Sports

Dunking hurts: Why players hate — and love — the NBA’s greatest feat
Sports

Dunking hurts: Why players hate — and love — the NBA’s greatest feat

The dunk is basketball’s most lionized play. The most iconic ones are canonized, referenced fondly and often, debated for their merits and significance. The sport’s language has created so many names for it: jam, yam, slam, poster, stuff, hammer. It’s a unique club that only few on this world can join. It’s marvelous.And it hurts like hell.“Can you think of any other concept where your hand swings at something metal?” 11-year NBA veteran Austin Rivers asks. “It’ll probably hurt, yeah?”When asked, players catalog the pain dunking has caused: broken nails; bent fingers; recent bruises; lasting scars; midair collisions; twisted necks; dangerous landings. Injuries that cost them games or even seasons.Derrick Jones Jr., a former NBA All-Star Weekend dunk contest winner now with the Dallas Maver...
Golf with a purpose: How The Park dared to be different
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Golf with a purpose: How The Park dared to be different

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — It’s lunchtime on a mid-November Saturday afternoon and the word of the day is eclectic. I’ve just finished my morning round at The Park with a three-putt for par on the forgiving 18th hole, and I saddle up at the cabana, the bar/small bites stand strategically located at the front of the property.A foursome that was a few holes ahead of me is heading off to their vehicles — while allowing for their anonymity, let’s just say they can be members anywhere they want to be in the golf-rich West Palm Beach/Jupiter area. Making the turn to the back nine are the bros wanting to chase down their transfusions with High Noons. Though they represent very different ends of the Saturday golfer spectrum, you recognize both groups as what a golfer “looks” like.But the cabana occup...
No Hit League? The ‘lost art’ of body checking in the NHL
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No Hit League? The ‘lost art’ of body checking in the NHL

Seventeen years and more than 1,200 games ago, Andrew Cogliano remembers how difficult it was to traverse the state of California.The Los Angeles Kings, Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks were three of the biggest, heaviest teams in the league. If you had to play all three in succession? Well, good luck. Not only were those teams willing to play a punishing brand of hockey, but they were all highly skilled and generally successful, too.After a few years in Edmonton where he broke into the league, Cogliano was dealt to the Ducks as a free agent in the summer of 2011 and was part of a team that qualified for the playoffs in six straight seasons from 2012-13 through 2017-18. Those California road trips became regular intrastate battles. And they were vicious.“My first couple years in Anaheim, ...
NFL Power Rankings Week 16: 49ers, Ravens on top, plus a surprise from every team
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NFL Power Rankings Week 16: 49ers, Ravens on top, plus a surprise from every team

We’re coming down the stretch of the NFL season, and the playoff seedings and Power Rankings are starting to sort themselves out, but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been some surprises along the way. Today, we’re going to look at one surprising aspect of each team’s season.And then we’re going to start looking forward to a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in Week 16 of the season.(Last week: 1)Sunday: Beat Arizona Cardinals 45-29Surprise: Brock PurdyWe’ve let all the talk about whether the second-year quarterback is a top-10 quarterback in the league or even possibly the MVP obscure what remains at its heart the most remarkable story in the league. Purdy, the last pick of the 2022 draft, is now 16-3 as a starting quarterback. His passer rating (119) and expected points added per dropback (.32) lea...
Sean Payton’s flare-up at Russell Wilson puts coach-QB relationship back in spotlight
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Sean Payton’s flare-up at Russell Wilson puts coach-QB relationship back in spotlight

(Editor’s note: This is excerpted from Mike Sando’s Pick Six of Dec. 18, 2023.)Sean Payton blasting quarterback Russell Wilson on the sideline, then suggesting he was merely upset about officiating, invited all sorts of speculation.It’s hard to fault Payton for losing his cool when officials wiped out a Broncos touchdown with an offensive offside call that seemed indefensible. As one former head coach put it, officials have “lost their minds” searching for penalties associated with Philadelphia’s tush-push plays.It’s just difficult to understand why Payton would funnel any of that rage toward his quarterback.GO DEEPERSean Payton downplays sideline flare up with Russell WilsonThe nature of Payton’s relationship with Wilson faded into the background during a five-game winning streak fueled b...
Jesse Lingard is a non-footballing footballer – he won’t be the last
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Jesse Lingard is a non-footballing footballer – he won’t be the last

Follow live coverage of Liverpool vs Manchester United in the Premier League todayIt’s Jesse Lingard’s birthday. He turns 31 today and, at this stage of his life, he must realise it is not going to be easy shifting some of the perceptions that come from being a non-footballing footballer. For now, at least.Speak to Lingard’s former team-mates and they will talk about a guy who has been popular at all his clubs and played at a level, including a World Cup semi-final, that automatically commands respect among his fellow pros.But it is also a harsh reality that many others will be wondering how a player with Lingard’s record of achievement has spent so long without a club and seems less troubled by that situation than you might assume.Lingard last played competitive football in April, a two-m...
‘For the District?’ Yeah, right; Ted Leonsis will take Wizards, Capitals angst across the river
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‘For the District?’ Yeah, right; Ted Leonsis will take Wizards, Capitals angst across the river

WASHINGTON — The Prince of Potomac Yard spoke of water.“When I first came to this site,” Ted Leonsis said Wednesday, “and stood on top of the roof of the building next door, and looked over, we forget the power of having two rivers flow right into this community. And, iconic real estate is incredibly important. We have access — you can see the Washington Monument from here, Washington, D.C., the border’s one-and-a-half miles from here.”That must be cool! So nice that the billionaire owner of the Wizards and Capitals will have a swank view of the Potomac and Anacostia confluence from his soon-to-be floor-wide offices in Alexandria, where he will center his entertainment and sports empire. It would be unfair to say he literally will be looking down upon the people who are financing his Jerry...
Morning Person? You Might Have Neanderthal Genes to Thank.
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Morning Person? You Might Have Neanderthal Genes to Thank.

Neanderthals were morning people, a new study suggests. And some humans today who like getting up early might credit genes they inherited from their Neanderthal ancestors.The new study compared DNA in living humans to genetic material retrieved from Neanderthal fossils. It turns out that Neanderthals carried some of the same clock-related genetic variants as do people who report being early risers.Since the 1990s, studies of Neanderthal DNA have exposed our species’ intertwined history. About 700,000 years ago, our lineages split apart, most likely in Africa. While the ancestors of modern humans largely stayed in Africa, the Neanderthal lineage migrated into Eurasia.About 400,000 years ago, the population split in two. The hominins who spread west became Neanderthals. Their cousins to the ...