Good morning! We're seeing a lot of enthusiasm around our March Madness referrals, so we want to keep it rolling with a special Pick'em contest for the Sweet 16 and Elite 8.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Michael Avenatti, who rose to fame last year as a lawyer for Stormy Daniels, was arrested yesterday and charged with attempting to extort more than $20 million from Nike.
What's happening: According to the indictment, Avenatti and Geragos met with an in-house lawyer for Nike last week, claiming to represent a former AAU coach who had evidence that Nike employees paid at least three players.
Just in: The AAU coach that Avenatti was representing is reportedly Gary Franklin Sr., who led a team known as California Supreme.
Be smart: Lost in the Avenatti headlines is the fact that Nike may have paid college athletes in the same manner as Adidas — the company at the center of the ongoing college basketball bribery scandal.
UCLA's Michaela Onyenwere was unstoppable last night. Photo: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images
All four No. 1 seeds and all four No. 2 seeds took care of business in the second round, but the No. 3 seeds stumbled, with three falling victim to upsets last night.
What's next: The Sweet 16 starts on Friday.
Francisco Lindor being mobbed by his teammates after hitting a walk-off home run last season. Photo: Ron Schwane/Getty Images
"A number of trends are altering MLB's aesthetics, strategy, and player pool. The most extreme effects are at shortstop, where the infield position long glamorized for its defense is giving way to a slugging boom that seems unlikely to wane," The Ringer's Zach Kram writes:
What they're saying:
"I think when my dad played, it was more like, you need to be able to field, and if you can't hit we'll live with it. Nowadays, you gotta be able to hit, and if you can't field, you know, we'll figure it out."— Blue Jays shortstop prospect Bo Bichette (son of 1990s outfielder Dante)
The big picture: Let's compare the top five home run leaders at the shortstop position through the years.
Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
UFC star Conor McGregor, 30, unexpectedly announced his retirement from mixed martial arts yesterday.
"Hey guys quick announcement, I’ve decided to retire from the sport formally known as 'Mixed Martial Art' today. I wish all my old colleagues well going forward in competition. I now join my former partners on this venture, already in retirement. Proper Pina Coladas on me fellas!"— Conor McGregor (via Twitter)
The response: "He has the money to retire, and his [Proper 12] whiskey is KILLIN it. It totally makes sense," UFC president Dana White told ESPN.
Be smart: McGregor has retired on social media before (2016), but returned to the Octagon a month later in a highly profitable second fight against rival Nate Diaz.
After infamously trying an underarm serve against Rafael Nadal during his Acapulco title run last month, tennis prodigy and provocateur Nick Kyrgios doubled down on the tactic to win two points at the Miami Open yesterday.
"The whole point of tennis is to disrupt your opponents game by applying pressure through changing the speed, spin, direction, depth or height of the ball. And that includes the serve. Kyrgios is a genius. I’m surprised more players don't do it."— Tennis legend Judy Murray (Andy's mother)
Sugar Ray Robinson fighting Carmen Basilio. Photo: George Silk/The LIFE picture collection via Getty Images
61 years ago today, Sugar Ray Robinson became the first fighter in boxing history to win a divisional world championship five times after defeating Carmen Basilio to regain the middleweight title.
The backdrop: Robinson went on a 91-fight unbeaten streak from 1943 to 1951 but retired in 1952 after losing the light heavyweight crown to Joey Maxim. Two years later, he returned — and won his fifth and final title at age 37.
The first-ever NBA Finals Game 7 was played on April 21, 1951 between the Royals and the Knicks, with the Royals prevailing 79-75.
Answer at the bottom.
Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images
Milan-San Remo, the longest one-day race in pro cycling, took place in Italy over the weekend, with 26-year-old Frenchman Julian Alaphilippe picking up his seventh win of 2019.
Kendall "Prayers up for Nurk" Baker
Trivia answer: Rochester Royals