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Nothing Unites Left And Right Like Opposition To The NCAA

First, we look at big news from Washington. Not much unites the Supreme Court these days, but apparently the NCAA’s business model is one of those things. The 9-0 ruling in NCAA v. Alston allows schools to offer some education-related compensation to student-athletes. The ruling itself is limited, but Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s fiery concurring opinion opens the door to broader and bolder lawsuits, ones that might spell the end of amateurism as we know it in college sports. Such a change is, frankly, long overdue. It may in fact be too late for the NCAA to make changes to control the momentum toward paying student-athletes and professionalizing college sports. But their recalcitrant stance certainly isn’t helping.

Next, we turn to the NBA, now that both conference finals are set. We do spare a glance backward to the Philadelphia 76ers and where they go after a demoralizing Game 7 loss at home to the Atlanta Hawks. They may or may not be able to get value for Ben Simmons, but something has to give — and soon, while Joel Embiid can still play at his peak. He’s proved he’s clearly the star Philly needs to organize around. Meanwhile, the Hawks, in many ways, have already won just by getting to the conference finals. This is a nice way of saying the Bucks are statistical favorites, but so what? The Hawks are fun. So are the Suns, who have real star power forming in Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton. They’re also likely to get Chris Paul back before the Clippers can lean on Kawhi Leonard, so the Western Conference final may come down to the healthiest team left standing. Then again, the Clippers have made a habit of getting down early in playoff series, so don’t count them out. 

Finally, in the Rabbit Hole, Neil updates an old Rabbit Hole about athletes who have played for the most teams across their careers. We were just looking at the major American sports leagues, and more fool us. Recently retired striker Sebastián Abreu of Uruguay has them all beat. He leaves the beautiful game having played for 31 clubs in 11 different countries. Well, he’s leaving soccer as a player, at least. Abreu has said he wants to continue his 26-year career as a coach, and if he does, he has the chance to make this record unbeatable. 

What we’re looking at this week: 

Sarah Shachat is Hot Takedown’s producer.

Sara Ziegler is the former sports editor at FiveThirtyEight.

Neil Paine was the acting sports editor at FiveThirtyEight.

Geoff Foster is the former sports editor of FiveThirtyEight.