NFL, NBA, MLB & NHL

The big picture

The NBA's engagement problem

What plays well on social media doesn't necessarily make fans want to tune in to the games.

Jan 22, 2020 - Sports
The failure of the NFL's Rooney Rule

The league's Rooney Rule has largely failed to diversify its head coaches.

Jan 16, 2020 - Sports
Increased viewership ups the stakes for the NFL's broadcast rights

Experts predict that its deal prices will go up significantly.

Jan 7, 2020 - Sports
The NBA sets its sights on Africa

Targeting a launch in the spring.

Dec 28, 2019 - Sports
Hockey's moment of reckoning

Hockey is facing the fact that decades-old practices are no longer acceptable.

Dec 12, 2019 - Sports
MLB's plan to overhaul its minor league system

The league wants to sever its parent-club relationship with 42 teams.

Dec 11, 2019 - Sports

All NFL, NBA, MLB & NHL stories

Los Angeles celebrates Kobe and Gianna Bryant

Photo: Getty Images

Thousands of people gathered Monday at Los Angeles' Staples Center to mourn the death of NBA star Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.

The big picture: Bryant played for the Los Angeles Lakers throughout his entire 20-season career and helped the city claim five championships. Gianna, a rising basketball player herself, often attended games with her father, who retired in 2016.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 24, 2020 - Sports

Vanessa Bryant sues helicopter company over the deaths of Kobe and Gianna

Kobe Bryant, Vanessa Bryant, Gianna Bryant and Natalia Bryant attend Tribeca Talks during the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images

Vanessa Bryant filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Monday against the company that dispatched the helicopter that crashed on Jan. 26, killing her husband Kobe Bryant, 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The state of play: The suit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court against Island Express Helicopters and Island Express Holding Corp, alleges that pilot Ara Zobayan failed "to use ordinary care in piloting the subject aircraft" and was "negligent" when taking off Jan. 26.

Go deeperArrowFeb 24, 2020 - Sports

Zamboni driver steps in as emergency goalie for NHL's Carolina Hurricanes

Photo: Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

When both Carolina Hurricanes goaltenders left Saturday's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs with injuries, Dave Ayres came in as the emergency backup — and stopped eight of 10 shots he faced to seal a 6-3 win for Carolina.

Why it matters: Ayres, a 42-year-old Zamboni driver and practice goalie, had watched the first period from the stands with his wife. Minutes later, he was skating onto the ice in a real NHL game.

Go deeperArrowFeb 24, 2020 - Sports

The NFL warms up to betting

Photo: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Starting this season, NFL teams in states with legal sports betting will be allowed to have in-stadium betting lounges and accept sponsorships from sportsbooks and betting operators, per multiple reports.

One caveat: There will not be any physical betting windows in the lounges, so they're more "hangout spots for bettors" than an actual "places to make bets."

Go deeperArrowFeb 24, 2020 - Sports

NFL playoffs could expand to 14 teams under new labor agreement

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The NFL and its players' union have informally agreed to restructure the postseason and add a seventh team from each conference for a total of 14, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports.

Why it matters: If finalized as part of the NFL's new collective bargaining agreement, this format change would mark the first playoff expansion since 1990, when the league went from 10 teams to 12.

Go deeperArrowFeb 20, 2020 - Sports

Post-up rates are way down in the NBA

Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers is defended by Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat during the second half at American Airlines Arena on February 03, 2020 in Miami, Florida. Photo: Michael Reaves / Contributor/Getty Images

NBA teams have been steadily abandoning the back-to-the-basket game for years thanks to the three-point explosion and the corresponding rise of stretch fours (and stretch fives). But this season, post-ups are bordering on extinction.

By the numbers: In 2005, 22 teams finished at least 10% of their possessions with a post-up, and zero teams had a post-up rate below 5%.

Go deeperArrowFeb 20, 2020 - Sports

Trump pardons former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr.

Edward DeBartolo, Jr. speaks during his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech in 2016. Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

President Trump pardoned former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., a billionaire convicted in 1998 on gambling fraud charges, in a surprise decision on Tuesday, the AP reports.

The big picture: Under DeBartolo's ownership, the 49ers won five Super Bowls, establishing a dynasty during the 1980s and 1990s. He avoided prison time, but faced a $1 million fine and a yearlong NFL suspension — ultimately relinquishing control of the team to his sister, Denise York, in 2000.

MLB's Rob Manfred is latest villain in Astros' cheating scandal

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred's decision to grant Astros players immunity in exchange for confessions about their sign-stealing scheme has undermined his reputation — and he only made himself look worse on Sunday.

The interview: In a 45-minute conversation with ESPN, Manfred asserted that public shame was punishment enough for the Astros. He also called the World Series trophy "just a piece of metal" and said that taking a title away from Houston "seems like a futile act."

Go deeperArrowFeb 18, 2020 - Sports

"The Super Bowl kid" and other sports prodigies

Screenshot: Whistle/YouTube

Just before Super Bowl LIV, Fox aired a video commemorating the NFL's 100th anniversary. It featured a young boy running a football across America, with various NFL legends telling him to "Take it to the house, kid! before switching to the live broadcast, where the young boy ran onto the field and handed the ref the game ball.

Who is he? The star of the commercial is 13-year-old football and track prodigy, Maxwell "Bunchie" Young, who was named SI's "Sportskid of the Year" in 2017 and was recently featured on "No Days Off," a YouTube show about sports prodigies from Whistle (previously Whistle Sports).

Go deeperArrowFeb 14, 2020 - Sports

The MLB's problems extend far beyond Houston's cheating scandal

The Astros' second baseman José Altuve during a press conference in West Palm Beach, Florida. Photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The Astros had three months to craft a thoughtful apology for the team's sign-stealing scandal. Instead, José Altuve and Alex Bregman spoke for a combined 90 seconds — and owner Jim Crane questioned whether sign-stealing even helped his team win games.

The big picture: While baseball grapples with the fallout, don't lose sight of the many other problems Major League Baseball faces as commissioner Rob Manfred enters his sixth season at the helm.

Go deeperArrowFeb 14, 2020 - Sports
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