Yesterday’s sports news cycle featured one bombshell after another…
After all that, we had live action; a historic night from Nikola Jokic in the NBA Finals and plenty from the French Open, MLB, College Softball World Series, and more.
It’s two editions for the price of one (Metaphorically, of course. All of our content is free. But you can help support The Team, if you’d like).
Messi Mania in Miami
Lionel Messi Finalizing Deal to Join MLS Club Inter Miami CF in July
If Miami wasn’t already the center of the sports world at the moment, it is now. The Heat and Panthers are in the NBA and Stanley Cup Finals, and now the Miami MLS club just signed one of the greatest soccer players to ever walk the planet. Lionel Messi and Inter Miami CF are finalizing a deal that would bring the 35-year-old Argentinian to the MLS in a stunning move. Messi played the last two seasons with Paris Saint-Germain after an illustrious career with Barcelona. He was rumored to be joining Cristiano Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia for a contract in the neighborhood of $400 million. Instead, he’s coming to America.
What Messi Move Means for MLS
Inter Miami CF are just four years old. The club was one of the recent MLS expansion franchises, and they haven’t had much success since their inception in 2019. The Messi deal is bigger than just boosting Miami’s competitiveness. He’ll get a similar offer that David Beckham received for joining LA Galaxy as a player more than a decade ago; one that includes the option to buy ownership of an MLS club at a discounted price. Beckham now owns Inter Miami, and the Latin-American influence in South Florida makes it the perfect marriage for the Argentinian icon. The city, soccer fans and the MLS are all winners.
Messi By The Numbers
806 — Career Goals (2nd All-Time)
42 — Major Trophies (Club & Country)
22 — Top Goal-Scorer Titles
7 — Ballon d’Or Trophies (World’s Best Player)
4 — Champions League Titles
3 — Best FIFA Men’s Player Award
1 — World Cup (Argentina, 2022)
It was widely reported that Messi wanted to return to Barcelona to finish out his career, but the club’s financial situation made that nearly impossible. Terms of the Miami-Messi deal are still being worked out, but it’s undoubtedly the biggest signing in the 27-year history of MLS.
The Messi Ticket Spike
Cheapest Inter Miami Ticket Before Messi: $29
Cheapest Inter Miami Ticket After Messi: $467
Get ready, America. ‘Messi Mania’ is coming…
Smoked Out Sports
Sports Across Northeast United States Postponed Due to Air Quality From Canada Wildfires
The photo above is not edited. That was Yankee Stadium on Wednesday. By now you’re aware of the Quebec wildfires that are ravaging Canada and sending smoke clouds across parts of the United States. The air quality was so bad in the northeast that the MLB canceled games in New York and Philadelphia yesterday. The WNBA canceled the Liberty-Lynx game in Brooklyn and the NWSL nixed a game in New Jersey. The Jets and Giants both got the day off from OTAs, too. They’ll practice indoors today.
Are Sports Impacted This Weekend?
The National Weather Service issued an air quality alert for New York City that is expected to be lifted soon. The Yankees rescheduled their game with the White Sox as part of a doubleheader today, but there’s still a chance lingering health concerns could bleed into the weekend events.
Nothing New, But New for New York
It’s not the first time sports have been forced into schedule changes due to air quality. A number of summer events on the west coast have been impacted in recent years because of California wildfires. It is, however, a new experience for New York sports personnel.
The photos are an interesting sight (see link below). The Sportsletter Team hopes everyone in impacted areas stays safe.
The Nuggets’ Legendary Night
Nuggets Notch Game 3 Win Over Heat (109-94) Behind Historic 30-Point Triple-Doubles From Jokic & Murray | DEN Leads Finals (2-1)
Denver has restored order in the NBA Finals. Wednesday night’s Game 3 in Miami was a tight one until midway through the third when the Nuggets exploded and went up by 20 points in the fourth. By game’s end, the historians and statisticians were salivating. Nikola Jokic (32-21-10) and Jamal Murray (34-10-10) both tallied 30-point triple-doubles, effectively shattering all sorts of NBA Finals history in the process. Denver didn’t shoot it well from deep (just 5-for-18 from 3-pt), but the Heat defense had no answer for Jokic and Murray. Here are a few “nuggets” of history from Game 3.
Jokic & The 30-20-10 Club: Jokic’s 32-21-10 triple-double is the first in NBA Finals history. It’s the third 30-20-10 playoff game of his career. Only two other players have ever done it in the postseason — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain (one each).
Jokic-Murray Teammate History: Want more ridiculous facts? Jokic and Murray are the first pair of teammates in NBA history with 30-point triple-doubles in the same game (playoffs or regular season). The last time two teammates each had 30 points and 10 assists was 1992 (Clyde Drexler & Terry porter), let alone 10 rebounds, too.
Game 3 Top Performers
J. Murray (DEN): 34 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists
N. Jokic (DEN): 32 points, 21 rebounds, 10 assists
J. Butler (MIA): 28 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists
B. Adebayo (MIA): 22 points, 17 rebounds, 3 assists
NBA Finals Schedule
Gm 4: Nuggets at Heat (Fri. 8:30 pm ET) | DEN Leads (2-1)
Curse Reverse: Madden 24 Cover
Bills QB Josh Allen Gets Nod for Madden 24 Cover, But Should He Be Worried?
One of Wednesday’s side stories was the reveal of the Madden 24 cover with Bills QB Josh Allen. Hardly a surprise that it was a crowning achievement and “dream come true” for the 27-year-old rising star, but it leads us all to (once again) question ‘The Madden Curse’ — a myth that’s been slowly busted in recent years. Players who appear on the cover of the iconic EA Sports video game have often been doomed to injuries, decline or other bad juju. But is it real?
History of ‘The Madden Curse’
Since the game’s first release in 1999, Madden has been the go-to football video game for millions of NFL fans. More than 25 players have been displayed on the cover, many of them at the peak of their careers. Here are some of the terrifying examples of what happened to players shortly after earning the title of Madden Cover Boy.
2000: Lions RB Barry Sanders (immediately retired)
2001: Titans RB Eddie George (costly playoff fumble)
2003: Rams RB Marshall Faulk (injured 1/2 season)
2004: Falcons QB Michael Vick (leg fracture, arrested)
2007: Seahawks RB Shaun Alexander (done within 2 yrs)
2008: Titans QB Vince Young (17 INTs, benched)
2009: Packers QB Brett Favre (left for Jets)
2012: Browns RB Peyton Hillis (injured 1/2 season)
2014: Vikings RB Adrian Peterson (injured, arrested)
2015: Seahawks CB Richard Sherman (elbow surgery)
2017: Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski (injured 10 games)
2019: Steelers WR Antonio Brown (no caption needed)
History says the ‘curse’ is either real or the NFL is just a brutal and barbaric league with inevitable injuries and off-the-field issues.
Reverse the Curse
In recent years, the curse has been lifted. Tom Brady, Patrick Mahomes, and Lamar Jackson have all graced the cover from 2018-2022. That’s three Super Bowl rings, three MVP awards, and three of the highest-paid contracts in sports history, including Brady’s broadcasting payday.
Many believed the Madden 24 honor was between three quarterbacks — Joe Burrow (Bengals), Jalen Hurts (Eagles), and Allen. You’re up, Josh. Keep the curse reversed.
French Open (Quarterfinals)
College Softball World Series
Oklahoma won their 52nd straight game behind Jordy Bahl’s complete-game shutout. OU Leads Series (1-0)
Elly’s Encore: Reds’ rookie Elly De La Cruz hit a 458-foot blast for his first career home run and also logged a speed-tacular triple. The Reds walked off the Dodgers for the second straight game on Will Benson’s first big league homer. Reds def. Dodgers (8-6)
Aroza-See-Ya: The Rays turned a ridiculous double-play in the 9th to keep things tied with the Twins (1-1) before Randy Arozarena came up clutch, launching his first-career walk-off home run. Rays def. Twins (2-1)
Soto’s High-5: Juan Soto recorded the first five-hit game of his career (5-for-5, 4 RBIs) to lead the Padres past the Mariners. It was San Diego’s second 10-run outing in the first week of June. Padres def. Mariners (10-3)
Today’s Must-Watch List
Stanley Cup Finals
Gm 3: Golden Knights at Panthers (8:00 pm ET)
VGK Leads Series (2-0)
French Open (Women’s Semifinals)
W: #2 A. Sabalenka vs. K. Muchova (9:00 am ET)
W: #1 I. Swiatek vs. #14 B. Haddad Maia (10:15 am ET)
Men’s Semifinals: Friday
Gm 2: Oklahoma vs. Florida State (7:30 pm ET)
Oklahoma Leads Series (1-0)
RBC Canadian Open (Round 1)
Dodgers at Reds (12:35 pm ET)
Astros at Blue Jays (7:07 pm ET)
Cubs at Angels (9:38 pm ET)
Question of the Day
Do you think the PGA-LIV merger is a good thing for golf’s future? (click to vote)