Gooooooood morninggggg sports fans. Shanna here on this fine Wednesday excited to be talking to my newsletter readers once again. I hope everyone has been staying cool during this crazy heat wave. 

Today we will discuss last night's NBA playoff game, and there is a lot to unpack there. Giannis Antetokounmpo got hurt, Trae Young was out and the Hawks evened the series. We will also look at how college athletes are preparing for NIL laws, why MLB should change their All-Star Game rules and Serena Williams' early exit from Wimbledon.

Let's get to it.

📰 What you need to know

1. Hawks even up injury-filled series against Bucks 🏀

The Milwaukee Bucks entered Game 3 against the Atlanta Hawks with a 2-1 series lead. But the end of the night, the outlook of the series had completely changed.

A major story heading into the game was that the Hawks were without their star Trae Young, who has been fantastic this postseason. The major story during the game was former MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo going down with an injury during the third quarter and sitting out for the remainder of the game. He is expected to undergo further imaging on his left knee today.

On the court, it was all Hawks, with Atlanta winning the contest, 110-88

Here are some takeaways from the game, courtesy of our NBA scribe Jack Maloney:

  • Giannis goes down: The Bucks officially announced he was out with a hyperextended knee in the loss, but the full extent is not yet known. Antetokounmpo was able to walk to the tunnel himself, but he did appear to be in pain
  • Lou Will steps up: Williams started his first playoff game in place of Trae Young. He recorded 21 points, five rebounds and eight assists and shot 7-for-9 from the field, standing out and looking confident in the win
  • Do Bucks have a response if Giannis is out?: Giannis is not ruled out for the series yet, but based on how the injury looked that is a definite possibility. Even if Young is out, the Hawks have a deep team, as we saw last night, so Milwaukee will need to come up with an answer if their star is out

Game 5 is set for Thursday, July 1 at 8:30 p.m. back in Milwaukee.

2. How college athletes are preparing for new NIL laws

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On July 1, many college athletes will be able to start profiting off their name and endorsements, benefiting from the NIL rights going into effect. This is a major change that has been a long time coming for college sports, but with a big change comes the need to prepare.

Our own Dennis Dodd spoke with Wisconsin QB Graham Mertz about how players are preparing for the changes. Mertz has a business plan, and it revolves around his family: The quarterback's sister will handle his social media account, while his father, Ron (a former Minnesota offensive lineman), will handle the business end.

What does that leave for Mertz to do? As he told Dodd, he'll just be the yes/no guy on offers. That's it. Dodd also noted that Mertz's plan is a "conversation being had in some form all over the country this week."

Dodd's story is full of great quotes that put into perspective how monumental the NIL laws are for players:

  • Member of the NCAA hierarchy: "There's going to be kids with car deals, absolutely."
  • Mertz: "It will change college sports forever."
  • Oliver Luck, a former NCAA executive who now owns a non-profit NIL company: "The fascinating thing is, two or three years ago, the end point was giving athletes NIL, right? Now the end point is unionization, health care for life. The goalposts have changed a little bit, in part because I think the NCAA lost the narrative."
  • Opendorse CEO Blake Lawrence: "They won't all be four figures, but the sheer quantity of opportunities this week will be enough to make everyone think how big this market is going to be."

3. MLB needs to tweak All-Star Game rules for Shohei Ohtani ⚾


If you haven't been paying attention to baseball lately, let me fill you in on a name you absolutely should know: Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels. The star received the most votes in Phase 1 for the American League designated hitter at the 2021 All-Star Game, but with his level of talent, he should be allowed to pitch too.

OK, yes, rules state that he is not able to do both, but MLB should alter these rules so we can see him on the mound as well. This season he has a 2.58 ERA with a 33.1 percent strikeout rate (12.4 K/9) and also leads the league with 26 home runs and a 1.031 OPS. His combined 5.6 WAR is also a full win better than anyone else right now. So safe to say, he's doing pretty well.

CBS Sports' own Mike Axisa gave an argument for why the league should change the rules for Ohtani's once-in-a-lifetime season.

  • Axisa: "MLB should just do away with that rule for the All-Star Game. It's a meaningless exhibition -- it has been years since the All-Star Game last determined home-field advantage in the World Series -- so who cares if we change the rules? ... Make it as easy as possible to showcase this guy's talent."

The current rules state that the AL would forfeit the DH if Ohtani starts as a pitcher and hits for himself. Axisa added that the league should change their three-batter minimum rule, saying if the star only has the ability for one batter than so be it, rather than risk injury.

This proposed idea may not be something Ohtani is even interested in, as he is also competing in the Home Run Derby and may be too exhausted to do that, and then hit and pitch in the game. But if he does feel he's in shape to get it all done, why not let him show off and give the fans something amazing to see as well?

4. Serena Williams out at Wimbledon 🎾

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Serena Williams was forced to withdraw in the first round at Wimbledon on Tuesday due to an ankle injury that she suffered in the sixth game of the opening set against Aliaksandra Sasnovich. Williams was eyeing her eighth Wimbledon title.

  • The injury occurred when Serena slipped on the grass
  • She immediately left the court and sought treatment
  • After 10 minutes, she attempted to come back into the match, but was visibly in pain. She could not serve and with tears in her eyes retired from the match

This is only the second time Williams has had to withdraw from a Grand Slam tournament due to injury. The first coming during Wimbledon in 1998, when she strained her calf.

The GOAT of women's tennis will remain just one Grand Slam title away from tying Margaret Court's record. Williams currently has 23, with her last coming in 2016 at Wimbledon.

📝 Odds & Ends


📺 What to watch tonight


Cubs vs. Brewers, 2:10 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV  

🏒 Canadiens vs. Lightning, 8 p.m. | TB -215 | TV: NBCSN

🏀 Suns vs. Clippers, 9 p.m. | PICK | TV: ESPN

🥇 Best thing I saw on the internet

Who doesn't love a fun shot in the NBA playoffs?! Hopefully you love it too, because last night we got an over the backboard shot from Atlanta Hawks Clint Capela in their win against the Milwaukee Bucks.