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Nominations for the 43rd Annual News and Documentary Emmy® Awards were announced today by The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS). The awards will be presented in two individual ceremonies: News Categories – Wednesday, September 28th, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. EDT Documentary Categories – Thursday, September 29th, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. EDT The […]


By: Clarence Moye
Title: Nominees Announced for the 43rd Annual News & Documentary Emmy® Awards
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Published Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2022 16:30:11 +0000

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Baller Awards

Report: Lionel Messi Will Come To MLS And Join Inter Miami



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The greatest footballer to ever live is coming to Major League Soccer. According to multiple media reports, Lionel Messi, whose departure from Paris Saint-Germain was announced earlier this year, has decided to join Inter Miami, marking the end of a years-long pursuit by the side that played its first game in MLS back in 2020.

News of Messi’s decision began to trickle in starting on Tuesday, with The Athletic reporting that Messi would eschew a lucrative offer to join the Saudi Pro League to pursue one of two options: Miami or FC Barcelona, the club with which he turned into the best player on the planet.

On Wednesday, the news of Messi’s decision started to crystalize thanks to Guillem Balagué, a Spanish journalist who authored Messi’s biography in 2013, along with a handful of other European journalists.

And then, right around midday on the east coast, word came from Fabrizio Romano that Messi is, indeed, on his way to the United States.

Much has been made of the circumstances around which Miami would be able to afford Messi. There have been reports that every MLS team will pitch in to help Miami afford Messi, with the belief that his addition would help the league’s bottom line. And as The Athletic reported, two of MLS’ main financial partners, Apple and adidas (the latter of which has a lifelong sponsorship with Messi), are rumored to be playing a role in getting him to the States.

Multiple sources involved in or briefed on the high-level league discussions said earlier this week that MLS and Apple have discussed offering Messi a share of the revenue generated by new subscribers to MLS Season Pass, the league’s streaming package on Apple TV+. Both sides view Messi’s potential involvement in Major League Soccer as a boon; Apple and MLS signed a 10-year, $2.5 billion agreement this spring. On Tuesday, Apple revealed that a four-part docuseries chronicling Messi’s five World Cup appearances would stream on Apple TV+.
Adidas, which is among MLS’ largest corporate sponsors, has prepared its own potential arrangement to entice Messi to the United States, multiple sources briefed on those plans told The Athletic on Tuesday. Messi is being offered a profit-sharing agreement with the sportswear giant, those sources said, which would involve the player receiving a cut of any increase in Adidas’ profits resulting from his involvement in MLS.

It is worth mentioning that, on Tuesday, Apple TV+ announced that Messi will be the subject of a four-part docuseries, although there was no mention of this being linked with a move to MLS.

Messi will join a Miami side in the midst of a tumultuous season. The team finds itself in last place in the Eastern Conference on 15 points, although it is only six points behind Charlotte for the final playoff spot and has a game in hand, and last week, Miami fired its head coach, Phil Neville. This would not be the first time the club has a high-profile Argentinian forward in its ranks, as Gonzalo Higuaín, a former teammate of Messi’s at the international level, spent the last 2.5 years with the club before his retirement.

Messi’s bonafides in the world of soccer are unmatched. He holds a record seven Ballon d’Ors, given annually to the best footballer in the world, has won his domestic league in Spain and France a combined 12 times, and is a four-time winner of the Champions League, all from his time as a member of Barcelona. Last year, Messi obtained the final major trophy that had eluded him throughout his career, as he led Argentina to its first World Cup since 1986.


By: Bill DiFilippo
Title: Report: Lionel Messi Will Come To MLS And Join Inter Miami
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Published Date: Wed, 07 Jun 2023 15:57:33 +0000

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Baller Awards

Finals MVP Could Go To Nikola Jokić Even If Heat Win, Says Wright




Finals MVP Could Go To Nikola Jokić Even If Heat Win, Says Wright – originally posted on

Nikola Jokić has made his mark on the NBA this postseason, turning heads around the league with his incredible play while leading the Denver Nuggets to the 2023 Finals. He has been the best player in each series thus far, and has continued his dominance during the first two games against the Miami Heat.

Wright: Nikola Jokić Can Win MVP Even If Nuggets Lose

With Jokic being the top overall performer thus far, Finals MVP talk has begun. The series is tied 1-1 and feels as though it could go either way, but there hasn’t been a Heat player that has overwhelming impressed in the first two contests.

The attack for Miami has been evenly distributed. Three players scored 21+ in Game 2, and three went for 18+ in Game 1 as well. Bam Adebayo led the way in the first game with 26, and Gabe Vincent was the leading scorer in the Heat’s Game 2 victory.

And while Jimmy Butler has been the go-to player for the Heat throughout the team’s impressive playoff run, he hasn’t been his dominant self over the last 8 or so games. His numbers and percentages have dipped noticeably against the Celtics and Nuggets, and has shot a combined 13 for 33 from the field in the first two finals games.

So if they Heat were able to pull off the upset, who would be named MVP?

It can be argued that Adebayo has been the team’s best player in the Finals so far. But is his performance sustainable over the course of the entire series? And would it be enough to warrant being named the most valuable player?

Fox Sports personality Nick Wright has his own opinions on the matter during First Things First on Wednesday morning. The crew on the show was talking about the possible MVP candidates for the series, and Wright explained why he’d be okay with Nikola Jokic receiving the hardware, even if he was on the losing team.

“If this series continues on this track where no one on the Heat averages more than 21 a game, and Joker has these unbelievable games and the Heat win, I would be okay with it…The best player is not always on the team that won.”

The feat has only happened once before. Jerry West was named Finals MVP in 1969 after his Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Boston Celtics in seven games. But there was no denying West’s dominance in that series, as he averaged 38 points, 7.4 assists, and 4.7 rebounds per game on 49% shooting.

Nikola Jokic put up a triple-double in his first NBA Finals game, and followed it up with a 41 point performance in the Nuggets’ Game 2 defeat.

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By: Anthony R. Cardenas
Title: Finals MVP Could Go To Nikola Jokić Even If Heat Win, Says Wright
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Published Date: Wed, 07 Jun 2023 16:35:12 +0000

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Baller Awards

Lionel Messi, Soccer’s Most Coveted Free Agent, Picks Miami



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Lionel Messi, the player who has captivated and to a large extent dominated global soccer for a generation, declared on Wednesday that the next stop in his glittering career would be the United States.

In an interview with two Spanish sports news outlets, Messi confirmed that he planned to sign a contract with Inter Miami, the M.L.S. team part-owned by David Beckham. He declined an offer to play in Saudi Arabia, which pays him to promote Saudi tourism and is seeking to build its national league by signing international stars.

“I made the decision that I am going to go to Miami,” Messi told Sport and Mundo Deportivo. “I still haven’t closed it 100 percent. I’m missing some things, but we decided to continue the path.”

M.L.S. acknowledged Messi’s decision in a statement, saying, “We look forward to welcoming one of the greatest soccer players of all time to our league,” but noted no deal had been completed.

The finest player of his generation, and quite possibly the best of all time, Messi would arrive in M.L.S. having received every conceivable honor at the club and international level: league titles in Spain and France; four Champions League trophies with Barcelona; and the Copa América and, last December, the World Cup with Argentina.

His status as the world’s best player made him an extremely valuable property as his contract with his current employer, Paris St.-Germain, ran down. Miami was far from his only option: Messi, 35, eschewed both a putative return to Barcelona and a monumental offer, said to be worth as much as $500 million, to move to Saudi Arabia, which has set out to lure a dozen of the finest players on the planet to the Gulf this summer.

Should the deal be completed, it would be the biggest coup for M.L.S. since it lured Beckham in 2007. That deal shifted perceptions of the league’s quality and ambitions around the world; capturing Messi would, if anything, deliver even more attention to the league in the run-up to the 2026 World Cup.

Messi admitted, in his interview, that Miami had perhaps not been his first choice of destination. Speaking to outlets that dedicate much of their coverage to the club where he became the finest player of his generation, Barcelona, he made plain that in an ideal world, he would have returned to Catalonia. He “obviously really wanted to return,” he said, and had discussed the idea with Xavi Hernández, the club’s manager, and Joan Laporta, its president.

Ultimately, though, Barcelona’s financial turmoil forced his hand. “I heard they had to sell players or lower salaries, and the truth is that I did not want to go through that,” he said, suggesting that he did not want to be held responsible for forcing Barcelona to adjust its squad simply to accommodate him.

“I wanted to make my own decision, thinking about myself and my family,” he said, describing a move away from Europe entirely as a chance to “look for something else, and find a little peace of mind.”

After 20 years as one of the finest players on the planet — if not the finest one — and seven months after leading Argentina to the World Cup, the one trophy that had previously eluded him, he said he wanted to “get out of focus a bit, think about my family.”

That led him to reject the chance to stay in Paris. He never truly settled into an attack featuring his fellow superstars Neymar and Kylian Mbappé, and his expected exit from P.S.G. was finally confirmed by the club on Saturday, hours before the team’s final game of the season.

“I would like to thank the club, the city of Paris and its people for these two years,” he said in a statement released by the club hours before he played, and lost, his final match with P.S.G. “I wish you all the best for the future.”

The club reciprocated by sending its “warmest regards” and thanking Messi for his service, but P.S.G.’s fans were less sentimental: They booed his name in warm-ups, did the same during the game and continued to show their displeasure during a celebration for the club’s latest French championship that followed.

Because he was out of contract, Messi’s options were the talk of soccer. Would he find a way to return to the club that had made him, Barcelona? Would he take his game, and his family, to a new adventure in the United States? Or would his salary demands so limit his options that he would have little choice but to accept the almost unfathomable offer he received from the Saudi club Al Hilal?

Saudi Arabia’s pitch was perhaps the most transactional: It could offer Messi a salary that no other suitor could match, and he already had a relationship with the kingdom through a multimillion-dollar deal in which Messi had become a spokesman for the Saudi Tourism Authority.

“If it had been a question of money, I would have gone to Arabia or somewhere,” Messi said. Instead, though, he insisted his decision had been made for reasons other than the purely economic.

Barcelona, on the other hand, offered familiarity and a return to the club and city he never wanted to leave. Messi departed Catalonia for Paris St.-Germain in 2021 only when Barcelona found itself caught in a financial vise and unable, under the rules of the Spanish league, to sign him to a new contract.

But while the lure of returning to a club that revered him was strong, Messi explained that he did not want to find himself at the mercy of La Liga’s accountants. Though reports had emerged that Barcelona had struck a deal with La Liga to allow the club to complete his signature without breaking the competition’s salary rules, he was not prepared to take that risk.

“The time I had to leave, La Liga had also accepted that the club would sign me, and in the end it couldn’t be done,” he said. “Well, I was afraid the same thing would happen again.” He confirmed that his priority, in making his choice, had been the appeal of “not having to wait again.”

That gave Miami its chance, but — as was the case with previous stars — there was still a need for M.L.S. to get creative. It, too, offered Messi a bit of comfort: He owns at least one home in Miami, and basing himself there — and closer to Argentina — will make it easier for him to cultivate rich, new sponsorship opportunities in a huge commercial market.

But a base in the United States would also have appealed to him for competitive reasons, potentially making it easier for Messi as he prepares to help Argentina defend its World Cup title in 2026, when the tournament will be hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico.


Inter Miami, partly owned by David Beckham, left, has not fared well in 2023. The club fired Phil Neville, right, as coach last week as it sat last in the Eastern Conference in M.L.S.Credit…Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

To make the numbers work, Inter Miami owners, which include Beckham, and Messi’s representatives cobbled together a layered offer: a roster spot free from the limits of M.L.S. salary rules; an ownership stake in Inter Miami once his playing careers ends; and revenue-sharing agreements with Apple and Adidas, two companies with which Messi has long and lucrative relationships.

Those deals would be linked to increased sales for Adidas, which had previously signed Messi to a lifetime sponsorship deal, and to increased subscription sales for the Apple TV+ streaming service. Apple, which this year acquired the rights to broadcast M.L.S. games on the service, on Tuesday announced that it also would produce a multipart documentary series about Messi.

Any first look at Messi on the streaming platform in an M.L.S. game, however, will have to wait until the contracts are signed, and until the league reaches its midseason transfer deadline on July 5.

Andrew Das joined The Times in 2006. An assistant editor in Sports, he helps direct coverage of soccer, the Olympics and international sports. @AndrewDasNYT

Rory Smith is The Times’s chief soccer correspondent, based in Britain. He covers all aspects of European soccer and has reported from three World Cups, the Olympics, and numerous European tournaments. @RorySmith


By: Andrew Das and Rory Smith
Title: Lionel Messi, Soccer’s Most Coveted Free Agent, Picks Miami
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Published Date: Wed, 07 Jun 2023 20:41:08 +0000

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