Clearly, the obvious way to begin today is to offer unadulterated congratulations to the US Women’s National Team for winning its second consecutive – and fourth overall – Women’s World Cup. Their win over the Netherlands team was a dominant one; the score was 2-0 but it could easily have been 5-0 had it not been for a heroic effort on the part of the Dutch goaltender.
The flow of the game was almost the mirror-image of what many had predicted. Normally, the US team opens with a fast-paced attack, scores early and makes the opponent try to play from behind. Yesterday, the US team started fast – – but the Dutch women stayed with them for the first 20 minutes or so and the game was tied at the half. Normally, the Dutch women dominate the second half and they “specialized” in winning by scoring late goals in their games. Yesterday, at the end of the game, it was the US team that dominated play.
The US women dominated the tournament itself. Ignore the 13-0 mismatch against Thailand; the women played 6 games against worthy competition. In those 6 games, the cumulative score was 13-3. Next year, the USWNT will seek to qualify for the Olympics where they have won 4 Gold Medals in the past. Given the way they played yesterday, they deserve to be odds-on favorites in those games.
Congratulations also need to be directed toward the LA Clippers for their personnel coup late last week. Most of the pundits had the Clippers as one of the teams that Kawhi Leonard would consider signing with; none that I am aware of had them signing Leonard AND trading to acquire Paul George from the Thunder. Here is the deal:
- Clippers get Paul George
- Thunder gets Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and 5 draft picks that stretch out to the end of time.
Gallinari is good player; do not doubt that. Gilgeous-Alexander is a young player with lots of physical talent that he may develop – – or not. The player who is ultimately taken with the last draft pick tendered to the Thunder in the trade is probably 10 – 12 years old this morning. And that fact leads me to this observation:
- The Lakers traded away a ton of future draft picks to get Anthony Davis and now the Clippers have traded away a metric ton of future draft picks to get Paul George.
- Question: Why would any NBA fan in Los Angeles bother to watch the NBA Draft for the next 5 -7 years?
Staying with the NBA for a moment, you can generate a vigorous bar debate over who is the best basketball player in the league today if you toss LeBron James and Kevin Durant into the “discussion”. However, I think there is another comparison to be made between those two players:
- Who creates the most drama and the more complicated soap opera? LeBron or KD?
For the last 10 years, LeBron James has been the uncontested leader when it comes to drama and complicated locker room intrigues involving coaches and teammates. However, in recent times, it seems as if Kevin Durant has taken aim at LeBron’s status in that dimension as well as the “best player” dimension. There is reporting out there that Durant felt “disrespected” by Warriors’ fans because they cheered louder for Steph Curry than they did for him. I doubt there are decibel level records to verify or deny such an assertion but the existence of the assertion itself is jaw-dropping. There is also reporting out there that Durant may sue the Warriors and/or people on the Warriors’ medical/training staff for malfeasance with regard to his leg injury that culminated in a torn Achilles tendon. Durant will be sitting out the 2019/2020 NBA season rehabbing that injury meaning he will have plenty of time on his hands to create his own episodes of As the World Turns.
I mentioned the Olympics above regarding the USWNT preparing to qualify for those games. In a much darker context, the Olympics made the news last week when a former Rio de Janeiro governor, Sergio Cabral, testified in a court trial that he paid $2M in bribes to buy votes to get the Olympic Games sited in Brazil. His testimony was that he gave the money to a former president of the International Association of Athletic Federations (IAAF) who delivered the votes after spreading the money around. Cabral testified that he was introduced to this person with the understanding that the IAAF president was “open to taking bribes”.
Please understand that Sergio Cabral is not an admirable whistleblower here. He has already been convicted of enough counts of bribery and corruption to earn him a total of 200 years in jail from all of his sentences. Nevertheless, his admission(s) here do shine a small light into the cesspool that is the IOC and the international sports governing bodies. Here is a link to a report in the NY Post on this mess.
Finally, the Home Run Derby will happen tonight. Bob Molinaro had this comment in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot over the weekend. He and I share the same view of this event:
“For me, the Derby is slightly less tedious than the NBA’s Slam Dunk Contest, though that’s a low bar to clear.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………