Hoonhout: Sports dominate this summer
Tobias Hoonhout | Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Well, it’s good to be back.
For the first Sports Authority of the year, I thought I’d take a page out of Sports Authority legend Marek Mazurek’s book and go off on a recap spree. And while we’ve had a packed summer of esports events — my boss Courtney Becker will agree with me — I thought it might be wise to update our readers, especially those who completely rely upon The Observer to inform them of the happenings in the real world of sports (sorry, Marek). So what did we miss?
The World Cup
“The greatest show on Earth” did not fail to disappoint this summer in its 21st installment, as France lifted the trophy for the second time in its history with a 4-2 victory over tournament dark horse Croatia. Russia played host to the first ever World Cup to feature video assistant referee, which led to 17 call reversals and plenty of drama. Even despite the U.S. not making the tournament, Americans still ate up every minute of the competition, both at home and in Russia — the United States topped the list of foreign ticket sales, and over 16 million people tuned in to watch the final. Bring on 2026.
LeBron to Los Angeles
No, it wasn’t as dramatic as “The Decision,” but the NBA was once again seismically shifted by the free agency of LeBron James. After a bit of deliberation, the four-time MVP elected to uproot from Cleveland for the second time in his illustrious career — only this time, to move west. “Showtime” may not be officially back in session — it’s no longer a guarantee that James will be in the Finals now with the competition in the Western Conference — but the King has some seriously intriguing pieces around him. LeBron joins a team stacked with young talent in Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart, with which the Lakers’ front office has paired with some “bad guy” veterans in Rajon Rondo and Michael Beasley.
While it may not make sense to some people — we now officially have LeBron and Lance Stephenson on the same roster — comments made by general manager Rob Pelinka may help shed some light on the matter. “I think to try to play the Warriors at their own game is a trap. No one is going to beat them at their own game, so that is why we wanted to add these elements of defense and toughness and depth and try to look at areas where we will have an advantage.”
While I don’t think it will work, I do admire them for trying. What I’m really looking forward to is three years down the road when LeBron and his son Bronny James — who threw down a dunk this summer at age 13 — are playing together in the City of Angels. Yes, Adam Silver. Exceptions can be made. We know you want this, too.
The Tiger is back?
Like a phoenix rising from its ashes, golf icon Tiger Woods is finally back. Sort of.
I mean, we should recognize the fact that only 15 months ago the man had a back so bad he couldn’t even swing a club. And now, after five top-10 finishes this year, including a sixth place finish at the British Open and a vintage Tiger Sunday that came up just short at the PGA Championship this month, people are starting to whisper that the 15th major may not be as unachievable as previously thought. With his play of late, Woods seemed destined for a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup roster, and with a win, albeit a team one, we could see golf’s greatest son finally get back on track. I, for one, am hoping it comes together.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.