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2021-22 NBA All-Preseason Team: Tyler Herro, Jordan Poole among players finding purpose in exhibition games

The games may not count, but by no means is the NBA preseason meaningless. Rotations are figured out, skills are developed and confidence is gained as teams work through a handful of exhibition contests.

Like Summer League, anything that happens during the preseason has to be taken with a grain of salt, but that doesn't mean that lasting impressions can't be made. Some things you see during the preseason can and will carry over into the regular season, as we've seen year after year.

The five players listed below certainly hope that's the case, since their outstanding performances earned them a spot on the 2021 NBA All-Preseason team, as selected by ... well ... by me. I tried to shy away from established All-Stars, so you won't find players like Stephen Curry and Julius Randle on here, despite their excellent preseason performances.
Instead I picked players who most likely opened some eyes and maybe earned themselves more playing time in the process. And if they don't end up having the regular season that they envision, at least they'll always have the preseason.
If you heard it once this offseason, you heard it a million times: For the re-vamped Heat to truly become championship contenders, Tyler Herro is going to need to take a step forward. Technically it's not really a step forward -- more like a step backward to the bubble, when he averaged 16.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.9 assists on 46/38/90 shooting splits in the first three rounds of the playoffs to help get the Heat to the NBA Finals.

If the preseason is any indication, Herro looks more than capable of reproducing, or even exceeding, those numbers this season, which would put him squarely in the Sixth Man of the Year conversation. Herro added the infamous "15 pounds of lean muscle" this offseason, and he looked like he got anywhere he wanted to on the court while averaging 22.4 points on 51/45/90 shooting splits in five preseason games. Herro looked like the definition of a three-level scorer entering a critical year with the Heat.

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2021-22 NBA season predictions: Nets heavy favorites to reach Finals, beat LeBron James' Lakers for title

This season was supposed to be a return to normalcy for the NBA. The schedule is back in its proper place. Teams are playing 82 games again. COVID guidelines have been softened for the majority of the league, thanks to vaccinations. On the surface, it almost looks as though we're about to tip off a traditional season of NBA basketball. 

And yet, the championship favorite is without one of its three All-Stars because of a choice that the All-Star has made. The Eastern Conference's reigning No. 1 seed spent the entire offseason in a standoff with one of its cornerstones that failed to produce a trade, and the prohibitive Western Conference favorite cashed in its entire supporting cast for a third All-Star of its own. This is chaos. 

The chaos that, amazingly, has become the NBA's norm in recent years. What could be more normal for #ThisLeague than kicking off the 75th anniversary season with league-wide drama and a suddenly wide-open championship race? To help you sort through the madness, our CBS Sports staff has picked everything from conference seeding to the eventual championship winner for the 2021-22 NBA season. Here's how our experts expect this wild season to play out. 
If you're late to the team preview party and need to cram before the opening tip, here's a look at all 30 teams' rosters, key offseason moves and biggest questions entering the campaign. If you missed our Top 100 player rankings entering the season, check that out, as well as our awards predictions for the upcoming season.
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Sean Taylor to become third player in Washington Football Team franchise history to have jersey number retired

ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Football Team will retire late safety Sean Taylor's No. 21 jersey, making him only the third player in franchise history to receive such an honor.

Taylor's jersey number will be retired during a ceremony before Sunday's home game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The team also announced Thursday that a road leading to the stadium will be renamed "Sean Taylor Road."

Washington's players also will wear a No. 21 decal on their helmets Sunday.

Taylor will join Sammy Baugh (No. 33) and Bobby Mitchell (No. 49) as the only Washington players to have their jersey numbers retired. Other numbers such as Darrell Green's No. 28, Art Monk's No. 81 and John Riggins' No. 44 have not been worn since those players retired. All three are in the Hall of Fame.

"I came into the NFL the same year as Sean Taylor and immediately his athletic ability, resilience, grit, and relentless work ethic set him apart.," Washington Football Team president Jason Wright said in a statement. "I and many others looked to him as a role model. The fact that he was tragically taken so early hurt our player community, but also our fans, coaches, and staff. We will continue to remember him and hold him up as an example of professionalism and excellence, and we will all strive to mirror his excellence in our own ways."
The jersey retirement comes amid new attention paid to the investigation into the Washington franchise after multiple emails emerged dating to when Bruce Allen was the team president, leading to Jon Gruden's resignation from the Las Vegas Raiders. Those emails were part of court documents filed in June.

The NFL Players Association has announced it will ask the league to release the 650,000 emails collected from the franchise as part of the investigation. The NFL said it did not leak any emails and that it won't reopen the investigation or release any of the emails.

Amid skepticism Thursday morning over the timing of the Taylor announcement, a team spokesperson said in a statement that the organization started planning the ceremony before the season started and wanted it to be part of the franchise's alumni weekend. Another former player, ESPN analyst Ryan Clark, said he was contacted in September about attending.
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Thursday s NFL roundup: Washington announces Sean Taylor jersey retirement amid scandals

ASHBURN  The Washington Football Team announced Thursday it is retiring late safety Sean Taylor s number this weekend, last minute timing that sparked criticism while the organization is dealing with multiple off field scandals.

Washington has previously promoted jersey retirement ceremonies months in advance, most recently in June for Bobby Mitchell s night in September. The announcement of Taylor s No. 21 being retired came three days before Washington hosts Kansas City on what the team calls homecoming weekend.

The team said in a statement this has been in the works since before the season and apologized to fans for the lack of notice. President Jason Wright also took to Twitter to apologize.

 We wanted to do something long overdue by retiring players  numbers,  Wright tweeted.  Months ago we planned for Bobby Mitchell and Sean Taylor to be the first two. Seeing the reaction, I m very sorry that the short notice does not properly reflect the impact Sean had. 
Washington s head athletic trainer is on administrative leave for what a team spokesman called an ongoing criminal investigation unrelated to the club after federal authorities, including agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, searched the practice facility Oct. 1.

Former employees are also calling for the NFL to release the findings of an investigation into Washington workplace misconduct after emails from Jon Gruden led to the Raiders coach s resignation.

Taylor was murdered at his home during a botched robbery attempt in 2007, midway through his fourth NFL season.


QB Jackson misses practice because of illness
OWINGS MILLS, Md.  Lamar Jackson missed practice Thursday for the Baltimore Ravens because of an illness.

Jackson was listed on the team s injury report. He s missed practice time previously this season, but hasn t missed any of Baltimore s five games.
Tackles Ronnie Stanley (ankle) and Alejandro Villanueva (knee) did not practice either, and neither did defensive tackle Brandon Williams (rest) or receiver Sammy Watkins (thigh).

Safeties DeShon Elliott (quad) and Geno Stone (thigh) were limited in practice.

The Ravens host the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.
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Former Sixer Tony Wroten among NBA vets arrested, indicted in fraud scheme

BA Vets Indicted in Alleged Multi-Million-Dollar Health Insurance Fraud Scheme originally appeared on NBC New York. By Jonathan Dienst, Tom Winter, Courtney Copenhagen and John Chandler.N

More than a dozen former NBA players, including Process-era Philadelphia 76ers guard Tony Wroten, have been charged in New York federal court in an alleged multi-million-dollar health insurance fraud scheme to rip off the league's benefit plan, according to an indictment unsealed in the Southern District on Thursday.

The 18 former players named in the indictment include alleged scheme ringleader Terrence Williams, selected 11th overall in the 2009 NBA draft by the then-New Jersey Nets, six-time NBA All-Defensive Team member Tony Allen, former Lakers Guard Shannon Brown and Ronald Glen Davis, who played for the Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Clippers over the course of his career.
Allen's wife, Desiree Allen, is the only woman charged in the indictment.

Those indicted face charges of conspiracy to commit health care and wire fraud as well as aggravated identity theft. By late morning, 16 of them were in custody after arrests in a dozen locations nationwide. The FBI said "this remains an ongoing investigation," though it was not clear if more arrests were expected.

According to the grand jury indictment, the defendants allegedly engaged in a widespread scheme from at least 2017 up to around 2020 to defraud the NBA Players' Health and Welfare Benefit Plan by submitting fake reimbursement claims for medical and dental services that were never actually rendered.
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New Jersey Devils Final Preseason Game Cancelled due to Partial Power Outage at Prudential Center

I had the fortune of going to tonight s preseason game between the New Jersey Devils and the New York Islanders. I did not know what to expect, but I was hoping for a good performance and no injuries. What I got was darkness. Partially, at least.

As I headed into the arena, all was fine until I got closer to Section 1. It was dark. The ambient lighting was enough to get around, but the normal lighting was off. It was off over those sections and pretty much the entire lower bowl in that end of the arena. The humongous scoreboard was off. Most importantly, about half of the rink lights were off. While one could see the rink, it could cause issues for those playing the game. That was enough to delay the game in the hopes of repairing it.

As such, the game that was scheduled for 7 PM and normally would start at 7:08 PM did not happen at that time. Around 7:15 PM, the Public Address announcer stated that the game would be delayed due to an outage and staff were working on the issue. Music continued to play in the arena. Fans milled about. At one point, a number turned on the flashlights on their smartphones and waved them about. At another point, a wave started. The delay continued until about 7:50 PM. Then, the announcement came: the game would be cancelled and would not be re scheduled.
This was received negatively by those in attendance and understandably so. It may have been an exhibition game, but it was a game nonetheless. A time out to see Our Favorite Team play the Isles (except for the Isles fans who were to support the visitors). The announcement and subsequent statement sent out by the team (the e mail matched the wording on the site) stated that those in attendance would be eligible for a 2021 22 regular season game for the same number of tickets they had tonight. Details would come out on how that will be done later. That is a fair level of compensation. With no game played tonight, you get tickets to another game that will be played. A game with some value, too. Hopefully all who get this option will be able to pick a game they can attend instead of being forced to pick between some non ideal match ups they may not be able to attend.

The odd thing about it was that this was really a partial power outage. The lounge sections had power. The upper bowl had power throughout. The other half of the rink had full power. The sound system was clearly working. This was not a situation like what happened on January 9, 2010 when the power in the whole arena went out during a game between the New Jersey Devils and Tampa Bay Lightning. ( Fun  fact: I attended that game too.) Still, the main issue is safety. Even having half of the rink lights out could lead to issues for the players on the ice. We would not want to see injuries normally, especially in preseason games. We especially would not like a Devil getting hurt because they did not see something as clearly as they would have under normal lighting conditions. Between that, it being a preseason game, and the seemingly unknown lead time to fix the issue (no progress was seemingly made from what I saw), I can understand the decision to cancel the game. I am a little disappointed by it, but it is what it is.
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Pau Gasol Announces Retirement Lakers Will Retire No. 16 Jersey

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA)  Six time NBA All Star Pau Gasol announced his retirement from professional basketball on Tuesday in a press conference at an opera house in Barcelona. Gasol won back to back championships with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010 as well as a gold medal with Spain s national team in the 2006 FIBA World Championship.
 Pau Gasol is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished players of his generation. A two time NBA champion six time NBA All Star three time Olympic medalist and world champion Pau inspired countless fans through his remarkable skill and passion for the game,  said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in a statement posted on Twitter.  But what sets Pau apart is his tireless commitment to giving back to his native Spain and other communities around the world which he continues to make a priority. We congratulate Pau on an outstanding career and thank him for being such a dedicated ambassador for our league. 

Gasol was traded to the Lakers in February 2008 and made an immediate impact helping the Lakers reach three consecutive NBA Finals.

 Pau Gasol brought hope and talent to the Lakers,  former coach Phil Jackson said in a statement to ESPN s Ramona Shelburne.  The effect was immediate. His game put LA back into championship contention. He was also a gentleman and generous hero. 

Gasol formed a special relationship with Kobe Bryant who had previously struggled to get along with his former superstar teammate Shaquille O Neal.
 I want to make a special mention to Kobe Bryant. I d very much like him to be here but that s life,  said Gasol during his retirement press conference.  He taught me how to be a better leader better competitor what it mean to be a winner. 

Gasol spoke about their close friendship following Bryant and his daughter Gianna s tragic death in January 2020.
 I miss you hermano not a day goes by that you are not present in what I do,  said Gasol.  Your spirit your drive your ambition your love continues to shine in my life and in many others. 

Gasol 41 announced his retirement from international basketball in August after Spain lost to the United States in the quarterfinals at the Olympics. He rejoined Barcelona the club he played for as a teenager before being selected No. 3 overall in the 2001 NBA draft in February after not playing for nearly two years because of a  left foot stress fracture.

 I m going to retire from professional basketball,  Gasol said.  It s a difficult decision after so many years but it s a decision that I really thought over. 

Gasol is one of just four players in NBA history with more than 20,000 points 11,000 rebounds 3,500 assists and 1,500 blocks along with Kareem Abdul Jabbar Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett.
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Two-time NBA champion Pau Gasol announces retirement; Lakers to retire his No. 16 jersey, per report

Gasol, who last played for FC Barcelona in Spain, spent 19 seasons in the NBA
Two-time NBA champion Pau Gasol held a press conference Tuesday morning to announce his retirement from basketball. The 19-year NBA veteran had an illustrious career spanning two continents. He started the first four years of his professional career playing for FC Barcelona in Spain, before making the jump to the NBA and being selected No. 3 overall in the 2001 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks and then being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies on draft night.

Before even entering the league, Gasol already had multiple championships to his name, having won two Spanish League championships and being named Spanish League finals MVP. Once he got to the NBA, his success only continued. In his first year in the league, he won Rookie of the Year, averaging 17.6 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.1 blocks per game. Over the following five years with the Grizzlies, Gasol was named an All-Star once and averaged 18.8 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists.
Yet it was his time with the Los Angeles Lakers that was most memorable. Gasol was traded to the Lakers in 2008 for a package deal that included his younger brother Marc Gasol, who ended up having similar success in Memphis. Once with the Lakers, Pau made three All-Star appearances, averaged 17.8 points, 9.8 rebounds 3.5 assists and 1.4 blocks a game. 

He was also one half of one of the most potent offensive duos in the league alongside the late Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant. Together Gasol and Bryant made three trips to the NBA Finals, winning twice in back-to-back years in 2009 and 2010. Gasol's impact on the Lakers was felt immediately after he was traded to L.A., helping them get back to the Finals just a few months after joining the team. The following season, once Gasol was fully acclimated into the Lakers' system, he and Bryant put together a 65-win season in L.A. en route to a title.
Gasol helped bridge the gap between the Kobe-Shaq era, and was an integral piece in the Lakers system for years. Due to his importance with the franchise, the Lakers are planning on retiring Gasol's No. 16 jersey, per The Athletic's Shams Charania.

Aside from the Lakers, Gasol also spent time playing for the Chicago Bulls -- where he garnered All-Star honors twice -- the San Antonio Spurs and Milwaukee Bucks, but his tenure with the Lakers was by far the peak of his time in the NBA. Toward the end of his career, foot injuries began to trouble the versatile big man, and his final year in the NBA came with the Bucks during the 2018-19 campaign. He then decided to return to play for FC Barcelona this past year, where the team won the Liga ACB title. 

Now that his playing career is wrapped up, Gasol should be a no-brainer to make the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame when he's eligible.
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New Jersey Devils Cut 4 from 2021 Training Camp

The New Jersey Devils announced their first set of cuts from their 2021 training camp. Four players have been demoted to Utica: Ryan Schmelzer, Marek Mitens, Jeremy Groleau, and Michael Vukojevic.
After last night s 7 1 beatdown of Our Hated Rivals, Amanda Stein tweeted that the New Jersey Devils coaching staff has decided on their first cuts to their training camp roster. The Devils made made it official this morning. According to the team s official website, four players have been demoted to Utica. The four are forward Ryan Schmelzer, goaltender Marek Mitens, defenseman Michael Vukojevic, and defenseman Jeremy Groleau.

Schmelzer and Mitens were going to be cut at some point. Both are on AHL contracts. They could not make the New Jersey roster unless they received a new contract. Neither played in either of the team s two preseason games. As Utica s training camp is starting real soon (Monday) and their preseason begins next Friday, the time was now to start moving players down. Given their contract status and lack of usage, they were logical choices to be moved down first.

Vukojevic and Groleau were also among the very likely to join the Utica Comets out of camp. As defensemen, there are a lot of players ahead of each on the depth chart. Short a miracle, they were not going to make it. However, both can say they did get a preseason game this year. And that preseason game was a blowout bonanza against Our Hated Rivals. It is a lot better than nothing.

With Utica s training camp starting on Monday, I would expect more cuts to be made after today s game against the Islanders in Bridgeport. Pay attention to who is and is not in the lineup for an idea of who that could be. The Devils now have 46 players in camp. All four players on try outs are still in camp and the remaining 42 are eligible to play in the NHL next season. More decisions will continue throughout the coming days as the Devils have to set their 23 man active roster for the season that begins on October 15.

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Grizzlies: This leaked heritage jersey would be the best in the NBA

As one of the youngest franchises in the NBA, the Memphis Grizzlies don t have the storied history that some other NBA squads have. That said, they do have something that only a few teams can claim   a consistently elite wardrobe of uniforms.

If you re a fan of uniforms, check out our all time Memphis Grizzlies uniform rankings from a few months ago. That said, the Grizzlies may have an upcoming heritage jersey that surpasses anything we ve seen before.
Is this  leaked  Memphis Grizzlies uniform the best we ve ever seen?
This week, a new Grizzlies uniform was  leaked  and it looks really good. First, I d like to note that there is no confirmation that this is a real uniform. This could just be another fake  leak,  so don t get too excited. That said, it s worth looking at   here s the jersey.
Most of you probably do not speak Spanish, so here s the translation for the caption above.

Here is the first image of MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES  new alternative uniform. It brings together elements of the Grizzlies  history in Memphis, not Vancouver. Therefore, there are few references to highlight. But I ll show you if you follow this thread
If this is a real jersey, it would be tough not to be excited about this one. That said, the best photo we have is an image of the jersey laid out on somebody s bed.

Still, it s the simplicity of this jersey that makes it so great. The designers use a similar look to the 2020 21 city jerseys that fans loved. Brandon Martinez ranked those at the number two spot in his all time Grizzlies uniform rankings.

According to Martinez, here s what those similar jerseys are all about.

These jerseys, also known as the Memphis Soul City Edition uniforms, depict a celebration of the life of famous singer and songwriter, Isaac Hayes. The black base of the uniform, paired with stripes, represent a vinyl record like that of Isaac and his label, Stax Records.
We don t have any official information on these, but we can assume that they have a similar backstory to last year s city jerseys. The argument could be made that these are even better, with more simplicity and clean white font displaying  MEMPHIS  across the front along with the player s name and number on each side.

We ll find out in November whether or not these are real, as that s the normal release date for new NBA uniforms.

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Wallabies make Indigenous design a permanent feature of jerseys

An Australian representative team will bear both the coat of arms and a First Nations design on its primary playing kit for the first time, after the Wallabies unveiled a new jersey incorporating Indigenous artwork in the numbers on the back.

Rugby Australia released the tweak to their latest gold playing jersey on Wednesday, with players  numbers to feature work by the Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay artist, Dennis Golding.

Rugby Australia said the artwork  celebrates and recognises Australian rugby s First Nations peoples  and highlights all communities coming together as one.

Golding s work has already been seen on Australia s existing First Nations strip, which was first used during a Test against the All Blacks in 2017 and has since been given an outing a further four times.

The new, permanent design, will make its debut in Sunday s Rugby Championship Test against world champions South Africa on the Gold Coast. The First Nations jersey will be brought out again for the Test match against Argentina in Townsville two weeks later on 25 September.
Wallabies coach Dave Rennie said it had been the playing group who advocated for the design to be incorporated on a permanent basis.
 This jersey holds significance to every member of our team, and to have the First Nations artwork now on our primary jersey is something incredibly special,  Rennie said.

 As a squad, we pride ourselves on culture and inclusivity, and that s what the First Nations jersey represents, and to now have it on both jerseys is something special for our rugby community. 

Indigenous player Andy Muirhead, who was called up into an extended Wallabies squad for the first time for the three Test series against France earlier this year, said incorporating the design was a big step forward in the recognition of First Nations people.

 The boys wearing the Indigenous jersey over the last couple of years has been really nice but this is a nice touch   that the boys can run out every week and display Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture,  said Muirhead.  It s pretty special. 

The First Nations jersey enjoyed a memorable start to its life in a famous and rare Wallabies  win over the All Blacks in a Bledisloe Cup encounter at Brisbane s Suncorp Stadium.
It was then worn at Twickenham against England before making an appearance against Uruguay at the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and two further occasions during the 2020 Tri Nations tournament   against New Zealand and Argentina   in Sydney.

Rennie said a great deal of thought had been put into deciding when and where to next wear the strip, and that the Wallabies  clash with Argentina in Townsville was the obvious choice.

 It boasts a strong First Nations community who we represent, and when we wear this jersey, we feel it will provide us with an even stronger connection with our people,  he said.

 As a squad, we pride ourselves on culture and inclusivity, and that s what the First Nations jersey represents, and to now have it on both jerseys is something special for our rugby community. 
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Badgers Basketball to retire Michael Finley s jersey

MADISON (WKOW)   A legend of Wisconsin basketball will have his jersey retired later this season.

 Michael Finley s impact on Wisconsin basketball is as profound as any athlete we ve had and I m thrilled that we are able to honor him by retiring his jersey,   athletic director Chris McIntosh said.  Finley s fingerprints are all over the revival of our program in the 1990s, and his legacy is alive in the incredible success we ve enjoyed over the past 30 years. Finley has spent his life serving as an incredible ambassador for not only Badger basketball, but also for our university in general. We can t wait to welcome him back to the Kohl Center later this season. 

Check out more of our Badgers coverage here.

Finley's No. 24 jersey is only the third basketball jersey to hang in the Kohl Center. It joins Ab Nicholas  No. 8 and Frank Kaminsky s No. 44. 

Finley said retiring the jersey is a great honor 

 It s a great honor. It represents a lot, not just to me but to all the teammates I had. We have a bond. It represents those guys and the students that were there when I was. They can say,  I went to school with that guy, and he represented the university in a great way. 

 For me, that s one of the big things I look forward to seeing when my number is in the rafters. It s also something of a legacy for my kids. If they ever decided to go to the UW, they can see their last name up there and that represents a lot for me as well.

 It gives guys who have grown up in a similar situation to the way I grew up, it gives them an example that if you put the hard work into something and dedicate yourself to being a better person and player, good things can happen. Maybe it gives them the inspiration to see that they can make it one day. 

Michael Finley
Finley was the first badger to score 2,000 points and helped lead the Badgers to the 1994 NCAA Tournament   their first appearance in 47 years. He was a two time All Big Ten selection and a three time Associated Press honorable mention All American.

After graduation, Finley went on to have a successful 15 years long NBA career. He was named NBA s All Rookie Team in 1996, earned All Star selections in 2000 and 2001 and helped  the San Antonio Spurs win an NBA championship in 2007.
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Caesars Sportsbook offers last chance to get NFL jersey and $5,000 risk free bet

Week 3 of the NFL season is about to begin, which means this is also the last week Caesars Sportsbook is offering at least one of its most popular promos. Caesars Sportsbook offers the biggest risk free first bet for new users, as well as perhaps the most unique promo for those planning on betting on NFL games this month.

Caesars Sportsbook has an incredible $5,000 risk free first bet offer for new users, as well as an NFL jersey promo for users who place $100 of bets on September NFL games.
This is one of the most intriguing pairs of promos being offered  by any legal online sportsbook. Caesars Sportsbook is offering an incentive of sorts for users who bet $100 on NFL games in September in the form of an NFL jersey of the bettor s choice. The sportsbook also offers all new users the largest risk free first bet in the business at $5,000.

To sign up with Caesars Sportsbook, click here if you re in New Jersey, here for Arizona, here for Virginia, here for Michigan, here for Colorado, here for Tennessee, here for Indiana, and here for Iowa. 

Caesars Sportsbook s NFL jersey promo
Following Caesars Entertainment s acquisition of William Hill PLC earlier this year, there was an expectation that the relaunch of Caesars Sportsbook would bring with it some great promos and bonuses. The folks at Caesars Sportsbook have been promoting one of the most unique promos in the business this month, offering an NFL jersey of the player s choice just for wagering $100 or more total on September NFL games.
Keep in mind that the $100 threshold is a cumulative total, meaning you can place wagers that total at least $100 as opposed to a single $100 wager. Any wager has to be on a game that will settle by September 30, 2021, which means time is of the essence. This week represents the last opportunity to qualify for this promotion.

Note: Moneyline, over/under bets, point spread, and live in game betting with odds of  200 or better will qualify toward the $100 threshold, while futures bets will not.

$5,000 risk free first bet
Many legal online sportsbooks offer a risk free first bet promo for new users who sign up for a sportsbook account. Caesars Sportsbook offers the biggest risk free bet in the business. New users who sign up for an account with Caesars Sportsbook can get an astounding $5,000 risk free first bet when signing up and making a qualifying first deposit.

A risk free first bet acts as a form of insurance for a new user on the first bet placed. If a new user s first bet loses, Caesars Sportsbook will back the bet and refund the user s account up to $5,000 in site credit. 

If you re looking to place a large first bet of up to $5,000 with the insurance of a risk free bet, Caesars Sportsbook is one to strongly consider.

How to register for Caesars Sportsbook
In order to take advantage of the NFL jersey and $5,000 risk free promos from Caesars Sportsbook, you ll need to register for a new sportsbook account.

Click on the state link above or below to get the Caesars Sportsbook app for your state.
Make your initial deposit to qualify for the promo offers.
Head to the promotions tab and select the  Bet $100, Get a  Free NFL Jersey  promo.
Opt into the jersey promo and sign up for the Caesars Rewards member program. It s free and offers a ton of perks.
Place at least $100 of wagers on NFL games that settle by September 30, 2021.
Once you ve met the $100 NFL bets threshold, Caesars Sportsbook will send you a $150 gift card to NFLShop.com, which can be used toward the purchase of an authentic jersey of your choice. 

Keep in mind that you must be at least 21 years of age to qualify, as well as be physically located within the state limits of the app you choose to download. 

Note: The NFL jersey promo is set to expire at the end of September, so if this jersey offer is of interest to you, Week 3 appears to be your final opportunity to get in on the action. 

Click here to register for a Caesars Sportsbook account in New Jersey, here for Arizona, here for Virginia, here for Michigan, here for Colorado, here for Tennessee, here for Indiana, and here for Iowa. 

Posted in news

Nike s Vaporfly edge isn t down to carbon

Spending £200 on carbon shoes to get ahead? You d better lace up a pair of Nikes. But it s likely nothing to do with that carbon
The impact of super shoes has been profound. Since Nike s Vaporfly 4% hit the roads in 2016, the controversial trainers ? with their combination of a carbon plate, big stack of high rebound midsole foam and lightweight uppers ? have changed running at every level. Toppling records and forcing regulation changes. 

Kenyan Eliud Kichoge took the men s marathon world record in Berlin in 2018, followed by that historic sub 2 hour marathon in 2019. Both in the AlphaFly. Brigid Kosgei beat Paula Radcliffe s women s world marathon record in the same shoe. Japan s Mariko Yugeta became the first woman aged 60 or over to break the three hour marathon barrier when she ran 2:59:15 wearing the Vaporfly. 

Nike hasn t had all the glory though. Twenty year old Kenyan Rhonex Kipruto claimed the men s 10km road world record in 2020 wearing a pair of prototype Adidas carbon shoes. Ethiopia s Derara Hurisa was disqualified after winning the Vienna Marathon wearing the Adidas Adizero Prime X, which has soles that are five centimetres (50 mm) ? thicker than the new regulation 40mm stack height. 
In ultra running, Jim Walmsley set the 50 mile world record in HOKA s Carbon X while Lithuanian Runner Sania Sorokin captured the 100 mile track world record running an average 6:45 min/mile pace in a combination of Hoka Carbon X2 and the Nike AlphaFly.  

Fast forward to 2021 and the revolution is still gathering pace. Every running shoe brand from Adidas, Brooks and Saucony to Hoka ? and even The North Face ? now has its own carbon racer. But have Nike s rivals levelled the playing field as much as the marketers would have us believe? Not according to the scientists. 

New research from Austin State University has revealed that despite hefty price tags and bold claims, some carbon running shoes offer little or no benefits compared to a traditional non carbon race shoe. The study s findings also suggest that Nike still leads the pack when it comes to performance enhancing running economy, and its authors advise runners to think carefully before buying into the marketing promises.
While previous carbon shoe studies validated the performance enhancements of Nike s Vaporfly and AlphaFly shoes, this is the first study to compare the leading carbon shoes against each other and a traditional race shoe, to find out which delivers the biggest gains. 

The study looked at how the high end shoes performed on 12 trained, male distance runners, size 10 11 US, who d been running at least three times a week for the previous three months. Each runner had also clocked a sub 17:30 minute, 5km race performance, (or equivalent race performance for distances 3km to marathon) within the last year and had the ability to run below the lactate threshold at the 16km/hr tested running economy speed. That s just over 6 minutes/mile or 3.75 minutes/km, so the faster end of amateur runners.
Researchers selected seven carbon shoes based on availability at the time, with Adidas a notable omission. These comprised: Nike AlphaFly, Nike Vaporfly 2, Saucony Endorphin Pro, Hoka Rocket X, Asics Metaspeed Sky, New Balance RC Elite and the Brooks Hyperion Elite 2. The eighth non carbon comparison shoe was the Asics Hyperspeed. 

The shoes were tested during two sessions, in a random sequence over 8x5 minute trials, running on a treadmill at 16km/hr with a 5 minute rest between. On the second visit, the shoes were tested in reverse/mirrored order. 

Each runner s metabolic and running mechanics data were collected and averaged across the visits. Any changes in running economy, aka the ability to run at faster speeds while working at the same physiological intensity, were logged. 

 I d used the Hoka Carbon X for marathon training and was about to buy the second generation,  says Dustin Joubert, the study s lead author.  But before spending $200, I decided to do a little case study on myself and found there was no benefit when compared to my regular racing flats. I did the same with the Alphafly and discovered I was a 4% responder. That s when I realised the playing field is clearly not equal. 
 If you look at the elite landscape as well, everybody s running in Nike or Adidas, and then you get a sprinkling of Asics Metaspeed in there,  says Joubert.  You can t always blindly trust the anecdote, but, as sports scientists, we should probably follow the anecdote sometimes. If all the elites have figured this out, or are sceptical enough, then maybe there s a message for consumers too.    

The study results suggest that the elite runners  instincts were spot on and Joubert was right to follow the anecdote. 

Despite the influx of new carbon contenders, Joubert and his research partner Garrett Jones discovered that Nike s carbon racers still give runners a crucial performance edge. Only Asics closed the gap with its Metaspeed Sky. But perhaps more surprisingly, they also found that some carbon shoes offer little or no significant benefits over a traditional race shoe. Therefore some of us might be better off saving our money. 
The Hoka Rocket X and Brooks Hyperion Elite 2 failed to significantly improve running economy compared to the traditional Asics Hyperspeed shoe. And while the Saucony Endorphin Pro, Asics Metaspeed Sky, Nike Vaporfly 2 and Nike Alphafly all significantly improved economy over the regular shoe, the New Balance RC Elite and Saucony Endorphin Pro did so by less than 1.5 per cent on average. They also performed significantly worse than the Asics Metaspeed Sky and the two Nike shoes, which all generated greater than 2.5 per cent improvements.
 I think we can say across the broad landscape, things haven t levelled up,  says Joubert, and while the carbon plate has grabbed the headlines, he believes the crucial difference ? where Nike s rivals are falling short ? could well be the foam.  

 It is evident from our data that simply including a carbon plate or increasing the stack height in a racing shoe does not confer equal improvements in economy,  the report states.  This would suggest that the foam and/or interaction of the foam and the plate is crucial to the economy benefits. 

 We didn t do any testing of the foam. But if we look at this line up and what s different about these shoes, they all have carbon plates, they ve all increased stack. But they have different foam,  says Joubert.  
 It s almost like Nike misdirected everyone by putting the plate in the shoe. Everyone s chasing the low hanging fruit ? it s easy to add a carbon plate ? but the real difference is in the performance of the foam. 

Previous research paints a similar picture. One study cut the carbon plate in the Nike Vaporfly to reduce the longitudinal bending stiffness but found no changes in running economy compared to an intact version. That suggests that the PEBA based ZoomX foam in the Nike Vaporfly is the critical factor. 

 Even when shoes are known to utilize similar foam materials, such as the case with the PEBA based Saucony Endorphin Pro and Nike Vaporfly and Alphafly, we see differences in economy in the current study,  says Joubert. 
It s almost certainly why the secret sauce of those foams isn t something the brands tend to share. Not knowing exactly what you re buying in next generation shoes can make it hard for consumers to judge which offer genuine benefits. 

Some of the shoes tested in the study have since been superseded by second generation models, the Saucony Endorphin Pro 2 and the New Balance RC Elite 2, for example. So have these shoes changed enough to suggest the gap is closing? Not necessarily. 

 Saucony didn t do a whole lot to update the Endorphin Pro with the second version. You get the same stack of PEBA based midsole foam with minor tweaks to the uppers and we didn t notice any change in the performance of the shoe in our testing,  says Nick Harris Fry, shoe tester for The Run Testers who has run in most of the carbon shoes currently on sale. 
 There is now the Endorphin Pro , which is lighter than the standard Pro 2, but again the changes were mainly in the upper so the performance from the plate and foam is likely to be unchanged. 

New Balance s changes to the RC Elite V2 might be more significant.  This has a significantly higher stack than the original RC Elite and feels more like a super shoe in the mould of the Alphafly or Vaporfly,  says Harris Fry. 

 New Balance tweaks its foam between shoes, but it s not easy to ascertain if the Fuelcell foam in this model is markedly different. The higher stack allows for more of a curve to the carbon plate, which we found improved the performance of the shoe and could affect how it would have scored in this study. 
Beyond running economy, the Austin State University study also threw up some interesting insights into how the higher responding carbon shoes appeared to make runners move a certain way, in order to unlock the biggest benefits of shoes like the Alphafly. Or at least a certain running technique worked best with the top performing shoes. 

 If you look at the trends for the higher responsive shoes, people are running in them with slower cadences, more vertical oscillation, and longer stride lengths,  says Joubert. 

 So it s like people are using that extra energy return to lengthen their stride a little bit. Whereas normally, we think of things like a faster cadence, less wasted vertical oscillation, and a little bit shorter stride as the normal correlates that we would associate with good economy. 

It s a pattern that movement expert and author of The Lost Art of Running, Shane Benzie, recognises. Benzie has studied thousands of runners all over the world ? including world beaters ? in a bid to understand what makes our legs tick. 
 When you look at good runners stats, the best runners always spend little time on the ground, a lot of time in the air,  says Benzie. But he suggests that carbon shoes alone aren t necessarily the answer to improved efficiency. Adopting the right running form to maximise the effects of a carbon shoe is what really counts.

 You have to run well and you have to interact correctly with the ground for that carbon to help you. If you re trying to move over the ground and not really interact with it, trying not to hit it, trying not to create any air, the carbon springs aren t going to help you very much. 
 I believe that the best way to land when we run is to land on the foot s natural dome with a full foot and not, for example, striking the ground first with our heel or only landing on our forefoot.  This is what Benzie calls a tripod landing, engaging the foot s natural arches to create a dome that dissipates impact and creates propulsion.  

 If you land on a nice tripod with great stability, and then you push off, you re effectively engaging your plantar fascia [the thick elastic connective tissue that supports the foot arch] to do the work for you, but also the carbon spring is now helping as well. What it s potentially doing is inspiring runners to use their natural assets, rather than just relying on that spring in the trainer. 

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