#sports

Brian Windhorst looking into the notion that LeBron James may have a photographic memory:

"When we were growing up we used to play this fighting game on the Sega Genesis called Shaq Fu," says Brandon Weems, James’ lifelong friend. "LeBron was the only one who had memorized all the moves and so he’d win every time. We all thought he definitely was cheating."

I’m not sure which is more surprising: that LeBron memorized all the moves in Shaq Fu, or that LeBron was playing Shaq Fu at all.

Ira Boudway on Steve Ballmer’s attempt to by the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion:

Ballmer, as the numbers show, is offering more than any previous NBA buyer—and more than any buyer would pay for an asset with this caliber of financial performance. Over the last five years, according to Bank of America, NBA teams have sold for an average of 3.4 times their annual revenue. Ballmer’s bid comes in at 12.1 times an estimated annual revenue of $164.9 million for the year ended in June. In other words: Donald Sterling’s hypothetical $5 billion buyer doesn’t exist, and there’s probably nobody other than Ballmer willing to go as high as $2 billion.

Poor Steve Ballmer. Not literally, of course. But he just can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to his pursuit of an NBA team.

Anton Troianovski:

As national euphoria gripped Germany on Tuesday with the arrival of its world champion soccer team, an apparent crime in the Rhineland served as a reminder that all was not well. Unidentified thieves, the police said, had spent the weekend stealing 10 truckloads of beer.

"Has anyone noticed a large amount of beer?" police in the city of Krefeld said in a news release. "Can anyone provide information on a possible storage area?"

The equivalent of 140,891 six-packs. Someone had a fun night.

Chad Bray:

Several news outlets reported that Adidas, the German sportswear maker, was likely to succeed Nike. The Financial Times reported that such a deal could be worth up to £750 million over 10 years, making it one of the most lucrative equipment sponsorship deals in sports.

Crazy. Though perhaps not as crazy as the fact that American car-maker Chevrolet will be the main sponsor of the team starting this year (that deal cost $599 million over eight years).

Yes, Man U will be wearing jerseys with a giant Chevrolet logo on the front. (Nike will still be there this year since that deal ends next year.)

LeBron James:

Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’s where I walked. It’s where I ran. It’s where I cried. It’s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.

As someone from Cleveland, I find this to be a pretty perfect letter. As bad as LeBron’s “Decision” was four years ago, that’s as good as this is.

Jacob Steinberg on the latest Wimbledon final in which Novak Djokovic outlasted Roger Federer:

Yet, if anything, this defeat should reinforce his belief that he can rule SW19 again and why bow out now when he clearly has so much left to give? His capacity to delight and enthrall us with the variety and majesty of his play remains intact and, lest we forget it, so does his ability to be a stubborn sod when we least expect it.

Absolutely true. And yet:

Yet it was also predictable that Djokovic, who served unusually well, had joy targeting Federer’s backhand or that he outlasted him when it turned into a battle of stamina. Federer ran 4,096 metres to Djokovic’s 3,773 and his first serve failed him near the end, his 32-year-old legs growing weary under the strain. Time catches up with everyone, even genius.

Such a great match. As Federer himself quipped at the end, “See you next year.”

Sam Borden on U.S. World Cup coach Jurgen Klinsmann:

While not all of Klinsmann’s moves have paid such obvious dividends, the guiding principle for Klinsmann is always a desire for progress. Roland Eitel, one of Klinsmann’s longtime friends, said Klinsmann, who won the 1990 World Cup with West Germany as a player and coached the 2006 German team to a third-place finish, differs from most of his countrymen in that he does not like to reminisce about glory days.

Eitel recalled a reunion of the 1990 team at which most of Klinsmann’s teammates raucously relived the tournament in Italy while Klinsmann mostly sat quietly.

“He has no use for the past,” Eitel said.

Hard to argue with the result so far.