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Los Angeles Lakers Win 17th Championship

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The Los Angeles Lakers have defeated the Miami Heat 4-2 to win the 2020 NBA Championship.

What We Know:

  • The Lakers beat the Miami Heat 106-93 Sunday night to capture their NBA title. The score indicates a much closer game than what actually happened. After a close Game 5 loss, the Lakers came out ready for Game 6 and absolutely steamrolled Heat. The LA defense was in full form last night, holding the Heat to just 34 points in the first half. There were multiple points throughout the night were the Lakers were up by 30. LeBron was in playoff mode with another 28-14-10 triple-double and Anthony Davis chipped in 19 points and 15 rebounds. The unsung hero for the Lakers was Rajon Rondo, who came in off the bench and provided 19 points on 8-11 shooting.
  • The Lakers came into the finals as heavy favorites, but the Heat made this a great series. Miami has outperformed expectations this entire season, defeating the league MVP and dominating the Eastern Conference playoffs. Through two games, it looked like the Lakers would win this series easily, but the Heat managed to win Games 3 and 5 and make this a competitive series. Game 5 in particular was an instant classic with Jimmy Butler going toe-to-toe with LeBron James and it coming down to the last shot. Butler notched a 30-point triple-double in both wins, joining LeBron James as the only players in NBA history to accomplish that feat in multiple finals games. The Heat proved to be worthy competitors and Jimmy Butler proved that he’s built like that.
  • This title is incredibly meaningful for the Lakers franchise and all the players on the team. This 2020 NBA championship is the Lakers’ 17th title, tying them with the Boston Celtics for the most championships of all time. Dwight Howard and Anthony Davis both won their first championship. They’ve both enjoyed tremendous individual success throughout their careers, but this title cements their legacies in basketball history. Furthermore, Jeanie Buss became the first woman to win an NBA championship as a team owner. Buss’ father, the late Dr. Jerry Buss, previously owned the franchise and oversaw 10 of their championships.
  • LeBron James further bolsters his all-time career legacy with this championship. This is James’ fourth championship and he joins the long list of Laker greats to win a title in the purple and gold. James was named Finals MVP, also his fourth. James has now won a championship and Finals MVP with the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the LA Lakers. He is the only player in NBA history to win Finals MVP with three different franchises.
  • This championship also carries extra emotional weight because of how turbulent 2020 has been for the Lakers. The Lakers have dedicated this championship run to the memory of Laker legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and the seven other victims of the January helicopter crash. This championship comes ten years after Bryant led the Lakers to their last title in 2010.

With that, the 2019-2020 season has come to an end. Congratulations to the Lakers for being the last team standing. Congratulations to the entire NBA – Commissioner Adam Silver, the NBPA, the players, and all the league’s employees – for successfully being able to resume the season in the bubble and make it through without a single new coronavirus case.

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Sagar is a Digital Intern at UnmutedCo. He graduated from Northwestern University with a bachelor's degree in Trumpet Performance and Economics. Sagar writes for Black News Alerts and the BNA Daily Podcast. He also produces the BossFM Morning Show.

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Olympics: Simone Biles out of team gymnastics final ‘due to medical issue,’ officials say

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((BREAKING NEWS))

Biles withdrew due to a medical issue, according to a statement from USA Gymnastics.

“She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions,” officials said in the statement.

The four-time Olympic gold medalist competed in Team USA’s first rotation on vault Tuesday, bailing out of her Amanar and only completing a 1.5 twist on a 2.5-twisting Yurchenko, then taking a big stumble backward on the landing.

She scored a 13.766 and was seen walking off the floor with her bag and a trainer.

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Maria Taylor Signs with NBC after Parting Ways with ESPN

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ESPN announced Maria Taylor would begin work with NBC Sports by covering the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. The news comes after she and ESPN could not reach an agreement about her contract extension.

What We Know:

  • In light of her departure, ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro celebrated Taylor’s “ability and work ethic;” additionally, he mentioned he was proud of the work she did for the company. Pitaro stated the network remains determined to build a “deep and skilled talent roster” to reflect the athletes and topics they report and fans they serve.
  • In regards to leaving her former position, Taylor expressed gratitude for her time at ESPN; she thanked Pitaro and others for encouraging and motivating her, and declared she would “make them proud.”
  • Taylor began at ESPN by working for the SEC Network covering college sports and hosting College GameDay. Her skills and screen presence eventually landed her as the host of NBA Countdown. With NBC, she will work as a host and contributor at Football Night in America and the Super Bowl. Taylor will also co-host Prime Plus with Mike Trico.
  • When asked about her new position, Taylor said she was excited to start. She said she always dreamed of hosting events like the Olympics and the Super Bowl. Taylor added that the opportunity would be impossible without “standing on the shoulders of all those” who came before her.
  • Taylor’s future at ESPN entered limbo earlier this month after racist comments made by colleague Rachel Nichols. In released audio footage, Nichols is heard on a phone call complaining to Lebron James’ adviser Adam Mendelsohn about Taylor hosting the NBA Finals. She implied that the network only chose Taylor to improve diversity. After footage surfaced, Nichols quickly apologized but was pulled from sideline coverage.

Taylor covered Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals as her last assignment with ESPN.

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Olympic Opening Ceremony Director Fired for 1998 Holocaust Joke

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Organizing committee president Seiko Hashimoto announced the news a day before the Olympics’ July 23 Opening Ceremony.

What We Know:

  • The organizing committee dismissed director Kentaro Kobayashi due to a joke about the Holocaust made during a 1998 comedy act. Throughout his performance, Kobayashi includes the use of the phrase “Let’s play Holocaust.”
  • Hashimoto stated that when the committee learned Kobayashi used a phrase mocking a historical tragedy, they were extremely disappointed. He also apologized for “causing such a development” just a day before the Olympics began; Hashimoto proceeded to express remorse for troubling the involved parties and people across Japan. After the news was released, footage of Kobayashi’s skit appeared on the internet.

  • Many expressed disdain at the sketch. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean and global social action director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said nobody holds the right to mock victims of Nazi genocide. Cooper further mentioned how Nazis gassed disabled Germans, stating that any association of Kobayashi with the Tokyo Olympics would mock the Paralympics and insults the memory of 6 million Jews.
  • The 2021 Tokyo Olympics has been at the center of many scandals. These include banning Namibian female athletes for testosterone levels, removing Sha’Carri Richardson for marijuana, and more. According to Hashimoto, the postponed Games were supposed to send a positive message; however, the many incidents will give the Tokyo event a negative image.
  • In addition, Japan faces global criticism for proceeding with the Olympics against medical experts’ advice. Recently, Japan declared a state of emergency due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. However, ESPN reports the country partially feels pressure from the International Olympic Committee (IOC); if the Games were not held, the IOC would lose an estimated  $3 billion to $4 billion in television rights. Alongside this, government audits suggest this year’s Olympics cost more than $15.4 billion, with all but $6.7 billion being public money.

The Tokyo Olympics will continue until August 8.

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