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Elena Delle Donne named WNBA All-Star Game starter, team captain

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Elena Delle Donne named WNBA All-Star Game starter, team captain

The Mystics' Elena Delle Donne has been named a starter for the WNBA All-Star Game, as well as a captain. 

Delle Donne was the leading WNBA vote-getter among fans and the game will be held in Las Vegas on July 27. the Las Vegas Aces A'ja Wilson was named the other captain.

The starters for the game are as follows:

Frontcourt

  • Liz Cambage, center, Las Vegas Aces
  • Brittney Griner, center, Phoenix Mercury
  • Natasha Howard, power forward, Seattle Storm
  • Jonquel Jones, power forward/center, Connecticut Sun

Back Court

  • Chelsea Gray, point guard, Los Angeles Sparks
  • Jewell Lloyd, point guard/shooting guard, Seattle Storm
  • Kayla McBride, shooting guard, Las Vegas Aces
  • Kia Nurse, point guard, New York Liberty

This is Delle Donne's sixth trip to the All-Star Game, and third year in a row she's been named to the team. She captained one of the teams last season, and Candace Parker captained the other.

The WNBA’s head coaches will select the 12 reserves, who will be announced on Monday, July 15. There's a chance she'll be joined by Mystics teammates Natasha Cloud, Kristi Tolliver and Ariel Atkins, who all received fan votes.

But starting in the All-Star game for Delle Donne will depend on how fast she recovers from an injury. She was sidelined from Wednesday's game due to a nasal fracture she suffered in the Mystics' game against the Sparks on July 7.

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Iconic former boxing champ Pernell Whitaker dies after being struck by car

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Iconic former boxing champ Pernell Whitaker dies after being struck by car

Pernell Whitaker, an Olympic gold medalist and four-division champion who was regarded as one of the greatest defensive fighters ever, has died after being hit by a car in Virginia. He was 55.

Police in Virginia Beach said the former fighter was hit by a car Sunday night. The driver of the car remained on the scene, and police said they were investigating the circumstances of the death.

Sweet Pea was Whitaker's nickname, and it fit perfectly. He was a master of hitting and not getting hit back, a southpaw who slipped in and out of the pocket and rarely gave an opponent an opportunity to land a clean shot.

Whitaker won a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles -- one of nine U.S. boxing champions that year -- and made his pro debut on national television. He advanced quickly, and was fighting for a major title by his 17th fight, a loss to Jose Luis Ramirez that he would avenge the next year.

But Whitaker was also known as the victim of one of the worst decisions in boxing, a draw that allowed Julio Cesar Chavez to remain unbeaten in their welterweight showdown before a crowd of more than 60,000 at the Alamodome in San Antonio in 1993.

Four years later, Whitaker was on the losing end of another difficult decision against Oscar De La Hoya in Las Vegas, a fight many ringsiders thought he had won.

"When you see the list of greatest boxing robberies in history they were both No. 1 and No. 2 on the list," said Kathy Duva, his longtime promoter. "And every list of top 10 fighters of all time he was on, too."

Whitaker was a champion in four weight classes, winning his first one with a 1989 decision over Greg Haugen at lightweight, in a professional career that spanned 17 years. He finished with a record of 40-4-1 and was a first ballot selection into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

His style was unique and effective, a hit-and-don't-be-hit strategy that was later adopted by a rising young fighter named Floyd Mayweather Jr. Whitaker and Mayweather never met in the ring, but Whitaker did win a decision over Mayweather's uncle, Roger, in 1987.

Still, it was two controversial decisions -- one a draw, the other a loss -- that may have defined his career more than anything.

The first came against Chavez, the Mexican great who was unbeaten in 87 fights when he and Whitaker met in a highly anticipated fight in San Antonio.

Whitaker came out in his trademark style, confusing Chavez and frustrating the Mexican champion. Chavez stalked Whitaker throughout the fight, but Whitaker wasn't there to be found for the most part, and when he traded punches with Chavez he seemed to get the better of the Mexican. Ringside statistics showed Whitaker landing 311 punches to 220 for Chavez, while throwing 153 more punches.

But when the decision came down, it was a draw that was roundly criticized throughout boxing.

"He would stand in the pocket and make everybody miss and frustrate the hell out of them," Duva said. "He said it was the most beautiful feeling in the world, to hit the other guy and not get hit."

Whitaker would go on to lose his next mega fight against De La Hoya, despite bloodying his opponent and seemingly out-boxing him over 12 rounds in their welterweight title fight. A poll of ringside writers showed the majority thought Whitaker won, and he thought so, too.

"Of course (I won) but that really doesn't matter," Whitaker said. "As long as the world saw it, then the people can say who won the fight. I should have gotten 10 out of 12 rounds. It was a shutout. For 12 rounds, he took punishment, he took a beating. He can have the title but we know who the best fighter is."

Whitaker's last big fight came near the end of his career, when Felix Trinidad scored a unanimous decision in their welterweight title fight at Madison Square Garden. He would fight only once more before retiring, and later worked as a trainer for fighters in the Virginia Beach area.

Former heavyweight champion George Foreman wrote on Twitter that Whitaker was one of the greats in the art of boxing.

"When I first saw "Pernell Sweet Pea Whitaker" in Training Camp; it was like watching a Cat with boxing gloves," Foreman said. "Best balance I'd ever seen in a Boxer."

Duva, whose Main Events company promoted all his fights, remembered Whitaker as being as sweet as his nickname. She said he was generous to a fault with a large group of family members, buying a house for many of them to live in before losing it after he retired from boxing.

Whitaker made millions in the ring -- $6 million for the De La Hoya fight alone -- but Duva said he had little left in the end.

"He wasn't a spender. He was very modest," she said. "But he was supporting an awful lot of people for a long time."

A native of Norfolk, Whitaker battled alcohol problems throughout his adult life, Duva said. He also served time in prison after violating his probation in 2003 on a conviction for cocaine possession.

But in recent years Whitaker had been happy going to boxing events and meeting fans and signing autographs. He was supposed to be a part of the Manny Pacquiao-Keith Thurman fight night Saturday in Las Vegas, where he was to be honored as a boxing legend.

"For years he wouldn't do those things," Duva said. "He found out that it was great, everybody was telling him how much they loved him and what a great fighter he was."

Duva said Whitaker was divorced and had four children. His family issued a statement saying the death was "one of the darkest moments in our lives."

NASCAR weekend recap: Kurt Busch outduels brother Kyle Busch in overtime at Kentucky

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NASCAR weekend recap: Kurt Busch outduels brother Kyle Busch in overtime at Kentucky

Were you not entertained?

Kurt Busch took his horse to the old down road and rode it 'till he couldn't no more (I'm sorry, I had to) in the Bluegrass State and beat his younger brother Kyle Busch in a thrilling overtime restart at Kentucky Speedway. The win was Busch's first of 2019 for him and Chip Ganassi Racing, 31st of his career and first for Chevrolet at the Sparta, Kentucky 1.5-mile oval.

Here's what went down this weekend in the racing world.

Brotherly Love

It came down to a two lap, overtime shootout between what we thought would be Kyle Busch and Joey Logano. But when the defending champion's No. 22 got a sub-par restart, that allowed Kurt Busch's No. 1 to get a good launch on the outside lane and get to the No. 18's right rear quarter panel.

And as they say, the rest was history.

"As we drove down into Turn 3 on the last lap, I just stared straight at his door," Kurt said of his brother. "I could see the No. 18 to my left and I never lifted until I heard him lift, and then I'm like, wait a minute, I've got to still miss the wall. And he gave me just enough room, as a true racer would or as my little brother would. But I'm really proud of the way that we finished this race 1-2, put on one hell of a show, one of those old-school type races where it's two guys duking it out."

"Just happened to be brothers, different manufacturers," he said. "But this one, I can't wait to go watch the video of and tell people about it and show the sport of NASCAR and the production and the pride that everybody has to try to get to Victory Lane was shown in those last few laps."

Points Still Matter

With the advent of the new "win and you're win" playoff format introduced prior to the 2014 season, the long-stated "good points day" type of race became a thing of the past ... or did it?

With the advent of stages prior to the start of the 2017 season, points racing and points in general became a bit more important. Sure, winning still is the end all be all at the end of the day. But for those drivers who aren't the Joe Gibbs Racing's and Team Penske's of the world, A.K.A. winning week in and week out, stage points and scoring points in general are just as important as ever.

Especially on the bubble, as NASCAR.com's Terrin Waack exemplified prior to Kentucky, comparing William Byron and Clint Bowyer's recent weeks.

Partially due to Byron's new crew chief and seven-time champion Chad Knaus, the No. 24 seems to be on his way to qualifying for the playoffs and possibly earning his first victory in what has been a rapid ascent to NASCAR's top series. Byron, however, was in position to challenge for the victory but was penalized for a restart violation, ironically against Bowyer.

Bowyer came home sixth, a solid run in a summer stretch that has been marred by a lack of points and finishes for the No. 14 camp.

Playoff Push

Believe it or not, Kentucky marked the final 1.5-mile track in the regular season. From here on out until the playoffs, New Hampshire (one mile), Pocono (2.5 miles), Watkins Glen (road course), Michigan (two miles), Bristol (half-mile), Darlington (1.3 miles) and Indianapolis (2.5 miles) make up the next stretch of races.

With only seven events remaining before the playoffs are set, those below the cut line will become more aggressive on track and with strategy on pit road.

Ryan Newman, Daniel Suarez, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Paul Menard currently sit below the cut line, while Erik Jones occupies the final spot on the heels of his third-place finish at Kentucky. Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer and Kyle Larson narrowly are in the clear--for now.

2019 NASCAR CUP SERIES STANDINGS

This upcoming weekend, NASCAR travels to The Magic Mile and New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301, scheduled to go green on Sunday afternoon (July 21) at 3:30 p.m. EST on NBCSN.