Jordan's Defensive Player of the Year Award Has Yellow Flags; 27 Years of the WNBA; The Bolivian Curtain

__NBA legend Michael Jordan won the 1988 Defensive Player of the Year award, but a closer look at his statistics suggests that it may not have been legitimate. Home/road splits and statistical anomalies raise questions about whether Jordan's defensive numbers were inflated due to homer bias. Alex Rucker, a former 76ers executive who was a Grizzlies stat keeper in the 1990s, says inflating certain box-score statistics for the home team was a common practice. Jordan averaged a mind-boggling 4 steals and 2.1 blocks at home in 1987-88. But on the road, those numbers shrunk to a more normal rate of 2.1 steals and 1.2 blocks. In an exclusive interview with Yahoo Sports, Rucker revealed that the Grizzlies' staff would go to great lengths to ensure the team's star players appeared in a better light to attract more fans to the arena. When it came to box score management, there was a hierarchy of what to prioritize for the home team. "If we were playing Detroit, we wanted to make sure we had a really good second quarter because they always gave the players some time off after the game. So we wanted to make sure the box score was really good then, and they would usually take off the fourth quarter, too," Rucker said. "You wanted to make sure your steals were up, your assists were up, your turnovers were down. There were certain categories that you wanted to make sure you were on the positive side of." In honor of the 27th anniversary of the first-ever WNBA game, which took place on June 21, 1997, between the New York Liberty and the Los Angeles Sparks, we look back at the league's history and the impact it has had on women's basketball. The Sparks and Liberty, who played last night, are two of the four remaining original franchises along with the Las Vegas Aces (originally the Utah Starzz) and Phoenix Mercury. Track and field legend Michael Johnson is launching a new league to raise the sport's profile and get athletes paid handsomely. Coming soon: "Grand Slam Track" will feature nearly 100 elite runners competing in four meets for a total of $12.6 million in prize money across its inaugural season. Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone, the 400m hurdles world record holder, is the first confirmed signee. Willie Mays' No. 24 was painted behind home plate, and the Cardinals beat the Giants, 6-5, on a spectacular night at Birmingham's Rickwood Field, where Negro Leagues legends were honored and Willie Mays' life was celebrated. Bill Greason, who at 99 is the oldest living Negro Leaguer, threw out the first pitch. Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Bonds were among those in attendance, and they greeted some of the 60 Negro Leaguers who were honored before the game. In other news: The Bulls traded Alex Caruso to the Thunder for Josh Giddey; Argentina beat Canada, 2-0, to kick off its Copa Amêrica defense; and swimmer Lilly King qualified for the Olympics in the 200-meter breaststroke and then got engaged.

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