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The Lakers vs the Clippers was the most anticipated matchup of the start of the 2019-2020 NBA season. LeBron James, left, and Anthony Davis, right, took on Kawhi Leonard and the L.A. Clippers at the Staples Center on Tuesday, Oct. 22.

The Lakers shot out of the gate like a cannon, scoring easy layups, dunks and three point shots over the Clippers' seemingly weak defense. For a while it looked like the Lakers would coast to an easy victory.

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Then Kawhi Leonard took over, hitting seven straight shots to show he meant business. The superstar, who led the Toronto Raptors to their first NBA championship earlier this year, finished the night with 30 points as the Clippers upended their crosstown rivals by a score of 112-102.

LeBron finished with 18 points and 9 rebounds. It wasn't his best night in a Lakers uniform. He had three of the Lakers' six turnovers. "That was just very careless and they capitalized off of it," he said after the game.

The Lakers and the Clippers will face each other three times in the regular season. But, for now, Kawhi owns the L.A. bragging rights.

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The fallout continues for NBA superstar LeBron James who sided with Communist China in the country's ongoing conflict with Hong Kong.

On Monday, LeBron commented about the tweet sent by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey who said he supported Hong Kong.

LeBron chastised Morey, saying he was "not educated" enough to speak on the situation in Hong Kong.

The backlash was swift.

Protesters in Hong Kong took to the streets wearing LeBron face masks and waving 100 Chinese yuan bills.

Protesters accused LeBron of being a capitalist who chooses money over basic human rights. China has been accused of executing Muslims and anyone who speaks out against the regime.

Among LeBron's critics is Khalilah Ali, a Muslim who was married to the late boxing champ Muhammad Ali from 1967-1976.

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In an interview with TMZ, Ali expressed her disappointment in LeBron, saying LeBron is no Muhammad Ali.

Khalilah Ali said her late husband would have handled the NBA-China situation differently. She also believes that LeBron should support people "who are standing up for their rights."

Muhammad Ali was stripped of his heavyweight title and sentenced to prison rather than be inducted into the U.S. Army to fight in Vietnam.

He famously said, "I ain't got no quarrel with them VietCong. No VietCong ever called me nigger."

Referring to Hong Kong protesters burning LeBron's jerseys in the streets, Khalilah Ali said of her ex-husband: "They would not take Muhammad Ali's shorts and burn them anywhere, it would never happen."
 

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You either love LeBron James or you hate him. The NBA superstar has a habit of infuriating fans with his opinions on everything from politics to tacos.

The latest drama began last week when Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey took sides in the ongoing conflict between China and Hong Kong. In a now deleted tweet, Morey angered the Chinese by saying he stands with Hong Kong.

LeBron uncharacteristically remained silent despite the prodding by the news media to say something.

On Tuesday, the 34-year-old father of three broke his silence by saying Morey wasn't "educated" enough to speak on Hong Kong.

The backlash was swift. LeBron is the only active NBA player to have his jerseys burned on 2 continents.

Protesters in Hong Kong took to the streets wearing LeBron face masks and waving 100 Chinese yuan bills. Other protesters torched and walked all over LeBron's jerseys in a sign of disrespect.

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Critics say LeBron sided with the Chinese to protect his financial interests over there.

According to the Daily Caller, LeBron pressured NBA commissioner Adam Silver to punish Morey.

The news media went on the attack, accusing LeBron of choosing money over basic human rights.

LeBron James Looks Like a Fraud The National Review.

LeBron James' only concern is LeBron James - The NY Daily News.

LeBron James's Big Miss on China - The Wall Street Journal.

Most Disgraceful Moment of Career - USA Today.

LeBron Bows to Communists - DrudgeReport.

The superstar also faced major backlash on social media platforms Twitter.com and Instagram.com.
 

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Anthony Davis underwent an MRI after spraining a ligament in his thumb during a preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets in China.

Davis suffered the injury while going for a block in the 1st quarter on Saturday. He was taken out of the game but he returned a short time later. He left the game again to have his right hand taped up and iced.

The former New Orleans Pelicans star finished the game with 6 points on 2-7 shooting, two blocks, three rebounds and a steal in 12 minutes of playing time.

The 26-year-old Lakers center underwent an MRI on Monday to determine the seriousness of the sprain to his right thumb. He will likely miss tonight's preseason game against the Golden State Warriors at The Staples Center (Oct. 14).

Lakers fans are bracing themselves for the bad news. The Lakers were plagued with injuries last season. Davis' signing during the off season gave fans high hopes that the Lakers would be the team to beat tis season. Davis has yet to play a preseason game in Los Angeles.

The Lakers will start the regular season against Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers on Oct. 22nd.

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The Washington Mystics defeated the Connecticut Sun to win their first WNBA championship on Thursday, Oct. 10, at St Elizabeths East Entertainment & Sports Arena in Washington, DC.

The Mystics, led by Emma Meesseman and injured league MVP Elena Delle Donne, defeated the Connecticut Sun 89-78 in Game 5 of the WNBA Finals.

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Emma Meesseman (L), the 6 ft 4 in Washington Mystics center, celebrated with teammates before the Mystics popped bottles of champagne in the locker room.

Meesseman, 26, who played for the Belgian National team last year, was named the Finals MVP. She averaged 17.8 points off the bench for the series and scored a team-high 22 points in the championship win.

Delle Donne, 30, who was hobbled by a herniated disc in her back, added 21 points.

The Mystics held the league's best record going into the playoffs.

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James Harden, pictured left with Russell Westbrook, personally apologized to China after the Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey tweeted that he supports democracy - not communism.

Morey sparked controversy by saying he supported Hong Kong in a since-deleted tweet that has resulted in the team losing sponsorships and TV deals, according to Yahoo News.

Morey's tweet, "Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong", was in support of the semi-autonomous country that is the scene of protests and widespread civil unrest.

James Harden, one of the NBA's biggest superstars, apologized to China on Monday.

The Rockets are currently in Tokyo, Japan for 2 preseason games against the NBA's defending champions Toronto Raptors.

Harden, with teammate Westbrook by his side, spoke to the Japanese press on Monday:

"We apologize. You know, we love China. We love playing there. For both of us individually, we go there once or twice a year. They show us the most important love," Harden said.

"We appreciate them as a fan base. We love everything there about them, and we appreciate the support that they give us individually and as [an] organization. We love you."

Some NBA fans supported Harden and the Rockets, but others were furious at the superstar's apparent anti-democracy stance.

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A radical new California law will allow college student athletes the right to profit from their names and likeness while they are still in school.

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the Fair Pay for Play Act into law at a Los Angeles barbershop associated with LeBron James's HBO show The Shop: Uninterrupted.

James, 34, celebrated the Fair Pay for Play Act on Twitter.com on Monday. "You the man Governor Gav! Appreciate you as so many many more as well!" he tweeted.

The new law, which takes effect on January 1, 2023, makes it illegal for California colleges to deny student athletes the opportunities to earn hard cash for the use of their names, images and likenesses in video games, advertising, apparel and sports gear.

Sheri Determan/WENN.com

The new act will benefit student athletes like LaMelo Ball, left, and Liangelo Ball, center, brothers of former Lakers star Lonzo Ball, right.

Student athletes will be allowed to earn money for sponsoring youth camps, just like professional athletes. They can also sign lucrative endorsement contracts with shoe companies, apparel companies, car dealerships, etc.

The law does not require colleges and universities to pay student athletes, but it collides head on with the NCAA's rules.

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California is the only state that allows college student athletes the right to be paid for their own names and likeness.

According to Sports Illustrated, California colleges, the Pac-12 Conference, the Mountain West Conference and the NCAA will all challenge the legality of the new law.

A lot is riding on the line for California schools.

Once the Act goes into effect, California colleges will no longer be permitted to participate in national championships organized or sponsored by the NCAA. And California schools might be kicked out of the NCAA altogether.

But supporters of the law, including James, believe the pros of the new law outweighs the cons.

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Antonio Brown announced his retirement from the NFL in a series of tweets over the weekend. One of his tweets contained what some are calling a "veiled threat" to the league.

The troubled New England Patriots wide receiver came under fire recently after two women accused him of sexual misconduct.

The Patriots seemed willing to stand by their star wide receiver. But he was let go on Friday after he sent a group text to his latest accuser, calling her "broke" and urging a friend to investigate her background.

Brown, 31, announced his retirement from the game on Sunday.

"Will not be playing in the @NFL anymore these owners can cancel deals do whatever they want at anytime we will see if the @NFLPA hold them accountable sad they can just void guarantees anytime going on 40m 2 months will see if they pay up !," he wrote, referring to his $9 million bonus that he forfeited when he violated the terms of his contract.

In a tweet sent earlier this month, Brown appeared to send a threat to the league.

"The child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth," he tweeted.

He quoted an African proverb that roughly translates to: "If you don't initiate your young men into the tribe, they will burn down the village."

Brown also called out Patriots owner Robert Kraft for his hypocrisy after he was caught with his pants down in a Florida massage parlor.

Brown tweeted, "different strokes different folks clearly."

Kraft was reportedly furious after he learned about Brown's texts to his accuser. Brown's dismissal from the team was ordered by Kraft.

After Brown was let go, his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, tweeted that Brown "is healthy and is looking forward to his next opportunity in the NFL. He wants to play the game he loves and he hopes to play for another team soon."

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Antonio Brown has been let go from his third NFL team this year. The New England Patriots cut their troubled wide receiver loose on Friday after he sent group text messages to his latest accuser.

The Patriots had had enough, according to NFL.com.

"The New England Patriots are releasing Antonio Brown. We appreciate the hard work of many people over the past 11 days, but we feel that it is best to move in a different direction at this time," the Patriots said in a statement, according to NFL.com.

Brown, 31, was accused of causing a commotion on his last NFL team - the Oakland Raiders - because he wanted to sign with the Patriots.

Brown played one game in a Patriots uniform, despite allegations of sexual misconduct made by his former personal trainer.

Brown's second accuser, who is unnamed, complained that he sent her harassing text messages after she went public with her story.

Brown hired the woman to paint his portrait for a mural at his home in 2017 after meeting her at a charity softball game in Pittsburgh.

While she worked on the painting in his home, Brown allegedly emerged from the bathroom holding a cloth over his genitals.

The woman's story was published by the Sporting News.

The woman provided the text messages to Sports Illustrated that show texts sent from a phone number once used by Brown. He included her, his attorney and others on a group chat, calling her a "broke girl" and urging his associates to investigate her.

Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

"Really sad you would make up bull s—t story to the world thought u had more integrity n respect for yourself must be really hard times for to make up some stuff for money super sad,” reads one of the texts reads, according to Sports Illustrated.

The texter included photos of the artist's kids. The message urged "ig Eric" on the group chat to "look up her background."

Brown was let go after the accuser's lawyer, Lisa Banks, sent a letter to the NFL, complaining about the text messages. Banks called the texts "intimidating and threatening to our client, in violation of the NFL Personal Conduct Policy."

After he was released by the Patriots on Friday, Brown took to Twitter.com and Instagram.com to post an image featuring a Nipsey Hussle quote:

"Sometimes people try to destroy you precisely because they recognize your power; Not because they don't see it, but because they see it and they don't want it to exist."

He caught a TD pass and 4 passes for 56 yards in his only NFL game this year.
 

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Colin Kaepernick's agent reached out to 3 NFL teams who recently lost their star quarterbacks to injuries.

According to ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, Kaepernick's agent reached out to the Pittsburgh Steelers, New York Jets and New Orleans Saints - whose starting quarterbacks are sidelined with serious injuries.

The Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger suffered a season-ending elbow injury this week. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees has a torn ligament in his throwing hand, and the NY Jets' quarterback Trevor Siemian is out for the season with an ankle injury.

Smith revealed Kaepernick's pleas to the teams on his ESPN show First Take on Tuesday.

Smith said none of the teams responded to Kaepernick's agent.

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Kaepernick, who was blackballed for protesting the national anthem, is desperate to return to the field before he is too old to play.

The 31-year-old Scorpio has been out of the NFL since 2016.

Kaepernick's agent told the teams his client would be willing to play backup quarterback just to touch the ball again. But still there was no response from the teams.

Critics say Kaepernick is still blackballed despite settling a lawsuit with the league for a reported $10 million.

The former 49ers quarterback spends long days in the weight room waiting for his phone to ring.

"Colin is literally in the best shape of his life," tweeted Chris Williamson of SNY. "He's been working out five days a week at 5 a.m. for three years. He wants to play and his agent has been contacting teams in need of a quarterback."

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Sports journalist Stephen A. Smith didn't bite his tongue while discussing NFL Diva Antonio Brown on ESPN on Monday.

When asked what he makes of Brown joining the New England Patriots, Smith responded, "What I make of it is that he's a disgrace. There's no way to slice that. I can't excuse the kind of behavior that he has exhibited. It's absolutely positively embarrassing."

Smith went on to say Brown should be ashamed of himself and his family and friends should be ashamed of him.

"Nobody should condone this kind of behavior," he added. "Because when you look at it, you can talk about whether it was orchestrated or not or whatever, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever."

Brown, 31, reportedly forced his way out of the Pittsburgh Steelers organization only to be picked up by the Oakland Raiders.

While still in training camp, Brown threw one diva tantrum after another until the Raiders showed him the door on Saturday.

According to published reports, Brown's exit from the Raiders was orchestrated so he could sign with the Patriots for a one-year deal worth $15 million. That's $15 million less than he would have earned if he'd behaved himself with the Raiders.
 

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Serena Williams was reportedly "worried" about bestie Meghan Markle's presence at her U.S. Open championship match against Canadian tennis phenom Bianca Andreescu, 19.

Bianca beat Serena in straight sets 6-3, 7-5 to win her first ever major title.

Meghan flew to New York City on a budget commercial airline to watch her bestie try to win her 24th Grand Slam title in the U.S. Open women's final on Saturday.

Serena's camp was reportedly "concerned" that Meghan's presence would be a bad omen for Serena, who loses whenever Meghan watches her play.

According to Page Six, Serena, who turns 38 this month, asked her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, if the Duchess should attend the women's final because Serena is "superstitious".

"Serena asked her coach about Meghan coming when she won last night and everyone is worried, as tennis players are very superstitious, and Serena lost when Meghan came to watch her at Wimbledon," a source told Page Six.

A separate source told Page Six, "Serena adores Meghan and she's so excited about her coming to the Open."

But Serena is reportedly so superstitious that she wears the same dirty socks every day of a 2-week tennis tournament.

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Serena's coach (pictured in the player's box with Meghan on Saturday) said Meghan's presence at the Open would not be a distraction for Serena.

"There will be 22,000 people in the stadium, 23,000, actually. One more or less won't change a thing."

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Serena has not been herself since giving birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., 2 years ago.

She reached four major finals since becoming a mother - Wimbledon twice and the US Open twice - but she lost all four times to much younger opponents.

MediaPunch / BACKGRID

Mouratoglou practically guaranteed Serena would beat Andreescu. He said Serena is not the same woman who lost to 20-year-old tennis prodigy Naomi Osaka at last year's US Open.

"It's totally different situation now, because now she can move," said Mouratoglou of Serena.

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Mouratoglou blamed Serena's losses on motherhood. Daughter Alexis Jr. is pictured above with Serena's husband, Reddit.com co-founder Alexis Ohanian in January.

"The first problem she had was not an injury, but her body transformed to become a mother," he said. "You don't come back to your previous body, which is the body of a professional top athlete, overnight. So that was the first goal, to be completely in shape and able to perform at the highest level physically."

"She finally got rid of her knee problem, and she was able to run without thinking about her knee. So now it's several weeks in a row, so I think her fitness just went up and up, and I think her movement now is better than I have ever seen since she became a mother."

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Superstar wide receiver Antonio "AB" Brown never played a down for the Oakland Raiders after they acquired him in an offseason trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Brown's attention-seeking behavior during the offseason landed him in hot water with his coaches and divided his teammates.

He was back at the Raiders team facility on Friday, Sept. 6, apologizing to his coaches and teammates after a series of distracting antics in the offseason.

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Brown had good reason to apologize: he was on the verge of a suspension and his $20 million per year contract was in jeopardy.

His many distractions included threatening to retire because he wanted to wear his old helmet, which the league deemed a safety hazard.

Then on Friday, Brown posted a bizarre video of a phone conversation he had with head coach Jon Gruden, in which he complained that everyone portrayed him as the bad guy.

But the last straw was a report that he called Raiders General Manager Mike Mayock a "cracker" during a verbal altercation in the locker room Wednesday.

Brown later told Dianna Russini of ESPN he would "never use that word."

On Saturday, the Raiders decided to cut its losses and released the troublesome 31-year-old wide receiver from his contract.

Brown became a free agent at 4:01 p.m. Within hours, the New England Patriots and Brown had agreed to a one-year contract worth $15 million.

The Internet's reaction to the news of Brown's signing was joy from Patriots' fans and outrage from everyone else. Some of his former Raiders teammates reportedly said they were glad he was gone.

The NY Post published a scathing rebuke of the Patriots for giving Brown another job. The Post said the Patriots "deserve hell" for signing the superstar.

"Shame on the Patriots. They should get what they deserve with Brown, which at the very least is a collective season-long migraine headache, but at the worst a team torn apart by the nonsensical distractions Brown brings with him."

And one commenter on NBC Sports' Pro Football Talk wrote:

"What a joke!!! Any cost to try to 'just win baby' He should be suspended for the racial slur period..end of discussion!! Over end of it!!"

The Patriots is Brown's 3rd team in six months. Brown will suit up for the Patriots game on Sunday against his former team the Steelers.

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Four years ago, then 15-year-old junior tennis player Bianca Andreescu wrote herself a $3.3 million check and declared herself the winner of the U.S. Open.

"I just kept visualizing this moment and I just never let up and kept fighting for my dreams."

On Saturday, Andreescu's dreams became reality as she defeated tennis superstar Serena Williams in straight sets 6-3, 7-5 to win the U.S. Open women's championship at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing Meadows, NY.

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The giddy 19-year-old collected the winner's trophy and the top prize of $3.85 million.

Williams feared Andreescu would be an obstacle to tying Margaret Court's major singles titles record.

During a post-workout interview with ESPN a week ago, Williams pointed to Andreescu's name on the board and predicted the youngster would advance to the U.S. Open final.

On Saturday Andreescu quickly jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the opening game of the 1st set.

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After dropping the first set 3-6, Williams turned to her box, where bestie Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, sat with her coach, and wailed, "I can't get my serve in!"

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The NY crowd roared as Williams rallied from 1-5 down in the 2nd set to even the set at 5-all.

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With Williams serving at 5-6, Andreescu crushed a forehand winner into the corner to end Williams's quest for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title.

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Andreescu is the first Canadian - man or woman - to win a Grand Slam title.

During the post-match interview with ESPN, the giggling teen recalled writing that imaginary US Open check to herself four years ago.

When asked if she wrote herself a check for "3 point whatever million," Andreescu laughed and said, "Well, back then it wasn't that much."

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Andreescu was ranked No. 208 just a year ago. She didn't even qualify to play in the U.S. Open last year.

But after sitting out 3 months with an injured shoulder, Andreescu returned to dominate the women's pro tour.

Andreescu got everyone's attention when she knocked off 8 of the world's top 10 women players on her way to a 8-0 record in just eight months.

Andreescu's impressive victories include a default win in the Rogers Cup championship in Toronto last month when Williams retired with a back injury while down 1-3 in the 1st set.
It was the first Rogers Cup title for a Canadian in 50 years.

Court was not in attendance to watch Williams make another run at her major singles record. The Australian will not be invited back to the US Open after comments she made about the homosexual community in 2017.

MediaPunch / BACKGRID

Tennis legend Billie Jean King, who is openly lesbian, was fully supportive of Court's banishment and Williams making history.

"It'll be great if she won this and went on to Australia and broke [the record]. That's my prayer," said King before the final match in the tennis center that bears her name.

 

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Chris Paul stripped down to his birthday suit for ESPN's Body Issue. The issue showcases sports superstars in provocative poses.

The 34-year-old, nine-time NBA All Star posted photos from the shoot on his Instagram account on Wednesday.

In the photos, Paul's fit body glistens and he is bathed in blue lights.

"Man listen! It seems counter intuitive to think you would start feeling better in your body as you get older, but that’s EXACTLY the path I’m on!! 34, recently turned plant-based, and feeling pretty damn good! Stay disciplined and take care of yourselves, it all starts here!"

After the shoot, Paul discussed his body and staying in shape as he approaches middle age.

"My abs. When I eat, that's where the weight comes immediately. If I eat french fries, one or two, they go right there."

FayesVision/WENN.com

When asked what keeps him going, Paul said:

"My competitive nature. And my family and my team -- all my homies that I grew up with and everybody who supports me. I think when I go out and play, it's never just about me; it's about my whole squad."

Paul named Grant Hill and LeBron James as his influences.
 

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Defending U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka of Japan consoled a crying Cori "Coco" Gauff of the United States after she defeated the teen phenom in the Women's Singles round 3 match at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Day 6 of the U.S. Open tennis tournament in Flushing, Queens, New York City on Sunday.

Osaka dropped just three games on her way to an easy 6-3, 6-0 win over the Florida teenager.

After embracing at the net Osaka consoled the sobbing 15-year-old near the umpire's chair. Osaka, 21, asked Gauff to remain on the court for the on court interview.

"She did amazing and I'm going to learn a lot from this match," Gauff said. "She's been so sweet to me, so thank you for this.

"Once again, thank you, Naomi. I don't want people to think that I'm trying to take this moment away from her. She really deserves it, so thank you."

Gauff became the youngest woman to win two matches at the U.S. Open since 1996.

Osaka also fought back tears as she reminisced about playing on the junior tennis tour.

"I don't want to cry," Osaka said. "I remember I used to see you guys training in the same place as us. For me, the fact that both of us made it, and we're both still working as hard as we can, I think it's incredible. I think you guys are amazing. I think Coco, you're amazing."

The showdown between Osaka and Gauff topped the tennis rankings on ESPN2.
 

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Cuttino Mobley was in a foul mood before his BIG3 Power team was bounced from the BIG3 Playoffs by the Stephen Jackson-led Killer 3s. BIG3 sideline reporter and former actor Michael Rapaport tried to interview the Big Cat on the bench but he got the cold shoulder from the former L.A. Clipper.

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The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has amended its new rule that prohibited mega agents like Rich Paul from signing star athletes to exclusive management contracts. According to CBS, the "NCAA has amended its controversial agent certification requirements. A bachelor's degree is no longer required to represent players, as long as the agent is certified by the NBPA."

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The federal government is investigating the controversial CIAC policy that allows male bodied athletes to compete with girls in high school sports. A law firm requested federal involvement after a flood of complaints about male-to-female transgenders dominating girls in high school track and field events across Connecticut.

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LeBron James is speaking out about the NCAA's new rule, which LeBron believes unfairly targets him and his close friend and agent Rich Paul, pictured right. The new NCAA policy has been dubbed the "Rich Paul Rule", even though it doesn't mention him at all.

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Donell "DJ" Cooper was suspended by The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) when a urine drug test revealed he was pregnant. Cooper, who was not selected in the 2013 NBA draft, was playing for a pro team in France when his urine test revealed he was with child.

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