👋 Good morning!
Today's word count: 1,260 words (<5 mins)
We've reached the point in the NBA's ever-evolving player empowerment era where fans must simply accept that their team's best players will probably leave at some point.
Why it matters: These days, it feels like the best — heck, maybe the only — way to follow the NBA is to be a fan of the league as a whole rather than rooting for one team. There are pros and cons to this.
The bottom line: The NBA's nomadic era means more headlines, more tweets and more drama than ever before. But at what cost?
With the season just past the halfway mark, the divisional and wild card races are beginning to take shape. Buckle up, everybody.
Midseason awards (via The Ringer):
Rob Mendez. Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
High school football coach Rob Mendez, who was born without arms or legs, received the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at last night's ESPY Awards.
Go deeper: ESPYs recap
Courtesy: The Renaissance Club
⛳️ Golf: The Scottish Open begins today at The Renaissance Club, which should help the gorgeous course step out from the shadow of its much more famous neighbor, Muirfield. It also gives players one last shot to qualify for next week's British Open.
🏀 NBA: Chauncey Billups on why Carmelo Anthony is out of the league: "Scoring 30 meant too much to Melo. He could have games where he had 20, 22 [points], we win the game and he's mad. He might have 36 … we lose the game, and he's in there picking everybody up. … The reason why he's not in the league is he hasn't mentally taken that step back to say, 'OK, I'll come in and play against the back-ups. I'll try to help the team out.'"
🏈 CFB: Meet Alexander Honig, the 17-year-old German prospect "poised to take college football by storm," per Bleacher Report. What they're saying: "If you were to build a quarterback, this is what it would look like."
🏒 NHL: Early 2019–20 fantasy rankings, top 10 players: Nikita Kucherov (TB), Nathan MacKinnon (COL), Connor McDavid (EDM), Andrei Vasilevskiy (TB), John Tavares (TOR), Johnny Gaudreau (CGY), David Pastrnak (BOS), Alex Ovechkin (WAS), Patrick Kane (CHI), Brad Marchand (BOS).
🏈 NFL: Kevin Warren recently left the NFL to become the commissioner of the Big Ten. But if Roger Goodell steps down as NFL commissioner in, say, 2023, he appears to be a frontrunner to replace him, per The Athletic (subscription).
"While two-sport high school stars are nothing new, athletes are specializing in a single sport increasingly early, and almost all are forced to choose one by the time they reach college. Murray's successful but unconventional path may not prove easy to replicate, but his short-term influence on the next generation of athletes is clear."
"[Moe] Berg loved baseball. … But world events soon compelled him to rethink that stance. … And by the time World War II erupted in September 1939, he decided he had to fight the Nazis."
"Overtime's ambitions are based on a premise slightly contrary to the conventional wisdom. Their idea is that the old model of live televised sports requires a patience and interest in sustained engagement that the younger demographic might not ever develop."
Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images
34 years ago today, Nolan Ryan became the first pitcher in MLB history to strike out 4,000 batters (watch). He was 38 years old at the time and continued pitching until age 46.
MLB all-time strikeout leaders:
After 21 seasons and three Stanley Cup titles, 42-year-old Matt Cullen officially called it quits yesterday.
Answer at the bottom.
Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Seven-year NBA veteran Chase Budinger earned more than $18 million playing small forward for the Rockets, Timberwolves, Pacers and Suns.
Fast forward: After his career stalled in 2017, Budinger transitioned to beach volleyball and has spent the last two years establishing himself as one of the best players in the world.
P.S. ... Another fun fact: Did you know that Wilt Chamberlain is enshrined in the Volleyball Hall of Fame?
See you tomorrow,
Kendall "Don't let the Orioles get hot" Baker
Trivia answer: Patrick Marleau (1,657) and Joe Thornton (1,566)