July 31, 2007: The Minnesota Timberwolves trade future Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Al Jefferson, Sebastian Telfair, Theo Ratliff, Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, and two first-round draft picks.

After spending the first 12 seasons of his career as the center of the Timberwolves franchise, Garnett was finally set to play for a contender in search of his first championship.

Coming off a 24-58 season in 2006-07, the Celtics essentially gutted their entire roster aside from Paul Pierce in order to acquire Ray Allen from the Supersonics, and Garnett from the Timberwolves.

Celtics fans had high expectations coming into 2007-08 season, after adding two future Hall of Fame players to their roster. In a weeks time Vegas had moved the Celtics odds of winning the title from 100-1 to 5-1.

They did not disappoint. The team opened the season winning their first eight games, and finished the year with league-best 66-16 record, and earned home court advantage throughout the NBA playoffs.

Clearly the favorites going into the playoffs, the expectation was to win a championship, and anything else would have been considered a disappointment. The Celtics struggled in their first two postseason series. Both the Hawks and the Cavaliers forced them to seven games.

Facing the Pistons in the conference finals, the Celtics were able to defeat them in six games.

The Celtics were now set to resume the NBA's most famous rivalry, facing Kobe Bryant and the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers in the finals.

Going into the series the Celtics had an NBA-best 16 championships under their belt, and the Lakers had the second-most with 14. This renewed the rivalry 21 years after their last meeting in the 1987 NBA Finals.

Behind Garnett, who had won Defensive Player of the Year that season, the Celtics were able to defeat the Lakers in six games.

Beating their biggest rival was the icing on the cake for a fairy-tale season. It also secured the legacies of future Hall of Famers Pierce, Allen, and Garnett, each of whom earned their first championship rings.

NFL linebacker DeMarcus Ware was born on July 31, 1982.

Ware was born in Alabama and attended Auburn High School, along with fellow NFL players Osi Umenyiora and Marcus Washington. As a senior he lead the team to an undefeated record, playing as a wide receiver and linebacker.

He spent four years at Troy University, and was named Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year in his senior season. The Dallas Cowboys selected Ware with the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft.

In his rookie season with the Cowboys, Ware started every game and recorded eight sacks, tied for a team high.

During Ware's second year in the league he registered 11.5 sacks, the most ever by a Cowboy's linebacker. He added a fumble recovery and an interception, both returned for touchdowns. As a result, he was invited to the first Pro Bowl of his career, and was also named Second-Team All-Pro.

This began a seven-season streak (2006-12) of Ware making the Pro Bowl, while not missing a single game in the process. He had double-digit sack totals in each season, with a career high of 20 in 2008.

When the Cowboys played the defending Champion New York Giants in the 2012 season opener, Ware sacked Eli Manning twice, making him the second-fastest player behind only Reggie White to reach 100 sacks (113 games).

In the 2014 offseason, Ware signed with the Denver Broncos on a three-year deal. He finished the season with 10 sacks.

The four-time First-team All-Pro linebacker is currently 14th on the NFL's all-time sack list, and is still climbing.

July 30, 2005: Under commissioner David Stern, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association agreed on a new six-year collective bargaining agreement which, among many other things, banned players from being drafted to the NBA directly out of high school.

The debate on whether or not players should be allowed to declare for the NBA Draft right out of high school was one of Stern's primary initiatives during his time as commissioner of the NBA.

In the decade prior to the rule change in 2005, there were many successful basketball players that made the transition straight from prep-to-pro.

Beginning with Kevin Garnett in 1995, the list includes other successful players such as: Tracy McGrady, Kobe Bryant, Jermaine O'Neal, Amar'e Stoudemire, Dwight Howard, and of course LeBron James.

This polarizing topic featured strong opinions from both sides.

Those in favor of allowing high school players declare for the NBA Draft argued that if 18-year-olds could skip college to fight in a war, 18-year-olds should also be allowed to turn professional.

Additionally, as long as teams showed a willingness to keep drafting high schoolers, people believed it was unfair to deny players the right to accept an offer providing them with a means of income.

Those in opposition believed that it was detrimental to the league to have so many players without college experience, and that it set a bad precedent for younger kids. It also led to NBA teams investing in players who were, by and large, unknown products.

To the dismay of many current and former NBA players, the league settled on the rule change that players must be at least one year removed from high school (19 years old) before they could declare for the draft.

Below is a video of Brandon Roy and Amar'e Stoudemire discussing their opinions about the one and done phenomena:

The current climate of the NCAA is definitely not perfect. There has been a massive wave of top prospects opting to go to college for one year in order to meet the NBA's requirements (also known as "one and done's") before going to the NBA.

At the same time, there have been scandals where schools have been caught throwing money and material items at the prospects in an attempt to recruit them.

In addition, the integrity of a college education has been compromised in some instances, exemplified by the scandal at the University of North Carolina.

The controversy was that players remained academically eligible by enrolling in courses designed to make it easy for student athletes to receive good grades, and even having tutors assigned to do the player's work for them.

It has been exactly ten years since the NBA decided to require players be one year removed from high school. Has this change been good for the overall quality of basketball? It depends on who you ask.


Chris Mullin was born July 30, 1963.

Mullin was named New York State's "Mr. Basketball" and was recruited by legendary coach Lou Carnesecca to play at St. John's. He won Big East Player of the Year three times.

Mullin was selected seventh overall by the Golden State Warriors in the 1985 NBA draft. In his first three seasons with the Warriors he mostly played shooting guard, averaging more 15 points a game.

Don Nelson became the Warriors head coach in the 1988-89 season and shifted Mullin over to small forward, where he flourished. This began a five-year stretch which is easily considered the prime of his career. The high scoring run-and-gun trio of Mullin, Tim Hardaway, and Mitch Richmond were dubbed "Run TMC," and they turned the Warriors into a perennial playoff team. During this run, Mullin averaged at least 25 points a game in every season, made five consecutive All-Star appearances and earned All-NBA First Team in 1992.

Once Mullin reached 30, his play began to decline, and he struggled to stay healthy. Eventually he was traded to the Indiana Pacers for Erick Dampier and Duane Ferrell. After playing with the Pacers for three seasons, Mullin decided to return to Golden State for the 2000-01 season, which would be his last.

Mullin won two Olympic Gold Medals, one as a member of the 1992 "Dream Team".

He was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011, and his number was retired by the Warriors.

July 29, 1996: American sprinter Michael Johnson sets an Olympic record of 43.49 seconds in the 400 meters.

Unveiling a brand new pair of golden spikes just before the 400 finals in Atlanta, Johnson put some gaudy expectations on himself to perform on the world's biggest stage.

Fortunately for the 28-year-old sprinter, the substance far surpassed the hype.

Johnson started in Lane 4 because of his top qualifying mark in the semifinals. His dominance wasn't initially obvious due to the staggering of the track lanes, but by the final curve, it was clear to all that the question to answer was not who would win, but rather by how much.

"The Man With the Golden Shoes" proceeded to finish a historical race, finishing in a still-standing Olympic record time of 43.49 seconds to win the race by nearly a full second. Three days later, Johnson set a world record in the 200 meters, becoming only man in Olympic history to win both the 200 and 400 at the same Games.

Johnson's historic week was the centerpiece of a dominant American track team. The mens' national team combined to win gold medals in 10 of the Games' 24 track and field events, carrying the country to a world-leading 44 gold medals in the Olympics as a whole.

Although Johnson's 1996 race was just off the existing world record by Butch Reynolds, he soon surpassed that as well, running a blistering 43.18 seconds as a 31-year-old in 1999 to set a still-standing record in the 400m race. Johnson held the 200 meter and 400 meter world records simultaneously for nearly nine years, until Jamaica's Usain Bolt broke the former during the 2008 Olympics.

Johnson finished his career with five Olympic gold medals (although one was eventually stripped due to the doping of 4x400 relay teammate Antonio Pettigrew). Johnson, now 47, was inducted into the United States Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2004, and now works as a commentator for BBC.

Dak Prescott was born July 29, 1993.

After graduating Haughton High School in Louisiana, Prescott redshirted as a true freshman and then only threw 29 passes while backing up Tyler Russell in 2012.

Russell returned for his senior season in 2013, but sustained a concussion in a Week 1 loss to Oklahoma State. Prescott took over and kept the starting job. Prescott finished the 2013 season with 1,940 passing yards, 829 rushing yards and 25 total touchdowns, eventually winning the Liberty Bowl MVP trophy for his five-touchdown effort in the Bulldogs' 44-7 win over Rice.

The epic bowl game was a sign of things to come for the 6-2 quarterback. During a three-week stretch from late September to early October in 2014, the Bulldogs faced three AP top 10 teams in No. 8 LSU, No. 6 Texas A&M and No. 2 Auburn. Prescott led them to victory all three times, accounting for 11 total touchdowns and surpassing 300 total yards each time. Some of his early 2014 season highlights can be seen here:

Mississippi State started 9-0, becoming the nation's consensus No. 1 team and starting a very compelling Heisman Trophy campaign for Prescott. Although the team proceeded to lose three of its final four games, Prescott still finished eighth in the 2014 Heisman voting, finishing the season with 3,449 passing yards, 27 passing touchdowns, 11 interceptions, 986 rushing yards, 14 rushing touchdowns and even one receiving touchdown (coming at the 1:10 mark in the above video).

Prescott's totals of 4,470 offensive yards and 42 touchdowns were both the fifth highest in the nation, and both were also Mississippi State school records. Prescott was only 14 rushing yards shy of becoming the sixth Division I-A player ever to reach 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in the same season, and he was chosen to the All-SEC First Team.

After leading Mississippi State to its first 10-win season since 1999 and its first BCS Bowl appearance (playing in the Orange Bowl) since 1941, Prescott chose to return for his senior season, where he will once again start for the Bulldogs. Prescott will join TCU's Trevone Boykin and Ohio State's J.T. Barrett as the only returning quarterbacks to have received Heisman votes in 2014.


DeMeco Ryans was born July 28, 1984.

In a nine-year NFL career to date, the inside linebacker has become renowned for his run-stopping abilities, making 921 total tackles and 703 solo stops in 126 career games.

After graduating Jess Lanier High School in 2002, Ryans chose to stay in state and suit up for the Alabama Crimson Tide, and he became one of the nation's most feared defenders in his four-year career. Ryans won the 2005 SEC Defensive Player of the Year Trophy and was a consensus selection as a first-team All American.

Ryans was selected 33rd overall in the 2006 NFL draft by the Houston Texans, and he didn't take long to assert himself, immediately gaining a starting job as an inside linebacker. As a 22-year-old rookie, Ryans started all 16 games and led the entire league in solo tackles with 125 (16 ahead of second-place Lance Briggs).

The 6-1 linebacker finished with more than 100 total tackles in each of the next three years, starting 16 games in each year and earning Pro Bowl appearances after the 2007 and 2009 seasons.

After starting the 2010 season with 50 total tackles in the first five games, Ryans tore his left Achilles tendon in a Week 6 loss to the Jaguars. Ryans proceeded to miss the rest of the season as Brian Cushing slid into his inside linebacker role.

Due to Cushing's emergence, Ryans was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles before the 2012 season, where he has resurged as a top run-stuffer, becoming affectionately known to fans and players as "Mufasa" for his defensive leadership. Ryans started all 16 games and made 113 tackles in 2012, highlights of which can be seen here:

Then, in 2013, Ryans was even better, finishing eighth in the NFL with 102 solo stops (the most since his rookie season) while also securing two interceptions.

Ryans' 2014 season ended after eight games, this time after rupturing his right Achilles tendon in a Week 9 win over his former team.

Ryans expects to be ready for training camp, but his starting spot won't be guaranteed this season In addition to returnee Mychal Kendricks (83 total tackles in 12 games last season), the Eagles traded for fellow inside linebacker Kiko Alonso (158 tackles in 2013).


July 28, 1994: Texas Rangers pitcher Kenny Rogers throws a perfect game in a 4-0 win over the California Angels.

It is the 14th perfect game in MLB history.

After legendary Texas pitcher Nolan Ryan retired in 1993, it seemed likely that the Rangers' perfect game drought since their inception in 1961 would only continue.

However, with Rogers on the mound in a mid-season A.L West matchup against the Angels, Jose Canseco hit two early home runs, and Ivan Rodriguez had another, giving the Rangers a quick 4-0 lead after three innings.

The head-start was more than enough for Rogers to work with.

The 29-year old ace steamrolled his way through an Angels lineup featuring stars like Jim Edmonds and Bo Jackson, keeping the team's lead intact while inching his way toward history.

By the top of the ninth inning, Rogers had already thrown 90 pitches, struck out Edmonds twice, fanned Jackson three times, and just needed to retire the Angels' bottom three batters to seal the perfect game.

In baseball, it seems that every perfect game needs to have that one great defensive play to save it, and Rogers got his at an opportune time. The Angels' first batter of the ninth inning, Rex Hudler, hit a line drive to right-center field, but the Rangers' Rusty Greer came up with a huge diving catch to keep Rogers' bid for perfection alive. The whole ninth inning can be seen in this video, with Greer's catch coming at around the 17-second mark:

Rogers finished with 98 pitches and eight strikeouts. There have now been 23 perfect games in MLB history, but Rogers remains the most recent Ranger to have thrown a no-hitter or perfect game.

Rogers played 20 seasons and made four All-Star games. Rogers, now 50, last played in 2008, and was inducted into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame in 2011.

July 27, 1984: Pete Rose of the Montreal Expos records the 3,053rd single of his career, passing Ty Cobb for the most all time.

Going up against former teammate Steve Carlton of the Philadelphia Phillies, Rose singles in the third inning of a 6-1 victory to break Cobb's record.

Rose spent the first 16 seasons of his career with the Cincinnati Reds, before going to the Philadelphia Phillies for another five seasons. In 1983 Rose decided to sign a one-year deal with the Expos who were willing to feature him as an everyday player.

Earlier in the season, Rose joined Cobb (exactly 21 years after his first hit) as the only two players to reach the 4,000 hit club.

During his remarkable 24-year career Rose compiled 4,256 hits, the all-time record. In addition he holds all-time records for the most games played (3,562), at-bats (14,053), singles (3,215) and outs (10,328).

Rose was a member of the "Big Red Machine" of the 1970's, which won the World Series in 1975 and 1976.

Throughout Rose's career he made 17 All-Star appearances, won three World Series rings, and was named the NL MVP of the 1973 season.

An investigation into Rose's gambling while manager of the Reds led to a lifetime ban from baseball.


July 25, 1992: The 1992 Olympics open in Barcelona, Spain, launching one of the most memorable games ever.

While best known as the first Olympic Games to allow NBA players to participate, giving us the Dream Team, Barcelona gave us so much more to remember, starting off with a torching lighting that became an instant classic:


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The '92 Olympics were the first to be held after the end of the Cold War and the fall of the USSR, which also meant that they were the first games without boycotts since 1972 and the first time Croatia, Slovenia and Czechoslovakia had sent their own teams since 1936. The rest of the Soviet Republics competed alongside Russia under the name Unified Team.

It was also the first time Germany sent a unified team since 1964. South Africa was allowed to participate for the first time since 1960, after ending Apartheid.

It was the first time baseball was featured at the Olympics as a medal sport, with Cuba winning the gold, Chinese Taipei winning silver, and Japan winning bronze.

Chinese female high diver Fu Mingxia also became the youngest Olympic gold medalist of all time, a record that still stands today.

The Unified Team ended up taking the most medals with 112 total, 45 gold, 38 silver and 29 bronze. The U.S. was close on their heels, with 108 total medals, 37 gold, 34 silver and 37 bronze.

But the Dream Team was the centerpiece.

Walter Payton was born July 25, 1954.

In his legendary 13-year NFL career, Payton set a plethora of rushing records, a few of which still stand today, on his way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Payton only started playing football his junior year of high school in Columbia, Mississippi, because he didn't want to compete with his older brother and only agreed to join once Eddie graduated. Payton then gained the attention of major college scouts, but opted to go to Jackson State.

Payton was named Black College Player of the Year in 1974, and rushed for 3,500 yards and averaging 6.1 yards per carry at Jackson State. Payton also gained his nickname, Sweetness, in college during the Senior Bowl college all-star game.

Payton was selected fourth overall in the 1975 NFL draft by the Chicago Bears, behind Steve Bartkowski, Randy White and Ken Huff.

Payton had a rough rookie season running the football, amassing only 679 yards and seven touchdowns. On the other hand, he led the league in kickoff returns.

Payton improved to 1,390 yards and 13 touchdowns the following year. This performance earned him a spot in the 1977 Pro Bowl, where he was voted MVP.

Payton also quickly became known around the league for his versatility. He is remembered as one of the best blocking and receiving backs in NFL history and would even punt and occasionally play quarterback for the Bears.

After his initial breakout year, Payton continued to improve and rushed for 1,852 yards and scored 16 touchdowns the following season, where he won 1977 NFL MVP award.

Payton and the Bears made the playoffs four times, winning Super Bowl XX in 1985. Although the team was largely known for its defense, many consider it to be the best squad of all time, Payton was a key contributor throughout the season, despite not scoring a touchdown in the game.

Payton adhered to his motto, "Never Die Easy" throughout his NFL career until calling it quits after the 1987 season. By the time he ended his career, Payton had amassed 16,726 rushing yards and 110 rushing touchdowns, both records at the time.

Payton died on Nov. 1, 1999, of bile duct cancer, but in the final weeks of his life worked with author Don Yaeger to create his autobiography, inspirationally titled, "Never Die Easy."

Jordan Spieth was born July 27, 1993.

Hailing from Dallas, Speith won the U.S. Junior Amateur in 2009 and 2011. He joined Tiger Woods as the only players to ever win the event multiple times.

In his freshman year with the Longhorns, the first-team All-American led his team to a NCAA Championship, and was voted as the Big 12 Freshman of the Year, as well as the Player of the Year.

Spieth earned a spot in his first major, and participated in the 2012 U.S. Open after Brandt Snedeker withdrew. He placed 21st, and had the best performance of any amateur in the tournament.

After Patrick Cantlay turned professional, Spieth took over the No. 1 spot in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.

In 2012, halfway through his sophomore year at Texas, the 19-year-old Spieth decided to turn professional. At the end of the year in 2013, he was named PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, and was ranked 22nd in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Spieth made his debut at the Masters in 2014, where he finished as the runner-up behind Bubba Watson. Shooting no worse then an even-par in any round, the Masters performance moved Spieth into the top 10 of the world rankings for the first time in his young career.

Fast-forwarding a year later, Spieth was back at the Masters in search of his first ever major. He shot a 64 (-8) in the opening round, giving him a three-stroke lead. The following day, Spieth shot a 66, breaking the 36-hole Masters scoring record, and was 14-under par through two rounds. After briefly being 19-under par on the final day, Spieth bogeyed the last hole and ended at 18-under. This achievement tied Tiger Woods 1997 record for the best performance at the Masters. He subsequently moved up to #2 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Here's a recap of Speith's final round highlights at the 2015 Masters:

A couple months later, Spieth won the 2015 U.S. Open, making him the sixth player ever to win the Masters and U.S. Open back-to-back. Tiger Woods was the last player to achieve the feat, in 2002. In addition, Spieth became the youngest player (21) to win the U.S. Open since Bobby Jones in 1923.

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