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Sports

The Five Highest-Paying NBA Contracts Ever

Since inking a massive TV deal in 2016, the NBA has surpassed Major League Baseball as the highest-paying sport in the country. Last season, the average NBA salary was more than $8.5 million, the largest mean salary in the history of professional team sports. Beyond just the rank-and-file, the NBA’s superstar class are as well-compensated as any athlete in the world, with the five biggest deals all having been signed within the last 18 months. Led by reigning MVP Nikola Jokic, these are the five players with the highest NBA contracts ever.

Nikola Jokic – $269,990,000

Coming off back to back MVP seasons, Jokic is arguably the NBA’s best player and he has the contract to prove it. As soon as free agency opened this offseason, Jokic agreed to an extension with the Denver Nuggets, signing a Designated Veteran Player Exception that entitles him to a salary worth 35 percent of the total salary cap once the five-year pact kicks in starting with the 2023-2024 season. 

Bradley Beal- $251,019,650

The subject of constant trade rumors, Bradley Beal reaffirmed his commitment to the Washington Wizards by agreeing to a five-year, $251 million contract to stay with the team earlier this month. In doing so, Beal now has one of the highest NBA contracts ever. Outside of representing an eye-watering amount of dough, Beal’s contract contains the only complete no-trade clause in the entire NBA. At a time where superstars switch teams on what feels like a semi-annual basis, Beal has an unprecedented amount of control thanks to the power to veto any prospective trade. Although Jokic’s extension is the biggest total deal in NBA history, Beal’s supermax contract is the most lucrative deal that any free agent has ever signed.

Giannis Antetokounmpo – $228,200,420

Much like Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo reached an agreement on one of the highest NBA contracts ever with his current team before he even reached free agency. In December 2020, the Milwaukee Bucks lavished Antetokounmpo with a DVPE, fending off scores of suitors who thought that they could pry Antetokounmpo away from the Bucks in free agency. While Antetokounmpo and Jokic signed essentially the same deal, Jokic’s is slightly bigger because the salary cap is projected to rise over the next several seasons (i.e. 35 percent of the salary cap in 2028 will be larger than 35 percent of today’s salary cap).

Karl-Anthony Towns – $224,224,000

The best shooting big man of all time (according to himself, at least), Karl-Anthony Towns agreed to a massive extension with the Minnesota Timberwolves after leading them to the playoffs for only the second time since 2004. In conjunction with the Timberwolves’ aggressive offseason trade to acquire Rudy Gobert, Towns’ contract represents new-found ambition for a perennially downtrodden franchise. With Towns (and Gobert and Edwards) at the helm, the Timberwolves could be on the cusp of a new golden age.

Devin Booker – $224,224,000

The former college teammate of Towns at Kentucky, Booker coincidentally also signed an identical five year, $224,224,000 deal this off-season. Over the last two seasons, Booker has made the leap from a promising young player to a legitimate superstar, leading the Phoenix Suns to the Finals in 2021 and then earning a first-team All-NBA nod last season for the first time in his career. While Booker had an underwhelming postseason as the top-seeded Suns bowed out in only the second-round, he’s undoubtedly one of the elite shooting guards in the NBA and deserves to be compensated as such.  

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Sports

Where Can You Find The Best Summer Pro-Am Leagues?

As a hoops fan, the dread of no college and NBA action can be a lot until you remember the game is currently getting played in its purest form. Across the country, fans are returning to old-school gyms and playgrounds to watch an assortment of players compete in Pro-Am leagues in gritter but more dynamic environments. And amongst those hosting competitions, a select group stands out above the rest.

Whether discussing Dyckman Basketball or the Atlanta Entertainment Basketball League, leagues of their caliber possess a “who’s who” of competing players and a memorable attending experience. The latter is why some fans don’t overly care about attending college or NBA games. Why do so when you can walk down your street and watch high-level talent up close for free?

With summer basketball approaching its halfway point, here is our list of the eight-best Pro-Am leagues.

Drew League, Los Angeles, CA

While the Drew is in the news because of LeBron’s incredible performance last weekend, the almost 50-year-old league has been a staple of nationwide summer hoops and proving ground for several upcoming and established hoopers– especially those from LA.

Dyckman Basketball, Uptown New York City

New York City is most undoubtedly known for its hoops history within the parks, and no one is currently hotter than Dyckman Basketball. From all over the world, people are making their way to Uptown to watch the game get played in its grittiest, intimate, yet entertaining way possible.

The Crawsover, Seattle, WA

Once known as the Seattle Pro-Am and run by former NBA player Doug Christie, “The Crawsover” has been entertaining and consistent like its namesake— Jamal Crawford. During its 14-year-tenure under Crawford’s watch, this league has witnessed Chris Paul and Kevin Durant, amongst other NBA stars, suit up in its uniforms.

Danny Rumph Classic, Philadelphia, PA

Despite all of the noises made within East Coast hoops because of New York City, summer hoop lovers are fans of the Danny Rumph Classic. This Philly staple proudly represents their city’s basketball movement and attracts star talent– most notably James Harden, Lou Williams, and Dion Waiters.

Atlanta Entertainment Basketball League, Atlanta, GA

Having kicked off their 10th season, the AEBL quickly made a name for themselves as a highly entertaining yet challenging league. On any given night, you’re watching the past, present, and future of Georgia hoopers compete, and you’ll never know when a star will join the party.

Miami Pro League, Miami, FL

Besides the lovely weather, beaches, and no-state income tax, plenty of college and NBA players are stopping by Florida to play in the Miami Pro League. In recent years, James Harden, John Wall, and Ja Morant have made appearances here and left an assortment of highlights that we still enjoy.

Brunson League, The State of Maryland

The DMV, short for Washington D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, has been a hotbed for talent for a long time, with a portion of them coming from Maryland. The Brunson League became the state’s premier Pro-Am after Barry Farms, and the Goodman League held it down for quite some time.

Dreamville Chi-League Presented By Wilson, Chicago, IL

Before Dreamville and Wilson Basketball successfully relaunched the Chicago-based Pro-AM league last summer, the Chi League was one of the best leagues across the country. Once a true battleground for the city’s most immense talents, Chicago fans are now watching the next generation of hoopers take center stage, notably All-Star point guard Darius Garland of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

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Sports

The 10 Best “Stone Cold” Steve Austin Matches

Hey Yo! It’s The Wrestling Classic here with another list for ONE37pm. Earlier this year, we saw something I thought I would never witness as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin came out of retirement after 19 years at WrestleMania 38 to wrestle Kevin Owens. I was at WrestleMania XIX so I am biased when I say I thought the way he wrapped up his in-ring career before against The Rock was really fitting but it really was a WrestleMania moment. This made me want to look back at the “Stone Cold” era of Steve Austin’s career to create a list of his greatest matches for the people. This list is only considering the WWE portion of his run from 1996-2022. Therefore, there won’t be any Steve Austin matches on this list from his tenures in WCW and ECW. Now let’s get to my list of the 10 best “Stone Cold” matches.

Be sure to share this article and debate with your friends. Also, be sure to let me know how you feel about this list on Instagram or Twitter.

Honorable Mentions

King of the Ring – 06/23/96

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Jake Roberts

In Your House: Final Four – 02/16/97

Intercontinental Championship

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart vs. Undertaker vs. Vader

King of the Ring – 06/08/97

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels

In Your House: Canadian Stampede – 07/06/97

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Goldust, Ken Shamrock & LOD vs. The Hart Foundation

In Your House: D-Generation X – 12/07/97

Intercontinental Championship

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Rock

Raw – 06/29/98

WWF Championship

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Kane

St Valentine’s Day Massacre – 02/14/99

Steel Cage Match

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Vince McMahon

Backlash – 04/25/99

WWF Championship

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Rock

Fully Loaded – 07/25/99

First Blood Match

WWF Championship

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker

No Mercy – 10/17/99

WWF Championship

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Triple H

Armageddon – 12/10/00

Hell in a Cell

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle vs. Undertaker vs. The Rock vs. Triple H vs. Rikishi

SmackDown – 05/31/01

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Chris Benoit

King of the Ring – 06/24/01

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho

Unforgiven – 09/23/01

WWF Championship

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle

No Mercy – 10/21/01

WWF Championship

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle vs. Rob Van Dam

Survivor Series – 11/18/01

Winner Takes All

Team Alliance  vs. Team WWF

Vengeance – 12/09/01

Undisputed Championship

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Chris Jericho

WrestleMania X-8 – 03/17/02

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Scott Hall

No Way Out – 02/23/03

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Eric Bischoff

WrestleMania 38  – 04/02/22

“Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Kevin Owens

10. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Rock (WWF Championship, WrestleMania 15 – 03/28/99)
WWE

This was the first match in the Austin/Rock WrestleMania trilogy. By 1999, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin was already a made man and the hottest act in the company. By the end of 1998, The Rock had aligned himself with Vince McMahon and the Corporation and became the Corporate Champion. Austin spent most of 1998 and the early part of 1999 being screwed out of the championship as Mr. McMahon didn’t find him fit as the face of the company. The fans were strongly behind Austin as he had to overcome the odds even from his personal life as he was going through a divorce at the time. This slightly beat out their rematch the following month at Backlash because it had fewer shenanigans.

9. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Undertaker (WWF Championship, SummerSlam – 08/30/98)

When doing the research for this list, I didn’t realize how many times The Undertaker and Steve Austin crossed paths from 96-02. In 1998, in possibly his biggest challenge to date in his first run as WWF Champion, Austin had to face The Undertaker at SummerSlam. It was dubbed the “Highway to Hell” as leading up to the event, the odds seemed stacked against Austin as The Undertaker and Kane were on the same page for the first time since Kane arrived in the WWE. This meant Austin had to look over his shoulders at all times for Kane. Both men were in their prime here and over with the fans as The Undertaker had not fully turned heel yet. Both The Undertaker and Austin seemingly injured themselves mid-way through the match, yet they still were able to pull out a main event-worthy classic. It was the victory Austin needed to validate that he was on top and will forever be remembered as one of the very best Stone Cold matches.

8. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels (WWF Championship, WrestleMania 14 – 03/29/98)
WWE

The rise of Stone Cold’s popularity from 1996 to 1998 was like nothing we had ever witnessed before. He was an obnoxious and brash bad guy who did what he wanted when he wanted without caring about the repercussions. This attitude (along with his toughness) made him a fan favorite. As things were changing in the WWF after the infamous “Montreal Screwjob,” it was becoming more obvious that Austin would get his moment on top. By the end of 1997, it became clear he was next to challenge Shawn Michaels for the WFE Championship. Inserting Mike Tyson into the picture and having Austin go face-to-face with him just elevated the Rattlesnake’s stock even more. The match was solid and better than we expected considering Michaels had a bad back injury. The Austin-Era had truly begun.

7. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Dude Love (WWF Championship, Over The Edge – 05/31/98)
WWE

Everything was good in the world once Stone Cold had won the WWF Championship at WrestleMania. However, Mr. McMahon quickly realized he had a World Champion representing his company who played by his own rules which basically meant breaking all of his. It became an obsession for McMahon to get that championship off Austin without having to strip him without cause. Enter the unpredictable Mick Foley, who had three different personas. Love had aligned himself with McMahon after initially wanting Austin and McMahon to get along. Once again, McMahon stacked the odds against Austin to hopefully get the title off of Austin. This included McMahon making himself the guest referee. Austin once again found a way to overcome the odds in a really solid match between two legends. It only added more fuel to the fire for the Austin/McMahon rivalry. This off-the-wall brawl is easily one of the best Stone Cold matches.

6. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Kurt Angle (WWF Championship, SummerSlam – 08/19/01)
WWE

Following WrestleMania X-Seven, Austin had turned heel again aligning himself with his archenemy Mr. McMahon. During this time we saw a more insecure and cowardly but still violent “Texas Rattlesnake.” However, when the WCW and ECW invasion took place, it lead Mr. McMahon to beg for the old confident Stone Cold that he feuded with over the years. This ultimately led to Austin aligning himself with Shane McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, Paul Heyman, and the rest of the Alliance due to him thinking Mr. McMahon didn’t appreciate him. In Austin’s mind, he also thought McMahon was grooming Kurt Angle to be his next guy. This kicked off the feud between the two and a series of great matches. The first one took place at Summerslam 2001. Although it ended with a DQ finish, it was an absolute banger.

5. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Triple H (3 Stages of Hell, No Way Out – 02/25/01)
WWE

The rivalry between Stone Cold and Triple H went all the way back to the Summer of 1999. Triple H became adamant about becoming the WWF Champion and keeping it. This meant getting rid of Steve Austin. At the ’99 Survivor Series, Austin was struck by a car in the parking lot to write him off of TV for a real-life neck surgery that would keep him out for nine months. When he returned in the Fall of 2000, he was focused on finding out who ran him over. Initially, we found out it was Rikishi but later found out it was Triple H behind the entire thing. They settled their lengthy feud in a 3 Stages of Hell match at No Way Out 2001. The first fall was a singles match, which Austin won. The second fall was a Street Fight, which Triple H won. And the final fall was a steel cage match where Triple H would finally defeat Austin. It was a personal and bloody affair that marks one of the most brutal and best Stone Cold matches of all time.

4. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Rock (WWF Championship, WrestleMania X-7 – 04/01/01)
WWE

The build-up for this match might have been one of the greatest build-ups for a WrestleMania main event. It’s definitely in the top five WrestleMania main event build-ups with the video package in the top two with Limp Bizkit’s “My Way” as the soundtrack.

I know most of you are probably shocked this match landed at number four, but the first three hold a different significance to me. Unlike their match at WrestleMania XV, both men were super hot fan favorites at the time. During Austin’s absence in 2000, The Rock became the top babyface in the company. When Austin returned in the Fall of that year, fans were just anticipating for them to cross paths again so they could battle over the WWF Championship and that top spot. It finally was going to happen when Austin won the 2001 Royal Rumble and The Rock defeated Kurt Angle for the WWF Championship at No Way Out 2001.

The match was a classic filled with drama and had the fans split down the middle. Austin was obsessed with reclaiming his spot – The Rock’s popularity created insecurity within him, which lead him to turn heel in the final moments of the match by aligning himself with his longtime nemesis Mr. McMahon to win the championship and claim the top spot.

It was something you could see the seeds being planted for but couldn’t envision actually happening, but it eventually took place. It’s still a banger to this day and undoubtedly one of the best Stone Cold matches.

3. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Bret “The Hitman” Hart (Survivor Series – 11/17/96)
WWE

Bret Hart represented everything that was good and wholesome in the 90s. When “The Hitman” lost the WWF Championship to Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 12, he took time off from the company. Hart didn’t return until the Fall of 1996. During that time, an outspoken and brash superstar named Steve Austin had begun rising to the top starting by winning the 1996 King of the Ring tournament. On that night he cut the iconic yet sacrilegious “Austin 3:16” promo on Jake “The Snake” Roberts, which received a mixed response from the fans but put Stone Cold on everybody’s radar.

When Bret Hart returned to the company, the first person he wanted to challenge was Steve Austin. This was Austin’s breakout moment as Bret Hart had been with the company since the mid-80s and had been waving the company’s flag as one of their top guys for the last five years. Plus this challenge was made for the ’96 Survivor Series, which was taking place in the WWF’s Mecca – Madison Square Garden in New York City. It was really Austin’s opportunity to prove he could hang with the best at the top of the card.

This was a straight wrestling match with no gimmicks or stipulations. These two went toe-to-toe with hot near falls all throughout the entire match. The match was entertaining from start to finish. There was a lot of pressure put on Austin to perform at a high level and he succeeded at having his best match in the company up to this point. In the end, Austin never tapped but failed to win because he held the Million Dollar Dream sleeper hold on for too long to the point where Hart countered it and snuck away with a pinfall win.

2. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. The Rock (WrestleMania XIX – 03/30/03)
WWE

Personally, this is my favorite match of the Austin and Rock WrestleMania trilogy. I may be a little biased because I was there live, but there was a lot of significance to this match. It would be the last time we would see Austin and The Rock face off against each other. At the time, nobody really knew this would be Stone Cold’s last match in 19 years. This would also be The Rock’s last WrestleMania singles match until 2012. Lastly, it felt like a farewell to an era…the Attitude Era.

The two legends were back in familiar roles as Steve Austin was the returning fan favorite and The Rock was in his heel “Hollywood” persona. There was no championship on the line this time around and they weren’t fighting for the top spot. Instead, The Rock was obsessed with the fact he had never beaten Austin at WrestleMania even though they faced off at the event two times before. It was truly a clash between superstars who ruled the roost for four to five years. I’m not bothered that Stone Cold came out of retirement this year to wrestle Kevin Owens, but this was the perfect storybook ending to Austin’s career. The match still holds up.

The encounter had a big match feel even though it wasn’t the main event. The company had already been a year into its new “Ruthless Aggression” era so it made sense that Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship would go on last. But this match really felt like a farewell to the era that came before. They pulled out all the stops. They had entertaining spots and kicked out each other’s finishers. It took three Rock Bottom’s, but The Rock was finally able to beat Steve Austin at WrestleMania. They shared a personal emotional moment after the match and Austin walked out with his pride in hand. This final Austin vs. Rock clash is definitely one of the best Stone Cold matches I’ve ever seen.

1. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin vs. Bret “The Hitman” Hart (Submission Match, WrestleMania 13 – 03/23/97)
WWE

This is my favorite match of all time so if you’ve read any of my other lists (such as Bret Hart’s greatest matches), it shouldn’t surprise you that this is number one. Following their encounter at the ’96 Survivor Series, the “Texas Rattlesnake” never stopped being a thorn in “The Hitman’s” side. The plan was never for Bret Hart to face Steve Austin again at WrestleMania – instead, a rematch between Hart and Michaels was planned. However, when everything changed because Shawn Michaels “lost his smile,” the company decided to run back Austin versus Bret Hart for WrestleMania since the rivalry was still ongoing.

Austin had screwed Bret Hart at the 1997 Royal Rumble by returning to the match after being eliminated only to win the match. Following that, when Bret Hart had won the vacant WWF Championship in a Fatal-Four Way Match that Austin was also involved with, the “Bionic Redneck” would interfere in “The Hitman’s” first defense against Psycho Sid. The usually cool, calm, and composed Bret Hart was being pushed to the edge by a cocky, arrogant, and brash Steve Austin. Austin was also becoming more and more of a fan favorite during this time, which called for the epic double turn to happen during this epic encounter.

The match took place in front of a rowdy Chicago crowd. It was a Submission Match, which meant both men had to try to make each other tap out. The UFC’s Ken Shamrock was officiating the match. This had a little bit of everything. It was a technical match and a brawl but overall it told a great story. The story of the company’s hero turning on the fans after being pushed to the edge by disrespect was amazing. The anti-hero became the new fan favorite because the people couldn’t deny his tenacity and toughness. It was the greatest double turn in history. Austin never tapped out, yet he passed out in a pool of his own blood.

The image of Austin’s face covered in the crimson mask is still one of the most iconic images in wrestling history. This match and his feud with Bret Hart made Stone Cold. If you have never seen it, please go check it out because it’s at the top of everyone’s lists for the best Stone Cold matches of all time.

I hope you all enjoyed this list of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin matches. Tell me if you disagree and let me know what you think over social media. Ya dig? Oooh Yeah!

Instagram – @thewrestlingclassic

Twitter – @twcworldwide

Youtube – thewrestlingclassic

Weekly Podcast – TWC Show

Websitewww.justindhillon.com

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Sports

LeBron James Returns To The Drew League and Dominates

For the first time in 11 years, LeBron James stepped on the floor of the Drew League and entertained a sold-out gym in Los Angeles, CA, on Saturday. Having last played in LA’s famous Pro-Am league during the summer of 2011, watching the four-time NBA MVP and champion play during this time of the year was a rare sight. But all it took was an invite from Chicago Bulls All-Star DeMar DeRozan to change that.

DeRozan is beyond a regular in the Drew League; he’s essentially a staple, a walking tradition you expect but appreciate whenever you watch him in that environment. And by having his own team, the MMV Cheaters, the proud Compton, CA native is free to create competitive advantages and unforgettable moments like the one on Saturday.

The Drew League faithful was more than welcoming to James as he walked on the court to a loud ovation. Rocking his signature No. 6 and a pink colorway of his upcoming LeBron 20, the NBA’s second-highest all-time scorer was locked in from the start as he eventually dropped 42 points and grabbed 16 rebounds in a 104-102 victory.

Whether before or during James’s performance, fans’ reactions to what occurred didn’t disappoint.

And it was easy to spot the look of amazement (or fear) players had guarding LeBron

Which players would you love to see play at Drew League, Dyckman Park, and other famous Pro-Am leagues across the country?

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Sports

Here’s a Recap of Our Atlanta United Experience

This past weekend, ONE37pm got the opportunity to hangout with the MLS and Atlanta United Crew, and it was certainly a day to remember that was full of excitement. We kicked the day off with a luncheon that featured great food, and a special appearance from rapper B.O.B, who personally took the time to introduce himself to everybody at the event. We even got the chance to ask B.O.B. about his daily drip in a clip that you can see below.

From there, we made our way to the Atlanta United Tailgate section where we got to grab drinks, and check out all of the different stations. We even got to salsa dance at one of the setups which was super fun. After checking out all of the stations, we walked into the Mercedes Benz Stadium, where we were surprised with the opportunity to go onto the field.

Mercedes Benz is truly a beautiful stadium, and as great as it looks on television, it’s ten times better in real life. Believe us! 

After touring the field, we headed upstairs to our suite, where once again we were treated to awesome food. For many of us (myself included), it was our first time at an MLS event, so the experience of watching the player intros and the lights go down was neat.

There’s nothing quite like a sporting event in ATL. From “Welcome to Atlanta” blaring through the stadium, to the obligatory swag surf that happens at every ATL game, there is absolutely nothing like it.

As if the game itself wasn’t good enough, we got one final surprise of the evening when Jermaine Dupri and Lou Williams paid us a visit in our suite!

All-in-all the Atlanta United was a sold out spectacular event, and if you haven’t checked out an MLS event yet, we highly encourage you to do so as soon as possible.

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Sports

Nike Will Release Jackie Robinson Dunk Low at MLB All-Star Game

As we’re a week away from this year’s MLB All-Star Game at Dodger Stadium (July 19th), the anticipation for it only rises. And amongst all the noise regarding who made the All-Star teams, the uniforms, etc., nothing will be bigger than Nike honoring the great Jackie Robinson by releasing a sneaker in his honor on game day.

Donning his Brooklyn Dodgers colors and No. 42, while also being outlined with his famous quote– “I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me… all I ask is that you respect me as a human being.”– the Jackie Robinson Nike Dunk Low will be released on the day of the All-Star game.

While tributes to Robinson, who was the first African American to play in Major League Baseball in 1947, aren’t unusual, it doesn’t make it less memorable. And this particular tribute is exceptional because it’s been 75 years since the late Hall of Famer’s historic entry into the Majors, which will also be recognized on the shoe with a 75th-anniversary emblem on its tongue.

Other than Major League Baseball, Nike has made a great effort to honor Robinson. For several years, the sneaker giant has partnered with the Jackie Robinson Foundation and donated millions of dollars to their causes of educating and uplifting disenfranchised communities in the inner cities across the United States.

The Jackie Robinson Nike Dunk Low will be released on July 19th via SNKRS, UNDFTD, and select retailers.

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Gaming

EA Sports Big: The 14 Best Games

Remember that glorious time when Electronic Arts took a big risk with its sports games? That wonderful period gave gamers more extreme takes on traditional sports and embraced outlandish concepts that supplied more excitement for those same activities. The indelible experiences that came from that special lineup fall under the EA Sports Big label, which first came into existence in the year 2000. Even though that brand has now been long deceased, fans still reminisce over the boisterous sports titles that were attached to it. If you still remember the classic EA Sports Big intro that played out before those same titles, then you’re definitely going to appreciate this list of the 14 best EA Sports Big games.

Best EA Big Games
Electronic Arts

1. ‘SSX’

The snowboarding genre didn’t really have a lot of classics back in the day worth celebrating. Once the EA Sports Big label came into existence, we finally got a snow shredder worth being proud of. And that game is the very first SSX, which offers the type of genuine representation that the world of snowboarding recognizes as legit. The arcadey playstyle of this game is still highly addictive, the snowboarders on the roster all have their own magnetic personalities, and the stage layouts are reminiscent of roller coasters mixed in with snowy terrain. SSXis one of the best EA Sports Big games thanks to its perfect mix of fast-paced racing and outlandish tricks.

Buy Now, $41.14
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2. ‘SSX Tricky’

Adding some Run DMC tunes to any sort of affair automatically makes everything a much cooler vibe. This upgraded expansion of the first game SSX got a new lease on life just by having the legendary rap group’s track “It’s Tricky” be at the heart of its catchy soundtrack. SSX Tricky upped the ante in the trick department by adding even wilder midair stunts called “Uber Tricks,” which provided even more satisfaction for serious snowboarding fans. The clever rivalry system that earned you furious foes if you get too aggressive on the track and the wealth of other improvements make SSX Tricky one of the most satisfying sports gaming upgrades we’ve ever played.

Buy Now, $44.90
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3. ‘SSX 3’

By the time we all reached the apex of SSX’s third franchise installment, the stakes had been raised to an insane degree. SSX 3 offers the biggest expansion in scope and scale to date, but still managed to retain the fun-loving nature of it all. Instead of picking singular tracks to shred the snow on, this super-sized sequel throws players into a frosty open world that allows you to go wherever you please and tackle all types of fun objectives. Making your way from the very top of the mountain all the way to the bottom is one of the most rewarding experiences in the entire series. SSX 3 is just pure snowboarding bliss and a perfect example of properly implementing open-world mechanics into an extreme sports experience.

Buy Now, $91.09
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4. ‘SSX on Tour’

The towering open mountain that made its debut in SSX 3 stayed intact for this quality follow-up that marks the last great SSX series entry. SSX on Tour is pretty much built upon all the well-regarded elements that make SSX 3 such a joy. And all of that entails surfing down a massive mountain, pulling off slick “Monster Tricks,” and jamming out to some incredibly catchy licensed tracks all the while. The game’s thematic usage of children’s sketch-book drawings gives it a character all its own. And we also look back fondly on SSX On Tour’s GameCube version, which allowed Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach to get in on all the snowboarding fun for themselves. In our opinion, this is the last great hurrah for the now-dormant SSX franchise.

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5. ‘Sled Storm’

The 1999 original version of this intense snowmobile racer is great in its own right. But since we’re acknowledging the best EA Sports Big games, the 2002 take on Sled Storm is obviously getting all the flowers it so richly deserves here. The uber-successful SSX formula fits this game like a glove – it’s all about engaging in fast and furious races with fellow snowboarders for some extreme snow shredding. The game’s “Rival Challenge” feature will forever stick out as Sled Storm’s best and brightest feature as it allows you to go one-on-one with another snowmobile pro. Winning those races and adding their signature rides to your chosen character’s roster of snowmobiles feels oh so damn good. Side note – we love the fact that SSX’s Zoe and Psymon came along for the ride!

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6. ‘Shox: Rally Reinvented’

We’ll always appreciate a down-and-dirty arcade rally racing game. The EA Sports Big label got slapped front and center onto one and thankfully, it ended up being a worthwhile addition to the ongoing extreme sports gaming movement. What we have here is an amazing arcade racer called Shox: Rally Reinvented, which focuses on thrilling races that take place across exceptional desert, jungle, and arctic locales. There’s a good amount of licensed vehicles to hop into, which gives this game that extra air of authenticity in the beloved automobile-focused sport. We’ll always have a soft spot in our hearts for Shox’s slow-motion cinematics, bumping soundtrack, and nail-biting “Shox Zone/Wave” chases, too.

Buy Now, $29
https://amzn.to/3IvbDtv
7. ‘Freekstyle’

Now allow us to show our adoration for EA Sports Big’s premiere motocross racer, Freekstyle. What we have here is one of the most exciting and bombastic extreme sports titles gamers have ever laid eyes on. The stages combine all sorts of rambunctious stage layouts, eye-popping sights, and big dirt ramps that let your racers take flight to pull off some immaculate stunts. It’s pretty dope that Freekstyle includes some real-world pros from the worlds of freestyle and professional motocross, such as Mike Metzger, Jessica Patterson, Brian Deegan, and more. Hitting maximum speeds and going up as high as possible for some slick tricks is the name of the game here for one of the best EA Sports Big Games we’ve ever played.

Buy Now, $29.77
https://amzn.to/3bWNWOB
8. ‘NBA Street’

To this day, old head ballers still request the grand return of the NBA Street series. This is the game that started it all and provided a great alternative to the usual array of basketball simulators. This three-on-three street basketball arcade experience offered an amalgamation of real-world players from NBA teams, fictional street ballers, sick tricks you can pull off on the hard paint to trip up the competition, and wild dunks that always turn into jaw-dropping affairs. Pulling off a game-winning “Gamebreaker” always managed to satisfy the person on the winning end of those extra flashy scoring maneuvers. The OG NBA Street is goated!

Buy Now, $29.89
https://amzn.to/3yX9CDo
9. ‘NBA Street Vol. 2’

NBA Street Vol. 2 maximized the greatness of its predecessor in every single way. The visuals got an uptick in brightness, which fed right into the game’s colorful flavor and 80s/90s street ball themes. The on-court action stayed great, plus the addition of playable NBA legends like Larry Bird and Julius Erving created even more fun fantasy matchups. The original street legends made their comeback, which is an element from the first game that gives the NBA Street one of its best mechanics. Shout out to this game’s soundtrack, by the way – it feels so right to land sick Gamebreakers to the sounds of Nelly, Erick Sermon, Black Sheep, and more.

Buy Now, $59.90
https://amzn.to/3AKZGOC
10. ‘NBA Street V3’

And then there were three! The third installment in the NBA Street series kept the good time rolling and even improved upon the graphics even more than before. The biggest feature worth speaking of here from this sequel is the ability to pull off mid-air trick motions or pass the ball to your teammates while in the middle of landing a Gamebreaker dunk. The wildest feature to come from NBA Street V3 is the inclusion of a Nintendo All-Star team consisting of Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach. Making the other team break their legs via a Luigi crossover will never grow old in our eyes!

Buy Now, $43
https://amzn.to/3uF6f1o
11. ‘NBA Street Showdown’

You have to hand it to the PlayStation Portable – Sony’s first handheld console did an immaculate job when it came to offering portal spinoffs of great console games. In the case of the NBA Street series, NBA Street Showdown emerged as the perfect concoction of NBA Street Vol. 2’s gameplay mechanics and NBA Street V3’s overall aesthetic. To see the series make the perfect transition over to a device that fits right in the palm of your hands is still an amazing feat worth celebrating. NBA Street Showdown kept the formula going in the best way possible in miniature form.

Buy Now,
12. ‘NBA Street Homecourt’

When Carmelo Anthony was at the height of his NBA superstardom, he graced the cover of one of the best EA Sports Big games and the fourth mainline official entry in the NBA Street franchise. NBA Street Homecourt is the debut of the series on PS3 and Xbox 360 and it definitely shows due to how much crisper the visuals look here. Now, pulling off a double dunk with your preferred NBA pro player of choice felt that much more impactful due to how even more lifelike it looks. NBA Street Homecourt is the very definition of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” As the final game in the now (sadly…) dormant series, it reached its peak and delivered a street basketball swansong that we can’t help but adore.

Buy Now,
13. ‘NFL Street’

It took a while to get in on some digital street-based gridiron action. But once it finally became a thing, everyone rejoiced over just how fun it turned out to be. NFL Street took the sport of football out of the football stadium and placed them within your local neighborhood fields for some arcadey NFL Blitz-like action. No one ever gets injured in this game, even though the tackles look, sound, and feel extremely severe. Pulling off a Gamebreaker in NFL Street feels just as gratifying as it does as the ones featured in the NBA Street games. It’s always a hype moment when both sides activate their Gamebreakers to cancel each other out, too. This game’s cover still goes so hard – Barry Sanders, Shannon Sharpe, and Ricky Williams are forever the GOATs!

Buy Now, $37.93
https://amzn.to/3RsyREM
14. ‘Def Jam Vendetta’

You can’t speak on the best EA Sports Big Games and not mention one of the greatest wrestling games of all time. What makes this digital grappler such a bonafide gem is the fact that it features world-renowned hip-hop icons throwing hands and landing bodyslams in the middle of the ring. Def Jam Vendetta still gets hours of playtime out of us and plenty of other rap/wrestling fans thanks to its masterful grappling system via AKI Corporation. It’s still wild to take a look at this game’s roster and realize you can play with the likes of Method Man, DMX, Scarface, etc. Def Jam Vendetta is a rap fanatics’ dream scenario come true. The best way to settle your beef is by hopping into the ring!

Buy Now, $64.69
https://www.amazon.com/Def-Jam-Vendetta-PlayStation-2/dp/B00005J32C/ref=sr_1_2?crid=1JP3NSLEVPW59&keywords=def+jam+vendetta&qid=1657568724&sprefix=def+jam+ven%2Caps%2C120&sr=8-2

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Sports

Flag Football Gains Greater Momentum Towards Potential Olympic Appearance

In today’s times, a new or existing sport sees an emergence that captures the sports world’s attention; pickleball, foot golf, and competitive tag immediately comes to mind. But the classic sport of flag football is also emerging, and it’s serious enough for the NFL to support its cause of becoming an Olympic sport by 2028 significantly.

With a focus on growing American football internationally, making it more inclusive, and states such as New York declaring it a varsity sport, flag football has become the helping tool the NFL and others needed. But to make it an Olympic sport?

“When we talk about the future of the game of football, it is, no question, flag,” NFL executive Troy Vincent told the Associated Press. “It’s the inclusion and the true motto of football for all.” A big step for flag football’s reemergence is currently happening in Birmingham, AL– the 2022 World Games. Between July 10th-14th, the NFL-presented flag football competition at the World Games will consist of men’s and women’s teams from eight countries.

Who would you choose if given a chance to build your flag football team, regardless of who it is and why? Below, I have my dream flag football team in a five-on-five setting.

Quarterback – Patrick Mahomes

There is literally no one else I would want at quarterback than the annual MVP candidate. Mahomes’ arm talent and above-average mobility are all I need to win.

Running back/defensive back – Tyreek Hill

It’s easy to look at Hill’s speed, but he is insanely athletic. And to have that in flag football? On both sides of the ball? Ha!

Wide receivers/defensive backs – LeBron James and Kevin Durant

I promise you; there isn’t an answer for how to defend a pair of 6-foot-8 and nearly seven-foot wide receivers who are faster, stronger, and jump higher than almost every other human on earth that isn’t in their league. And Mahomes is my quarterback? #scaryhours

Wide receiver/pass-rusher/game changer – Myles Garrett

In all seriousness, Garrett *might* be the greatest flag football player ever if he stepped into this environment. More than any player on my team, he has no real matchup from his opposition.

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Sports

Richard Jefferson Entertains And Laughs With Fans During Refereeing Debut

Even as the dog days of summer settle in, there’s always a random spark that changes the monotony. As the NBA Summer League is five days away from concluding and having peaked in its on-court action and courtside cameos, Richard Jefferson’s sudden appearance as a referee was the talk of social media conversation Monday night.

After several sessions to prepare for his refereeing debut, the former NBA vet turned ESPN analyst officiated the second quarter of Monday’s matchup between the New York Knicks and Portland Trail Blazers– an ironic occurrence given Jefferson’s best playing days being with the ex-New Jersey Nets and his history of criticizing the Knicks.

“It’s been amazing because I love the game of basketball,” Jefferson said. “I like talking about the game of basketball, so now I get an opportunity to learn a whole new piece of the game. That’s like my dream, for a basketball junkie, to sit in there and see how the referees think, how they talk, how they act, how they work together as a team. That type of stuff to me is so beneficial.”

While Jefferson’s actual performance was far from perfect, it certainly was when it came to inspiring takes from our social media timelines.

And you’re doing your job if Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau is heckling you, right?

Lastly, was this right or wrong call by RJ?

In all seriousness, salute to Richard Jefferson for taking on this task and using it as a way to further educate himself and the fans on what it’s like to officiate at a high level.

Categories
Sports

What’s Next For Devin Booker and Nike?

Even though Devin Booker’s season didn’t end the way he wanted, his offseason has gotten off to a great start. Just minutes after free agency started nearly two weeks ago, the Phoenix Suns All-Star signed a super-max extension worth $224 million. Then he was named the cover athlete of the NBA2K23 video game. And now? Booker has signed another new extension– this time with sneaker giant Nike.

Having been signed to the ‘Swoosh’ since arriving in the NBA seven years ago, Booker has proven to be a successful investment. Despite what some fans say about him, Booker is well-liked and accomplished–a high-level player who is clutch, hasn’t abandoned his team yet, and is racking up endorsements at the same rate as All-Star (three times) and All-NBA team appearances (Just made his first one this year).

So when considering that and the details of Booker’s latest extension, which is rumored to be six years long, the question is, what’s next for Booker and Nike? Suppose you were to go off the company’s current handlings of their NBA stars (Think LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Giannis Antetokounmpo, for example). Would these following options be the most realistic?

Nike makes D-Book their go-to player to wear new signature sneakers

Similar to what Jordan Brand recently did with Jayson Tatum and the Air Jordan 36, Nike can make Booker their go-to player/litmus test to unveil new signature sneakers.

In his case, it makes too much sense for Booker to be the player revealing new color aways of the late Kobe Bryant’s sneaker line, given their relationship and similarities in playing style.

Does Booker receives his own shoe and collection?

While this option is closer to unlikely than likely, given his lack of a championship, I wouldn’t rule it out– even if he doesn’t win one within the next few years. Like any other shoe company, Nike is looking to build its following line of superstars, especially with LeBron James and Kevin Durant nearing the end of their careers.

A signature shoe and collection is never out of the question as long as D-Book continues playing at a high level.

Nothing changes (for now)

This option only exists because it could very well be the case. Nike doesn’t have to elevate Booker’s stature within the company. Not with LeBron and KD being their long-time acts, Antetokounmpo’s line getting pushed following his 2021 championship run, and Kobe’s on-court legacy properly preserved through his collection.

It’s going to be a lot of fun watching these two sides continue their relationship! Congratulations to Devin Booker once again.