NBA pulls 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte over North Carolina's transgender bathroom law

Eastern Conference guard Kyrie Irving (2) of the Cleveland Cavaliers brings the ball up court during the 2014 NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans, Louisiana, February 16, 2014.  REUTERS
The National Basketball Association won't be holding the 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte, North Carolina, because of a recently passed state law that discriminates against transgender people.

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How tennis balls are made.

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Those workers look like they love their job. They're really having a ball!

(via Devour)

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Watch Tony Hawk's awesome 900 at age 48

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Here is Tony Hawk attempting a 900 at age 48. It's amazing to watch as he stumbles, and stumbles, but his determination pays off. His first 900 was exactly 17 years ago, and he says this is his last. Read the rest

Iceland soccer commentator finds team's performance satisfactory

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His name is Gummi Ben. The BBC reports on a remarkable day for the 330,000-strong island nation.

(Edit: sorry about the hinky Streamable embed; open video in a new window)

Gummi Ben, who became a commentator after hanging up his boots in 2009, has been fending calls off all day.

"It's been quite strange and actually hectic, because the phone hasn't stopped ringing," he told the BBC.

"But I'm really enjoying it! It's part of the job."

Translation: "*screams*. My voice is gone, but it doesn't matter. We have come forward, in this tournament, and never, not once have I ever felt so good" Read the rest

Watch this man catch a foul ball while holding his resting child

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Nice catch! (And doubly lucky it didn't hit her!)

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Kickstarting beltbuckle multitools

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Tony Zentil, a mechanical engineer, has a fully funded Kickstarter for a variety of multitool belt-buckles aimed at skateboarders, snowboarders, and motorcyclists -- they're a significant advance on my old, beloved 686 belt-buckle stolen by the security staff of London Gatwick airport in 2011. Read the rest

The surprising fun of watching someone try to flip a spoon into a coffee mug. Again and again. And again.

Every day for a year, Niall Brady attempted to flip a spoon over his shoulder into a coffee mug. One attempt each day, most of which he captured on video. The joy when he succeeds is palpable.

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USA Swimming bans rapist Brock Turner for life

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This must be even harder on the poor rapist than not being able to eat his favorite beef dishes because of party culture. Read the rest

Monsters from The Grudge and The Ring square off for first pitch at Japanese baseball game

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A promo for "Sadako vs. Kayako," a forthcoming movie in which the monsters from J-horror classics The Ring and The Grudge fight one another, saw the two of them playing out the ceremonial first pitch at a Nippon-Ham Fighters baseball game, with The Ring's Sadako pitching a 96km/h ball to The Grudge's Kayako, who handed off running duties to Toshio. Read the rest

Where Muhammad Ali's public persona came from

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When Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) first witnessed a Gorgeous George match, he saw the path to stardom. The provocative professional wrestler walked down the aisle to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance” while dressed in a formfitting red velvet gown and a lush white satin robe. With his nose held high, George surveyed his domain and addressed the crowd: “Peasants!” He relished the insults, screams, and foot stomping. “Oh, everybody just booed him,” Clay recalled. “I looked around and I saw everybody was mad. I was mad! I saw 15,000 people coming to see this man get beat, and his talking did it. And I said, ‘This is a gooood idea.’”

Muhammad Ali, RIP

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Muhammad Ali, three-time world heavyweight boxing champion and cultural icon, died today at 74. He was the greatest. From the New York Times:

Ali was the most thrilling if not the best heavyweight ever, carrying into the ring a physically lyrical, unorthodox boxing style that fused speed, agility and power more seamlessly than that of any fighter before him.

But he was more than the sum of his athletic gifts. An agile mind, a buoyant personality, a brash self-confidence and an evolving set of personal convictions fostered a magnetism that the ring alone could not contain. He entertained as much with his mouth as with his fists, narrating his life with a patter of inventive doggerel. (“Me! Wheeeeee!”)

Ali was as polarizing a superstar as the sports world has ever produced — both admired and vilified in the 1960s and ’70s for his religious, political and social stances. His refusal to be drafted during the Vietnam War, his rejection of racial integration at the height of the civil rights movement, his conversion from Christianity to Islam and the changing of his “slave” name, Cassius Clay, to one bestowed by the separatist black sect he joined, the Lost-Found Nation of Islam, were perceived as serious threats by the conservative establishment and noble acts of defiance by the liberal opposition...

If there was a supertitle to Ali’s operatic life, it was this: “I don’t have to be who you want me to be; I’m free to be who I want.” He made that statement the morning after he won his first heavyweight title.

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David Foster Wallace's essays on tennis, finally collected between one set of covers

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The Library of America has just published String Theory: David Foster Wallace on Tennis, a slim volume of beautifully written, never collected essays by one of the great tragic figures of American literature, David Foster Wallace, a self-described "near-great junior tennis player" during his own boyhood. Read the rest

The euphemisms news reporters use when a sports figure injures his penis and testicles

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In a recent high-stakes basketball match between the Golden State Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warrior player Draymond Green kicked Thunder player Steven Adams directly in the penis and testicles. Read the rest

High school football coach bit heads off live frogs for good luck

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Weird Universe shares the tale of Larry Canaday, the 1970s football coach at Eau Gallie High School in Melbourne, Florida, who would bite the heads off live frogs to psych up his team before games.

"Our kids love it," Canaday told the Associated Press in 1977. "They say 'Look how wild the coach is, let's get wild, too!'"

Canaday said he started the practice when trying to fire up one player. "I looked down and saw this little frog and just reached down and bit it. The boy's eyes got big as saucers and he became a real go-geter."

After several years of the ritual, school officials told him that the "frog-biting must cease."

"Last year we were winning," he said in the 1977 article. "But now we're losing, and certain intellects will use this as an excuse to pick on football." Read the rest

Documentary about Hunter S. Thompson at the Kentucky Derby

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In 1970, journalist Hunter S. Thompson, 32, and artist Ralph Steadman were assigned to cover the Kentucky Derby for Scanlan's Monthly magazine. The resulting article, "The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved" (PDF) was the birth of the good doctor's gonzo journalism and changed first-person reporting forever.

"When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." Below, Michael D. Ratner's short documentary about "Gonzo @ The Derby." (Thanks, Jordan Kurland!)

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Badass ladies wrestling: 10 awesome old photos

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Starting with this awesome shot of Bettie Page pretend-ladyfighting with a sexy foe, here are some wonderful photographs of female wrestlers from the 19th century through the 20th, all the way up through the '80s and '90s.

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Qatar's World Cup stadium is being built by modern slaves

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Qatar, one of the worst places in the world to be a worker (even the flight attendants experience human rights abuses), was picked to host the 2022 football world cup by the famously corrupt FIFA organization, despite the physical danger to spectators (and athletes!) from the incredible temperatures. Read the rest

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