed to have plenty of good years left when he retired in 2016.

  • Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly was the most recent NFL star to retire before 30 years old.
  • Throughout sports history, there have been professional athletes who have retired earlier than expected, often because of injuries.
  • Check out some examples of athletes who have called it quits relatively early.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
1. Luke Kuechly

luke kuechly
Luke Kuechly.

Sport: Football

Age retired: 28

Years as a pro: 8

One thing to know: Kuechly was a seven-time Pro Bowl member and five-time First Team All-Pro. However, Kuechly often battled injuries, including numerous concussions. In his retirement announcement, Kuechly hinted at injuries taking their toll, saying, “I still want to play, but I don’t think it’s the right decision.”

2. Andrew Luck

andrew luck
Andrew Luck.

Sport: Football

Age retired: 29

Years as a pro: 7

One thing to know: Luck was considered a generational quarterback prospect when he entered the NFL in 2012, but injuries and weak teams only allowed him to show off that talent occasionally. Luck played just 38 games from 2015-2018 because of injuries, and when he retired on Saturday, said he was mentally worn down from pain, rehab, and setbacks.

3. Rob Gronkowski

rob gronkowski
Andrew Luck.

Sport: Football

Age retired: 29

Years as a pro: 9

One thing to know: Gronkowski might have gone down as the greatest tight end ever if not for injuries. Gronk dominated every time he was on the field, but various ailments kept him off it, as he only played 15 games or more four times in his career. After rumors of retirement persisted for over a year, Gronkowski followed through in the spring of 2019. However, some think he could still be lured out of retirement.

4. Doug Baldwin

Doug Baldwin
Doug Baldwin.

Sport: Football

Age retired: 30

Years as a pro: 8

One thing to know: Baldwin was Russell Wilson’s favorite target for several years, topping 1,000 yards twice, including a 14-touchdown season in 2015. Injuries added up throughout 2018, and despite finishing the year with over 600 yards and 5 touchdowns in 13 games, he called it quits in 2019.

5. Brandon Roy

brandon roy
Brandon Roy.

Sport: Basketball

Age retired: 29

Years as a pro: 6

One thing to know: Roy was one of the NBA’s best guards and rising young talents when he ran into persistent knee problems. He initially retired in 2011 after just five years with the Portland Trail Blazers but came out of retirement after one year to play for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2012-13. He played only five games that year before injuring his knee again, and the team waived him at the end of the season. He decided to hang up his jersey for good afterward.

6. Sandy Koufax

Sandy Koufax
Sandy Koufax.

Sport: Baseball

Age retired: 30

Years as a pro: 12

One thing to know: Koufax is widely regarded as one of the best pitchers in MLB history. He was seemingly playing his best ball before he retired, posting a 1.7 ERA with 5 shutouts and winning the Cy Young Award in 1965, his final season. However, chronic pain from injuries forced him to end his playing career in 1966.

7. Patrick Willis

patrick willis
Patrick Willis.

Sport: Football

Age retired: 30

Years as a pro: 8

One thing to know: One of the most dominant linebackers in the league, Willis managed just six games in his final season because of injuries. He announced he would retire the next offseason, saying he couldn’t get over pain in his feet. He was a five-time All-Pro member.

8. Bobby Orr

bobby orr
Bobby Orr.

Sport: Hockey

Age retired: 31

Years as a pro: 12

One thing to know: One of the best defensemen in NHL history, Orr took a beating during his career. After leaving the Bruins, where he built a legendary career, he managed just 26 games in two seasons with the Blackhawks. He retired in 1979.

9. Bjorn Borg

bjron borg
Bjorn Borg.

Sport: Tennis

Age retired: 26

Years as a pro: 12

One thing to know: Borg was described as a rockstar on and off the court for his looks and icy demeanor during his sharp rise through the tennis world. It was a shock, then, in 1984, when Borg decided to retire at just 26, after winning 11 grand slams, citing mental burnout. He did attempt to come back in 1991, but was largely unsuccessful on the court and retired again in 1993.

10. Calvin Johnson

Calvin Johnson
Calvin Johnson.

Sport: Football

Age retired: 30

Years as a pro: 9

One thing to know: “Megatron” was the clear-cut best receiver in the NFL for multiple years and still put up 1,200 yards and 9 touchdowns in 2015, his final season. Johnson later admitted he retired because he didn’t feel like the Detroit Lions had a chance to win a Super Bowl and they wouldn’t trade him another team. “For the work I was putting in, it wasn’t worth my time to keep on beating my head against the wall and not going anywhere,” he later said.

11. Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan.

Sport: Basketball

Age retired: 30

Years as a pro: 9

One thing to know: Yes, it wasn’t final, but Jordan’s first retirement was so abrupt that he lands on this list. Jordan was on top of the NBA when he suddenly announced he was retiring to pursue a baseball career, spurring conspiracy theories. Of course, he would return in less than two years, play three more seasons, retire again, come back again as a member of the Wizards for two seasons, before then retiring for good.

12. Jim Brown

jim brown
Jim Brown.

Sport: Football

Age retired: 29

Years as a pro: 9

One thing to know: One of the first “shocking” retirements in sports, Brown was an eight-time rushing champion and NFL MVP in 1965, his final season. He decided to go out while on top, though he was also busy filming “The Dirty Dozen” and pursuing other business interests that conflicted with the NFL schedule.

13. Bo Jackson

bo jackson royals
Bo Jackson.

Sport: Football, baseball

Age retired: 28 (football), 31 (baseball)

Years as a pro: 4 (football), 8 (baseball)

One thing to know: Considered one of the best athletes of all-time, Jackson managed to play two sports at once, playing football with the Oakland Raiders when the MLB season ended. Jackson suffered a career-ending hip injury in the 1990 NFL season, then returned to baseball to play two more years, but was not the same player. He retired for good in 1994.

14. Yao Ming

yao ming
Yao Ming.

Sport: Basketball

Age retired: 30

Years as a pro: 9

One thing to know: Yao’s time in the NBA was relatively short, though it came after a stellar career in China. An instant-celebrity by the time he arrived in the NBA, Yao also excelled on the court, averaging 19 points and 9 rebounds per game in eight full years in the league. Unfortunately, chronic foot injuries ended his career early.

15. Ken Dryden

ken dryden
Ken Dryden.

Sport: Hockey

Age retired: 31

Years as a pro: 8

One thing to know: Dryden had a decorated career in just seven seasons as a full-time goalie: a Conn Smythe Trophy winner, five-time Vezina Trophy winner, six-time champion, and three-time leader in save percentage. He ultimately decided to move onto other things and wrote several books, did commentary, and worked as a GM after retiring.

16. Barry Sanders

barry sanders
Barry Sanders.

Sport: Football

Age retired: 31

Years as a pro: 10

One thing to know: Sanders was still at the top of his game when he decided to step away from football. He had rushed for over 2,000 yards just two seasons before. But Sanders later said that he had been pondering retirement at the beginning of the 1998 season (his last) and decided to step away from football afterward, despite being just 1,400 yards away from the all-time rushing record.

17. Chris Borland

chris borland
Chris Borland.

Sport: Football

Age retired: 24

Years as a pro: 1

One thing to know: A first-round pick who put up solid numbers as a rookie, Borland famously retired after one season, citing concerns about brain injuries and trauma. He now works with former NFL players and military veterans who suffer from traumatic injuries.

18. Dave Nilsson

dave nilsson
Dave Nilsson.

Sport: Baseball

Age retired: 30

Years as a pro: 8

One thing to know: Nilsson put together the best season of his career in 1999, batting .309 with 21 homers and 62 RBIs, making an All-Star team, then hitting free agency. Instead of cashing in, he turned down big-money offers from MLB teams to return home to Australia to play in the 2000 Olympics. He played professional in Australia afterward, but never returned to MLB.

19. Earl Campbell

earl campbell
Earl Campbell.

Sport: Football

Age retired: 31

Years as a pro: 8

One thing to know: Campbell began his career by leading the NFL in rushing three years in a row. Injuries played a part in a decline that resulted in a trade from the Houston Oilers to the New Orleans Saints in 1984. He retired in 1985, clearly no longer the same player.

20. Isiah Thomas

isiah thomas
Isiah Thomas.

Sport: Basketball

Age retired: 33

Years as a pro: 13

One thing to know: Thomas wasn’t terribly young to retire, but not many greats go out at 33, either. Thomas’ final season was the first and only time he didn’t make an All-Star team, but he still averaged a solid 15 points and 7 assists per game. He tore his Achilles in his final game, which made his decision easier, though he later said he had made up his mind to retire before the injury occurred.

21. Tiki Barber

tiki barber
Tiki Barber.

Sport: Football

Age retired: 32

Years as a pro: 10

One thing to know: Barber had one of his best seasons in 2006 before he decided to retire, rushing for over 1,600 yards, the third-best number of his career. He went into TV shortly after, and though he filed for reinstatement in 2011, he did not make a comeback.

Now, check out what happened to the other quarterbacks from Andrew Luck’s draft class…

Andrew Luck

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? All the big-name QBs taken with Andrew Luck in the 2012 NFL draft >

Read the original article on Business Insider

The world really, really needs the Olympics this year

tokyo olympics
People in Japan wear masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic in front of Olympics rings.

  • The Summer Olympics in Japan were rescheduled from 2020 to August 2021.
  • Despite concerns over the COVID pandemic and the big logistical work needed to put on the Games, they should go on.
  • The Olympics can be a symbol of hope, and hope is what we need right now.
  • This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

We really, really need the Olympics this year.

After an unprecedented period apart, holding the Olympics would be a powerful symbol that the world can start to come back together again. They can be a beacon of hope and proof of progress against the pandemic.

The Games must go on.

There are still a lot of challenges. The virus continues to claim thousands of lives around the world each day and has overwhelmed the healthcare system in places like India and Brazil. The distribution of vaccines is moving out far too slowly in most countries, including in Japan. And the organizing effort to bring in thousands of athletes from hundreds of countries to safely compete in a multi-week event will be enormous.

The Games were already pushed back from their original 2020 date, and for these reasons, there are many calling for the Olympics to be delayed again..

But while these challenges are real and the undertaking enormous, it’s important to remember what the games represent. They are a singularly powerful symbol of our common humanity. While the realities of politics are sometimes injected into the event – whether through boycotts, cheating scandals, or the occasional friction on the field – the Olympics show us that at our best it is possible for the whole world to play by the same rules.

The Games are also one of the most iconic illustrations of what humans can achieve by setting seemingly impossible goals and expending tireless effort. That is a desperately needed spirit at this moment. After the harrowing days of COVID-19, we could all use a confidence boost. The exhilarating experience of the Games can reassure us that new possibilities lay beyond the horizon.

The head of communications at the International Olympic Committee, Christian Klaue recently told me that organizers plan to build the event around a “light at the end of the tunnel” theme. This does not mean we have emerged from the darkness. The Games should not serve as a celebration or a victory lap around the track. After more than a year and a half, weariness has started to take hold. The Games can help to reinvigorate spirits for what will hopefully be the final stretch.

Under normal conditions, international coordination on the scale of the Games is an extraordinarily challenging endeavor. Klaue says the Olympics very likely, “has the most stakeholders of any event in the world.” Yet, now, even the most basic health and logistical questions result in major divisions, taking much longer to resolve. From travel to housing, meals to medical facilities, the complexity has been compounded.

Yet, we have learned and advanced enough at this point to stage a global event safely. Smaller sporting events have been able to bring in international participants and sports leagues like the NBA have implemented sophisticated contract tracing programs. Organizers have the ability to vaccinate athletes, staff, and media. Using high-quality, rapid tests, it is possible to verify on site that no one entering the facilities is infected.

In many ways COVID-19 has torn the world apart. Countries have shut their borders, hoarded vaccines, and failed to coordinate an effective global response. There is a real risk that the pandemic will only further serve to exacerbate existing inequity and divisions for years to come. Stitching that frayed fabric back together needs to start now. I can think of no better opportunity to rebuild ties than through the Olympics.

There is also a need to start imagining what comes next. The Olympics provide us with the chance to step back from the stress and struggles we presently face. What can we do better or just differently? Looking out across so much loss and devastation, one can’t help but begin to reimagine how we live.

Not since the end of World War II have we been given an opening to rethink international institutions and ideals. Steps were taken back then with the United Nations and other multilateral organizations to better manage conflicts and global crises. Clearly, there is a lot more work needed and there is no more opportune time than during a crisis.

So, let’s meet this momentous moment. Not only hold the Games, but use them to start a new dialogue with the world. What does our collective future look like and how do we get there? If we can agree to play sports, there has to be more we can do together. Let’s hold the games not because we need a break or a bright spot during a bleak period in history. Let’s hold them because they offer a unique chance for global compromise and to begin imagining how we change the way the world works.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to watch the NBA playoffs without a cable subscription

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

Kevin Durant James Harden Brooklyn Nets
  • The 2020-21 NBA postseason began on May 18 with a play-in tournament to decide playoff seeding.
  • Play-in tournament games are airing on ESPN and TNT; the playoffs will also air on ABC and NBA TV.
  • Streaming options for the NBA playoffs include live TV services, like AT&T TV, Sling TV, and more.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

The 2020-21 NBA regular season has concluded, leaving 20 teams remaining in the league’s newly adopted postseason format. Before the playoffs officially begin, the league is hosting a play-in tournament to decide the final seeding of the 2021 playoff bracket.

You can see the full 2021 NBA Playoff bracket below, including the matchups for the play-in tournament that began on May 18. So far, the Los Angeles Lakers have won the seventh seed in the Western Conference, while the Boston Celtics earned the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference.

NBA Play-in tournament

Last year, the NBA was able to finish the regular season and playoffs with 22 teams at a quarantined site in Orlando, Florida, but teams have been traveling for games this season and fans have been in attendance at some arenas. The NBA installed a detailed protocol to handle coronavirus outbreaks prior to the season and has revised guidance as necessary.

Key dates remaining in the 2020-21 NBA season

May 18 to 21 – Playoff play-in tournament

May 22 – NBA Playoffs officially begin

July 22 – NBA Finals Game Seven, if necessary

2021 NBA play-in tournament schedule

NBA play-in tournament games will be shown on TNT and ESPN.

Friday, May 21

  • (9) Memphis Grizzlies at (8) Golden State Warriors, 9 p.m. ET on ESPN

How to watch the 2021 NBA playoffs

This year’s NBA Playoffs will air on TNT, ESPN, ABC, ESPN 3, and NBA TV. Scheduling information will be announced once the play-in tournament is completed on May 21.

You can stream playoff games via the ESPN app, NBA.com, TNT.com, ABC.com, or the ABC app if you already pay for those channels through your TV provider. Games broadcast on ABC will also be available to stream via ESPN3, which is free through most popular internet providers.

If you don’t have a cable or satellite subscription, you can sign up for a live TV streaming service with access to one or more of those channels, like Sling TV, AT&T TV, Hulu + Live TV, Fubo TV, or YouTube TV to watch games live.

AT&T TV

AT&T TV is one of the most comprehensive options for streaming the NBA. Plans start at $70 a month, but NBA fans who want access to the most games will need the Choice plan for $85 a month. This package includes ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV.

TV (small)

YouTube TV

YouTubeTV offers ABC, ESPN, TNT, and NBA TV for $65 a month, providing full access to all of the major broadcast and cable networks that show NBA playoff games.

TV (small)

Sling TV

Sling TV includes ESPN and TNT as part of its Orange plan for $35 a month. Sling doesn’t include ABC, but NBA playoff games airing on that network will be simulcast on ESPN 3, which is included with Sling’s Orange plan. Subscribers can add NBA TV via the Sling Sports Extra package for an additional $11 a month.

TV (small)

Hulu + Live TV

Hulu + Live TV features access to ESPN, TNT, and ABC for $65 a month. However, NBA TV is not offered. On the plus side, Hulu + Live TV does include access to Hulu’s entire on-demand library of shows and movies. You can also bundle ESPN+ and Disney Plus with the service for an extra $8 a month.

+ Live TV (small)

Fubo TV

Fubo TV includes ESPN, ABC, and NBA TV for $80 a month under its Elite plan. On the downside, TNT is not currently available.

TV (small)

NBA TV

If you just need access to NBA TV or are only interested in watching the games televised on that network, you can sign up to stream the NBA TV channel directly. The service costs $7 a month or $20 for the rest of the season.

2021 NBA playoff schedule

The NBA playoffs will officially begin on May 22. Dates listed in the schedule below only go up to game four of the first-round playoff series. Later games in each series will be added as times are confirmed.

The two top-seeded teams, the Utah Jazz and Philadelphia 76ers, will know their first-round opponents after the conclusion of the play-in tournament.

Saturday, May 22

  • (6) Miami Heat at (3) Milwaukee Bucks, 2 p.m. ET on ESPN
  • (5) Dallas Mavericks at (4) Los Angeles Clippers, 4:30 p.m. on ESPN
  • (7) Boston Celtics at (2) Brooklyn Nets, 8 p.m. ET on ABC/ESPN 3
  • (6) Portland Trail Blazers at (3) Denver Nuggets, 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

Sunday, May 23

  • TBD at (1) Philadelphia 76ers, 1 p.m. ET on ESPN
  • (7) Los Angeles Lakers at (2) Phoenix Suns, 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC/ESPN 3
  • (5) Atlanta Hawks at (4) New York Knicks, 7 p.m. ET on TNT
  • TBD at (1) Utah Jazz, 9:30 p.m. ET on TNT

Monday, May 24

  • (6) Miami Heat at (3) Milwaukee Bucks, 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT
  • (6) Portland Trail Blazers at (3) Denver Nuggets, 10 p.m. ET on TNT

Tuesday, May 25

  • (7) Boston Celtics at (2) Brooklyn Nets, 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT
  • (7) Los Angeles Lakers at (2) Phoenix Suns, 10 p.m. ET on ABC/ESPN 3
  • (5) Dallas Mavericks at (4) Los Angeles Clippers, 10:30 p.m. on NBA TV

Wednesday, May 26

  • TBD at (1) Philadelphia 76ers, 7 p.m. ET on NBA TV
  • (5) Atlanta Hawks at (4) New York Knicks, 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT
  • TBD at (1) Utah Jazz, 10 p.m. ET on TNT

Thursday, May 27

  • (3) Milwaukee Bucks at (6) Miami Heat, 7:30 p.m. ET on TNT
  • (2) Phoenix Suns at (7) Los Angeles Lakers, 10 p.m. ET on TNT
  • (3) Denver Nuggets at (6) Portland Trail Blazers, 10:30 p.m. ET on NBA TV

Friday, May 28

  • (4) New York Knicks at (5) Atlanta Hawks, 7 p.m. ET on ESPN
  • (2) Brooklyn Nets at (7) Boston Celtics, 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC/ESPN 3
  • (4) Los Angeles Clippers at (5) Dallas Mavericks, 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

Saturday, May 29

  • (3) Milwaukee Bucks at (6) Miami Heat, 1:30 p.m. ET on TNT
  • (3) Denver Nuggets at (6) Portland Trail Blazers, 4 p.m. ET on TNT
  • (1) Philadelphia 76ers at TBD
  • (1) Utah Jazz at TBD

Sunday, May 30

  • (4) New York Knicks at (5) Atlanta Hawks, 1 p.m. ET on ABC/ESPN 3
  • (2) Phoenix Suns at (7) Los Angeles Lakers, 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC
  • (2) Brooklyn Nets at (7) Boston Celtics, 7 p.m. ET on TNT
  • (4) Los Angeles Clippers at (5) Dallas Mavericks, 9:30 p.m. ET on TNT
Read the original article on Business Insider