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Author Archive for Les Carpenter

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‘Only up from here’: reason for hope amid Johnny Manziel’s dire CFL debut

The quarterback threw four interceptions and was benched in his first start since 2015. But there’s reason for optimismThere was Johnny Manziel in Montreal on Friday night, the shadow of a sensation, dashing across a field high above the downtown light…

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Tim Tebow’s big-league dreams are likely dashed, but deserve our respect

The one-time football sensation was derided when he signed a minor-league contract with the Mets to chase a new dream, but Tebow’s improbable if modest success deserves our appreciationFor all the gifs and memes and fragments of an Internet broken by h…

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TV ratings down, team revenues up: have protests really hurt the NFL?

Donald Trump believes that players’ attempts to highlights racial injustice have hurt the league. But the figures suggest otherwiseThe NFL machine restarts this week with the opening of training camps. And, if Donald Trump is to be believed, the league…

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LeBron James brings the LA Lakers what they crave the most: relevance

The three-time NBA champion is immersed in the lore of the league and he couldn’t resist the lure of winning a title with one of its most famous teamsThe Los Angeles Lakers needed to matter again, so they had no choice but to convince LeBron James to j…

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As LeBron James enters free agency, a gnawing joylessness prevails | Les Carpenter

The NBA’s best player could be on his way out of Cleveland (again) after declining his player option on Friday, but there’s something hollow about his thankless pursuit of Michael Jordan’s six titlesLeBron James, who declined his player option with the…

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Grading the NBA draft: Which teams improved themselves right away?

A team-by-team analysis suggests some clubs will improve overnight while others won’t see returns for a few years (if ever)NBA draft 2018 – as it happenedThere may be no bigger gamble than the NBA draft: a four-hour procession of tall, young men with i…

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Why the bloody-minded Cavaliers aren’t dead in the NBA finals just yet

Cleveland have suffered from reversed calls, self-inflicted wounds and Steph Curry’s three-pointers. But the series may well change back in OhioThere will be a time in these NBA finals when the shots fall for the Cleveland Cavaliers, their players reme…

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Fractured spirit hurt the Cavaliers as much as luck in the NBA finals opener

Cleveland could not stay united in the same way as their opponents as a thrilling Game 1 reached its climax on Thursday nightLeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers had every reason to be angry with JR Smith on Thursday night. Their last, best chance …

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The Golden State Warriors: the winning machine that refuses to break down

The NBA champions could have splintered as they found themselves down time and again in the Western Conference finals. But this is a team that rarely flinchesWho knows how much the Western Conference finals would have been different had Chris Paul not …

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The new NFL anthem policy may as well call black players sons of bitches

The league will now punish players who choose to protest during the anthem. The NFL owners have given into fear and Donald TrumpThere was a time, not long ago, when the NFL actually stood for something. When the league’s owners acted on principle and w…

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The new NFL anthem policy may as well call black players sons of bitches

The league will now punish players who choose to protest during the anthem. The NFL owners have given into fear and Donald TrumpThere was a time, not long ago, when the NFL actually stood for something. When the league’s owners acted on principle and w…

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Say it ain’t so, Joe! How 1919 informs America’s entire worldview on gambling

A society’s century-long distrust of sports betting can be traced to the night of 21 September 1919, when the Black Sox went nationalAmerica’s century-long distrust of sports betting can be traced to the night of 21 September 1919. That’s when several …

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Brad Stevens may just be basketball’s best coach. Beating LeBron could seal it

The 41-year-old coach of the undermanned Boston Celtics has emerged as one of the sport’s sharpest minds, but reaching the NBA finals without his two best players would be his best trick yetThe first time I met Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens was out…

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Brad Stevens may just be basketball’s best coach. Beating LeBron could seal it

The 41-year-old coach of the undermanned Boston Celtics has emerged as one of the sport’s sharpest minds, but reaching the NBA finals without his two best players would be his best trick yetThe first time I met Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens was out…

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Just give LeBron the ball and get out of the way

LeBron James is giving his hometown fans one final gift: the best basketball of his life in the last days before he walks awayIn the hazy aftermath of LeBron James’ floating, falling game-winning bank shot kissed off the backboard on Saturday night, th…

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Ichiro Suzuki: the secretive superstar who defied baseball’s steroid era

The Japanese outfielder has all but retired from playing at the age of 44. And he showed you didn’t need huge muscles to make a Hall of Fame careerThe baseball world into which Ichiro Suzuki walked in 2001 was one of swagger, bravado and brawn. Only tw…

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NFL draft: Mayfield looks like a reach at No1 as old stereotypes hurt Jackson

Cleveland went for a boom-or-bust quarterback to revive their fortunes while the fall of the supremely talented Lamar Jackson was mystifyingThey are two young men bonded for life by 12 months and a hunk of hardware. Quarterbacks Lamar Jackson and Baker…

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Khan Wembley deal would move NFL London team step closer to reality | Les Carpenter

The Jacksonville Jaguars owner says it is too soon to determine whether he would move them to the stadium but he is seen as the man to make the league’s aspirations come trueOn the morning Shahid Khan increased his profile in the London sports scene, h…

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New college basketball guidelines only strengthen a rotten, exploitative system

Condoleezza Rice had the chance to change a sport that makes money off players who are often from poor backgrounds. She failed badlyThere are few sports systems more exploitive than American college basketball. The NCAA is a $1bn business in which coll…

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Sarah Sellers: the nurse who stunned the world at the Boston Marathon

A previously anonymous 26-year-old nurse is an overnight sensation (and Olympic hopeful) after a fairytale runner-up finish in Boston wrought by talent, perseverance and gritThe story was so good it seemed impossible to imagine. A 26-year-old woman wit…