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Today's word count: 1,542 (5 minutes)
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Team USA lost to France, 89-79, in the quarterfinals of the FIBA World Cup — a loss that fans knew could happen but never actually believed would.
The silver lining: It's "hard to view this development as anything other than a positive, for several reasons," writes The Ringer’s Zach Kram, citing growth of the sport, among other things.
What's next: Team USA plays Serbia today in the 5th-place game, while France plays Argentina in tomorrow's semifinal (the other semifinal is Spain-Australia).
The impact: This evolution has resulted in a revolution at multiple positions, both on offense and defense.
See it in action: When the Panthers host the Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football (8:20pm ET, NFLN), we'll get to see 2 of these modern "archetypes" go head-to-head. They'll be matched up all over the field.
Photo: Horsephotos/Getty Images
Explosive news out of the world of horse racing: 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify failed a drug test in the weeks leading up to that year's Kentucky Derby, NYT reports.
Why it matters: Under the rules in place at the time, Justify should have been disqualified from the Derby. Instead, the failed test was swept under the rug and Justify became the 13th Triple Crown winner in history.
By the numbers: Following this historic feat, the horse's owners sold Justify's breeding rights for a record $75 million. The Kentucky Derby victory, alone, was worth an estimated $15 million.
Details: Justify tested positive for scopolamine, a substance normally used to treat "stomach or intestinal problems, such as nausea and muscle spasms, in humans."
"Instead of the failed drug test causing a speedy disqualification, the California Horse Racing Board took more than a month to confirm the results," per NYT.
The backdrop: Justify failed the test after a race at Santa Anita Park, the storied Los Angeles-area racetrack that has been under intense scrutiny because of the deaths of 30 horses there since Dec. 26.
The bottom line: Between the rising death toll at Santa Anita, the controversial 2019 Kentucky Derby finish and now this nightmare — has any sport had a worse year than horse racing?
Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Orioles infielder Jonathan Villar hit the 6,106th home run of 2019 last night, officially breaking the MLB single-season record … with 3 weeks left to spare.
The irony: The fact that the record-setting dinger was hit by a member of the 2019 Orioles — the team that has surrendered more of them than any team in history (by a lot) — is hilarious.
The race for 50: Last season, just 3 players hit 40+ HR. This season, 6 players have already accomplished that feat and plenty more are closing in.
Team leaders: Both the Twins (277) and Yankees (276) have blown past the previous single-season mark (267), and an incredible 16 teams are on pace to set a franchise record.
The Seattle storm bench celebrating the win. Photo: Alika Jenner/Getty Images
"On a night when Seattle Storm MVP candidate Natasha Howard was held to two points and WNBA 3-point percentage leader Alysha Clark made only one triple, Seattle turned to the backcourt for scoring punch ... against the Minnesota Lynx."
Elsewhere: The Chicago Sky beat the Phoenix Mercury 105-76 behind 25 points from Diamond DeShields — the most points scored by a player in their playoff debut since Candice Dupree scored 32 in 2010.
P.S. ... Speaking of women in sports, super proud of my friends over at The GIST for their recent U.S. launch. They're on a mission to make sports media more inclusive for women. Check them out.
Photo: Tracy Wilcox/PGA Tour via Getty Images
To the shock of many, Rory McIlory was name the PGA Tour's Player of the Year yesterday — an award that seemed destined to go to Brooks Koepka.
How it works: While the PGA of America's award is determined based on a points system, the PGA Tour award relies on player voting, with members who played in at least 15 FedEx Cup events during the season casting ballots.
The big picture: This result suggests that players believe McIlroy's body of work over a whole season surpasses that of Koepka, who played his best golf in the majors.
"I think this speaks volumes of what PGA Tour players feel is important. I think players don't just feel that four weeks a year is important, it's more than that. We play a lot more. Why do we play 25 times a year if only four weeks are important?"— McIlory, who had a hard time grasping that he'd won
Go deeper: Rory's win is going to make Brooks Koepka mad — and it should (ESPN)
40 years ago today, the Indiana Pacers cut Ann Meyers one week after signing her to a $50,000 contract that saw her join the team's 1979 rookie camp.
Where is she now? Meyers moved to the broadcast booth that season and later played in the WPBL. Today, she's the vice president of the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury and a color analyst for the Suns.
Go deeper: 40 years later, Meyers is still blazing trails (Yahoo Sports)
Since the NFL expanded to 32 teams in 2002, only 2 teams have gone from last place in their division to first place and won the Super Bowl in that same season.
Answer at the bottom.
The New Yorker's Kashmir Hill went on a poker-playing tour of Texas, where poker clubs have been flourishing despite gambling being illegal. Then she wrote a story about it.
Why it matters: Hill examines one of the business lessons of our time: If your idea isn't exactly legal, do it anyway and hope customers love it enough that the law changes.
"Companies such as Uber, Airbnb, Tesla, and DraftKings see opportunity within the risks of semi-legality. They dive into legal gray areas where less-daring competitors fear to tread; by the time lawmakers take notice, such companies are often 'too big to ban.'
"At that point ... regulatory entrepreneurs might employ 'traditional political techniques,' such as lobbying, to change the law in their favor. In theory, this opens the market to law-abiding rivals. In practice, it's often too late for them to catch up."
Kendall "Justify, how could you?!" Baker
Trivia answer: Saints (2009) and Eagles (2017)