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Good morning. One year ago today, Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant passed away. At the age of 13, Gianna had become known as a prodigious basketball talent. Meanwhile, Kobe was dominating retirement, winning an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film for Dear Basketball.

While he may not be with us anymore, his spirit lives on as kids everywhere yell “Kobe!” when they hit a clutch shot.

In today's Sprint:

  • 🏀   All-Star revival
  • ⚾️   Baseball backtracks
  • 🏈   Cole Beastley

TRIVIA

What team recently recorded the most days between regular-season games in NBA history (excluding last season’s COVID-19 hiatus)?

  1. Sacramento Kings
  2. Minnesota Timberwolves
  3. Washington Wizards
  4. Los Angeles Clippers

BASKETBALL

Protocol

As spectators, we often forget the impacts the pandemic has on the daily lives of players and coaches. Lately, COVID-19 has owned NBA headlines:

  • The Miami Heat will use COVID-19 sniffing dogs to screen fans before they enter the arena for games. It’s uncertain whether the dogs will sniff for drugs, too.
  • Although initially canceled, the NBA and NBA Players Association are discussing holding an All-Star Weekend in March. Atlanta appears to be the site of choice
  • Monday night’s game between the San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Pelicans was canceled after neither team had the league minimum eight available players. We were hoping for some good old 3x3.
  • Kawhi Leonard and Paul George may miss the next six games due to COVID-19 protocol. With Patrick Beverly also out, it may be a tough stretch for the LA Clippers.

To read the full set of restrictions, click here.

NBA scoreboard

(11-8) Brooklyn Nets 98 vs. (6-10) Miami Heat 85

  • Six Nets’ players scored between 10 and 20 points and another six added at least 4 rebounds. If the Nets stay this balanced, the court will eventually open up for the newly assembled Big 3.

(14-4) Los Angeles Lakers 115 vs. (8-9) Cleveland Cavaliers 108

  • LeBron James (46 pts, 8 reb, 6 ast) played with a vengeance against his hometown team, willing his Lakers to a victory against the scrappy Cavs.

(10-7) Denver Nuggets 117 vs. (8-9) Dallas Mavericks 113

  • Nuggets’ forward Michael Porter Jr. (30 pts, 8 reb) played his best game as a pro while, despite the loss, Luka Doncic (35 pts, 16 ast, 11 reb) continued to make his case for MVP.

Stat of the day: Luka holds the record for most triple-doubles before the age of 21 with, get this, 21 of them. The former record holder? Magic Johnson.

NCAA scoreboard

(11-4) #11 West Virginia 88 vs. (11-5) #10 Texas Tech 87

  • In the game of the night, WVU’s Taz Sherman banked in a layup with 6 seconds remaining to secure the win. Tech’s Mac McClung’s (30 pts, 3 ast) attempted buzzer-beater fell just short.

(9-1) #14 Ohio State 88 vs. (11-2) #7 Maryland 86 - Women’s

  • Madison Greene (24 pts, 7 ast) led the Buckeyes to the upset.

(11-2) #5 Texas vs. (9-4) #25 Oklahoma - Jan 26th, 7:00 PM EST on ESPN2

  • Texas HC Shaka Smart tested positive for COVID-19, putting this rivalry game in jeopardy.

BASEBALL

Strike 3

The MLB Players Association denied the league’s proposal to add a universal designated hitter (DH) and expand the playoffs.

The rationale: While players were excited to add the universal DH, they refused to add games to the postseason.

Why? Because they already play a grueling 162-game regular season.

By including the playoff expansion as part of the negotiation, the league office continues to show it will not bend to the wishes of players or fans.

Zoom out: The MLB restricts game clip sharing on social media, a move that distances the sport from the younger demographic. Meanwhile, the NBA generates millions in marketing value by encouraging this practice and the NFL has embraced airing games on Nickelodeon.

The MLB also refuses to allow in-market streaming of its games. This means a 25-year-old Chicagoan without traditional cable TV can’t watch their hometown Cubs play.

*Look out for the Sprint’s proposals on how to right the ship.


WATER COOLER TALK
  • 🏀   #20 Virginia Tech suspended forward Tyrece Radford indefinitely after his arrest on weapons charges and a DUI.
  • 🏈   Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley played the final three-plus games of the season with a partially broken fibula. Yeah, that's a bone in your shin. No wonder Beasley fit in so well with Bills Mafia.
  • 🏈   The Kansas City Chiefs opened as 3-point favorites over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl 55.
  • ⚽   Chelsea F.C., who find themselves a disappointing 9th in the Premier League, fired manager Frank Lampard. The squad plans to bring in Thomas Tuchel, the ex-PSG skipper.

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TRIVIA ANSWER

C. The Washington Wizards had six games postponed during their 13-day hiatus spanning January 11th to the 24th.