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rantnrave:// NBA free agency is almost over and there’s already talk about summer 2018. We’re obsessed with player movement. It doesn’t help that the upcoming NBA season has been decided. Congrats on the back-to-back titles, Golden State. But free agency in sports’ modern era has redefined the relationship between fans and athletes. It’s not as common anymore for fans to root for stars just because they’re the best players on their favorite teams. With social media, video games, fantasy sports, NBA League Pass, NFL RedZone and national TV contracts, we can branch out past our local teams and choose from the entire landscape of options. You can be a Celtics fan or a James Harden fan. The players are no longer beholden to their teams either. The biggest NBA stars get paid as much, if not more, by their shoe companies. LeBron James will earn $33.3 million from the Cavs next season. Nike could pay him more than a billion dollars over his lifetime. Which organization should be LeBron’s top priority? For fans, there’s less investment in wins and losses and more intrigue in the players and drama. Transactions are as big a soap opera as the games. What does loyalty in pro sports even mean? … It’s hard to overstate the outrage there will be if Johnny Manziel gets an NFL job before Colin Kaepernick. Manziel is a bust. He flamed out in Cleveland, has been accused of hitting his ex-girlfriend, and lacks any redeeming moment in his pro career. Yet, he says he’s had a few conversations with teams about a job. Meanwhile, Kaepernick remains unemployed. The NFL is already on a razor’s edge with the former 49ers star, straining whatever goodwill it has with a not-insignificant portion of its fan base while Kaepernick seems like he’s being blackballed out of the league. Commissioner Roger Goodell claims Kaepernick’s unemployment is on merit but does that argument fall flat if Manziel lands a job? Dave Zirin writes that the NFL sees Manziel as one of its own and Kaepernick as a threat. Is he right? … Can out-of-home viewership numbers prop up TV ratings? … Alibaba is trying to grow a sports industry in China. It’s taking the long view.
The longest-tenured and winningest football coach at Oklahoma State is about to turn 50. His methods might seem outlandish, but they work.
George Schroeder | USA Today
Or is comparing athletes and actors apples and oranges?
Kevin Lincoln, Josef Adalian, Kyle Buchanan, Jen Chaney & Maria Elena Fernandez | Vulture
“Places I thought were never possible to go to because of my disability became a reality in competing in fighting games.”
Luke Winkie | Vice Sports
A deadly avalanche claimed the lives of seven boys. Years later a survivor revisited the horror.
Craig R. McCoy | Philadelphia Inquirer
In Colin Kaepernick, NFL owners see a threat. In Johnny Manziel, they see themselves.
Dave Zirin | The Nation
“It’s not enough to be smart. You have to be curious.”