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Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing. Grab your baseball cap and take my hand as we travel back in time...
Welcome to July 1969. The Zodiac Killer is on the loose, the first U.S. troop withdrawals from Vietnam have been ordered by President Nixon, and Bill Russell's Celtics are still celebrating their NBA Finals victory over Jerry West and the heavily favored Lakers.
July 20 (4:17pm ET):
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored two goals in the LA Galaxy's 4-3 win over LAFC in their first-ever meeting last season. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images
The rivalry between LAFC and the LA Galaxy is just a year and a half old, but it's already arguably the best in MLS.
Driving the news: Ahead of the teams' first meeting of 2019 tonight (10pm ET, ESPN), all eyes are on LAFC star Carlos Vela and Galaxy star Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The big picture: Did I mention LAFC is the best team in MLS? And that the Galaxy isn't far behind? Top five teams by record (full standings):
The bottom line: LAFC, led by former USMNT head coach Bob Bradley, is an absolute juggernaut. Their goal differential? A whopping +34. The next best goal differential? NYCFC's +8.
P.S. ... In other soccer news, Senegal takes on Algeria in the Africa Cup of Nations Final at 3pm ET today.
The Basketball Tournament (TBT) is a 64-team, single-elimination tournament with a $2 million prize. The action gets started today and runs through the first week of August.
We'll have more in-depth coverage next week, including an interview with founder Jon Mugar. Stay tuned!
During his show yesterday, ESPN's Dan Le Batard denounced the scene at President Trump's latest rally, calling the chants of "send her back" directed at Congresswoman Ilhan Omar "un-American" and "deeply offensive."
"There's a racial division in this country that's being instigated by the president and we here at ESPN haven't had the stomach for that fight."
"Jemele [Hill] did some things on Twitter and … all of a sudden nobody talks politics on anything unless we can use one of these sports figures as a meat-shield in the most cowardly way possible to discuss these subjects."
"We won't talk about it unless Russell Wilson is saying something about it on his Instagram page. Then we have the power to run with it. Weak-ass shield."
⚾️ MLB: Stephen Strasburg went 3-3 with a monster home run and five RBIs (franchise record for a pitcher) in the Nationals' 13-4 win over the Braves. He also won his fifth straight start and is now 12-4. Have a night, kid!!!
🏈 NFL fun fact: The top five teams by record over the last decade: Patriots (123-37), Steelers (103-56-1), Packers (100-58-2), Saints (100-60) and Seahawks (94-65-1).
🥍 Lacrosse: The PLL will experiment with two rules during Sunday's All-Star Game. Rule 1: After goals in the second quarter, goalies will take the ball out of the net and immediately start play (like basketball). ... Rule 2: In the third quarter, faceoffs will be replaced by ball drops (like hockey). More on the PLL.
23 years ago today, the 1996 Summer Olympics opened in Atlanta with 197 competing countries, including 11 former Soviet nations that had previously boycotted the Games.
What's next: The Summer Olympics will return to the U.S. in 2028 when Los Angeles hosts for the third time (1932, 1984).
Go deeper: Highlights from the 1996 Olympics
Answer at the bottom.
Reigning world time trial champion Rohan Dennis was racing through Stage 12 of the Tour de France when he suddenly disappeared — and nobody seems to know why.
"Text messages to him have gone unanswered. There is no official explanation. He is not sick; he is not injured. And so nobody knows, not for sure anyway, why he [quit]."— Caley Fretz of Cycling Tips (full article)
Go deeper: Live Tour updates.
📺 Kendrick Perkins and the Making of an NBA Talking Head (The Ringer)
"In the player empowerment era, we need someone who can explain the players who run the league — who can tell us not just what they'll do but how they feel. Say hello to Big Perk."
🥊 Manny Pacquiao Might Be Making a Terrible Mistake (New Yorker)
"This Saturday night in Las Vegas, Pacquiao is fighting [undefeated heavyweight] Keith Thurman … On paper, this is the most intriguing Pacquiao matchup in over a decade. But it may also be a terrible mistake."
🏀 The Rise of the Next Antetokounmpo (Bleacher Report)
"17-year-old Alex Antetokounmpo has dreams of NBA stardom, and his brother and mentor — the reigning league MVP — is showing him the way, through thick and thin."
On Monday, I asked you to share a memory that illustrates the power of sports. For the next few weeks, we'll be sharing your stories.
Robin Monsky (Chicago) writes:
1992 Olympics — 400m men's semifinal. After injury-prone British runner Derek Redmond posted his fastest time in four years in an earlier round, his hamstring seized up during the semifinal race and he fell to the ground.
Determined to finish what was likely his last ever competition for his country, he struggled to get up, started hobbling around the oval and was joined by his father who had rushed down to the track.
Dad put his arm around his son to support him and together they finished the race despite officials trying to wave them off the track. Still makes me shake my head in awe at the power of sports to generate emotions.
Enjoy the weekend,
Kendall "Dads rule" Baker
Trivia answer: Baltimore Ravens (2001 and 2013)