👋 Happy Monday! Let's sports.
Today's word count: 1,398 (~5 min).
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
UConn recently announced that it's leaving the American Athletic Conference to rejoin the Big East (in all sports besides football) — a fitting full-circle moment to what was a "Decade of Realignment" in college sports.
Rewind: In 2010, TV money was exploding, and universities were suddenly willing to abandon traditions and extinguish rivalries in the name of revenue.
The first wave (2010):
The second wave (2011–14):
The big picture: Nine years later, every conference in America is still feeling the ripples of realignment. Which begs the question: Who won and who lost? The list is long but here are a few...
David Robinson (left) and Tim Duncan in 2002. Photo: Paul Buck/AFP/Getty Images
During the 2011-12 NBA season, two-big lineups played 58.8% of minutes league-wide, per FiveThirtyEight. Last season, they played just 6.4% — a byproduct of the small-ball revolution.
What's new: A number of teams look poised to devote significant minutes to two-big lineups next season, meaning we may have reached peak small-ball and could be in for a shift in playing style.
Egan Bernal (left) is congratulated by teammate Geraint Thomas as he crosses the finish line. Photo: Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images
22-year-old Colombian Egan Bernal won the Tour de France yesterday, becoming the event's youngest champion in 110 years and the first South American to ever win.
"I feel this is not only my triumph, but the triumph of a whole country. ... My dad couldn't talk at first, but when he managed, he congratulated me. He was about to cry. For us, it's a dream. We used to watch the Tour on TV and we thought it was something unreachable."— Egan Bernal, per NBC
Final standings: Remarkably, none of the top four riders won a single stage. Alaphilippe, who finished in fifth, won two.
MLB commissioner Ron Manfred (left) talking to MLBPA chief Tony Clark. Photo: LG Patterson/MLB via Getty Images
Earlier this month, the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) fired longtime attorney Rick Shapiro and replaced him with Bruce Meyer, a man with no previous baseball experience.
Why it matters: The firing has created division within the union, The Athletic reports (subscription) — a potential cause for concern given the sensitive timing. Remember: the current collective bargaining agreement expires on Dec. 1, 2021, and the MLBPA and MLB have already begun negotiations.
What's happening: Shapiro’s dismissal was abrupt, but tensions had reportedly been building amongst multiple factions for some time, with one agent describing the situation as "straight out of 'Game of Thrones.'"
The opening ceremony. Photo: Keystoe-France/Gamma Rapho via Getty Images
71 years ago today, the Summer Olympics began in London. After a 12-year hiatus due to World War II, these were the first Summer Games since 1936 (Berlin).
The backdrop: Like many countries, Britain's economy was struggling to recover from the war, so the government needed to host the Games on the cheap.
Go deeper: The real austerity Games (The Guardian)
Answer at the bottom.
Caroline Marks. Photo: Kelly Cestari/World Surf League via Getty Images
In April, 17-year-old Caroline Marks became the top-ranked surfer on the World Surf League Women's Championship Tour, the youngest woman to ever hold that distinction.
Why it matters: The Melbourne Beach, Fla., native looks like the future face of American women's surfing — and her rise to stardom comes at a pivotal time for the sport.
See you tomorrow,
Kendall “Tony Clark’s goatee is legendary” Baker
Trivia answer: Arsenal, Chelsea, Leicester City, Manchester City, Manchester United, Blackburn Rovers