PLAYER OF THE DAY

J.J. Watt (NFL) is a star defensive end for the Houston Texans who has been known to use his fame for good. The J.J. Watt Foundation has raised over $4 million for 6th – 8th grader after school athletic programs. He has also paid for funerals of 10 victims of the Santa Fe shooting, raised money for Hurricane Harvey relief, and involved himself in many other charitable endeavors. While the rest of the sports world was watching the NBA/NHL playoffs and enjoying barbecues in the backyard, Watt took a break from trying to save the world to propose to longtime girlfriend and professional soccer player Kealia Ohai. Watt is an absolute stud for the Texans and Ohai is a dominant force on the fields too. She serves as captain for the Houston Dash and has appeared on the U.S. women’s national team three times. Watch out, Houston, there’s a new power couple in town.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

THIS JUST IN…
Education is important, but basketball is importanter
(NBA)
RJ Hampton is a high school basketball player who had offers from Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, and basically the rest of the college basketball world. He is also the No. 5 prospect in the ESPN 100 class of 2019. He has decided to take an alternate route to reach his dream of playing in the NBA. Hampton will skip college and play professionally for the New Zealand Breakers of the Australian National Basketball League. He was inspired by international basketball star Luka Doncic, and wants to explore alternative development paths. You do you, RJ. 

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Raptors Final(ly) Get Over the Hump
What changed?
(NBA) For years, Toronto Raptors fans were used to the inevitable: the Raptors would show signs of hope in the playoffs, and then lose in frustrating fashion, whether losing to an underdog team or running into LeBron James

But with LeBron out West, and not necessarily thriving, the Raptors finally made it to the pinnacle, beating the Milwaukee Bucks in six games to reach the first NBA Finals in franchise history. They’ll face the back-to-back defending champion Golden State Warriors starting on Thursday in the first-ever NBA Finals game outside of the United States. 

The Raptors are certainly the underdogs, even though they claim home-court advantage. The 2008 Celtics were the last home-court underdog in the Finals and they ended up beating the Lakers in six games. That’s enough to give Kawhi Leonard something to smile about… 

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Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better
And it only took 500 miles to prove it…
(IndyCar) Imagine being one of the best in your field, but your boss wants to replace you. And now, you have a chance to beat your potential replacement under the biggest spotlight your field has to offer… yeah, you lost me there.

Simon Pagenaud lived that Sunday, entering the Indy 500 knowing full well about the rumors that Team Penske may replace him with teammate Alexander Rossi. Pagenaud did what anyone would dream to do; he showed up and silenced the critics, outlasting runner-up Rossi in a dramatic win in the IndyCar’s premier event.

He won $2.67 million, too, though he couldn’t win the limelight. That went to his dog, Norman, a Jack Russell Terrier who owned every photo in the post-race celebration.

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Bill Buckner dies at age 69
Fans remember him for the good…and the bad
(MLB) In sports, the phrase “Bill Buckner” has become as much a synonym for “gaffe” as the name of the the first baseman whose infamous error cost the Red Sox in the 1986 World Series. Buckner’s unfortunate passing on Monday of Lewy Body Dementia also reminded fans that his name conjures up more than memories of that fateful ground ball bouncing between his legs.

Try this: in the 1970s and 1980s, only Pete Rose (MLB’s all-time hits leader) registered more hits than Buckner did. How about when he won the batting title in 1980 then made the All-Star team as a Chicago Cub the following year? Or the five times he received MVP votes?

Buckner played 22 years and never struck out more than twice in a game; 16 players did that this Sunday alone. He died Monday with a chorus of cheers behind him. Thirty-years after his infamous nadir, his name meant more than an error. He will be dearly missed in the baseball world. 

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ON THIS DAY

In 2003, all-time hockey legend Patrick Roy announced his retirement from the NHL. “Saint Patrick” was voted into the Hall of Fame three years later and is unequivocally considered one of the greatest goalies of all time. His “butterfly” style of goaltending paved the way for modern goalies, and he still ranks first in career playoff wins for a goaltender (151).

Roy’s retirement as a coach came with much less celebration in 2016, when he resigned after three years with Colorado, where he spent the latter half of his playing career. Still, short stint aside, Roy’s playing days are cemented in lore and still live in through nearly every goalie today.


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