Yahoo Sports AM: City of champions

In today's edition: Celtics win 18th title, MLB Awards races, Euro 2024 in photos, the NASCAR-ification of college sports, and more.

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🚨 Headlines

⚾️ Cole set for return: Reigning Cy Young winner Gerrit Cole (elbow) will make his season debut on Wednesday for the Yankees, who've compiled the league's best record and ERA even in his absence.

🏈 Miles sues LSU: Former LSU football coach Les Miles is suing the school over its decision to vacate 37 wins from his time in Baton Rouge (recruiting violations), as it lowered his career win percentage beneath the threshold required for Hall of Fame eligibility.

⚾️ CWS update: Florida beat NC State, 5-4, to eliminate the Wolfpack and Texas A&M beat Kentucky, 5-1, to advance to the semifinals on Day 4 of the CWS.

⛳️ Rory speaks: Rory McIlroy addressed his U.S. Open collapse, lamenting "probably the toughest" day of his career and saying he plans to take a few weeks off to focus on next month's Scottish Open (July 11) and Open Championship (July 18).

⚾️ MLB combine: MLB's fourth annual draft combine begins today in Phoenix, where 319 prospects will participate in organized workouts, medical evaluations and interviews with all 30 clubs ahead of next month's draft.

🏆 Celtics win 18th championship

(Stefan Milic/Yahoo Sports)
(Stefan Milic/Yahoo Sports)

The Celtics cruised past the Mavericks, 106-88, on Monday to win their record 18th NBA title, one more than their rival Lakers.

  • The Lakers had previously won eight titles against Boston's one since 1986 (including three unanswered since 2008) to tie them with 17.

  • The Celtics now stand alone once again atop the NBA and trail only the Yankees (27) and Canadiens (24) for most championships in the four major sports.

City of champions: This ends a five-year title drought in Boston, which is the second-longest the city has ever experienced since the Celtics, Bruins, Patriots and Red Sox all existed. Must be nice.

  • Between the Celtics' 1986 NBA titles and the start of the 2001 NFL season, Boston's Big Four franchises didn't win a single title.

  • But beginning with the 2001 Patriots, they've now won 13 championships this century, the most of any city.

Brown wins MVP: Jaylen Brown earned Finals MVP honors after averaging 20.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.0 assists. That should forever silence the critics of his supermax contract and his left hand.

Tatum matches Bird: Jayson Tatum (31 points, 8 rebounds, 11 assists) became the first Celtic with 20 points, 10 assists and 5 rebounds in a Finals game since Larry Bird in 1986.

A dynasty in Boston? The NBA has had six different champions in six years. Could the Celtics spoil that trend and win back-to-back titles, if not more? Their playoff rotation is signed through next season and Tatum and Brown are still only 26 and 27, respectively.

From Yahoo Sports…

Offseason previews: Celtics | Mavericks

📸 Photo of the night

(Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Jayson Tatum celebrates with his son, Deuce. What a feeling.

⚾️ Our picks for MVP, Cy Young and ROY

(Bruno Rouby/Yahoo Sports)
(Bruno Rouby/Yahoo Sports)

As the MLB season nears its midway point with the All-Star Game just a month away, here are our top five contenders for MVP, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year.

AL MVP — Aaron Judge: With all due respect to what is a very crowded field, the Yankees captain is in a league of his own right now, leading the AL in doubles, homers, RBIs, walks, and of course slugging and OPS.

  1. Judge (CF, NYY): .299/.425/.686, 26 HR, 22 2B, 56 R, 64 RBI, 57 BB, 5.1 WAR

  2. Bobby Witt Jr. (SS, KC): .327/.377/.551, 11 HR, 19 2B, 7 3B, 59 R, 51 RBI, 21 SB, 4.3 WAR

  3. Gunnar Henderson (SS, BAL): .274/.370/.588, 22 HR, 4 3B, 56 R, 49 RBI, 9 SB, 5.0 WAR

  4. Juan Soto (RF, NYY): .315/.433/.592, 18 HR, 58 R, 55 RBI, 55 BB, 4.1 WAR

  5. José Ramírez (3B, CLE): .269/.330/.534, 18 HR, 51 R, 62 RBI, 11 SB, 2.4 WAR

NL MVP — Shohei Ohtani: Mookie Betts would be our pick if not for breaking his hand on Sunday, all but eliminating the 2018 AL MVP from contention. Instead, it's Ohtani leading the way as he looks to join an exclusive club of three-time MVP winners.

  1. Ohtani (DH, LAD): .314/.388/.601, 19 HR, 20 2B, 55 R, 47 RBI, 16 SB, 3.8 WAR

  2. Bryce Harper (1B, PHI): .282/.390/.520, 15 HR, 14 2B, 42 R, 46 RBI, 45 BB, 2.6 WAR

  3. Freddie Freeman (1B, LAD): .302/.412/.504, 10 HR, 20 2B, 47 R, 43 RBI, 46 BB, 2.9 WAR

  4. William Contreras (C, MIL): .305/.367/.467, 9 HR, 17 2B, 53 R, 48 RBI, 2.6 WAR

  5. Fernando Tatis Jr. (CF, SD): .273/.348/.458, 13 HR, 14 2B, 48 R, 35 RBI, 8 SB, 1.9 WAR

AL Cy Young — Tarik Skubal: The Tigers lefty has improved his ERA for the fifth consecutive season since debuting in 2020, and he now sports a top-five AL mark in ERA, WHIP, strikeouts and WAR.

  1. Skubal (LHP, DET): 8-2, 2.20 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 98:16 K:BB, 3.6 WAR, 86 IP

  2. Tanner Houck (RHP, BOS): 7-5, 2.08 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 89:15 K:BB, 3.1 WAR, 91 IP

  3. Garrett Crochet (LHP, CWS): 6-5, 3.16 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 116:19 K:BB, 3.1 WAR, 82.2 IP

  4. Corbin Burnes (RHP, BAL): 8-2, 2.14 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, 89:22 K:BB, 2.2 WAR, 92.2 IP

  5. Cole Ragans (LHP, KC): 4-4, 3.14 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 102:26 K:BB, 2.5 WAR, 86 IP

NL Cy Young — Ranger Suárez: The Phils' lefty leads NL pitchers in wins, WHIP and WAR, with the second-best ERA and nary a stumble: His worst outing of the year was allowing 4 ER in Coors Field, while also striking out nine.

  1. Suárez (LHP, PHI): 10-1, 1.77 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 91:19 K:BB, 3.2 WAR, 86.1 IP

  2. Zack Wheeler (RHP, PHI): 8-4, 2.84 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 99:29 K:BB, 1.8 WAR, 92 IP

  3. Chris Sale (LHP, ATL): 9-2, 2.98 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, 99:13 K:BB, 2.2 WAR, 81.2 IP

  4. Tyler Glasnow (RHP, LAD): 7-5, 3.00 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 125:25 K:BB, 2.2 WAR, 93 IP

  5. Shōta Imanaga (LHP, CHC): 7-1, 1.89 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 78:11 K:BB, 2.6 WAR, 76 IP

AL ROY — Luis Gil: He's been the best pitcher on the league's best team, leads the AL in ERA, and is quietly making some incredible history: His 4.4 hits allowed per nine innings would be the best mark in MLB history over a full season.

  1. Luis Gil (RHP, NYY): 9-1, 2.03 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 96:39 K:BB, 3.0 WAR, 80 IP

  2. Mason Miller (RHP, OAK): 12 SV, 2.27 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 56:12 K:BB, 1.3 WAR, 31.2 IP

  3. Wilyer Abreu (RF, BOS): .272/.344/.485, 6 HR, 14 2B, 26 R, 22 RBI, 1.9 WAR

  4. Colton Cowser (OF, BAL): .234/.326/.442, 9 HR, 12 2B, 28 R, 31 RBI, 1.2 WAR

  5. Cade Smith (RHP, CLE): 3-1, 8 HD, 1 SV, 1.67 ERA, 0.87 WHIP, 43:7 K:BB, 1.0 WAR, 32.1 IP

NL ROY — Shōta Imanaga: This should be a devilishly close race with how impressive Paul Skenes has been (and would be more crowded if Yoshinobu Yamamoto hadn't just gone down with an injury), but Imanaga has been superb through twice as many innings.

  1. Imanaga (LHP, CHC): 7-1, 1.89 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 78:11 K:BB, 2.6 WAR, 76 IP

  2. Skenes (RHP, PIT): 4-0, 2.29 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 53:7 K:BB, 1.6 WAR, 39.1 IP

  3. Joey Ortiz (3B, MIL): .277/.381/.467, 6 HR, 13 2B, 27 R, 27 RBI, 30 BB, 2.1 WAR

  4. Jared Jones (RHP, PIT): 4-6, 3.76 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 85:22 K:BB, 1.4 WAR, 79 IP

  5. Mitchell Parker (LHP, WSH): 5-3, 3.06 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 50:15 K:BB, 1.5 WAR, 67.2 IP

All-Star ballot: Judge and Harper lead their respective leagues in voting, per MLB's first ballot update.

⚽️ In photos: Euro 2024

Milan Škriniar celebrates Slovakia's victory. (Ryan Pierse/UEFA via Getty Images)
Milan Škriniar celebrates Slovakia's victory. (Ryan Pierse/UEFA via Getty Images)

Frankfurt — Slovakia stunned Belgium, 1-0, in one of the biggest upsets in tournament history, as the world's 48th-ranked team took down No. 3.

(Marvin Ibo Guengoer/GES Sportfoto/Getty Images)
(Marvin Ibo Guengoer/GES Sportfoto/Getty Images)

Düsseldorf — Kylian Mbappé broke his nose after colliding with a defender late in France's 1-0 win over Austria. He's reportedly unlikely to play in Friday's critical clash against the Netherlands.

(Alex Caparros/UEFA via Getty Images)
(Alex Caparros/UEFA via Getty Images)

Munich — It wasn't quite Slovakia over Belgium, but Romania pulled off a stunner of their own with a 3-0 victory over Ukraine for their first win at Euros in 24 years.

📆 June 18, 2000: Tiger laps the field

(David Cannon/Allsport/Getty Images)
(David Cannon/Allsport/Getty Images)

24 years ago today, Tiger Woods (-12) won the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach by an earth-shattering 15 strokes, breaking the 138-year-old record for the largest margin of victory* at a major championship.

The peak of his powers: Tiger's win at Pebble Beach kicked off his legendary "Tiger Slam" (four straight majors) and was part of the most dominant stretch of golf ever. From June 1999 through the end of 2000, he won 16 of 30 events to go along with four runner-ups, six other top-10s and zero missed cuts.

More on this day:

  • ⚾️ 1953: The Red Sox scored 17 runs in the seventh inning of their 23-3 win over the Tigers, the most in a single inning in modern MLB history (since 1900).

  • 🏀 2013: Ray Allen hit his iconic corner three with 5.2 seconds left to force OT and avoid elimination in Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Spurs. The Heat went on to win the game and ultimately the title.

*The biggest major wins: Woods by 15 strokes (2000 U.S. Open); Old Tom Morris by 13 strokes (1862 Open Championship); Woods by 12 strokes (1997 Masters); Young Tom Morris by 12 strokes (1870 Open Championship).

📺 Watchlist: Panthers eye first title

Connor McDavid scores one of the Oilers' eight goals in Saturday's rout. (Harry How/Getty Images)
Connor McDavid scores one of the Oilers' eight goals in Saturday's rout. (Harry How/Getty Images)

The Panthers will try again to clinch their first Stanley Cup tonight (8pm ET, ABC) after the Oilers blew them out on Saturday to avoid the sweep.

Frequent flyers: Edmonton and Sunrise are 2,541 miles apart, which is the longest distance ever between Stanley Cup Final opponents. The two teams have already completed one round trip, and if the Oilers win tonight, it's back to Edmonton for Game 6.

More to watch:

  • ⚾️ CWS: FSU vs. UNC (2pm, ESPN); Florida vs. Kentucky (7pm, ESPN) … Elimination games.

  • ⚾️ MLB: Orioles at Yankees* (7pm, TBS)

  • ⚾️ MiLB: Montgomery Biscuits vs. Birmingham Barons (7pm, MLB) … A tribute to the Negro Leagues at Birmingham's historic Rickwood Field.

  • ⚽️ Euro 2024: Turkey vs. Georgia (12pm, FuboTV); Portugal vs. Czechia (3pm, Fox)

  • 🏀 WNBA: Sparks at Sun (7pm, NBA); Liberty at Mercury (10pm, CBSSN)

  • 🇺🇸 Swimming/Diving: U.S. Olympic Trials (8pm, NBC)

*ALCS preview? The Yankees (50-24) and Orioles (47-24) have the two best records in the American League and hold a double-digit lead over the rest of the AL East.

🏀 NBA trivia

(Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
(Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

The Celtics are just the third NBA champion in the last 34 years (1990, 2004, 2024) without a league MVP winner on the roster.

  • Question: Who were the other two?

  • Hint: Same franchise both times.

Answer at the bottom.

🎓 The NASCAR-ification of college sports

Fans are about to see a whole lot more corporate logos on football fields and basketball courts. (David McNew/Getty Images)
Fans are about to see a whole lot more corporate logos on football fields and basketball courts. (David McNew/Getty Images)

From Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel:

The Big 12 conference might become the Allstate 12. That traditional school logo painted at the 50-yard line of your favorite stadium might become a Merrill Lynch symbol. Oh, and the stadium named after an alum may become Field.

Your university's iconic basketball jersey? Expect some patches, if not a complete redesign, featuring corporations big and small — from Chevy trucks to the local campus pizza joint.

The NASCAR-ification of college athletics is coming, quickly, as conferences and schools hunt for additional revenue to share with student athletes while maintaining competitive investment in programs, or even just keeping smaller teams alive.

"It's a scramble for money," one major conference commissioner said Monday. "Everything is going to be for sale."

Keep reading.

Trivia answer: 1990 Pistons and 2004 Pistons

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