A top-20 American women's tennis player won handily Wednesday at Arthur Ashe Stadium, 6-1, 6-2 in 54 minutes. No, her last name was not Williams -- Serena needed a tiebreaker to win in two sets and Venus needed three sets.

Madison Keys

Madison Keys is the future of American women's tennis. At 20, she has already been ranked as high as No. 16. She is currently No. 19 and has two Grand Slam quarterfinal appearances. At this year's Australian Open, Keys reached the semifinals, beating Grand Slam champions Petra Kvitová and Venus along the way before losing to eventual champ Serena.

"I think I have slowly kind of had my name out there a little bit more and had some success," Keys says. "I'm a little bit more of a known American player."

Madison Keys Fist Pump

With Serenamania controlling the domestic headlines at the U.S. Open, Keys is in the backdrop. In the post-Williams sisters crop of American women, which includes Sloane Stephens, Coco Vanderweghe, Madison Brengle, Christina McHale and Alison Riske, Keys has taken the lead as America's next It Girl. Keys cannot have a legal drink, but she has two WTA finals appearances and a whole lot of potential.

Keys' second-round win over Tereza Smitkova was her debut on Arthur Ashe Stadium. It felt more like a long time coming than a career accomplishment.

"I don't know if it's because of the roof now, but it didn't seem as big as I thought it was going to feel," she says.

The pros are buying in. Before the 2015 season began, Keys took on a familiar face as her coach: Lindsay Davenport. The results are indicative of the change.

"I told her, ‘You know, you are way better than 30,'" Davenport said in January when Keys was ranked lower and unseeded at the Australian Open. "'And I don’t know exactly what the reason is you are only ranked there, but you play much better and you have to start to believe that and you have to start to act like it. You’ve got to play the role here.'"

Davenport won her first Grand Slam at 22 when she beat a 17-year-old Martina Hingis at the 1998 U.S. Open. In the semifinals, Davenport swept past an 18-year-old Venus.

Madison Keys Forehand

Youngsters do not control tennis like they used to, but Davenport has Keys believing she can compete and learning on the fly.

"It's probably been the best year that I have had," Keys says. "It hasn't been perfect. There have been some ups and downs, but I think that's the nature of tennis. I still haven't quite figured everything out."

It is fitting for Davenport and Keys to bookend the Era of the Williams Sisters. When Davenport won her third Grand Slam at the 2000 Australian Open (she also won the 1999 Wimbledon), Serena and Venus had combined for one: Serena's 1999 U.S. Open. Davenport made four other Grand Slam finals, losing to either Serena or Venus every time. Serena and Venus have won 27 majors since Davenport's Melbourne moment.

Davenport is training the best hope to eventually dethrone the Williams sisters as queen of American women's tennis.

"I think she's such a positive for me in the sense of I can be really tough on myself and she's always in my corner," Keys says. "Even after some of the worst matches or a really bad loss or something like that, she's always there to remind me, it's tennis. Have fun."

Keys has only faced Serena or Venus three times–the win over Venus and the loss to Serena in Melbourne and a straight sets loss to Venus in 2013. Both are in Keys' quarter of the bracket.

Names on paper do not scare her.

"I actually didn't even look at the draw," she says with a smile.

Madison Keys and Agnieszka Radwanska

Keys is lined up to battle Serena if both reach the fourth round, and Venus could be a potential quarterfinal matchup.

Like any young American -- male or female -- Keys grew up studying the Williams sisters. On Serena, Keys says:

"I think her drive and fight is unmatched by anyone. She's amazing to watch and you can see that even when she's down a set and a break, you never think, oh, Serena's going to lose this match. You always have this feeling that she can come back from anything. I think it's incredible to watch."

Before a hypothetical Serena matchup, Keys will meet Agnieszka Radwanska, the Polish No. 15 seed who beat Keys in this year's Wimbledon quarterfinals. Radwanska has won all four outings between the pair, two coming in grand slams.

This is the first in Flushing Meadows.

"I'm not expecting [the crowd to be] cheering for me, obviously," Radwanska says. "That's always the price when you're playing someone from the country that's their home tournament. For sure, it's going to be rowdy and loud."

Madison Keys Wave

Maybe if this was a year ago, Radwanska would not have to worry about the crowd. Americans are getting to know Keys and her potential.

They even recognize her off the court.

"A woman recognized me as she was driving and hit her breaks and rolled the window down and screamed out her window," Keys says of a fan encounter in Los Angeles this summer. "She was freaking out and rolling down her window, and I was freaking out…[she] was like, 'I love you.' I was like 'OK, don't crash. Bye!'"

The only crash course Madison Keys is on is for the top of the American women's tennis ladder, if not the WTA Tour ladder. She is locked in, and if her first year with Davenport is a preview, the best is yet to come.

For American fans, that is a very good thing. And she is someone they should get to know.

There is so much to know about Serena Williams right now. With a U.S. Open victory, she can become the first woman to win seven U.S. Opens and equal Steffi Graf as the second player with 22 Grand Slams and second woman with a calendar Grand Slam.

The story started three decades ago when a toddler Williams moved to Compton, California, and started playing tennis. Gatorade capture's Williams' journey to greatness in a bone-chilling one-minute video, "Unmatched."

When a kid Williams is asked what tennis player she would like to be like, she answers, "I would like other people to be like me." Confident from the beginning.

The video is similar to Gatorade's 2014 ad of Derek Jeter traveling through New York in his final season. But that depicted a player's retirement. Williams, at nearly 34, is dominating her sport.

Gatorade also complemented the ad's launch with a 13-foot x 90-foot outdoor mural in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn. Each image on the wall portrays one of Williams' 21 Grand Slam titles.

Donald Young

Donald Young can picture his 16-year-old self. He was a junior prodigy who was in too much of a rush to be a pro. He took excessive wild-card opportunities rather than building up his game.

"Hindsight is 20/20," Young says. "They were kind of being offered. You're [No.] 1 in the world, you're ready to go and they're offered. Would I not play some of them? Definitely not. But they happened. They were there. The tournaments wanted me to play."

This included the U.S. Open, which he played for the first time in 2005 at 16. But playing all those pro events meant he never had a chance to mature. Entering Tuesday, Young had a 5-10 U.S. Open record.

Donald Young Emotion

Then, after a decade of being known as the player who failed to reach the potential he showed as a junior, Young won a match in which he exceeded expectations. He beat No. 11 seed Gilles Simon 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, for his first U.S. Open win since 2011.

Down 0-3 in the third set, the powerful lefty looked destined for a third straight first-round exit at a Grand Slam. That's when he started showing the kind of game that earned him praise from John McEnroe when Young was 10. Even when Simon broke him to pull even 4-4 in the fifth set, Young kept his game together.

"I was going to go down swinging," he says.

With a Court 17 crowd bouncing off the 7 Train rails, Young pulled out the first 0-2 comeback of his career.

"I give all the credit to them," he says of the fans. "Without those guys -- if it was in France or somewhere else, some random place around the world -- I'm pretty sure I would have lost the match. To look at those people and they keep giving you energy, you can't let them down."

Young is ranked No. 68 in the world. His highest ranking was No. 38 in 2012. It's a little underwhelming for someone who was so accomplished as a junior. In 2003, he won the Orange Bowl (elite world junior tournament) 16-and-under division at age 14, the first American to do so since Jim Courier in 1986. He turned pro in 2004. At 15, he became the youngest Australian Open Juniors champion. At 16, he finished the 2005 season as the youngest junior to be No. 1 at year's end. He won Wimbledon juniors in 2007.

Donald Young Backhand

Young made the full transition to the professional circuit in 2008. He entered every Grand Slam and was dispatched in the first round four times. At the U.S. Open, Young lost to countryman James Blake in five sets. After that, Young didn't play four majors in one season again until 2012.

Young's 11 consecutive U.S. Open appearances are the most for any American in this year's field (John Isner is second with nine straight). Mardy Fish is making his 13th appearance, the only American with more Opens than Young.

"I'm not supposed to win all the slams and be the best," Young says. "I can kind of swing a little free. It's like some of the guys had a chance to do when I was at that age. They had a chance to work in private and get better. I'm kind of in that situation now and I'm enjoying it."

For years, Young struggled with the mental part of the game. Unforced errors and on-court emotions undercut Young's talent potential. He cleaned it up. He has seen a sports psychologist. He talks to the game's best players about their mind tactics. He reads.

"I love self-help books," he says with a smile. "I feel like tennis is pretty much all mental."

Young had not taken a set off of Simon in five tries before Tuesday. A younger Young may have rolled over, but this one did not.

Donald Young And Jim Courier

Before Tuesday, Young's best U.S. Open moment was upsetting No. 14 seed Stan Wawrinka en route to the fourth round in 2011. The Wawrinka match was also a five-setter on Court 17, which Young says was in the back of his mind Tuesday.

That was a positive thought. Young's new conscience tells him to think good things, unlike his old one.

"I had to deal with that, and I'm dealing with it," he says. "I'm not there, but I'm getting better."

It took Donald Young a decade to figure things out. He is not about to go on a Grand Slam tear, but on Tuesday, he had his moment.

It's the little steps that matter.

Shortly after John Isner helped the Georgia Bulldogs win the 2007 NCAA title, he turned pro at the relatively late age of 22 and was ranked No. 839 in the world.

Just three months later, Isner had improved to No. 184. He reached the third round of the U.S. Open where he met world No. 1 Roger Federer at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

"I've certainly played a lot of matches in my career," Isner, 30, says. "That's certainly one that sticks out. I was completely unknown coming out of college. I got to play against Roger when he was really in his prime. He was No. 1 in the world by a mile and he wasn't losing to anyone."

John Isner

On national television, on center court, the 6-10 Isner took Federer by surprise and nabbed the first set in a tiebreaker.

"I didn't win many games after that, but it was a great experience," Isner says.

Federer won the next three sets (and later, his fourth of five consecutive U.S. Opens), but he tipped his hat to Isner, saying, "I think he's always going to be tough to beat because of that serve. That serve is not going to go away anytime soon."

John Isner Fist Pump

After a notable third-round win against Andy Roddick in the 2009 U.S. Open, Isner continued to move up the rankings. In April 2012, Isner became the top-ranked American, a title he has held the majority of time since. This is Isner's fourth-consecutive U.S. Open as the highest-ranked American.

"It's something I never thought could be possible for me," Isner says. "It's something I was never tapped or pegged or picked to be the next good American player. I take it in stride. It's all very surprising to me."

Isner does not look like a traditional tennis player. He has the body of a basketball player, wears backwards hats and strays from tennis to talk about Georgia football.

"I think they're going to be good," he says of the Bulldogs' 2015 season. "If you can run the ball like Georgia can, their offensive line, they returned everyone, they got a running back in Nick Chubb."

Isner calls his American standing an "honor," but he also says he is a "realist." American tennis is far from the days of names like Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors, let alone Roddick and James Blake.

John Isner And Roger Federer

"If I was No. 13 in the world (current ranking and U.S. Open seed) in the 1990s or early 2000s, I'd be the fourth-highest ranked American, but that's really none of my concern," Isner says. "I can't control what anyone else does, but I'm very proud to be the top-ranked American."

Isner currently heads a U.S. crop with only one other player seeded at the U.S. Open, No. 28 Jack Sock. Sam Querrey is the world No. 38 and Steve Johnson is No. 47.

"Now that I am the No. 1 American, I expect to be the No. 1American for this year and next year and the year after," says Isner, who participated in American Express's Rally On The River before the U.S. Open.

His accomplishments are not Hall of Fame level, but they garner respect. He reached a quarterfinal at the 2011 U.S. Open, and Isner has made the fourth round at four majors. In April 2012, he reached a career high ranking of No. 9.

He also beat Federer once in five tries. In a 2012 Davis Cup match against Switzerland, Isner disposed of Federer in four sets. This time around, it was Federer winning the first set before Isner took the next three.

John Isner Serve

In other news, Isner is hoping Georgia wins its ivalry game this year:

"On paper, they should beat Florida," says Isner, who witnessed the Gators upset the Bulldogs a year ago. "Over the last 20 years, Florida has really dominated. Hopefully, Georgia can turn the tide a bit."

In Athens, the Bulldogs have a hungry fan base waiting for Georgia to compete for a national title again. In Flushing Meadows, American men's tennis fans are rooting for Isner to be a light in otherwise dim decade for the sport in the U.S.

Isner's journey starts Tuesday with No. 81 Malek Jaziri of Tunisia.

Cutler George

His words should not be taken lightly, considering he played with or against Hall of Fame quarterbacks Dan Marino, Warren Moon, Joe Montana and Steve Young, among others.

"To this day I've never seen anybody throw the ball the way Jeff George did," said former NFL cornerback Alan Grant, who was in the same Colts draft class as George. "The way he threw the ball was just mesmerizing. It was incredible … it was like it was coming out of that Jugs machine."

Former Broncos coach Mike Shanahan also was mesmerized by Jay Cutler's passes. He said that Cutler had a stronger arm than John Elway, Shanahan's former quarterback who had one of the most powerful in NFL history.

George and Cutler not only own better arms than many of the all-time greats, but they also share similar statistics -- especially when taking into account that the latter has played in a much more passing-friendly decade.

George (1990-2001):
124 starts, 57.9 completion percentage, 27,602 yards, 154 TDs, 113 INTs, 358 sacks, 80.4 QB rating, one playoff win

Cutler (2006-2014):
119 starts, 61.7 completion percentage, 27,749 yards, 183 TDs, 130 INTs, 256 sacks, 85.2 QB rating, one playoff win

Jay Cutler is Jeff George 2.0.

George Cutler

Both the Colts and Broncos traded up in the first round to select the Indiana-born quarterbacks. The Colts then traded George to the Falcons after four years; the Broncos traded Cutler to the Bears after three.

Both were sought after because of their terrific arms, though that attribute has not translated to sustained success on the field.

"Their personalities are similar where they’re kind of standoffish," said Bobby Hebert, who played quarterback with George on the Falcons and now works on Saints broadcasts. "Both of them (had) great arms … but it's not the end-all when it comes to the NFL."


Cutler has been called everything from apathetic (a result of dismissive body language that has been mocked on the website, Smokin’ Jay Cutler) to a malingerer (after his mysterious knee injury, which sidelined him during the NFC championship game in 2011) to a bad teammate (cursing and pushing J'Marcus Webb).

After the Broncos' 52-21 loss to the Chargers in Week 17 of the 2008 season, he publicly blamed the defense. After a Chicago victory in 2013, a reporter witnessed a security guard excitedly tell Cutler, "I'll see you tomorrow!" The quarterback brushed past without acknowledging him.


In Atlanta the offensive linemen were less enamored with George and got along better with Hebert, though the wide receivers liked George's pinpoint accuracy.

During 7-on-7 drills, George would spin 50-yard crossing passes on target. Falcons quarterbacks coach Darrel "Mouse" Davis remembers one Atlanta practice session when George faced a pass rush, rolled out to the right and fired a perfect sidearm pass for 20-plus yards.

"It was truly amazing," said Davis, the innovator of the run-and-shoot offense. "He could throw sidearm better than most guys could overhand."

Coaches -- as they did with Cutler -- would marvel at that kind of ability and think they could mold him.

"That one fundamental action of throwing the ball -- no one could deny," Grant said. "That's why no matter what happened, wherever he was, he kept getting opportunities. Every coach was like, 'well, I can make that work.'"

George started at quarterback for 10 offensive coordinators during his 12 years. Cutler’s offensive coordinator for the 2015 season is Adam Gase, and that represents his sixth different offensive coordinator in the past 10 years.

Cutler takes sacks because he holds onto the ball too long. Similarly, George -- instead of taking what the defense gave him -- would too often go for the 40-yard reception even if a blitz was bearing down on him.

But the ultimate undoing of George, whom critics labeled as arrogant and hardheaded, might have been his inability to get along with some of his head coaches.

After head coach June Jones benched George during a 33-18 loss to the Eagles in September 1996, the Falcons coach and quarterback yelled at each other on the sidelines. The team suspended George four games. The Redskins also released him after Marty Schottenheimer’s sideline squabble with George.

Jones George

"He had the belief that he was the best," Davis said. "When someone doubted him, he would flare up."

Cutler seems less combative toward his coaches but has issues with his on-the-field decision making.

While Davis praised George's ability to pick up the run-and-shoot -- a scheme similar to many of the spread offenses run by teams today -- Cutler can struggle to read defenses. It's a reason -- in addition to being overconfident in his own prodigious arm strength -- that he led all NFL quarterbacks in turnovers during 2014.

Cutler threw 18 interceptions, including one to Dolphins safety Reshad Jones during Miami's 27-14 victory.

"He was looking where he threw the ball," Jones said. "He was always looking at his receivers and never looking off."

After the Saints defeated the Bears 31-15 on Monday Night Football last season, New Orleans cornerback Keenan Lewis said they stifled Cutler by creating pre-snap confusion.

"He got fooled," said Hebert, who does Saints pregame and postgame shows for WWL radio. "He would get tricked. And coaches know that."


Despite these flaws, Cutler has shown flashes. In 2007 while losing more than 30 pounds due to suffering from undiagnosed diabetic issues, he battled to complete 63.6 percent of his passes for 3,497 yards, 20 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. He has thrown for more than 3,500 yards and at least 25 touchdowns on three occasions, including the 2008 season when he made the Pro Bowl.

Jay Cutler

George also had his moments, throwing for 3,734 and 4,143 yards in back-to-back seasons. He led the league in passing yards in 1997 with 3,917, but his Raiders went 4-12. Two years later, though, he threw 23 touchdowns and 12 interceptions while leading the Vikings to an 8-2 record.

A main difference is that Cutler has been on just two teams. George, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1990 NFL draft, became a journeyman, playing for five franchises -- Colts, Falcons, Raiders, Vikings and Redskins -- not including a 2004 stint with the Bears for whom he didn't play a game.

This Bears season is a crucial one for the 32-year-old Cutler. If he underperforms, it could be his last in Chicago. On June 1, 2016, his cap hit reportedly will drop more than $15 million from 2015, making it more palatable for Chicago to endure the dead money and move on without him.

The time to salvage his career is now. Otherwise, his complete potential will remain untapped -- like a cannon-armed quarterback who tempted myriad coaches two decades ago.

Serena Williams squints her eyes and thinks. So many things come natural to her. When asked if she recalls her first match at Arthur Ashe Stadium, she is unsure.

"I don't remember," Williams says. "I want to say maybe I played Spirlea, yeah? Pulled that out of my memory. That was a long time ago. I remember winning that and feeling really good. It was a really tough match for me, so I don't remember how I felt, I just remember winning that match."

Uh, actually she didn't. That's how long ago it was.

A 16-year-old Williams made her U.S. Open debut in 1998. After advancing to the third round, she got her first chance to play in Arthur Ashe Stadium. She lost to 24-year-old Irina Spirlea 6-3, 0-6, 7-5.

Serena Fist Pump

One year after losing to Spîrlea, she won her first of six U.S. Opens and 21 Grand Slam titles. Her career prize money of $73,293,424 is more than double of the next player.

Williams, who will turn 34 on Sept. 26, has a résumé that makes an argument for being the greatest tennis player of all-time and yada, yada, yada. But the real story is what Williams is doing at her age.

Serena Scream

Williams turned 30 just after the 2011 U.S. Open. As the No. 28 seed, she reached the final, but was trounced 6-2, 6-3 by Samantha Stosur. For the first time since 2006, Williams went a calendar year without a Grand Slam.

Williams had nothing to be ashamed of. A career of 13 grand slam titles would have been more than enough.

Instead, Williams has strung together arguably her four strongest years, including her best season in 2015. Eight of Williams' major titles came after her 30th birthday. She is 48-2 this season and in July, she became the first No. 1 player in WTA history to have double the points of the No. 2 player.

Imagine Derek Jeter batting .375 last season or Michael Jordan winning an MVP with the Wizards or Wayne Gretzky still notching 150 points in his Rangers twilight.

The last time a 30-something woman's player won two Grand Slams in a season was Martina Navratilova in 1987 at 30. Williams has three at 33 and there is still one to go.

"Getting stronger is difficult," says 14-time men's Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal. "She is amazing. With all the things that she is doing, I'm just going to congratulate her for all the success and wish her the best. It will be amazing if all [the records] happen."

Serena Trophy

With a victory at this year's U.S. Open, Williams will tie Steffi Graf's record 22 Grand Slam titles (Margaret Court has 24 but 13 before the Open Era) and become the second female to win a calendar Grand Slam. Graf did it in 1988, bridging ages 18 and 19.

"I feel like there's always another record," Williams says. "Then there's always another person to catch up with or to pass. I never really thought I would be in this position where I would even be talking about records, talking about passing Steffi Graf or even mentioning Margaret Court."

Another record: Williams is tied with Chris Evert for most U.S. Open title at six.

"I had no idea of that," she says. "That sounds really cool. But hopefully if things don't work out this year, I'm obviously going to be here next year and have another chance."

Since 2012, Williams has worked with coach Patrick Mouratoglou, a move she credits for putting together the second act of her career. The founder of the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in France, he became Williams' first coach aside from her parents, Richard Williams and Oracene Price.

Players do not really fire their parents, and Williams still considers her father a coach. Mouratoglou was a catalyst to a career Richard built.

"I think my father is probably the best coach ever because if we talk about numbers, he's got a lot and he's only had two players," Williams says. "Imagine if he had three."

Serena And Venus

Serena and Venus have combined 28 singles titles and 13 in doubles in Grand Slams, plus Olympic gold medals (two singles, three doubles).

Graf was the unquestioned queen of the Open Era until Williams' late career push. Graf's 377 weeks at No. 1 in the world still has a cushion, but her other records are vulnerable.

"I've seen a lot of things that she's posted," Williams says of Graf. "She's always been so supportive. I know her husband, Andre [Agassi], who has been incredibly supportive. I feel that love and support. I really love that, when someone is trying to do the best that they can, that someone as great as Steffi is there to be supportive and be happy for the next person."


Graf and Williams competed in two different eras, but some athletes just seem like they would have been a star regardless when they played.

"You can't help but admire her," John Isner, the top-ranked American male, says. "She's 33 or 34. She's completely dominant. It's amazing. It's a testament to how much she hates to lose and how hard she works. She really wants to cement her legacy. You can argue if she wins this U.S. Open, she's the greatest female athlete ever. There's a lot riding on this tournament."

Madison Keys, 20, the second-seeded American woman at No. 19, had not turned 1 when Williams turned pro. Williams beat a 17-year-old Martina Hingis for her first major in 1998. She beat a 21-year-old Garbiñe Muguruza to win Wimbledon in 2015

"I admired her growing up," says 21-year-old Monica Puig of Puerto Rico. "She was very powerful, very dominant and so strong. We're both very strong athletes. It was something I could look up to."

Serena and Venus have never been afraid to voice their opinions on civil rights and other political issues. This year, Williams ended a 14-year boycott of the Indian Wells Masters after the sisters endured racist comments in 2001.

Serena Vika Maria

"I look at someone like Althea [Gibson] and Zina [Garrison]," Williams says. "Let's face it, I have it a lot easier than them. There are so many barriers that have been broken. When I look at it in that point of view, that aspect, a whole weight is like lifted off my shoulders. I feel like I have nothing to complain about. I'm doing well and I'm really happy to be here."

She is still here. At 33. Having arguably the best season in tennis history.

"I have always dreamt of winning the Grand Slam," she says. "Again, it was just a dream. I never thought I would be close to doing something like that."

How about doing it well past your 33rd birthday?

Serena Williams has come a long way from the loss to Spîrlea at 16. So much so, she has a fuzzy memory of her first match at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Lil B has spent the past few years tormenting NBA superstars such as Kevin Durant and James Harden on social media. Now, he may have the chance to take the court against them.

Out of the blue, the Delaware 87ers of the D-League offered the viral rapper a tryout:

Of course, for starters, #TYBG means, "Thank you, Based God," an ode to Lil B's nickname.

Enticed with the offer, Lil B accepted the tryout with the 76ers' affiliate just about an hour later:

As for Lil B's scouting report, he is undersized with a mediocre shot. This is evident in Lil B's video, "F*ck KD (Kevin Durant Diss)." The track, part of Lil B's "Hoop Life" mixtape, includes such classic lines as, "Three-point on this b**** like Dirk Nowitzki, up in the club like Dirk Nowitzki," "I'm Latrell Sprewell, I choked the coach" and "Let's play a game of 21, it's really fun, I got half-court shots and I'll post you up."

Note: Explicit language below.

Lil B knows the road will be tough, but he has examples to make him believe. He retweeted @FreakyChef_21, who goes by the Twitter name, "The Based President."

Last spring, the Bay Area native trolled James Harden on social media for the entire Warriors-Rockets series for a celebration Lil B equated to his "cooking dance." After Harden's 45-point effort helped Houston avoid being swept in the Western Conference Finals, Lil B decided to make the trip to Oracle Arena for Game 5. He sat behind the Rockets bench. Harden set an NBA playoff-record with 13 turnovers and the Warriors won, 104-90.

Lil B lifted the curse after the game:

In the NBA Finals, Lil B appeared to curse many of the Cavs, but Iman Shumpert salvaged some of the rift. Lil B's Warriors still claimed the title.

Lately, Lil B has focused on politics. The rapper changed his endorsement from Hillary Clinton to Bernie Sanders.

If the D-League does not work out, perhaps politics can be a fallback.

Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter has gotten a lot of mileage out of his squeaky-clean image. If you ask the president, it's all a show.

A recent golf outing with the Yankees great ended up with Barack Obama getting burned on the course. As Obama explained to Politico, Jeter -- along with the help of Las Vegas Sun owner Brian Greenspun -- may have hustled the POTUS by understating his golf game.

"It was clearly a set-up, because when we got to the practice range, he was shanking balls everywhere," Obama told Politico. "I said, 'You play golf, Derek?' And he said, 'I just started 2 weeks ago.'"

Trying to be a gentleman, Obama spotted Jeter 30 strokes. Jeter went on to win handily.

"We had to take a picture of me handing Derek Jeter money at the end of the game," Obama said.

Despite the feeling that Jeter "stole money from me," as Obama put it, he walked away happy with the experience. And don't feel bad that Obama lost a few bucks on the course -- their golf outing was part of a larger fundraiser that saw 104 participants pay up to $33,400 a piece.

The other interesting takeaway: Of Jeter was able to beat Obama, even with a nice stroke lead, he's probably a long way from wet-behind-the-ears at the game. Last week, Obama teamed with Ray Allen and beat NBA MVP Stephen Curry and his father, Dell, at an outing on Martha's Vineyard.

The Currys are avid golfers, so Obama's win is a stamp of achievement. Plus, it supports the president's theory that Jeter hustled him.

Obama will swallow this loss, but he's learned better than to trust Jeter in a competitive setting.

Most college students have the luxury of setting their own bedtimes. University of Pittsburgh football players are excluded from such freedoms.

Pat Narduzzi

In fact, their bedtimes aren't just handed to them -- they're enforced by one of their dormitory mates.

The man in charge? Head football coach Pat Narduzzi.

"I feel like I'm back in college!" said Narduzzi, according to a feature in The Wall Street Journal. A first-year coach bunking with his players might sound like an effort to create a chemistry within the team, but Narduzzi's reasoning is far more practical.

He wants his players to get enough sleep every night. Sleeping in the same building as them helps establish those sleep hygiene habits. And Narduzzi's concern doesn't merely lie with the trouble players can find when out late at night. He's leaning on science that encourages his athletes to get healthy amounts of sleep every night.

Across the college football landscape, one of the hottest statistics among its head coaches concerns the number of hours players sleep on a given night. Coaches are pulling out all the stops to make sure their student-athletes are well-rested.

Narduzzi's strategy is to enforce a lights-out policy in the dorms. Other coaches are more intensive in their approach: Tennessee's Butch Jones brought in sleep coaches to help the team through summer football camp, and sensors are hooked up to players to measure the quality of their sleep.

At the University of Houston, head coach Tom Herman schedules time for afternoon naps.

"We dived into the science of that a little bit," Herman tells the WSJ. "Nowadays you've got to tell them how [a lack of sleep] negatively affects your body and performance."

Narduzzi's approach is simpler -- lights are out every night at 10:30. He says proof of his program's success is out on the field. In such a competitive landscape, every extra bit makes a difference.

Northwestern began experimenting with sleep schedules in 2012.

Stephen Curry

At a golf event in San Francisco on Wednesday, Warriors star Stephen Curry discussed his recent experience playing golf with the president. Like Barack Obama, Curry is a skilled golfer himself -- he told the media he began playing when he was 12, and while the NBA season doesn't allow for many rounds, he tries to catch up in the offseason.

Obama's game, on the other hand, is a sight to behold. When asked to demonstrate how the president plays, Curry said Obama's approach is quick -- two practice swings and a fast shot.

Then Curry was asked to imitate Obama's golf swing. To demonstrate the left-hander's stroke, Curry turned his club upside down and let it rip.

@stephencurry30 does his impression of @barackobama's golf swing ⛳️. Via B/R snapchat: bleacherreport

A video posted by Bleacher Report (@bleacherreport) on

Teasing aside, Obama teamed up with Ray Allen against Curry and his father, Dell, and POTUS came away the winner. Curry said Allen's game is smooth and sharp, just like his three-point shooting.

As for Obama's fast approach, it's hard to blame the man. He's got things to do and places to go.

Syndicate content