💔 Good morning. In case it got buried in your inbox, here's my Kobe Bryant tribute from last night. Thanks for bearing with me as I navigate how to best cover this.
Australian Open update...
Today's word count: 1,137 words (4 minutes).
Nope, still doesn't feel real. The world is at a standstill.
Super Bowl Opening Night, traditionally one of the zaniest events of the season, took a more somber tone, as players and coaches grappled with the news.
The bottom line: It's remarkable how insignificant the biggest sporting event in America feels right now.
PHILADELPHIA — Fans gathered at Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pa. to pay their respects to the school's most famous alumni. "His presence was always here," said one recent graduate. "He would come back and sit on our bench and cheer us on. He always came back. He never left the community."
LOS ANGELES — Murals have popped up all over L.A. as the city mourns. Text from my uncle, who lives there: "The guy who stocks produce at my grocery store had a little transistor radio on his cart — listening to local radio — and crying. Was at LAX earlier and everyone just looked like zombies."
MANILA, Philippines — A memorial wall near the "House of Kobe" gym built in honor of his 2016 visit to the Philippines. "Sport is the vehicle through which we change the world," said Bryant in 2018. "The next generation is going to carry [us] forward."
HARTFORD, Conn. — A jersey honoring Gianna "Gigi" Bryant sat on the UConn bench ahead of the Huskies' exhibition game vs. Breanna Stewart, Sue Bird and Team USA. She'd always dreamed of playing there one day.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Several players and agents have been approached about participating in a new star-driven global golf tour called the Premier Golf League (PGL), according to multiple reports.
Details: The tour would consist of 18 events and feature 48-player fields, 54-hole competitions (so three days with no cut) and $10 million purses. The mysterious entity behind the tour is also reportedly exploring a team concept similar to Formula One racing, plus an identical women's format.
The backdrop: 25 years ago, Greg Norman and Rupert Murdoch attempted to get a similar concept off the ground, but the PGA Tour squashed it like a bug.
What they're saying: "Those guys have been talking to a few of us for six years,'' said Rory McIlroy at the Farmers Insurance Open this weekend.
Baylor is No. 1 in the Men's AP poll for a second straight week, bringing a rare bit of stability to the top of the rankings in what has been a wildly unpredictable season.
Go deeper: Overachievers, underachievers by conference (ESPN)
Oregon moved up to No. 3 in the AP women's poll after beating rival Oregon State twice in a 48-hour span.
Go deeper: Behind Kobe and Gigi Bryant's shared passion for women's basketball (NowThis)
Two years ago today, Roger Federer beat Marin Čilić to win his record sixth Australian Open title and become the first man to win 20 Grand Slams.
"Last year we were calling this a Federer revival. I don't think it's a revival anymore. It's a whole new chapter — Federer re-writing the rules for what's possible for an aging player. ... You're lucky, folks. You lived in an era in which you can order a burrito on an iPad, and you saw Serena and Roger."— Jason Gay, WSJ
Go deeper: Federer's emotional speech (YouTube)
Photos from the 2020 Vuelta a San Juan, a road cycling race currently underway in Argentina.
Photo: Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Image
Philip Rivers and the Chargers appear headed for a breakup after 16 seasons together.
Answer at the bottom.
SB Nation's Matt Ellentuck asked his Twitter followers to name the second-most random basketball player they could think of, and the results made me so remember so many guys.
💬 Question for you: Who is the second-most random football player you can think of?
Kendall "Look at all of these comments" Baker
Trivia answer: Drew Brees (547), Tom Brady (541), Peyton Manning (539), Brett Favre (508), Dan Marino (420)