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Sports

2022 NBA Free Agents Still Available

NBA free agency is without question the craziest free agency of all major sports leagues. What is normally a league of basketball professionals becomes the wild, wild west of player movement, sign-and-trades, and tampering. Nearly a full month into this summer’s free agency, we take a look the 10 best available NBA free agents.

10.) DeMarcus Cousins: Center – Denver Nuggets – Unrestricted Free Agent
2021-22 Stats: 9.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists
(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

Boogie Cousins was on the trajectory to superstardom before injuries sidelined him in 2017. Cousins has bounced around from 5 different franchises since his initial injury with the New Orleans Pelicans. He still offers a lot in year 12, knocking down over 30% of his attempts from beyond the arc and pulling in nearly 6 rebounds per game. There is definitely a few teams that could use depth at the center position which Cousins could fill. There has been no news of teams with strong interest to sign Cousins yet, so it may be late into free agency once he is finally signed.

9.) Lou Williams: Guard – Atlanta Hawks – Unrestricted Free Agent
2021-22 Stats: 6.3 points, 1.9 assists, 1.6 rebounds
(Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images)

The three-time Sixth Man of the Year, Lou Williams, remains unsigned after a month of free agency. Williams has made a living off his ability to score off the bench and has distanced himself as one of the greatest 6th men of all-time. He has seen a drop off in production as the Atlanta Hawks have significantly reshaped their roster and Trae Young has been given a bigger role at the guard position. Williams doesn’t plan to retire and will explore free agency this summer.

8.) Jeremy Lamb: Guard/Forward – Sacramento Kings – Unrestricted Free Agent
2021-22 Stats: 7.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists
(Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

Jeremy Lamb was on the rise with the Charlotte Hornets, posting a career high season average of 15.3 points. After signing with the Pacers, Lamb saw his production slowly drop off. He just finished the last year of his contract with the Kings and has entered unrestricted free agency. Lamb has proven he can be a viable option in the NBA over his 10 year career. You can never have too much depth at the wing position, so expect Lamb to be signed in the near future.

7.) LaMarcus Aldridge: Forward/Center – Brooklyn Nets – Unrestricted Free Agent
2021-22 Stats: 12.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.0 block
(Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

Even though LaMarcus Aldridge is 37 years old, he remains one of the most intriguing free agents on this list. Aldridge announced an early retirement in 2021 due to an irregular heartbeat. He was able to recover and be cleared to play, and was a great addition to the Brooklyn Nets last season.

Aldridge not only offers veteran experience on the court, he is an integral part of any locker room. Don’t be surprised to see LA on a championship contending team next season.

6.) Carmelo Anthony: Forward – Los Angeles Lakers – Unrestricted Free Agent
2021-22 Stats: 13.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.0 assists
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

19-year NBA veteran Carmelo Anthony has built out quite the resume during his time in the league. He currently sits 9th all-time in points scored, and if he can score 307 points next season will pass Shaquille O’Neal for 8th. Melo has carved out a role as a capable scorer coming off of the bench, but his time on contending teams may be over.

Anthony could fit great in a mentor role on a young up-and-coming team, but he may hold out and try to sign with a team in the best position to win.

5.) Dwight Howard: Center – Los Angeles Lakers – Unrestricted Free Agent
2021-22 Stats: 6.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 61.2% from the field
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Dwight Howard’s future in the NBA was looking rather murky just a few years ago. After bouncing between six different teams in a nine-year span and only playing nine games in 2018-19, there weren’t many teams enamored with signing Howard. He was able to change that narrative with a great campaign off the bench in 2019-2020 with the Lakers. He even won a championship.

Howard brings a solid interior defender and championship experience to any team he signs with, so expect him to get signed in the near future.

4.) Blake Griffin: Forward – Brooklyn Nets – Unrestricted Free Agent
2021-22 Stats: 6.4 points, 4.1 rebound, 1.9 assists
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The ‘Lob City‘ Clippers were looking poised to be the next NBA dynasty in 2013 with budding superstar Blake Griffin. Friction with teammates and injuries would sour those expectations, and the Clippers would eventually blow the team up.

After reclaiming his spot as an all-star in 2019, Griffin has found a comfortable role coming off the bench. There is still some stuff left in the tank for Blake Griffin and I hope to see him on a contender next season.

3.) Dennis Schroder: Guard – Houston Rockets – Unrestricted Free Agent
2021-22 Stats: 13.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 5.9 assists
(Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)

Dennis Schroder mystified the world when he passed on a $84 million contract with the Lakers to sign a $6 million deal with the Celtics. Schroder bet on himself, which unfortunately hasn’t panned out to this point.

He remains one of the best scorers on this list, however. The veteran guard rounded out last season with the Houston Rockets. Let’s see if he tries and find a spot on a contending team.

2.) Montrezl Harrell: Center – Charlotte Hornets – Unrestricted Free Agent
2021-22 Stats: 13.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Montrezl Harrell will have to larger issues to work out this summer than his contract. However, he still remains one of the more touted free agents left this summer. The former 6th Man of the Year has one of the best motors in the NBA and can still be a spark for any team in the league. Harrell could be the missing piece needed to take a franchise to the next level.

1.) Collin Sexton: Guard – Cleveland Cavaliers – Restricted Free Agent
2021-22 Stats: 16.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists
(Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)

Colin Sexton was on a superstar trajectory after averaging nearly 25 points in 2021 for the Cav’s. Cleveland went in a different direction this year, however, giving Darius Garland the green light to run the offense.

Sexton still remains an extremely interesting free agent, as he’s only 23-years-old and has a career points average of 20. Rebuilding teams could find a gem in Sexton if he can improve on the defense end.

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Sports

Making Sense of the Tour de France

Every year in July, thousands of people flood to the French countryside to watch the oldest and most epic cycling event in the world. 22 teams made up of eight riders per team take on the expedition of biking over 3,300km in 24 days, all for the glory of the Tour de France. If you’ve ever wondered how someone wins the actual Tour or why the camera is always on some guy with a yellow shirt, you’re not alone. The Tour de France has been going on for over 100 years and to a newcomer, the scoring and jargon can be confusing. Here is a beginners guide to making sense of the Tour de France.

Terminology

Like all great sports, the Tour de France and cycling, more specifically, uses a number of terms to describe the ongoing competition. Some terms are more self-explanatory than others, but these are the basic concepts you should be familiar with when watching any form of cycling.

Group Terms
(Photo by ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images)

Peloton: You may hear the word peloton and immediately think of the popular exercise equipment people use to compete in virtual cycling competitions. However, it’s a French term that translates to Platoon, defined as a subdivision of a company of soldiers, usually forming a tactical unit that is commanded by a lieutenant and divided into several sections. That’s because cyclists in these competitions will ride in what’s called the peloton, which is the main pack of riders. Riders stay in the peloton closely together to conserve energy by drafting. 

Drafting: Because this is a race, mere milliseconds matter if you want to win. When you’re racing all day for 24 days, conserving energy is critical. Drafting is an aerodynamic technique where two vehicles or other moving objects are caused to align in a close group, reducing the overall effect of drag due to exploiting the lead object’s slipstream.

Riders can significantly reduce the required pedal effort by closely following the slipstream of the rider in front. Riding in the peloton can save as much as 40% energy in forward motion when compared to riding alone. 

Teams will designate a leader who is generally the best cyclist, and it is the team’s responsibility to keep that leader out of wind and in good position before a critical chance at a break.

Breaks and Sprinters
(Photo by JASPER JACOBS/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

Breaks: A break or breakaway in cycling is a pretty easy one to understand. This occurs when a group of riders break away from the peloton to have more space and freedom. A small group can maintain a higher speed than the peloton, which the remaining riders may not be as motivated or organized to chase. 

Sprinters: A ‘sprinter’ is a term used to describe a cyclist who can accelerate quickly and aggressively to a high speed. The sprinter will use the slipstream of other bikers to conserve energy until an opportunity to break arises. A team reserves its best rider as the sprinter.

Climbs and Climbers
(Photo by: Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Climbs: Climbs require lower riding speeds and reduce the drafting advantage, giving individual riders a great opportunity at a solo break away. Riders can capitalize on the descent because going downhill alone allows more space for maneuvering.

Climbers: A team will designate a climbing specialist, reserved to the rider who is exceptionally well on high-inclined roads. The climber will ride in front of his team and set the speed while mapping the best line to ride. It’s crucial to have a climber that can protect your team’s lead rider during attacks.

How to Win

To win the Tour de France you have to win the General Classification. There are four other classifications that can be won, however, with different restrictions and scoring systems for each. These are the five separate ways a rider or team can claim a jersey at the Tour de France.

General Classification (Yellow Jersey)
(Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

The yellow jersey is the most iconic and historic of those given out at the Tour. First given out in 1919, the winner of the General Classification, or GC, gets to wear the yellow jersey for the next stage of the race. This is awarded to the rider who has the lowest time. The lowest combined time over the course’s entire 21-stage race will win the overall Tour de France and the GC. The actual yellow jersey comes from a marketing campaign by L’auto’s newspaper because the color matched the front page of their paper.

Mountain Classification (Polka-Dot Jersey)
(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

The Mountain Classification is reserved for the ‘King of the Mountains’, who can be seen wearing a polka-dot jersey. This is awarded to the rider who collects the most points on the course in categorized climbs. Riders get more points on harder climbs and on mountaintop stage finishes. The polka-dot jersey was first introduced in 1975, but the designation has been given out since 1933.

Points Classification (Green Jersey)
(Photo by ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images)

The green jersey, also known as the “sprinters jersey”, is awarded to the rider who scores the most points throughout the course of the race. Riders can earn points by placing in the top-15 of a given stage, with an additional set of points given to the top-15 riders to cross a predetermined ‘sprint’ point during each stage. Whoever has the most points at the start of each stage wears the green jersey for the day and the cumulative leader at the end of the 21st stage wins the overall points classification.

Young Rider Classification (White Jersey)
(Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

The white jersey works the same way as yellow jersey, but only riders under 26 years of age qualify for this classification. Initially, the classification was reserved for riders in their first three years of professional racing, but was changed in 1983 so that only first-time riders could win the distinction. Finally, in 1987, the rules were changed to how they are today.

Best Team Classification (Yellow Helmets)
(Photo credit should read LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/GettyImages)

The last classification is the best team classification, but this doesn’t really impact racers strategy. Teams select the three riders with the lowest scores and add the times together. The team with the lowest combined score wins best team classifications and wears yellow helmets. 

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Sports

The Greatest Card Player That Ever Lived

Gambling is a slippery slope. The wins never feel as good as the losses feel bad, and there really is no end game. Each big score is followed up by a hunt for the next piece of action. Many view Texas Hold’em and other card games as gambling that requires a degree of luck to win. Card’s however, are a skill game. It requires an expert level of computational ability and calmness in high-pressure situations. We will never see someone dominate the tables quite like the legendary Stu Ungar did in the early ’80s and late ’90s. This is the epic tale of the greatest card player to ever live.

Gin Rummy in Jersey

Like any good origin story, Stu Ungar’s poker career starts at his home in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Stu was extremely gifted in school and even skipped 7th grade. He was born to Jewish parents, and his father, Ido, was a bookmaker and loan shark. 

Ido would set the odds and back bets that people wanted to make on sports. He saw the effect that gambling had on his customers and attempted to hide the lifestyle from Stu, but it was impossible. Stu had a photographic memory and by the age of 10 he was winning Gin Rummy tournaments.

When he was just 14 years old his father died of a heart attack, leaving Stu with the burden of providing for his family. Stu would drop out of school to pursue cards full-time.

A Change of Scenery
(Photo by AaronP/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

The thing about being a prodigy and dominating your field from such a young age is that you build an ego. Stu was known for his arrogance at the card table. He would routinely call out players for making mistakes in the middle of games. At the end of games he would even offer opponents double or nothing if he could guess the card and suites they were holding, which he would often guess correctly. Ungar had formed a strong relationship with mob bosses, however, granting him protection from enemies. All while Stu was destroying anyone who dared sit opposite to him at the card table, he was amassing a significant debt at the race track. Ungar was now a marked man who couldn’t gamble on the East Coast, so he took his talents to Sin City.

Stu Ungar

I never want to be called a ‘good loser.’ Show me a good loser and I’ll just show you a loser

1980-81 run

When Stu Ungar first arrived in Las Vegas, Gin Rummy was still his choice of game. He was so dominant that people just flat-out refused to play him. Even casino’s would ask Stu not to play in their gin rummy tournaments because no one would show up to play out of fear of losing to him. He knew that the days of dominating Gin Rummy were over, so he turned to Texas Hold’em. 

Stu looked to the World Series of Poker, a yearly event held for professional poker players to battle it out in a number of competitions, the biggest being the main-event. This main-event consisted of no-limit Texas Hold’em with a $10,000 buy-in. It was the most prestigious poker tournament in the world. In 1980, Ungar would win his first WSOP main-event bracelet with a 5-4 of spades. He would run it back in 1981 and defend his title, becoming the 3rd person in WSOP history to win back-to-back main-events. With the rewards of glory come the perils of addiction. Ungar became heavily entrenched in a cocaine addiction. Anything he won would go straight to his addiction or it would be gambled away on sports. 

In 1990, Stu attempted to reclaim his WSOP main-event bracelet. He was a significant chip-lead at the end of the third day, and it looked as though he would be back atop the mountain. During a routine break between playing sessions, Ungar went to his hotel to relax with a few bumps of cocaine. He would overdose in his hotel room and not finish the tournament. He had such a large lead, however, just by folding him out every hand and paying the blinds, he finished in 9th place.

1997 Main-Event Title

By 1997 Stu had hit rock bottom. He had divorced from his wife, was unable to regularly see his daughter, was battling a severe cocaine addiction, and was buried in mountains of gambling debt. Long-time poker friend Billy Baxter came to Stu and offered to pay his buy-in for the 97 main-event.

As Baxter and Ungar rushed to the registration, they made it with mere seconds to spare, locking Stu in as the last competitor in the tournament. Ungar was exhausted at the start of play. He had been on a 24-hour cocaine-binge and felt that he didn’t have the stamina to make it past the first day and even fell asleep at the table.

Whenever he felt like giving up, he would look at the picture of his daughter in his wallet. He needed to win this main-event, not to prove to himself how good he was, but to show his daughter what he was really made of. Ungar would win the title, earning the nickname Stu “The Comeback Kid” Ungar and became just the second player to ever win 3 main-event bracelets.

A Legacy Like None Other

After his big win at the 1997 WSOP, Ungar split the $1 million dollar cash prize with Baxter who paid for his buy-in. Stu would blow his winnings within the next few months on drugs and sports gambling. Baxter would again approach Ungar before the 1998 WSOP, offering to pay the buy-in if Stu defended his title. Ungar was so strung-out from drugs however, he thought it would be more embarrassing to show up like that than to not show up at all. 

Later that year, in a hotel room, he would die of a heart attack caused by years of drug abuse. Ungar won an estimated $30 million at the poker table, but died with just $800 in his pocket. That $800 came from a $25,000 advance Stu had signed for an exchange in future tournament winnings, meaning Stu passed away with negative $24,200. 

It’s mystifying to imagine winning $30 million at the poker tables and not having a single cent to your name when you pass, but that was the lifestyle that Stu lived. He was never enamored with the idea of building a massive bankroll, or riding off into the sunset into retirement. Stu cared about winning and winning only. He wanted to watch his opponents slowly realize the man in-front of them was unbeatable, and he did that everytime he sat down at the table. Stu Ungar was an anomaly at the poker table we will never see replicated.

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Sports

The 10 Most Unexpected NBA Trades Ever

Even though a typical NBA season, including the playoffs, runs between October and June, the National Basketball Association is a year-round league. In the off-season, teams trade off unhappy or underperforming players in hopes of revitalizing their chances at a title. This is the time where NBA fans are steadily on the lookout for rumors regarding potential trades.

Every season, players are swapped between franchises. With the addition of a new player or two, some teams are immediately thrusted into title contention. On the other hand, some trades don’t make as much sense and a team ends up paying a steep price for the moves they’ve made.

While some trades can be predicted, every now and then, a trade or two comes along that completely blindsides everyone who is paying attention. Here are the 10 most unexpected NBA trades of all-time.

10. Shaquille O’Neal to the Miami Heat
July 14, 2004. Heat get: Shaquille O’Neal. Lakers get: Lamar Odom, Caron Butler, Brian Grant and a future first-round pick.
(Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)

The last team to three-peat as NBA champions is the early 2000 Lakers. Back then, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal were unstoppable as teammates, winning three championships in a row from 2000 to 2002. They returned to the Finals in 2004, but lost to the Detriot Pistons. The unexpected lost, as well Laker coach Phil Jackson not receiving a contract extension would ultimately blow up the team. It was shocking to see the Lakers ship out Shaq after a couple of unsuccessful post-season runs.

9. Dennis Rodman to the Chicago Bulls
Oct. 3, 1995. ​​Bulls get: Dennis Rodman. Spurs get: Will Perdue.
(Photo by Noren Trotman/NBAE via Getty Images)

For years, the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls were stuck in purgatory, often falling to the Isiah Thomas’ Detroit Pistons. Once they finally dethroned the Pistons in 1991, the Bulls era had officially begun. With so much bad blood between the Bulls and Pistons, fans were caught off guard when Chicago traded for former Pistons forward Dennis Rodman. It all worked out however, with Rodman helping team Jordan win 3 more championships.

8. Allen Iverson and Chauncy Billups Swap
Nov 3rd, 2008. Pistons get: Allen Iverson. Nuggets get: Chauncey Billups, Antonio McDyess.
(Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

The 2004 Pistons were truly an anomaly, winning the NBA championship without a real superstar. They never reached the same success in following years, and ultimately went all-in on Allen Iverson in 2008. It was mystifying to see the Pistons trade the guy who was their finals MVP for someone known for having off-court issues.

7. Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers
Aug 10, 2012. Lakers get: Dwight Howard, Earl Clark, Chris Duhon. Denver Nuggets get: Andre Iguodala. 76ers get: Andrew Bynum, Jason Richardson. Magic get: Arron Afflalo, Al Harrington, Nikola Vucevic, Mo Harkless, Josh McRoberts, and three future 1st round picks.
(Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images)

After the Lakers won back-to-back finals in 2009-2010, there wasn’t a clear sign on where to go next. Do they blow up the whole team and look towards the future? Do they trade for a premier young player and dip into the luxury tax to build another contender? They’re the Lakers, it’s no mystery they went with the latter. It was still shocking to the NBA world to see Dwight Howard paired up with Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash. Due to all three players dealing with nagging injuries, we never saw the true potential of this super-team.

6. Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks
Feb 21, 2011. Knicks get: Carmelo Anthony, Chauncy Billups, Corey Brewer, Renaldo Balkman, Sheldon Williams, Anthony Carter. Nuggets get: Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, Timofey Mozgov, Raymond Felton, 1st round pick, two 2nd round picks, $3 million cash. Timberwolves get: Anthony Randolph, Eddy Curry.
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

In 2010, it became clear that Carmelo Anthony wanted out of Denver. There were a number of contenders in the Melo sweepstakes, but in the end, New York Knicks came out victorious. The Knicks sent what was at the time one of the biggest hauls we’d ever seen for a single player. Anthony would play over 400 games for the Knicks and they would win one playoff series.

5. Paul George Teams Up With Kawhi
Jul 6, 2019. Clippers get: Paul George. Thunder get: Danilo Gallinari, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, five 1st round draft picks.
(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Kawhi Leonard shocked the world in 2019 after bringing the Toronto Raptors their first ever NBA championship. Months later, the Finals MVP shocked the world again when he decided to dip out on the Raptors and join the LA Clippers. Around the same time, Paul George who had just finished 3rd in MVP voting was sent to the Clippers for several picks and players. Steve Ballmer has been hell-bent on creating the new basketball mecca, and these two superstars may be the last pieces.

4. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn
Jun 28, 2013 Nets get: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry. Celtics get: Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries, Tornike Shengelia, Reggie Evans, Keith Bogans, three 1st round picks.
(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Once LeBron James took his spot at mountain top of the NBA, the Celtics knew they could not compete with their currently constructed roster. It still shocked the NBA world to see two of the Celtic’s most historic players be shipped off to a division rival in Brooklyn. The Celtics got an incredible selection of picks that set them up for years, maybe even decades of success.

3. Wilt Chamberlain to The Los Angeles Lakers
Jul 9, 1968. Lakers get: Wilt Chamberlain. 76ers get: Darrell Imhoff, Archie Clark, Jerry Chambers, undisclosed amount of cash.
(Photo by Vernon Biever/NBAE via Getty Images)

In the late 1960’s, NBA superstars weren’t traded around the league the same way they are today. That’s when Jerry West convinced the Lakers to trade for aging superstar Wilt Chamberlain. The Lakers were able to pull off the trade and bring a championship to Los Angeles with Wilt in 1972.

2. Bill Russell to Boston
Apr 30, 1956. Celtics get: Bill Russell. Hawks get: Ed Macauley and Cliff Hagan. Royals get: 1 week of the Ice Capades
(Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)

What many NBA fans don’t know is that the Celtics actually traded up to draft Bill Russell. The St.Louis Hawks held the 2nd pick in 1956, a time when Missouri was going through the beginning stages of desegregation. They had no interest in drafting Bill Russell, so, the Celtics traded virtually nothing to move into the 2nd spot. They also promised the Kansas City Royals, holder of the first pick, a week with the traveling ice show the Ice Capades if they didn’t draft Russell.

1. The Beard goes to Houston
Oct 27, 2013. Rockets get: James Harden, Cole Aldrich, Daequan Cook, Lazar Hayward. Thunder get: Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, two 1st round picks, second round pick.
(Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

The 2012 NBA Finals saw LeBron James claim his first NBA title by defeating an up-and-coming Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder had the defending 6th Man of the Year and budding superstar James Harden slated to be a restricted free-agent after the next season. Instead of letting Harden play out that year or give him the max contract, they traded him to Houston for a small return. Harden would go on to become league MVP and break a multitude of scoring records. Thunder fans are left to ponder, what if they ran it back?

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Most World Series of Poker Main-Event Wins

Texas Hold’em really is a simple game when you boil it down. Everyone is dealt two private hole cards, and five cards are dealt in the middle as community cards. Whoever at the table can make the best five-card hand wins the pot. Simple.

On its surface, it looks like a game of chance, but it’s not. As the great Mike McDermott says in the legendary poker film Rounders, “Why do you think the same five guys make it to the World Series of Poker every year? What are they, the luckiest guys in Las Vegas? It’s a skill game.”

To win the no-limit Hold’em main event takes not only skill, but also stamina and persistence. Here are the five Texas Hold’em players with the most World Series of Poker main event bracelets. 

Phil Hellmuth – 2 Time Champion
1989: $755,000 2012: €1,058,403

When Phil Hellmuth won his first main event title in 1989 at the age of 24, he became the youngest player to ever do it. Hellmuth went up against defending back-to-back champion Johnny Chan at the final table. Chan moved all-in with Ace-7 of spades and Hellmuth called with pocket 9’s. Chan had a chance to make an Ace-high straight on the river, but ultimately missed. Hellmuth would go on to win the 2012 WSOP Main Event in Europe, which has been an on-going tournament since 2007. He currently holds the all-time record for bracelets with 16 and has won over $16 million in prize money.

Doyle Brunson – 2 Time Champion
1976: $220,000 1977: $340,000
(Photo by Tony Korody/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)

There is no poker player who’s career stretches as far and wide as the great Doyle Brunson. Brunson was a competitor in the first ever World Series of Poker in 1970, and became the second back-to-back champion in 1977. His wins are most notably remembered because his final hand’s both years were 10, 2, which is a relatively weak hand in Texas Hold’em.

Brunson’s contributions to the poker world have been invaluable. Authoring a number of books and helping collate the best players in the world for a televised high-stakes game, Brunson has grown the game of poker to unthinkable heights. He has an estimated career earnings of over $6 million at the poker table.

Johnny Chan – 2 Time Champion
1987: $625,000 1988: $700,000

In the late ’90’s the poker world saw a massive rise in popularity, in large part due to the poker drama Rounders starring Matt Damon. One of the most memorable parts of the movie is seeing Damon’s character watch as Chan wins his second World Series of Poker title.

That 1988 final table was shown on ESPN, bringing the sport to a wider and newer audience. Chan was runner-up in the 1989 World Series, and that win would’ve made him the first player to ever three-peat. He has estimated career earnings of over $8 million.

Johnny Moss – 3 Time Champion
1970: N/A 1971: $30,000 1974: $160,000

The Grand Old Man of the World Series of Poker is undoubtedly cards legend Johnny Moss. He won the first ever championship, which only took place amongst 7 entrants and a winner was determined via a vote.

Moss would be the first back-to-back winner, winning the first two championships ever. He would win his final main event title in 1974. Moss earned over $1 million during the WSOP, but his career earnings are unknown due to the fact it wasn’t tracked as meticulously as it is now.

Stu Ungar – 3 Time Champion
1980: $385,000 1981: $375,000 1979: $1,000,000

In the annals of poker lore there is one name that is mythic almost. A man who was so good, so dangerous, and so smug, he was too smart for his own good. Ungar grew up in New Jersey, where by the age of 10 he was winning Gin Rummy tournaments. He was known for having a photographic memory, and would even offer double or nothing to opponents if he could guess their cards.

Ungar won the 1980 and 1981 main events, but a troubling drug addiction led him to becoming broke. After a friend posted his buy-in for the 1997 main event, he told him he was strung-out from dugs, he wasn’t sure if he could finish the tournament. Ungar not only finished, but he won, earning him the nickname ‘the comeback kid’.

Ungar would pass away of a heart attack due to years of drug abuse just a year later. He won an estimated $30 million, and died with just $800 in his pocket. There will never be a card player as good as Stu Ungar.

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Can This 23 Year Old Cyclist Three-Peat The Tour de France?

The term G.O.A.T is thrown around far too often these days. It’s a designation that is supposed to be reserved for the best of the best. Young athletes who get a taste of winning are met with the expectation of being the G.O.A.T. in their respective sport, because they’re young and we know they can win. No modern athlete may feel that pressure more than 23-year-old Slovenian cyclist Tadej Pogačar. The young cyclist is trailing by 2’18” in this year’s race, but, if he can make the comeback he will win his 3rd straight Tour de France. This is how ​​the young phenom put himself in the position to be the next G.O.A.T of cycling.

Early Career

Tadej Pogačar has been a cyclist his entire life. He first joined the Rog Ljubljana club when he was nine years old. In 2011, he caught the attention of former Road World Championship medallist, Andrej Hauptman. Hauptman watched a 13-year-old Pogačar and thought he was struggling to keep up with a group of older teens ahead. 
Hauptman told the race organizers that they should provide some type of assistance for the young cyclist. To his surprise, the organizers told him that Pogačar was not struggling, but instead about to lap the much older group of riders. Hauptman knew what he was witnessing was special. He later became Pogačars coach, and continues to coach him to this day.

2020 and 2021 Tour de France

In 2019, Tadej Pogačar would join UAE Team Emirates, a road cycling team that competes in the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). That same year, Pogačar would get his first victory at the Tour of California, making him the youngest rider to ever win a UCI WorldTour stage race. The world would get a proper introduction to the elite cyclist at the 2020 Tour de France. 

He was sitting at second overall heading into the third week of racing and trailed first by 57 seconds. He would dominate the time trial, finishing at La Planche des Belles Filles, gaining a 59 second lead. He closed out the competition to become the second youngest Tour de France winner and the first from Slovenia. 

In the 2021 Tour de France, Pogačar distanced himself into a league of his own. He was in such control of the race that he had a five-minute lead going into the final stage, becoming the youngest cyclist to ever win consecutive tours.

2022 Tour de France
(Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

As this year’s Tour de France competitors ride out the 10th stage and have 11 more stages to finish, Pogačar leads the individual classification rankings by 11 seconds. If the pressure of having such a small margin of lead en route to a third straight Tour de France win wasn’t enough, Pogačars teammate, George Bennett, has been sent home from the race due to COVID. 

UAE-Team Emirates already had multiple members leave this year’s race because of COVID, which makes it easier for opponents to pass Pogačar on breakaways. Pogačar also won’t have the advantage of conserving energy in the peloton. Similar criticisms were made about Pogačars team last year, however, and he was still able to close out the race. With the Tour set to end on July 24th, this is definitely a race you will want to keep an eye on.

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15 Best Rookie Seasons in NBA History

The NBA season may tip-off in October, but the real mark of a new season is the annual draft in June. Tanking franchises look to recover from a dismal season by adding a generational talent. Over the course of its 75 years, we have seen teams add a single player in the draft and turn into championship contenders. Here are the 15 best rookies seasons in NBA history.

15.) Blake Griffin 2010-11
Rookie Year Stats: 22.5 points, 12.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists

The hype that Blake Griffin set-off entering the NBA draft out of Oklahoma was generational, and it was no surprise he went 1st overall in 2009. A knee injury would sideline him the entire year however, making 2010-11 his rookie season. Griffin was fantastic averaging a 20 point, 12 rebound double-double. This also set in motion one of the best inside-jokes in NBA history. He would win rookie of the year in his second season because he had sat out the previous year, making it an annual joke to throw Griffin’s name in the ROY voting every year.

14.) Elvin Hayes 1968-69
Rookie Year Stats: 28.4 points, 17.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists

After finishing their first season in the NBA a lowly 15-67 record, the San Diego Rockets were looking to establish themselves in the league. They looked to Elvin Hayes out of the University of Houston to make that happen. Hayes was sensational his rookie year leading the league in scoring. He helped the Rockets win 22 more games than the previous year and secured their first ever playoff spot. Hayes would be runner-up for Rookie of the Year and the Rockets would ultimately lose in the semi-finals. 

13.) Wes Unseld 1968-69
Rookie Year Stats: 13.8 points, 18.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists

Yes, another rookie from the 1968-69 season has made this list. Elvin Hayes was runner-up for rookie of the year in 69′ because Washington Bullets center Wes Unseld took home the honors, along with the league MVP. He is only the second rookie to ever win MVP, and no player has done it since. Unseld helped take the Bullets from 6th in the East to 1st in just a single season. Unseld would claim his single NBA championship in 1978 with the Bullets. 

12.) Luka Doncic 2018-19
Rookie Year Stats: 21.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 6.0 assists

The Dallas Mavericks were in a tough spot in 2018. Their franchises greatest player, Dirk Nowitzki, was getting ready to retire and the team needed to rebuild. They would get everything they needed in more with the boy-wonder Luka Doncic. Doncic became the youngest Euro League MVP at 18 years and helped Madrid win a championship. He was eccentric his rookie year in the NBA, routinely hitting nasty step-backs and game winners. Doncic would win rookie of the year in 2019 and is still currently playing with the Dallas Mavericks. 

11.) Shaquille O’Neal 1992-93
Rookie Year Stats: 23.4 points, 13.9 rebounds, 3.5 blocks

There may be no personality in NBA history bigger than the great Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq was one of the highest touted prospects ever coming out of LSU. It was a no-brainer for the Magic to take him first overall. He won rookie of the year easily, dominating the paint night-in and night-out. Shaq would eventually leave Orlando and play for five teams across his career en route to five NBA championships. 

10.) David Robinson 1989-90
Rookie Year Stats: 24.3 points, 12.0 rebounds, 3.9 blocks

The origins of David Robinsons ‘The Admiral’ nickname is some of the best NBA lore. Robinson was playing for the Naval Academy in college and was required to serve before he could enter the NBA. He would help add 35 wins to the Spurs season total and unanimously take home Rookie of the Year honors. He would play his whole career with the Spurs and help them win two NBA championships. 

9.) LeBron James 2003-04
Rookie Year Stats: 20.9 points, 5.5 assists, 5.9 rebounds

There is and may never be a prospect more touted than LeBron James. The lottery to land the kid from Akron was going to change one franchise forever, and that was the Cavaliers. James took home Rookie of the Year honors after more than doubling the Cav’s win column. He would eventually depart Cleveland for Miami, but return and help them win their first NBA championship. 

8.) Magic Johnson 1979-80
Rookie Year Stats: 18.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, 7.3 assists

The NBA was at a low-point in the late 70’s. Ratings were declining, attendance was abysmal, and the league was in jeopardy of falling. Magic Johnson would turn that around in just one season. With a smile the size of the sun, Johnson helped turn the Lakers into ‘showtime’. After leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was sidelined with a injury in the 1980 NBA finals, Johnson stepped in at center and dropped an insane 42 points, 15 rebounds, and 7 assists. He would win finals MVP, the first and only rookie to ever be given the honors.

7.) Larry Bird 1979-80
Rookie Year Stats: 21.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.5 assists

Yes, Magic saved the NBA in the 80’s, but he wouldn’t of been able to do it without Larry Bird. Together Larry and Magic cultivated the greatest rivalry the NBA has ever seen. Both rookies in 1980, Larry edged out Magic for Rookie of the Year after leading the Celtics to a league best 61-21 record. Larry would play out his entire career for the Celtics and won three championships.

6.) Elgin Baylor 1958-59
Rookie Year Stats: 24.9 points, 15.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists

When talking about the greatest scorers in NBA history, it’s criminal to leave out the great Elgin Baylor. As a rookie for the Minneapolis Lakers, Baylor averaged nearly 25 points, good enough for 4th amongst all players that season. Baylor would play his entire 13 year career with the Lakers, but retire right before they would win a championship in 1972.

5.) Michael Jordan 1984-85
Rookie Year Stats: 28.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists

There are few, albeit maybe no basketball player who embedded themselves with such a level of ferocity and heart on the court as Michael Jordan. He hit the ground running, leading the league in total sports scored his rookie year. Jordan would win Rookie of the Year over Hakeem Olajuwon of the Rocket’s. MJ would go on to win 6 championships with the Bulls before retiring on the Wizards.

4.) Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 1969-70
Rookie Year Stats: 28.8 points, 14.5 rebounds, 4.1 assists

The great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is one of the greatest figures to be apart of the NBA. From leading the Lakers to championships, to staring on the big-screen, and most importantly fighting for fundamental rights, Kareem was unapologetically himself. In his rookie year for the Milwaukee Bucks he added 29 wins to their record. He would also help the Bucks win their franchises first NBA championship.

3.) Walt Bellamy 1961-62
Rookie Year Stats: 31.6 points, 19.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists

Most NBA fans may not know the name ‘Walt Bellamy’, but his importance in the grand scheme of the NBA is crucial. He has the third highest point per game mark for any rookie in NBA history, and was a key reason the Washington Bullets were able to become a solid organization. Bellamy also led the league in field goal percentage his rookie year, knocking down 51.9% of his attempts.

2.) Oscar Robertson 1960-61
Rookie Year Stats: 30.5 points, 10.1 rebounds, 9.7 assists

The big ‘O’ is one of the best all-around talents to ever take an NBA floor. His rookie season displayed just that, nearly averaging a 30 point triple double. Robertson helped add 14 wins to the Royals win total and secured himself Rookie of the Year honors. He would ultimately end his career in Milwaukee where he would win his sole championship.

1.) Wilt Chamberlain 1959-60
Rookie Year Stats: 37.6 points, 27.0 rebounds, 2,3 assists

The NBA’s record book of absurd stats could honestly have Wilt Chamberlain named as an author. No player has ever and will ever score as many points or grab as many rebounds that Wilt did his rookie year. He was so unstoppable he was awarded the league MVP on top of his Rookie of the Year honors. Wilt would go on to win two NBA championships and will be remembered as the greatest stat-stuffer ever.

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Las Vegas Aces Guard Kelsey Plum Wins MVP: WNBA All-Star 2022

The 26th edition of the WNBA all-star game has come to an end in the Windy City of Chicago. The WNBA’s best took the stage at Wintrust Arena and delivered a jam-packed all-star game. Team Wilson was able to secure a win in a 134-112 contest over Team Stewart. Here’s how each team did and how first time all-star Kelsey Plum took home MVP honors.

Team Stewart

Team Stewart came out of the gates hot to start the game, taking an early 28-23 lead. They would be outscored 11 to 36 in the second quarter and be able to regain their footing, ultimately leading to a loss. Connecticut Sun forward Jonquel Jones put in 5 three-pointers and led scoring for Team Stewart with 29 points. She paired that with 13 boards, giving her the only double-double of the night. Seattle Storm guard Jewell Loyd was exceptional off the bench knocking down 7 three-pointers on the way to a 21 point game. Team Stewart made a late run in the 4th quarter bringing the deficit to 7, but was unable to complete the comeback.

In her first all-star game ever, Las Vegas Aces guard Kelsey Plum was nothing short of electric. She displayed cunning skills at the rim and patience in the mid-range going a perfect 7 for 7 from inside the arc. Beyond the arc she was equally as dazzling knocking down 5 three-pointers and securing the games MVP award. There was nothing anyone could do however to top the excitement that Minnesota Lynx forward Sylvia Fowles sent through the arena. In her last all-star game ever, the WNBA legend punished the rim with a fast-break slam. This was an immensely successful weekend for the WNBA and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the league.

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Allie Quigley Beats All-Time Three-Point Champion Record: WNBA All-Star 2022

Chicago Sky guard Allie Quigley had thought her three-point competition days were over after tying Larry Bird for most wins all-time last season. What more was there for her to accomplish on this stage? That all changed once the annual WNBA All-Star weekend was announced to take place in Quigley’s hometown of Chicago. It was an easy decision at this point for Quigley. She was going to suit up and attempt to win her record breaking fourth three-point contest, and well, she did just that. Here is what happened at the 2022 WNBA all-star three-point.

Round 1
(Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)

Participants in this years WNBA three-point contest came out of the gates on fire. Washington Mystics guard Ariel Atkins and Atlanta Dream rookie Rhyne Howard posted scores of 24, enough to push them into a tie for second. Quigley was the last participant in the first round and scored a round-high 26 points. Quigley was the only participant to hit the MTN Dew three-point shot in the first round.

Final Round

As Ariel Atkins stepped to the rack for the championship round of the 2022 WNBA three-point contest she had one thing on her mind, stop Quigley from winning again. Atkins was exceptional in her final round, posting a score of 21. It was a valiant effort, but no one on earth was stopping Quigley this year. Quigley hit both her four-point MTN Dew balls, and finished the night with a perfect 5-5 final rack. She posted a contest high 30 points to secure a record 4th three-point contest title. In Candace Parker’s own words “They should rename it the Allie Quigley competition.”

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2022 WNBA All-Star Game Preview

For the first time in its history, the WNBA All-Star weekend will take place in the city of Chicago. The defending WNBA champion Chicago Sky will host the star-studded weekend, with four of their own players selected for the big game on Sunday, July 10th. Here are the rosters for the 2022 WNBA All-Star game and who was drafted to what team.

Selection Process

The WNBA All-Star selection process is much the same as their NBA counterpart. Voting is split into three categories. Fan votes, WNBA players votes, and sports media votes. The fan’s account for 50% of the vote, while the other 50% is split between players and sports media. The two leading vote getters, and subsequently the two captains, are Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart, and Las Vegas Aces forward A’ja Wilson. Similar to how the NBA gave an all-star spot to Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade during their final season in 2019, Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird and Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles were named co-captains, as both athletes announced their retirement earlier this season. After the voting had finished, the two captains drafted their teams live on ESPN.

Team Wilson
  • CAPTAIN: A’ja Wilson (Aces) 
  • Co-Captain: Sylvia Fowles (Lynx)*
  • Sabrina Ionescu (Liberty)*
  • Candace Parker (Sky)*
  • Kelsey Plum (Aces)*
  • Ariel Atkins (Mystics)
  • Dearica Hamby (Aces)
  • Natasha Howard (Liberty)
  • Rhyne Howard (Dream)
  • Brionna Jones (Sun)
  • Courtney Vandersloot (Sky) 

The leading vote getter and odds-on favorite to win regular season MVP this year, A’ja Wilson headlines Team Wilson. Wilson had a legendary career at South Carolina, winning a national championship and just about every accolade that you can earn. She has been dominating the WNBA since being drafted first overall in 2018. The first overall pick was designated to Chicago Sky forward and hometown hero Candace Parker. Wilson rounded out her starters with Aces teammate Kelsey Plum, and traded for Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu and co-captain Sylvia Fowles.

Team Stewart
  • CAPTAIN: Breanna Stewart (Storm)*
  • Co-Captain: Sue Bird (Storm)*
  • Jonquel Jones (Sun)*
  • Nneka Ogwumike (Sparks)*
  • Jackie Young (Aces)*
  • Kahleah Copper (Sky)
  • Skylar Diggins-Smith (Mercury)
  • Jewell Loyd (Storm)
  • Emma Meesseman (Sky)
  • Arike Ogunbowale (Wing)
  • Alyssa Thomas (Sun)

Breanna Stewart will captain opposite A’ja Wilson after getting the second most all-star votes. There are few athletes that have dominated their sport the way that Stewart has. She won a national championship each year she was at UCONN, and has helped carry the Storm to two WNBA championships. Stewart selected Las Vegas Aces guard Jackie Young. Stewart put the finishing touches on her starting lineup taking Suns forward Jonquel Jones, and finally trading for Los Angeles Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike and co-captain Sue Bird.

The 26th annual WNBA All-Star game will take place on July 10th, at 1pm EST on ABC.