PLAYER OF THE DAY
Ezekiel Elliott (NFL) is a star running back for the Dallas Cowboys and native of Alton, Illinois, which is about 20 miles north of St. Louis. On Wednesday, news broke that Elliott planned to pay for the funeral costs of Jaylon McKenzie, an eighth-grade football player who was killed by a stray bullet on Saturday night in St. Louis. McKenzie had offers to play college football despite being just 14 years old, and was slated to play in the All-American All-Star game later this year, a game that features the brightest stars in the country. Elliott has been a complicated figure to root for in his young NFL career, but it’s hard not to appreciate the gesture, which Elliott reportedly hoped to keep private until the news spread.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Tottenham stuns Ajax with Champions League rally
How did things go down?
(Soccer) While most of the soccer world was focused on Liverpool vs. Barcelona this week, the other half of the Champions League bracket featured Ajax and Tottenham — and history was on the line.
Tottenham had never been to a European Cup final, and an early goal nearly killed any chance of that happening. So did another quick goal by Ajax’s Hakim Ziyech – who’d broken his Ramadan fast just minutes earlier – to take what seemed like a commanding 2-0 lead over Spurs.
Not so fast, though. Tottenham rallied to erase the deficit in a four-minute span, and a goal by Lucas Moura in the final seconds of stoppage time carried Tottenham Spurs to the Champions League final. They will face Liverpool, who mounted its own absurd rally on Tuesday against Barcelona. Never stop, Champions League.
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Gallo homers for 100th time to set peculiar record
What’s wrong with home runs?
(MLB) On Wednesday, Texas Rangers slugger Joey Gallo blasted a 443-foot home run – breaking some speed records on the ball’s exit velocity – for his 100th career home run, which came in his 377th career game (the fewest needed for 100 homers in American League history). Nothing new for a star slugger like Gallo.
Here’s the crazy part: Gallo only has 93 singles in his career. He’s the first player in MLB history to hit 100 homers before 100 singles. Singles are usually the easiest hit to record in baseball; home runs are the hardest. What is happening here?! He’s taking this whole “home runs and strikeouts” thing to a brand new level.
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I Can See Clearly Now, the C’s Are Gone
Bye bye Boston
(NBA) We got our first bit of second-round clarity in the NBA playoffs on Wednesday, with the Milwaukee Bucks absolutely steamrolling the Boston Celtics to finish off a 4-1 series victory. Remember when the Celtics won Game 1 in what feels like a year ago? They lost four straight behind horrid play from Kyrie Irving, who’s basically got one foot out the door as an impending free agent.
Out West, the Golden State Warriors won Game 5 against the Houston Rockets on a controversial toe-tapper to go up 3-2 in the series. They may have won the game, but they may have lost an even bigger battle. That’s because of the injury to Kevin Durant, who hobbled off the court Wednesday after a non-contact injury. It was diagnosed as a calf strain but looked even worse. If he can’t play the next two games, we’ve got a brand new series on our hands. Never a dull moment.
Gimme the hockey news, too!
(NHL) San Jose Sharks fans certainly didn’t want another Game 7 after how close they came to elimination in Round One. It was a little easier for them on Wednesday, holding a 3-1 lead over the Colorado Avalanche until a late Colorado goal padded the scoreboard at 3-2. The Sharks held on, though, reaching their first Conference Finals since losing in the Stanley Cup Final in 2016. This year’s group will face the St. Louis Blues in Saturday’s Game 1 in San Jose.
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ON THIS DAY
In 2010, Oakland Athletics pitcher Dallas Braden threw the 19th perfect game in MLB history, recording 27 outs without a runner reaching base. It came on Mother’s Day, too, for a pitcher whose mother died of cancer when he was in high school. Braden nearly didn’t escape his juvenile antics before turning his life around and making it to the majors, and injures nearly ended his career early. But he fought through, and he became one of the most obscure players to ever achieve one of baseball’s greatest feats before retiring a few years later.
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