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Today's word count: 1,602 (6 minutes)
Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images
In his first comments since the Lakers returned from playing 2 exhibition games in China, LeBron James added another chapter to the NBA's ongoing saga — and created a PR nightmare.
Driving the news: James told reporters at Staples Center that Morey was "misinformed or not really educated" when he sent the pro-Hong Kong tweet heard 'round the world.
The clarification: After seeing the backlash his comments caused, James issued a clarification, saying that the "misinformed" remarks were about Morey not understanding the consequences of his tweet, not the tweet's substance:
The bottom line, per SB Nation's Tom Ziller: "This episode doesn't diminish LeBron's social advocacy on domestic issues. He's made real, positive change for kids in Akron and beyond."
Go deeper: Inside what went on among Nets and Lakers players on the ground in China amid the conflict (The Athletic)
Ryan Zimmerman celebrating Howie Kendricks' 5th-inning RBI double. Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images
From 19-31 in May to the brink of the World Series in October. The 2019 Washington Nationals are a miracle — just don't tell that to RF Adam Eaton.
Last night: Strasburg took his turn silencing St. Louis' bats, postseason star Howie Kendrick drove in 3 runs and the Nationals beat the Cardinals, 8-1, to take a 3-0 lead in the NLCS.
What they're saying: "Some crowd roars in sports are different. Especially if those roars have been on hold for 86 years," writes the Washington Post's Thomas Boswell.
By the numbers:
What's next: If the Cardinals want to send this series back to St. Louis, they'll need to beat $140 million lefty Patrick Corbin and Sánchez, who carried a no-hitter into the 8th in Game 1.
Go deeper: The Nats, one win from World Series, are providing a doubt-free sense of release (WashPost)
Photo: Scott Taetsch/Getty Images
Mason Crosby drilled a 23-yard FG as time expired to lead the Packers past the Lions, 23-22, on "Monday Night Football."
The controversy: Green Bay benefited from some questionable officiating, most notably 2 fourth-quarter penalties for illegal hands to the face against Detroit's Trey Flowers.
What they're saying: ESPN's Booger McFarland was ripping the refs from the booth, and that same frustration was prevalent around the league:
A potential solution: This offseason, some coaches wanted to add a "Sky Judge" to the officiating crew — someone who could call down and fix calls that were obviously wrong.
TALLADEGA, ALA. — In the 5th race of the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs, a wild last 2 laps ended with Ryan Blaney beating Ryan Newman to the line in a photo finish. His margin of victory? 0.007 seconds.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Colorado Avalanche beat the Washington Capitals, 6-3, for their 5th straight win to start the season. They're the only undefeated team remaining (and the Devils are the only winless one). See the standings.
GREEN BAY, WIS. — Dear Lions fans, I know last night was tough. To cheer you up, I've included a photo of Kenny Golladay performing an impressive athletic maneuver. Hope it helps.
Bulgarian fans doing Nazi salutes. Photo: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
England's 6-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win against Bulgaria was halted not once, but twice, following racist chants directed at England's black players.
The backdrop: The game was played in a stadium in Sofia, Bulgaria, where 5,000 seats were already closed off as a UEFA punishment for racist chants during qualifiers against Kosovo and the Czech Republic.
The big picture: Over the last decade, UEFA has handed down supporter bans to clubs and national teams in Hungary, Italy, Serbia, Croatia, Romania, Ukraine, Moldova, Russia, Spain, France, Poland and Greece for racist behavior.
30 years ago today, Wayne Gretzky, then with the Kings, passed Gordie Howe to become the NHL's all-time points leader — and he did it against his former team, the Oilers.
Absolutely wild stat: If Gretzky never scored any of his 894 career goals (also an NHL record), he would still be the league's all-time leading point scorer with 1,963 assists.
Go deeper: Top 10 Wayne Gretzky moments (YouTube)
Cristiano Ronaldo became the 6th player in soccer history to score 700 goals for club and country in Portugal's loss to Ukraine yesterday.
Answer at the bottom.
Over 2,000 sailboats passed underneath the "Victory Lighthouse" in northeastern Italy's Gulf of Trieste during the 51st edition of the historic Barcolana — the biggest sailing regatta in the world.
⚾️ Angels employee details team's knowledge of Skaggs' drug use (T.J. Quinn, ESPN)
"A public relations employee for the Los Angeles Angels told federal investigators that he provided oxycodone to Tyler Skaggs and abused it with him for years, and that two team officials were told about Skaggs' drug use long before his death."
🏈 America obsessed over Janet Jackson. But the NFL secretly enraged China. (Andrew Beaton and Ben Cohen, WSJ)
"Americans remember one infamous moment from the 2004 Super Bowl. The Chinese were offended by another one — and it derailed the NFL's strategy in the world's most populous country."
🎓 An academic take on sports rivalries (Victor Mather, NYT)
"Which rivalries are most intense? Can a team have more than one rival? What if the hatred isn't returned? Two professors wanted answers."
This week, we'll be listening to "The Sterling Affairs," a 5-part podcast about basketball in Los Angeles, a ruthless real estate empire and the scandal that rocked the NBA.
⏪ Yesterday's episode: "That Tape" — A domestic battle boils over and sends the NBA into crisis when secretly recorded tapes of Donald Sterling and his mistress V. Stiviano leak on TMZ.
"My initial reaction after listening to Episode 1 was, 'I can't believe this sort of thing actually happens.' The drama and buildup matches a plot line that is ripe for an HBO series. I'm excited to see where this goes."— Axios Sports reader, Owen S. (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
▶️ Today's episode: "Showtime" — Throughout the 80s and 90s, the Clippers were horrible and Sterling was known as the worst owner in sports. But he wasn't the joke we all thought he was.
"The most fascinating thing about working on this was realizing it was a story about both L.A. teams. Donald helped Jerry Buss get the money he needed to buy the Lakers, then they turned into 'Showtime' and Donald was jealous of that. In many ways, it was the psychological poison pill at the heart of all of this."— Host/producer Jody Avirgan
🎧 Listen: Ep. 2: "Showtime" (50 minutes)
Kendall "Mr. Newsletter" Baker
Trivia answer: Lionel Messi (672 goals) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (535)