The Lists

This Week in Sports Talk: January 26, 2020

this week in sports news January 26 2020

This Week in Sports Talk (TWIST) is our weekly roundup of top headlines and sports news, plus a preview of what’s up next. Heading into the week of January 26, 2020, here’s the top sports news, with a twist. Skim it, and you’ll be good to go all week.

This Week in Sports Talk: January 26, 2020

We begin with some short takes in sports news heading into the week of January 26, 2020.

kobe bryant lost in tragic helicopter accident

After we went to press earlier today, news came of a tragic helicopter accident that ended the life of NBA star Kobe Bryant, 41. His daughter Gianna, 13, also perished in the crash along with seven others. The former LA Laker spent 20 years in the NBA, always with the same team. He won five NBA Championships. Our heartfelt condolences and prayers go out to his family and the families of all of those who were lost in this tragedy.

Sneaker alert!

Former Duke star player Zion Williamson made his NBA debut with the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night wearing Air Jordan 34 “Bayou Boys.” The Player Exclusive shoes will be highly prized as a way to commemorate what turned out to be a memorable night. And who knows? A consumer version may be coming soon to a retailer near you.

This week in sports talk: Zion Williamson’s Air Jordan 34 Bayou Boys.

Basketball fans will surely remember the most infamous pair of shoes in Williamson’s career to date.

The white Nike sneakers that suddenly blew out during a Duke game, yielding shock, memes and photos that lit up the Internet for days. Now it’s a new league, new shoes, new year. Whew! 


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Its “Cocomania” at the Australian Open

Sadly, Serena Williams’ run at the 2020 Australian Open has come to an end, as she fell to N0. 27 seed Qiang Wang in the third round at Rod Laver Arena. It’s the earliest exit for Serena at the Australian Open in over a decade. 

In the meantime, fifteen year old phenom Cori “Coco” Gauff has been on fire. First, she defeated Venus Williams in Round 1. Then on Friday she beat the defending champion Naomi Osaka. The youngest player in the tournament, Gauff’s wins and her preternatural poise charmed audiences around the world.

Coco Gauff at the 2020 Australian Open

The adoring local press were quick to note that she “brought her schoolbooks to the tournament and makes daily phone calls across several time zones to her teacher.” After entering the court to thunderous applause for her match earlier today, chants of “here we go Coco, here we go,” rang through the arena throughout the match.

Sadly for us, her impressive run came to an end earlier today, as she was defeated by her fellow American Sofia Kenin. She handled the loss with grace and good sportsmanship, despite some tears. In the post-match press conference she thanked her fans for their rousing support, noting that since it wasn’t even her home country,” I guess I’m an adopted Australian now.”

All we can say is: Ya Done Good, Girl. 

rafa and kyrigos to meet in round four

Meanwhile, top men’s seed Rafael Nadal will face his rival and nemesis Nick Kyrgios in round four of the Australian Open. After easily moving through the third round, all the press wanted to discuss with Nadal was the ongoing smack talk that Kyrgios has been directing his way. He refused to take the bait. All eyes will be on this one on Monday.

Roger Federer became the first man to reach 15 Australian Open quarter-finals today, after defeating Marton Fucsovics 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2. And Novak Djokovic easily beat Diego Schwartzman to head into the quarter-finals.

NHL All Star weekend

It’s NHL All-Star weekend in St. Louis. All-Stars from the Pacific, Central, Atlantic and Metropolitan divisions will square off during the three-on-three tournament. There will also be skill competitions throughout the weekend.

NHL All Star weekend 2020

St. Louis celebrated a Stanley Cup parade for the first time in franchise history just last June. So it should be a fine, fine time.

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Top Sports Headlines heading into the week of January 26, 2020

Now that we’re warmed up, here’s everything else you need to know about sports heading into the week of January 26, 2020:

1. NFL

Must Know:

There are NO football games this weekend! What??? What this means for you personally, of course, dear reader we have no way of knowing. But for many, it’s the first time they’ve had a Sunday afternoon with their spouse or partner since last fall. Chocolate chip pancakes for all!

Nice to Know:

In case you hadn’t heard, the Super Bowl LIV (that would be 54) match-up will be the Kansas City Chiefs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes versus the San Francisco 49’ers and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

The Chiefs won the AFC Championship game, defeating the Tennessee Titans 35-24. The 49’ers beat the Green Bay Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers 37-20 for the NFC title.

Patrick Mahomes

This outcome has the citizens of Patriots Nation deep in conversation about whether or not New England should have traded Garoppolo two years ago in favor of keeping Tom Brady as their starting quarterback. Water under the bridge . . . 

Vegas projects Super Bowl LIV to be a close game; as of this posting, the Kansas City Chiefs are favored by just a single point. 

Fans are salivating at the prospect of a rousing match-up. That may be why the market price for seats to the game is skyrocketing. Earlier this week, SeatGeek reported that the average price of a Super Bowl LIV ticket is $9,590 – the highest average ever.

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Extra Credit:

39-year-old quarterback Eli Manning has announced his retirement from the NFL. He finished this past season as the New York Giants’ backup quarterback. Debate has already started over whether he’s a future Hall of Famer.

This week in sports talk: Eli Manning retires from the NFL. Photo Credit: Getty Images.

The debate is mostly over when and not if. Will he be inducted in his first round of eligibility? Manning’s .500 record of wins and losses is not all that stellar – but two Super Bowl wins against the New England Patriots and two Super Bowl MVP’s is pretty persuasive. Peyton Manning, Eli’s older brother, is already in full campaign mode. Which is actually really sweet. 

bonus round:

In other Giants news, the team’s new coach Joe Judge continues to recruit his new coaching staff from the current and former ranks of the New England Patriots. This past week, he hired a new Offensive-line coach who had previously been with the Pats before his most recent assignment.

Speculation continues to build about quarterback moves in the off-season. LA Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is moving his family (which includes 9 kids) to Tampa, Florida. The rumor is that he will sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for 1-2 years.

That would mean Tampa Bay would pass on their current quarterback, Jameis Winston, who’s negotiating fora new $30 million per year deal. This despite the fact that Winston became the first quarterback ever to throw 30  touchdowns and 30 interceptions in the same season.

The million-dollar question remains what’s next for Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The rumors are growing that he will go to the LA  Chargers, as they’re hoping for some star power to get the fans in the seats. Watch this space for further updates. 

Finally, this week the Oakland Raiders officially became the Las Vegas Raiders.

2. NBA

Must Know:

First draft pick forward Zion Williamson made his NBA debut for the New Orleans Pelicans this week, after a 13-week rehab stint following knee surgery in the preseason. 44 games into the season, expectations were extremely high. And in the end, it was as good as fans – and his teammates – had hoped.

Zion Williamson NBA debut

In a home game against San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday, the 19-year-old got off to a slow start. But he caught fire in the second half, scoring 17 points in 3:08 minutes, including four 3-pointers. Williamson never had a four 3-point shot game in his entire tenure at Duke.

The Pelicans pulled him from the game before it ended, citing the need to manage his workload and not impede his recovery. There was some grumbling about that, as the Spurs won 121-117. But Williamson’s time on the court was electrifying. And hopes are high that he’ll reach his full potential as an NBA star.

Nice to Know: 

The 2020 NBA All-Star Game starters were announced on Thursday and there weren’t many surprises. The voting process incorporates fan votes, media votes and player votes.

In the East, the starters are Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks, who will also be the team Captain. Pascal Siakam, Toronto Raptors. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76’ers. Kemba Walker, Boston Celtics. Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks.

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In the West, the the Team Captain is LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers. The other four starting players are Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers. Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Clippers. Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks. And James Harden, Houston Rockets.

Extra credit:

Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers scored 61 points in Monday’s game against the Golden State Warriors, in a final score in overtime of 129-124. 

Damian Lilard delivers a new franchise record – 61 points in a game against the Golden State Warriors.

It was a new career-high for the Portland point guard and a new franchise record. Based on his expression from the sidelines throughout the game, injured Warriors star Steph Curry was deeply impressed.

3. MLB

Must Know:

Derek Jeter has been voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, with a vote tally that was almost unanimous. A single withheld vote means that he misses out on becoming the second player ever voted in unanimously – his former teammate Mariano Rivera was the first. But he still has the second-highest voting percentage of any MLB Hall of Famer.

Derek Jeter was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this week.

Nice to know:

The first reporting date for MLB Spring Training is February 12, 2020. That’s when the pitchers and catchers do their first workout. The first spring training game will be played February 21 between the Royals and Rangers at Surprise Stadium in Surprise, Ariz., to begin the Cactus League schedule. The Grapefruit League opens the next day with eight games.

Extra Credit:

The New York Mets have found their replacement for former Manager Carlos Beltran, who was named in the MLB investigation into the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal and then fired before managing a single game. Luis Rojas is their new manager.

Meanwhile, fans are more and more agitated about the sign-stealing scandal that has rocked the Houston Astros organization and its former executives. All of the players who participated in the scheme were granted immunity in order to secure their full participation in the MLB investigation. Now, that decision is being questioned. And some are calling for the Astros to be stripped of their World Series win in 2017.

This Week in Sports News January 26, 2020

That’s it. You’re good to go with the top headlines and coming attractions heading into the week of January 26, 2020. Have a good one, and see you next week.

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