Tom Goldman | WYPR

Tom Goldman

With a few minutes left in game two of the NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors, this past Sunday, something unremarkable happened: Quinn Cook scored.

It was a layup, and it happened when the game already was decided and the bench players, like Warriors reserve guard Cook, were on the court. Unremarkable. Still, there was Cook in a Warriors uniform, playing and scoring in the Finals. Kind of amazing for those who followed his story.

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Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy ended his drought in convincing fashion Sunday.

The four-time major tournament winner went on a final-round birdie binge to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, Fla. It was his first victory since 2016. McIlroy pulled away at the end with five birdies on the last six holes for an 8-under par 64.

As dominant as his win was, McIlroy shared the spotlight with Tiger Woods, who finished eight shots back.

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The Paralympics begins a 10-day run Friday in South Korea, featuring the world's best athletes with disabilities. Close to 700 athletes are gathered in Pyeongchang, where they'll compete in six sports, including alpine skiing, biathlon and snowboarding.

Most of these athletes have dramatic stories — about succeeding in sport despite physical disabilities, and about the journeys that led them to South Korea.

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The U.S. Figure Skating Championships ended Sunday in San Jose, Calif., with some new champions in place and, even more significantly, an Olympic team.

Fourteen skaters in individual, pairs and dance categories will travel to South Korea next month to try to bolster America's sterling reputation in one of the Olympics' most popular sports.

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NFL quarterback Cam Newton is in the midst of another controversy. Newton made a comment to a female football writer on Wednesday that's being called sexist by some, simply dumb by others. NPR's Tom Goldman has our report.

The tumult in the sports world continued Monday after President Trump's incendiary remarks criticizing NFL players who have protested racial inequality during the playing of the national anthem. While the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals showed solidarity with the protesters before their Monday night football game, NASCAR figures and Olympic athletes also weighed in.

Less than a month away from the start of the regular season, NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick remains a player without a team.

Kaepernick took a knee during the playing of the national anthem before games last season. He said he was protesting treatment of people in black communities during a time of great tension sparked by police shootings of African-Americans.

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As the country starts to get back into its most popular professional team sport, there is a reminder of how dangerous football can be.

An updated study published Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association on football players and the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy reveals a striking result among NFL players.

Monday night in Las Vegas, thousands are expected to turn out for an NBA Championship game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trailblazers. Hundreds of thousands more, at least, are expected to tune in to ESPN for live coverage.

Wait, you say, it's the middle of July — a time for baseball, beach and barbecue. But men's pro basketball? Normally way off sports fans' radar screens this time of year.

But there's been nothing normal about NBA Summer League 2017.

Updated at 5:25 p.m. ET

Former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, at the heart of a sexual abuse scandal involving more than 100 girls and women — including top American gymnasts — pleaded guilty Tuesday in a Michigan federal court to three counts related to child pornography.

Suddenly, John McEnroe and Serena Williams are involved in a tennis match of words, and the pace picked up Tuesday. Both are rushing the net — stick with the metaphor here — and firing volleys.

First it was McEnroe, who told NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro on Sunday that while Williams is "an incredible player," (she's won 23 major singles titles and 14 in doubles) she'd be "like 700 in the world" if she played on the men's circuit.

There's good news and bad news for the Cleveland Cavaliers following their 113-91 loss last night to the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

Their bad news first.

They lost.

Their good news? The reasons they lost were pretty clear. Meaning they don't have to dig too deeply to understand what they have to correct for Game 2. Or try to correct.

Cleveland turned the ball over 20 times. Compared to four for the Warriors.

"Twenty turnovers in the Finals definitely is not going to get it done," said Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving.

For NBA fans, grumbly and otherwise, the wait is almost over. The Finals, finally, begin tonight.

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Updated at 9:30 p.m. ET

By now, it's fair to say South Carolina is a better team than Mississippi State. The Gamecocks' 67-55 win in the national title game Sunday was South Carolina's third — and most convincing — win over the Bulldogs this season.

The women's first basketball championship is all the more impressive since the team lost senior center Alaina Coates to an ankle injury before the tournament started.

In a hectic finish, the North Carolina Tar Heels were able to hold off the Oregon Ducks, 77-76.

North Carolina now advances one step closer to a redemptive title after losing at the buzzer in last season's championship game. This time they'll play Gonzaga Monday night.

Down the stretch, with the Tar Heels holding a slim lead, the semifinal didn't have the feel of a game that close. Perhaps because a series of timeouts disrupted the rhythm; perhaps because there wasn't a sense that the Ducks could make a final push to get past the Tar Heels.

Finally, today, they will play football.

The Atlanta Falcons take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51.

After an NFL season of sagging TV ratings, it's expected today's game, in Houston, will do what Super Bowls always do — turn 60 minutes of football into a national holiday.

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