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🏀 Breaking news: While you were sleeping, the 76ers agreed to trade James Harden to the Clippers.
⚽️ Ballon d’Or winners: Lionel Messi fended off Erling Haaland to win the Ballon d’Or for a record eighth time. Barcelona and Spain national team star Aitana Bonmatí won the Ballon d’Or Féminin.
⚾️ Record-low ratings: Game 1 of the World Series was the least-watched opener on record, averaging 9.17 million viewers on Fox. The previous low came during the 2020 pandemic Fall Classic between the Dodgers and Rays (9.35 million).
🏀 Flagg to Duke: No. 1 prospect Cooper Flagg has committed to Duke. The Maine native is playing his senior season for powerhouse Montverde Academy in Florida.
🏈 Pre-deadline trade: The Seahawks acquired Pro Bowl DL Leonard Williams from the Giants in exchange for two picks. The trade deadline is today at 4pm ET.
🇪🇸 FIFA bans Rubiales: FIFA has banned Luis Rubiales for three years after the former Spanish Football Association president forcibly kissed national team player Jenni Hermoso following Spain’s World Cup win in August.
🪐 THE 30TH SPORTS EQUINOX
Monday was the 30th Sports Equinox, with the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL all in action on the same day for the 30th time ever.
⚾️ MLB: The Rangers beat the D-backs, 3-1, to take a 2-1 World Series lead and improve to 9-0 on the road this postseason. No team has ever won as many road games in a single playoffs.
🏈 NFL: The Lions cruised to a 26-14 win over the Raiders behind rookie RB Jahmyr Gibbs (189 total yards, TD).
🏀 NBA: 11 games … Boston (3-0), Dallas (3-0) and Denver (4-0) all won to stay undefeated.
🏒 NHL: Nine games … Boston (8-0-1) won in OT and Vegas (9-0-1) won in a shootout to extend their leads atop the East and West.
A rare occurrence: There is a small window where a Sports Equinox can occur: 27 of the 30 have taken place between Oct. 12 and Nov. 4.
The first occurred on Oct. 17, 1971, with Game 7 of the World Series (Pirates beat the Orioles), 12 NFL games, three NBA games and six NHL games.
Nine Sports Equinoxes occurred from 1971-1980, another fell on Oct. 27, 1985, then it was 16 years before the next one on Nov. 4, 2001.
There has been at least one every year since 2015, including three last year alone. Monday was the only one we’ll get in 2023.
Plus: For the third straight year, MLS was also in action during a Sports Equinox. Orlando beat Nashville, 1-0, and Seattle beat Dallas, 2-0, on Monday to open their best-of-three Round One series.
👟 BACKYARD ULTRAS: LAST MAN STANDING
Ultra marathons (any race longer than 26.2 miles) are tough enough as it is. But backyard ultras can make even those look like a warm-up jog, Jeff writes.
An incredible feat: West Virginia-native Harvey Lewis, 47, won the Big Dog’s Backyard Ultra world championships last week in central Tennessee, setting the backyard ultra world record by running an astonishing 450 miles across 4.5 days.
How far is that? It’s roughly the distance from Washington D.C. to Boston (440 miles), and significantly farther than going from Los Angeles to San Francisco (382 miles).
Oh yeah, and he did it on virtually zero sleep. Such is the nature of the sheer madness that is a backyard ultra.
How it works: As with all backyard ultras, runners must complete a 4.16-mile loop — called a “yard” in ultra-running parlance — every hour for as long as they can keep going. The winner is the last man or woman standing.
Speed doesn’t matter as long as you’re back at the starting line when the next hour begins. Though the faster you finish a loop, the more time you have to rest and refuel before the next one.
Lewis completed 108 of those loops, outlasting the field of 75 runners to shatter his own course record of 85 and break the backyard ultra world record of 102.
Finishers by distance: Of the 75 runners who started (71 men, 4 women), 72 completed 100 miles, 47 completed 200 miles, 23 completed 300 miles and eight completed 400 miles before Lewis stood alone at the end.
Whose idea was this? That would be Gary Cantrell, more commonly known as Lazarus “Laz” Lake, who’s been designing ultra marathons for nearly 50 years and is something of a folk hero in the running world.
Laz is viewed by some as sadistic for the pain his races inflict on runners, and often comes across as gruff, but “his grumpiness is performative … a technique he presumably perfected during his 35 years as a high school baseball and basketball coach,” writes The Guardian.
His masterpiece is the Barkley Marathons, a wacky and absurdly difficult race that has seen just 18 finishers since its 1986 debut, including a record-tying three this year. It was the subject of an excellent 2014 documentary that’s available for free on YouTube.
The last word: Laz was surprised that Lewis beat out a much younger runner in last week’s race, but that’s the beauty of backyard ultras, he says. “You don’t have to be the strongest runner,” he told the Guardian. “You just have to be strong enough.”
⚽️ KICKSTARTING A NEW ERA
The USWNT played to a disappointing 0-0 draw in last week’s friendly against Colombia, a “goalless snoozefest” that featured a veteran-heavy lineup. But Sunday’s rematch may have signaled the start of a new era, Jeff writes.
Embracing the youth movement: Though the U.S. still started a similar veteran lineup in Sunday’s encore, two of the team’s most exciting youngsters, Jaedyn Shaw and Mia Fishel, were brought on at halftime — and the duo balled out in the 3-0 victory.
Alyssa Thompson, 18, and Sam Coffey, 24, also played significant minutes. Thompson even assisted Shaw’s goal.
A changing of the guard: Megan Rapinoe is retiring at the end of the NWSL season and Alex Morgan will be 38 when the next World Cup begins. In the wake of this summer’s shocking World Cup exit, it’s time to kickstart a new era, writes Yahoo Sports’ Henry Bushnell:
Nothing about the current state of the team is worth protecting. The time for niceties and careful handling of veterans has long since passed.
It shouldn’t take a months-long search to find an individual who can conclude that, ya know, the electric teenager who just propelled the San Diego Wave to the top of the NWSL (Shaw) will probably be part of the USWNT’s future. And perhaps the 22-year-old striker already scoring goals for Chelsea (Fishel) might be integral too. So play them. Now.
What to watch: Former assistant Twila Kilgore is serving as the USWNT’s interim manager after Vlatko Andonovski resigned following the World Cup. Interviews are underway for an official replacement and a choice is expected in the coming weeks.
🏈 DEADLINE DAY: BIGGEST DEALS EVER
The NFL trade deadline is today at 4pm ET, and the wide-open Super Bowl race makes this year’s deadline particularly intriguing.
Biggest trades ever: To get you prepared for any blockbusters, here are the 10 biggest in-season trades in NFL history, courtesy of Yahoo Sports’ Frank Schwab:
Herschel Walker to the Vikings (1989) … 18 players and draft picks were ultimately involved in this blockbuster, making it the largest trade in NFL history.*
Christian McCaffrey to the 49ers (2022) … C-Mac has played in 22 games with San Francisco (including the playoffs), and he’s scored in 19 of them.
Eric Dickerson to the Colts (1987) … This three-team swap (Colts, Rams, Bills) involved 10 players, making it the second-largest in-season trade in NFL history.
Jalen Ramsey to the Rams (2019) … The star cornerback made a Pro Bowl in all four Rams seasons and was a key part of their Super Bowl LVI win.
Marshawn Lynch to the Seahawks (2010) … Beast Mode set the tone for one of the toughest teams of the 2010s. If only Pete Carroll had handed him the ball in Super Bowl XLIX.
Mike Haynes to the Raiders (1983) … Haynes teamed up with Lester Hayes for a devastating cornerback duo that led the Raiders to a Super Bowl XVIII win.
Bobby Layne to the Steelers (1958) … When Detroit traded the future Hall of Fame QB, he famously cursed the Lions to 50 years of bad luck. They have just one playoff win since.
Carson Palmer to the Raiders (2011) … Palmer threatened to retire rather than play again for the Bengals, who eventually gave in and sent him to Oakland.
Minkah Fitzpatrick to the Steelers (2019) … Pittsburgh was questioned for giving up a first-rounder (and more) for Fitzpatrick, but he’s been perhaps the NFL’s top safety ever since.
Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers (2017) … The Patriots still had Tom Brady and Jimmy G was about to become a free agent, so Bill Belichick swapped him for a second-rounder.
*The Herschel Walker trade: Not only was this the largest trade in NFL history, it was also arguably the most lopsided. Walker played three seasons in Minnesota and never topped 1,000 yards, while Dallas used the picks they acquired to build a dynasty that won three Super Bowls.
🏀 NBA UNVEILS 30 CUSTOM COURTS FOR NBA CUP
The NBA has unveiled new, colorful courts that all 30 teams will use during the inaugural in-season tournament, which begins this Friday with Knicks-Bucks and Nuggets-Mavericks.
Quick refresher: Teams will play group stage matches across seven designated “Tournament Nights” from Nov. 3 to Nov. 28. Then they’ll progress to single-elimination knockout rounds featuring the six teams with the best record in their groups plus two “wild card” teams.
Quarterfinals: Dec. 4-5 (home sites)
Semifinals: Dec. 7 (Las Vegas)
Championship: Dec. 9 (Las Vegas)
Championship hardware: The winning team will receive the NBA Cup, the new trophy that appears at the center of each alternate court. There will be an MVP and all-tournament team, and players will earn additional money based on how long their teams stay alive.
📆 OCT. 31, 1950: LLOYD BREAKS COLOR BARRIER
73 years ago today, Earl Lloyd made his debut for the now-defunct Washington Capitols, becoming the first* Black player in NBA history, Jeff writes.
Three trailblazers: Lloyd was the first of three Black players to suit up that season, followed by Chuck Cooper and Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton, who both debuted days later. Lloyd, a Hall of Famer, played 560 games across nine seasons and won the 1955 title with the Syracuse Nationals.
⛳️ 2010: Tiger Woods’ reign as world No. 1 ended after a record 281 consecutive weeks, breaking his own previous record of 264. Greg Norman is the next closest at 96 straight.
*Another first: Lloyd coached the Pistons in 1971-72, becoming the NBA’s first “coach-only” Black head coach (Bill Russell and Lenny Wilkens had previously pulled double duty as player-coaches).
📺 WATCHLIST: GAME 4
The Rangers and Diamondbacks will get right back at it tonight in Game 4 (8:03pm ET, Fox), as Arizona needs a win to knot things up at 2-2 and make this a best-of-three series.
Starters: Texas is starting Andrew Heaney (6.00 ERA in the postseason) and Arizona is starting Joe Mantiply (4.26 ERA), but it’s expected to be a bullpen game for both teams.
Injury report: Rangers slugger Adolis García (side tightness) and starter Max Scherzer (back spasms) both left Monday’s game with injuries. Their status is up in the air for tonight and beyond.
More to watch:
*The eight-player field: Aryna Sabalenka (No. 1), Iga Świątek (2), Coco Gauff (3), Elena Rybakina (4), Jessica Pegula (5), Markéta Vondroušová (6), Ons Jabeur (7) and Maria Sakkari (9).
💵 BILLIONAIRE TRIVIA
Magic Johnson’s net worth has surpassed $1 billion, per Forbes’ latest calculations, making him the fourth current or former athlete to reach billionaire status.
Answer at the bottom.
🏀 MAN ON THE MOVE
This is the fourth time James Harden has been traded, tied for the most for any former NBA MVP.
October 2012: Thunder to Rockets
January 2021: Rockets to Nets
February 2022: Nets to 76ers
October 2023: 76ers to Clippers
The others: Moses Malone, Bob McAdoo and Russell Westbrook (Harden’s new Clippers teammate) are the only other MVPs who were traded four times.
Trivia answer: Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, LeBron James
Weekend Watchlist first appeared in Yahoo Sports AM, our daily newsletter that keeps you up to date on all things sports. Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.