How the decision to change the NBA All-Star Game format happened

The 2018 NBA All-Star Game was under a much different structure than its previous editions, and it was awesome. Teams captained by LeBron James and Stephen Curry will took court with rosters the two drafted three weeks ago. In previous years, teams were divided by the Eastern and Western Conference, but the league opted to spice things up this season.

Players, media, and fans voted for the All-Star starters. Fans’ votes were weighted most, compiling 50 percent of the total points, and media and player votes accounted for 25 percent each. The 10 starters chosen this year were James, Curry, Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeRozan, James Harden, and Kevin Durant.

The remaining 14 players were chosen by a coach’s vote, picking seven players from each conference. Those players are Russell Westbrook, Karl-Anthony Towns, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Kristaps Porzingis, Kevin Love, Victor Oladipo, Kyle Lowry, Al Horford, John Wall, Bradley Beal, Damian Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Jimmy Butler.

James and Curry received the most votes overall, and were named captains. From there, they alternated picks starting with James (the leading vote-getter) to each select four of the eight remaining starters. (Steph Curry had first selection over jerseys.) There were no limitations regarding conference, and each athlete was free to select whoever he thought would make the best teammate.

Wind has wreaked havoc on the 2018 Winter Olympics’ skiing and snowboarding events, forcing postponements and nearly ruining the women’s slopestyle snowboarding finals. On Sunday, unseasonable winds could make one of the sport’s most electrifying disciplines even more dangerous.

The women’s big air event will kick off Sunday evening with a qualifying round that will determine Thursday’s final. Fortunately for Sunday’s competitors, the winds that affected Phoenix Snow Park haven’t been nearly as brutal at the Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre, where massive jumps will push the world’s best boarders to their limits in the quest for Olympic gold.

The massive ramps and pressure of the world’s biggest stage should unlock some extra twists and flips at Alpensia. American Jamie Anderson can follow up her gold medal performance in the slopestyle competition with another trip to the podium. Her teammate, Julia Marino, will compete knowing Sunday’s runs are about more than just determining 2018’s best.

The Kansas sideline incident cost Mayfield a start in his final home game when coach Lincoln Riley benched him.

This process right now is different than anything of the stuff I’ve been through before because it’s more individualized right now than anything else, Mayfield said. Normally in the offseason, I’m with the team. We’re working toward one goal together.

Mayfield also apologized for the flag plant. But he said that the arrest in Arkansas in February 2017 is what braced him for the Manziel chatter.

I didn’t want to be portrayed as the villain or somebody like that, Mayfield said. I do good things within my community. I’m not trying to say those cover up any mistakes that I’ve made. But there’s always a learning curve when you’re growing up.

The best thing she did was help me create more awareness. I appreciate her for giving me more awareness. For me to be sitting here on the greatest weekend of the NBA All-Star Weekend… the best weekend in he NBA where all the countries all around the world come to watch the greatest players in the world no matter they’re a part of Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, and I get to talk about social injustice, equality, and why a person on a certain network decided to tell me to shut up and dribble.

So thank you, whatever her name is. I get to talk about what’s really important. and I can help change kids not only in America, but in Brazil and England and Mexico and all over. So thank you.

More than anything, it’s rejuvenating that we’re expecting to win now and we’re expecting to contend, Braun said. The challenge of playing a new position — it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to.

During his offseason workouts at Pepperdine University, Braun said he would take ground balls with Rangers third baseman Trevor Plouffe and free-agent third baseman Mike Moustakas.

It didn’t feel as foreign to me as I expected it to, Braun said, adding that he plans to borrow a teammate’s glove until his own are broken in and that he’ll seek out others for advice on playing the new position.

Dmitri Soloviev and Ekaterina Bobrova were the penultimate team, hoping to surpass a season best of 76.33. They scored a 75.47, putting them in fifth place with one team to go. Luca Lanotte Anna Cappelli of Italy came on, with a season best of 75.87. They beat that, with a 76.57, for fifth place to close out the first part of the ice dancing competition.

The Cowboys’ Doomsday Defense lived up its name against the Broncos, beating up Denver from start to finish in a 27-10 rout.

The offense had a mixed bag of good performances, led by quarterback Roger Staubach, making it hard to find a good MVP on that side of the ball.

White and Martin, however, weren’t exactly the right guys to honor together from the defense. They did dominate up front, combining for three sacks. But Kyle and Barnes, the Cowboys’ starting cornerbacks, helped hold the Broncos to just eight completions and 61 passing yards, and each had an interception.

This is hair-splitting with the first and only split Super Bowl MVP. The right (but impossible) answer would have been naming the entire Dallas D.

“The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem,” Trump wrote Monday evening, contradicting not just the stated reasons of the kneeling players but a decades-long tradition of protesting racial injustice from the football field.

Trump kept tweeting about football for days, and his arguments became ever more esoteric. He promoted the hashtag #StandForOurAnthem as an alternative to the megaviral #TakeAKnee. He claimed his chief of staff, John Kelly, “totally agrees w/ my stance on NFL players.”

On Tuesday, Trump wrote that he’d never heard boos as loud as when the Dallas Cowboys took a knee.

On Wednesday, he praised the team’s owner, Jerry Jones: “Players will stand for Country!”

Some players had been kneeling during the pregame national anthem since the beginning of last season. The demonstrations were no longer the spectacle they were when 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick inspired them a year ago to protest police killings of unarmed black people.

Nevertheless, Trump repeated his demand on Sunday, just before sunrise at the New Jersey resort where he was weekending, in his first tweet of game day.

Hundreds of players — nearly entire teams in two cases — locked arms or bent a knee that evening. Interest in the kneeling players spiked massively, both on the news and in Web searches.

Executives, owners, coaches and most of the NFL’s 1,664 players “scrambled to figure out an appropriate response,” wrote ESPN: “A small protest .?.?. had now become a leaguewide, nationally polarizing crisis under Trump.”

Last year was a bit of a departure, with some teams accelerating the process by making their moves Sunday night.

Some of this season’s replay rulings have been criticized by Blandino and Mike Pereira, Blandino’s predecessor with the NFL who also is a Fox rules analyst. Some within the league believe that Riveron has, at times, attempted to re-officiate plays from New York rather than adhering to the intended role of replay and merely correcting obvious mistakes while otherwise allowing the calls made on the field to stand.

The competitive advantage is slight; it provides a head start of a half day or so in making plans and lining up candidates. But there’s probably no going back now, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see some coaching moves made official Sunday night.

The improbable score set off pandemonium at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, where purple-clad fans had appeared set for yet another of the franchise’s brutal postseason defeats. Instead, it was Drew Brees and his shocked teammates, particularly Williams, who will have the offseason and beyond to bemoan a near-certain victory that got away in the final moments.

Adding to the Saints’ misery was the fact that they had staged a terrific comeback just to position themselves for a gut punch. The Vikings had controlled the first half, taking a 17-0 lead, but Brees threw three second-half touchdown passes, two to wide receiver Michael Thomas to take a one-point lead with just over three minutes left in the game.

“I feel like, you know, that’s something that runs through our minds, my mind, especially when you feel like you lost something you should have had,” linebacker Vic Beasley said last week. “You get a chance to play these guys again; you want to give it your best shot.”

Giants receiver Odell Beckham is not expected to see the field on Saturday after suffering an ankle sprain Monday that could reportedly keep him out of action in Week 1 of the regular season. Falcons running back Devonta Freeman is also slated to miss Saturday’s game while recovering from a concussion. It’s unclear if the Texans plan to play DeAndre Hopkins after the receiver missed practice this week.

In between several moments of brilliance in the second overtime, Cousins’ body language suggested he could barely stand.

Without Odell Beckham Jr., the Giants struggled to push the ball downfield. Eli Manning managed a mere 198 net passing yards with no touchdowns and an interception and if not for a field goal in the third quarter, Big Blue would have had a big fat zero on the scoreboard.

It’s unknown whether Beckham will be ready to go Monday night, but the Lions finished Week 1 as the seventh-best pass-coverage unit in the league per Pro Football Focus. Plus, during last year’s Week 15 matchup, Lions cornerback Darius Slay and safety Glover Quinn limited Beckham to three catches for 31 yards and no touchdowns.

Strength (and Weakness?): This year’s Saints are a new creation. After eons of relying almost exclusively on Drew Brees and the air game, New Orleans shredded teams on the ground in 2017 with the spicy combination of Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara. By the numbers, they’re the first pair of teammate backs to each record 1,500-plus scrimmage yards. To the eyes, they’re a brilliant meshing of rare individual gifts.

That included a whopping six takedowns each against the Bucs and Vikings. The Panthers have a shot if they can rattle the likes of Brees, Keenum and Goff when it matters most. I’d also point to a ground game that, when it’s on, can pound away with Jonathan Stewart, a surging Christian McCaffrey and Cam Newton doing Cam Newton-like things.

His feet hardly left the floor on a 3-pointer that rolled around the rim and in. He also managed to hit a turnaround jumper and calmly made two free throws to ice the game with 8 seconds left.

Davis, who fouled out in the first overtime, called Cousins’ performance “legendary,” adding that his fellow big man — more than anyone — earned the day off from practice the Pelicans were given on Tuesday.

Marquee teams have not played up to expectations. The New England Patriots, coming off their fifth Super Bowl title with Bill Belichick as their coach and Tom Brady as their quarterback, opened the season with a stunning loss to the Chiefs and have a record of 3-2. The Cowboys, who led a post-election partial recovery in TV viewership last season, are 2-3 following the last-second defeat Sunday to the Packers. The Chiefs remain the NFL’s only unbeaten team.

This year’s prospect rankings package begins with the first half of my ranking of the top 100 prospects in the minors.

Editor’s note: Age is the player’s age as of July 1, 2018. Players with experience in foreign major leagues like Japan’s NPB or Korea’s KBO, such as Shohei Ohtani, are ineligible for these rankings.

Washington doesn’t run the ball effectively and its Week 11 opponent, the Saints, have been stingy in recent weeks against other talented backs. Despite moving into a larger role, Perine is owned in just over 23 percent of ESPN leagues. He’s certainly worth stashing on one’s roster, but unless you’re in a bad place with RB depth, he’s not an appealing play this weekend.

By August 2016, after the Republican convention, a Post-ABC poll found that 60 percent of Americans thought Trump was biased against women and minorities — including 20 percent of people who planned to vote for him. In August of this year, Fox News asked a similar question, with more than half of the country and 15 percent of Republicans saying he doesn’t respect racial minorities.

“Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the national anthem,” Goodell wrote to NFL club presidents and chief executives. “It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us. We also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues. The controversy over the anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues. We need to move past this controversy, and we want to do that together with our players.”

He will play on as long as he is able, and the Patriots will have him as long as they can. But so much of the structure around him is about to change, and it is impossible to know how those adjustments will impact him. For a rare moment Sunday, Brady departed from the Patriots’ ruthless focus on what is in front of them and looked back to marvel at the chance to duplicate that first early brick of a dynasty with a second one as he nears the end of the rainbow.