Welcome to 5Hundred, the new series where I take five recent news stories and give my thoughts in 100 words. If all goes well, I’m planning to release new editions on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Let’s jump right into things with a rematch eight years in the making.
1) Serena and Venus Williams Make the Australian Open Finals: The sisters have done it again. At 35 and 36 years old, the continued dominance of Serena and Venus over nearly two decades has been nothing short of incredible. Serena will be looking for her 23rd major title, a record in the Open Era. However, Venus will be going for major #8 in her first Grand Slam final since 2009, a Wimbledon loss to Serena. Words can’t describe the impact these sisters have had on the sport of tennis. Nearing the end of their truly remarkable, inspirational careers, this is likely to be the last time they meet in a final. Don’t miss it.
2) NBA All-Star Reserves Announced: What does Damian Lillard have to do to get an All-Star selection? It’s honestly insane that Lillard, an incredible leader and 25-point per game scorer in each of the last two seasons, has been snubbed both times. And technically, he only made the team in 2015 as Blake Griffin’s injury replacement. Additionally, I was also disappointed to see Chris Paul and Joel Embiid miss the team (although I do understand the reasoning with Paul’s injuries and Embiid’s lack of playing time.) On the other hand, it’s great to see Gordon Hayward and Kemba Walker earn selections. But seriously, where’s The Process?
3) LeBron James Not Happy with Struggling Cavs: The Cavaliers have dropped six of eight, leading LeBron to take to the media, upset with the “top-heavy” Cavs for their lack of “playmakers”. James has received plenty of criticism for these comments, but guess what? He’s right. Cleveland doesn’t have any reliable scorers outside of the Big 3, and only James and Kyrie Irving average two assists per game. Despite their struggles, the Cavs remain #1 in the Eastern Conference and are overwhelming favorites to make the NBA Finals. However, their focus has to be on keeping pace with the Warriors. Right now, the Cavs aren’t playing on Golden State’s level.
4) Usain Bolt Stripped of Gold Medal: The world’s fastest man’s perfect nine 9/9 gold medal record at the Olympics has been blemished. Former teammate Nesta Carter was found guilty of doping, stripping Bolt of his gold in the 4×100 meter relay at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Previously, Bolt had been tied for the all-time record in track and field gold medals at the Olympics. It’s obviously a terrible situation, perhaps made worse by the record implications and the nine years it took to issue a ruling. Ultimately, though, the IOC made the right call. Here’s hoping that the news convinces Bolt to return and compete in Tokyo 2020.
5) Celtics Announce GE as Jersey Sponsor for 2017-18 Season: The Celtics became the third NBA team to reach a jersey sponsorship deal, joining the 76ers and Kings. Some were upset by the NBA’s decision to allow jersey sponsors starting next season, but I have no problem with the change. Notably, soccer and auto racing already feature prominent sponsorships, and it seems only natural for the “Big 4” North American sports to adopt the trend. The patches aren’t large, just 2.5×2.5 inches, and I actually like the new designs, especially the Celtics’. It’s a win-win for companies and the NBA, and I expect more teams to capitalize on the revenue opportunity.
What do you think? For thoughts on today’s stories, or suggestions for future 5Hundred topics, comment below. And of course, my regular articles won’t be going anywhere, but I am interested to see where this new series could go.