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Kevin Durant ripped the media's coverage of his pending free agency during his postgame press conference on Wednesday night. Can't say I disagree with him.
Why it matters: One of the most remarkable things about the current NBA season is how little the media seems to care about it. Instead, much of the discussion has been centered around this summer's free agency.
The big picture: The NBA has always been a personality-driven league, and now that players are switching teams and joining forces more frequently than ever, free agency literally gets more attention than the games themselves.
The bottom line: The players helped create this reality, so it's easy to roll your eyes and say, "Oh please, Kevin Durant, stop complaining." And yet, we shouldn't give the media a pass on this.
Look: Trade deadline tracker (biggest trades: Harrison Barnes to the Kings, Otto Porter Jr. to the Bulls)
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
StockX is an online sneaker marketplace that mimics the stock market, allowing sneaker-heads to track specific items and decide when to buy, sell or hold. It also authenticates every purchase, eliminating the scammers who plague other re-sellers like eBay.
What's happening: StockX has attracted people who have no interest in shoes — just the gains they can make from flipping them. The result is a "tectonic shift" in the makeup of the consumer.
"You got these kids now, they beg their parents, 'aw, mom, please buy me a pair of those,' and when their parents hesitate, they're showing them, like, look I can make $1000 on these. Now all of a sudden their parents are hooked. They camp out sometimes for their kids."— Sean Williams, co-founder of Obsessive Sneaker Disorder and industry veteran
Between the lines: To make matters more dystopian, the sneaker marketplace is also dealing with the same "botting" issue that the ticket marketplace has dealt with for years.
The big picture: Regardless of where the blame lies — whether it's with StockX, sneaker flippers or capitalism, itself — the outcome is the same: "A culture lives and dies with the passion it inspires in its participants, and the passion is draining from the most devoted," writes Taylor.
"Why am I gonna be mad at a kid for making money off this? ... Sneakers are the new brick of cocaine or pound of weed, and now instead of having to flip some weed and maybe get locked up for it, they can go get a couple pairs of Jordans and be set for a while after the flip."
The bottom line, courtesy of our very own sneaker-head, Mike Sykes: StockX is both a gift and a curse. It's a failsafe when you lose out on a drop and an avenue to make money, but it's also turned culture into commerce.
Best class: Alabama's No. 1 recruiting class finished with an average signee rating of 94.38, making it the second highest-rated class ever behind only 2017 Ohio State.
Best two-sport athletes: Running back Jerrion Ealy (No. 19 recruit in ESPN 300) committed to Ole Miss on Wednesday, while cornerback Maurice Hampton (No. 107) signed with LSU. What makes them special: they're both projected first-round MLB draft picks.
Best thing I read: "In the era of what some academics call 'we-parenting,' is it any wonder that parents also suit up in full football uniforms for signing day?" The helicopter parent has descended upon college football. (NYT)
Best overview: Something to know about every top 25 class
Left to right: Serge Savard, Guy LaFleur and Yvon Cournoyer pose with the Conn Smythe Trophy (MVP of the playoffs) awarded to LaFleur after the Canadiens swept the Bruins in the 1977 Stanley Cup Final. Photo: Denis Brodeur/NHLI/Getty Images
On the heels of yet another Super Bowl win for the sports dynasty of our time, the New England Patriots, ESPN decided to rank the 10 most dominant dynasties in another sport: hockey.
6. Chicago Blackhawks (2009-15), 7. Detroit Red Wings (1947-56). 8. Montreal Canadiens (1964-69), 9. Toronto Maple Leafs (1944-51), 10. Toronto Maple Leafs (1962-67)
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There are 27 players in the 500 homer club, but only 4 of them have won at least 3 championships.
Answer at the bottom.
Lake Weissensee in Austria has become the replacement site for the Netherlands-based Elfstedentocht. Photo: Vincent Jannink/AFP/Getty Images
"Speedskating on natural ice is a beloved Dutch national pastime. The tradition is alive and well — just not necessarily in the Netherlands, where climate change now yields winters too warm for the waterways to freeze over with any consistency," writes the NYT's Andrew Keh.
Michelle Kwan (silver), Tara Lipinski (gold) and Chen Lu (bronze). Photo: Mike Powell/Getty Images
21 years ago today, the 1998 Winter Olympics began in Nagano, Japan. It was a historic Games, as snowboarding and women's hockey made their Olympics debuts and NHL players were allowed to compete in men's hockey for the first time.
Memorable performance: After winning both the U.S. and world championships, 17-year-old Michelle Kwan came to Japan expecting a coronation. But 15-year-old Tara Lipinski had other ideas, stealing America's hearts and winning gold (Kwan won silver).
The 18th green at Pebble Beach. Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images
The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am kicks off today. For the 10th year in a row, it will be played on a 3-course rotation of Spyglass Hill, the Shore Course at Monterey Peninsula Country Club and iconic Pebble Beach (in a preview of this year's U.S. Open).
Watch: Tournament preview
Kendall "Imagine winning a gold medal at 15" Baker
Trivia answer: Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, Mickey Mantle, David Ortiz