After years of surging popularity, NASCAR has hit a speed bump. Same with IndyCar. Meanwhile, Formula 1, the premier motor sport in the world, has never really gained traction here in the United States. But as NPR's Nina Gregory reports, there is a new entry in the racing world. It's called drifting.
NINA GREGORY, BYLINE: You may not know it but you've seen drifting.
Tuesday night, forward Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers became the latest star to go down with an injury. The Memphis Grizzlies took advantage of Griffin's absence and beat the Clippers 103-93 to take a 3-2 lead in their first-round series.
It may be hard to imagine that people can distill their thoughts on a topic as complicated as race into just six words. But thousands of people have done just that for The Race Card Project, in which NPR host/special correspondent Michele Norris invites people to send in their microstories about race and cultural identity.
My friend the Sports Curmudgeon called me the other day: "Hey, Frank, I got a few things to get off my chest." He was about to take off on a Fantasy Fan cruise, where devoted sports buffs are drafted as fans for desperate losing teams, but he promised to text me his complaints once the ship got out to sea.
Sure enough, here came the Sports Curmudgeon's latest rants.
A Spanish doctor accused of masterminding one of the world's largest doping rings has been convicted of endangering public health. Dr. Eufemiano Fuentes gave blood transfusions to Lance Armstrong's teammates and competitors. And he says he treated soccer and tennis players too — though he won't name names. Fuentes got a one year suspended prison sentence on Tuesday. A former cycling coach was sentenced to four months, and three other co-defendants were acquitted.
NBA player Jason Collins came out as gay in Sports Illustrated this week. Reaction to his announcement has been largely positive. Melissa Block speaks with former tennis great Martina Navratilova about Collin's decision to come out, and Navratilova's own experience after she came out over 30 years ago.
For Jason Collins, coming out just might prove a winning career strategy.
Before this week, the NBA center seemed like just another second-tier professional athlete, slouching toward retirement while still in his 30s. But all that changed overnight when Collins acknowledged he was gay in an interview with Sports Illustrated magazine published Monday.
A soccer referee who was reportedly punched in the face by a teenager during a game is in critical condition in a Utah hospital, four days after the incident.
After sustaining what seemed to be minor injuries, the 46-year-old official later lost consciousness — leading doctors to find "far more serious head injuries than thought," The Salt Lake City Tribunereports.
Soccer isn't just a sport in Brazil, it's a religion, and the main temple is the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.
The venue is not only the biggest stadium in Brazil but the biggest in South America. Over the weekend, the newly renovated complex reopened to great fanfare, with stirring musical numbers, a light show and dignitaries including Brazil's president.
The headlines in the local media, however, focused not on the fanfare but on the many problems, from flooding in the VIP area to malfunctioning seats and turnstiles. The stadium was also four months late reopening.
I didn't set out to be the first openly gay athlete playing in a major American team sport. But since I am, I'm happy to start the conversation. So begins an essay in the upcoming issue of Sports Illustrated, written by 34-year-old NBA center Jason Collins. And it's a big moment, not just for pro basketball but for all pro sports.