👋 Good morning! Let's begin with one of the most shocking stats of all time:
Today's word count: 1,374 words (~5 mins)
The U.S. women's national team will bask in a ticker-tape parade through Manhattan today — and then it's back to work.
What's happening: In the wake of the Americans' fourth World Cup title, the hard part remains: boosting interest in the National Women's Soccer League, where all 23 members of the USWNT spend their springs and summers.
The big picture: While the NWSL still boasts the majority of the world's top players (including reigning world player of the year Marta), Europe is beginning to close the gap.
The bottom line: The seven-year-old NWSL has already survived longer than its predecessors, the Women's United Soccer Association (2001-03) and Women's Professional Soccer (2007-12), so they're clearly doing plenty of things right.
P.S. … The USWNT will return to action on August 3 at the Rose Bowl in a friendly against Ireland.
Indians pitcher Shane Bieber was named MVP. Photo: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
"The good folks of Cleveland can't help themselves, always hoping for the best, but bracing themselves for the worst," USA Today's Bob Nightengale writes:
What they're saying:
Miss you, Stuart. Photo: Allen Berezovsky/WireImage
Nominees (full list):
P.S. ... It's been over four years since we lost Stuart Scott. Here's his speech after receiving the Jimmy V Award in 2014 if you're interested in crying/appreciating life this morning.
This hilarious photo is from 2012. Seven years later, Djokovic, Federer and Nadal are still on top. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
In 1999 and 2009, just one male tennis player in the top 25 exceed 30 years of age.
Women's bracket: Tomorrow's semifinals are set:
Mixed doubles: Serena and Andy Murray have teamed up to make mixed doubles the most exciting ticket at Wimbledon.
"Considering that neither Serena nor Andy is known for possessing an especially sunny on-court demeanor — he's a high-strung stress case, she's a larger-than-life opera goddess — it's just frankly wonderful to see them so relaxed. They're smiling. They're making little jokes with each other. As a fan, I'm taking a minute to enjoy this feeling."— The Ringer's Bryan Curtis (full article)
1. NBA adds coach's challenges: The NBA Board of Governors has approved the implementation of NFL-style coach's challenges for next season.
2. New way to evaluate defense: FiveThirtyEight has developed a new metric called DRAYMOND (Defensive Rating Accounting for Yielding Minimal Openness by Nearest Defender) to measure which players are the best at limiting open shots.
3. Today I learned: To promote homegrown talent in the Chinese Basketball Association, each team is allowed just two non-Chinese players and only one of them can stay on the floor in the final period.
20 years ago today, the U.S. women's national team outlasted China 5-4 in an epic penalty shootout to win the 1999 World Cup.
Details: It was Brandi Chastain's final spot kick that sealed the deal for the U.S. after 120 minutes of scoreless play. Please enjoy.
"It was complete slow-motion between my foot and the net ... And when it hit the net: an explosion. Noise, cheering, cameras, teammates, everything."— Brandi Chastain
The impact: This final remains one of the biggest stages women's sports has ever seen, with 90,000+ fans in attendance at the Rose Bowl and 40+ million watching from home.
Serena Williams' victory over Alison Riske was her 97th career win at Wimbledon, moving her past Chris Evert for second-most by a woman in the Open Era.
Answer at the bottom.
Need this event to be part of next year's All-Star Weekend. Better yet, MLB should add an entire skills competition to keep the Home Run Derby vibes going for longer than just a few hours.
Event idea: This, but a baseball version with outfield throws and/or pitches:
Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Julio Jones topped DeAndre Hopkins with 54.9% of the vote. Thanks to all who participated! This was fun.
Runners-up: DeAndre Hopkins (2nd place), Antonio Brown (3rd), Odell Beckham Jr. (4th), Michael Thomas (5th)
Today, we're launching Axios Cities, a once-weekly newsletter by my brilliant colleague Kim Hart that will focus on technological and demographic trends shaping cities — the economic engines of the world.
See you tomorrow,
Kendall "Belichick has a CANNON" Baker
Trivia answer: Martina Navratilova (120)