As we all continue to hold down the fort, here are some positive thoughts and moments from the sports world to get us through
For those like myself who were addicted to ESPN’s “Last Dance,” this week is going a little slower as this past Sunday’s finale brought the end to one of the greatest sports documentaries ever. Besides getting an in-depth look into the life of Michael Jordan and the Bulls dynasty of the 90’s, the docuseries came out at a perfect time to teach all of us many life lessons. As much as Michael Jordan won in his career, he also lost. He overcame failure in his early years with the Bulls, hardships such as the unexpected loss of his father, and a failed pursuit of an MLB career with a media circus in tow despite his ambitions to play professional baseball.
During these difficult times, it is easy to get down, become negative and give up on ourselves. It is important to never give up hope when that happens. The most glaring example of this is the true story of Jordan’s infamous “Flu Game,” which was Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals. Despite being extremely sick, Jordan took the court and battled through the illness, scoring 38 points and leading the Bulls to a crucial victory to take a 3-2 series lead. We can all learn from this perseverance and strive to keep fighting through this tough time. It also taught me I will never be eating pizza in Salt Lake City.
Now back to your scheduled programming…
We kick off this week’s league updates from across the pond, as Germany’s Bundesliga resumed games this past weekend. As awkward as it may have looked with no fans in attendance, socially-distanced celebrations, and substitute players keeping their distance on the bench, the top German league successfully re-started and looks to have a plan in place for the remainder of its season. The reward for the risky re-start? Record international ratings, as 3.68 million viewers tuned in for Saturday’s match play.
In England, the Premier League has voted to begin small group training starting this week. This is the first phase in a larger plan to begin the re-start to its’ season. Although there is some major player concerns about resuming the 2020 campaign, strict protocols will be implemented in an attempt to ensure everyone’s safety.
Turning back to the U.S., New York, California, and Texas, have agreed to green light sports as soon as leagues are ready to do so. As three of the largest states with professional sports teams, this is a big step in the right direction. Adding these three to Arizona and Florida, and we start to see a larger portion of sports teams in the country have a road to resumption. Being from New York I was particularly proud of Gov. Cuomo, who said simply, “I want to watch the Buffalo Bills.”
This past weekend brought live action in the world of PGA, as the TaylorMade Driving Relief brought amazing entertainment from some of the world’s top golfers. More importantly, the skins match raised $5.5 million in charitable donations. The pairings of McIlroy-Johnson raised $1.85 million for the American Nurses Foundation and Fowler-Wolff won $1.15 million for the CDC Foundation. Next up for golf? THE MATCH this Sunday at 3PM airing on TNT, TBS, and TruTV. The event will raise $10 million toward COVID-19 relief charities like the American Red Cross, Direct Relief and Save Small Business; all four athletes will also contribute to the All-In Challenge. If this isn’t enough to catch your attention, at least tune in to listen to Charles Barkley announcing; sure to provide at least one sound bite worth sharing around the zoom water cooler come Monday.
The City of Brotherly Love seems to make an appearance in each week’s edition of our SGN Sports story. This week is no different, with players from the 76ers grabbing our attention with their generosity and good deeds. We start with star forward Tobias Harris, who is making several different donations in the Philadelphia community. Harris is providing three months of mortgage payment assistance to 12 families in the Philadelphia area through Habitat for Humanity.
Additionally, Tobias will donate lunch from Chick-Fil-A to 250 health care workers at Temple University Hospital and donate 20,000 children’s books for home libraries in the city. A report from NBC Sports details Harris’ gratitude to be in a position to help those in need during this time, saying, “We’re experiencing one of the biggest crises in the history of humankind… Being able to provide kindness to people putting their lives at risk in hospitals and supporting Philadelphia families in dire need of help is an important responsibility for me.”
Fellow Sixer Mike Scott is also making a difference in the Philadelphia community by teaming up with Red Bull to donate 600 meals to overnight staff at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Scott said he wanted to donate to hospital employees he believes are commonly overlooked. Many special gestures are done during daytime hours and therefore miss the overnight shift personnel who continue to take care of patients.
Chicago White Sox outfielder Eloy Jimenez donated $1,000 to every employee at Novias Davilla, a local bridal shop, according to James Fegan of The Athletic. $500 of Jimenez’s donation comes in the form of a Jewel gift card, which is a local grocery chain in Chicago.
Novias Davilla, located in Little Village, a Chicago neighborhood with a large Hispanic population, started making face masks to hand out to those in need. Jimenez returned the favor and said it was extremely important to him to help out the Latino community, which has been hit hard in the city of Chicago by COVID-19.
That’s it for this run! Be sure to check back same time next week for more features, stories, and updates that fill the current sports void in our lives.