Olympic-Sized Troubles

Olympic-Sized Troubles

Matt Trombley, Nathan Baugh, Eric Joiner, Blake Wynveen
Daily Newsletters
The Sideline Sprint logo.
Good morning. Back in the olden days before NBA Top Shot, physical trading cards dominated the sports collectibles market. After a Luka Doncic signed rookie card sold for $4.6 million this week, an NBA card record, it appears they still do.
Given their newfound liquidity, we reached out to the seller to see if they’d invest in the Sprint. We’re still waiting to hear back.
- Nathan and Blake
In today's Sprint:
🏅  Olympic troubles
🏀  New look Knicks
👟  Nike’s nuisance
Trivia: Since 1900, what countries have had their scheduled Olympic Games cancelled? Hint: Japan is one of them.
  1. Japan, Germany, and France
  2. U.K., Japan, and Italy
  3. China, Japan, and Germany
  4. U.K., Germany, and Japan

Trouble for the Games
For the first time in nearly three decades, the Summer and Winter Olympics are set to take place within a year of each other. But, for very different reasons, no one is sure if we’ll see athletes take the stage.
  • Tokyo Summer Olympics: July 23 - August 8, 2021
  • Beijing Winter Olympics: February 4 - February 20, 2022
The situation: After Japan postponed the 2020 Summer Olympics, everyone thought we’d be in the clear for 2021. But Covid-19 stuck around longer than most of us expected.
If Japan decides to not go forward with the Games, Florida has kindly volunteered to take its place.
The Beijing Winter Games face a different set of challenges. Ongoing human rights crises (Hong Kong, Uighur Muslins) in China are making countries rethink their participation in the 2022 Winter Olympics.
Boycotts: Both US and UK politicians have called for their countries to boycott the 2022 Games.
So far, neither President Biden nor Prime Minister Boris Johnson have indicated the Games would be boycotted. However, both face growing pressure to confront the issue.
Meanwhile, more than 180 human rights organizations have called for countries and athletes to boycott.
Zoom out: As much as we appreciate Florida, the 2021 Summer Games will likely continue in Tokyo.
The 2022 Winter Olympics, however, are more complicated. In its history, the Olympics have been cancelled three times and boycotted for various reasons. Two relevant examples:
  • 1964: South Africa was barred from participating due to Apartheid as other African nations threatened to boycot otherwise
  • 1980: 66 countries boycotted the Moscow Games due to the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan
If either the US or UK decides to boycott, other countries may follow suit.

NY State of Mind
In 2016 Michael Phelps dominated the Summer Olympics in Brazil, One Dance by Drake controlled the airwaves, and the bottom of the NBA’s Eastern Conference Standings looked like this:
  1. Milwaukee Bucks
  2. New York Knicks
  3. Brooklyn Nets
  4. Philadelphia 76ers
Now, after great drafting and free agent signings, those teams make up four of the top five spots in the Eastern Conference.
  1. Philadelphia 76ers
  2. Brooklyn Nets
  3. Milwaukee Bucks
  4. Boston Celtics
  5. New York Knicks
The surprise team? The New York Knicks, who look brilliant for bringing in free agent Julius Randle (23.1 ppg, 10.9 rpg, 5.5 apg) to be the lead man.
We know, it’s weird seeing ‘brilliant’ and ‘Knicks’ in the same sentence. We felt weird writing it. But here we are, 2021.
(18-13) San Antonio Spurs 119 vs. (18-18) New York Knicks 93
  • Despite the loss, Knicks fans should be cautiously optimistic about this team’s future with a core of first-time All-Star Julius Randle, sophomore breakout RJ Barrett, and rookie gem Immanuel Quickley.
(18-17) Boston Celtics 117 vs. (24-13) LA Clippers 112
  • Boston needed six players to score double-digits to beat a Kawhi-less Clippers team.
(23-11) Phoenix Suns 114 vs. (24-12) LA Lakers 104
  • Even though Devin Booker only played 24 minutes due to a rather weak ejection, the Suns overcame a huge effort from LeBron James (38 pts, 5 reb, 6 ast) to move into 2nd place in the West.
(19-1) #3 Baylor 94 vs. (17-7) #6 West Virginia 89 - OT
  • Baylor locked up its first Big 12 conference title in 71 years and beat its fourth top-ten team of the year.
(19-6) #4 Illinois 76 vs. (18-2) #2 Michigan 53
  • Well, that was unexpected. Illinois dismantled Michigan, allowing only two threes and winning the rebound battle by 16, all without its best player.
(12-6-4) New York Islanders 2 vs. (7-9-2) New Jersey Devils 1
  • With the game tied at zero entering the third period, the Islanders relied on another strong performance from goalie Semyon Varlamov (28 saves) who came 14 seconds away from his fourth shutout of the year.
Premier League
(65 pts) Manchester City 4 vs. (34 pts) Wolves 1
  • Man City won its 21st straight match. During the streak, they’ve outscored opponents by a staggering 55-8.

Utah Jazz (27-8) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (23-12) - 7:00 ET
Brooklyn Nets (23-13) vs. Houston Rockets (11-22) - 7:30 ET on ESPN
#10 Villanova (15-4) vs. #14 Creighton (17-6) - 8:30 ET on FS1
Washington Capitals (12-5-4) vs. Boston Bruins (12-5-2) - 7:00 ET on NBCSN
Premier League
(49 pts) Leicester vs. (28 pts) Burnley - 1:00 PM ET on NBCSN
(50 pts) Manchester United vs. (33 pts) Crystal Palace - 3:15 PM ET on Peacock

🏀  The March Madness consolation bracket, otherwise known as the National Invitation Tournament (NIT), announced it will host 16 teams instead of the usual 32.
⚾️  Mickey Calloway’s former teams, the Mets and Indians, allegedly knew of complaints filed against him for inappropriate sexual behavior towards women.
⚾️  Have you ever seen a baseball fly over 440 feet? If not, do yourself a favor and watch the newly-paid Fernando Tatis smack this grand slam into next week.
🏈  Get ready for fireworks. The Husch Blackwell report detailing LSU’s handling of Title IX cases against former star players will be released Friday.
👟  A Nike VP and general manager of North America resigned after her 19-year-old son, who runs a $100K+ per month sneaker flipping business, revealed to a Bloomberg reporter that he used his mom’s corporate card for employee discounts and *much worse* sold Nike inside info on a paid Discord.

D. All prior cancellations (1916 - Germany, 1940 - Japan, and 1944 - U.K.) were due to the World Wars.