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There is no denying the best basketball talent in the world is American born. LeBron James, Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kahwi Leonard, Anthony Davis, and the list goes on. The problem for Team USA in this year’s FIBA World Cup was that none of the aforementioned suited up in red, white and blue. Despite an all-star coaching staff, Team USA rolled out a C-level team in China. Coming into the tournament with a 58-game unbeaten streak, Team USA breezed through group play with a 5-0 record. They were led by the likes of Donovan Mitchell, Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, Harrison Barnes, Jayson Tatum, among other second and third tier NBA “stars.” Is that a roster good enough to win an international competition? Maybe.  But if the big dogs were on the court, it never would have been in doubt. USA encountered France in the quarter finals and were beaten 89-78. On paper, the talent levels match up, but the chemistry these other big basketball countries (France, Spain, Serbia, Australia, Canada) have with their teams is much better than that of the US team. In the game against France, it showed. The loss would have been more shocking if team USA had their big ballers, but they didn’t.  Losing to Serbia a day later in the consolation bracket was also not very shocking given that players, at that point, were ready to go home. Can we fault this version of Team USA for not bringing home a title? Not really. Hopefully, it inspired the best of the best to put on the jersey and represent the best basketball nation in the world on the international stage next time.
Mobile tech company, DeNA, just released a Nintend-based, free-to-play Pokemon game called Pokemon Masters for iOS and Android phones. The game involves players forming teams of trainers and fighters. The combat involves three teams of trainers and fighters in combat with each other on the artificial island of Pasio. This exciting new contribution to the Pokemon gaming series started with a popular first week debut. According to Sensor Tower estimates, Pokemon Masters had a great first week having earned about $26 million.  It may be free-to-play, but if you want to really compete you will need to increase your chances with expert coaching.  That costs money. The strong opening week – second in the series to Pokemon Go – means that players are willing to spend to enhance their chances. Sixty-two percent of the revenue came from Japan, Nintendo’s home market, which was followed by United States, Hong Kong, Taiwan and France to fill out the top five markets.  Seventy-two percent of the revenue came from iOS phones. Nintendo will also release Pokemon Sword and Shield on November 15th, as well as a special edition of the Nintendo Switch Lite.
Every football fan’s favorite Monday night of the year is week 1 of the NFL season where ESPN’s Monday Night Football has not one, but two feature games to open the season. Unfortunately, for ESPN, the start of the first game was not positive. Their new scoreboard graphic was roundly criticized. Throughout the first half of the New Orleans Saints – Houston Texan game, fans took to Twitter destroying the new scoreboard graphic which featured a yellow background where the down & distance is found. The color yellow, which usually signals there was a flag on the play, flashed after every play when the down and distance changed. People were confused and bothered enough to tweet. Despite the original mistake, give them credit, ESPN adjusted. Mid-game, the production team put a new background in place and launched it live for the second half.  Order was restored to down & distance and fans were no longer confused about whether or not there was a flag on the previous play.

Madden 2020 has gotten incredibly positive feedback since its release a few weeks back, and rightfully so. The game play is even more realistic than prior years and the small technical nuances are incredibly precise. Perhaps you are already the king of your Madden circle or you’ve already won multiple Super Bowls in Franchise mode and now you’re looking for a new challenge. Look no more, as EA Sports is dropping Superstar KO mode – available online only for free from September 5th to September 9th.

The new mode allows you to select from 8 pre-made teams, each with different characteristics and corresponding playbooks. Your team could be an all out aerial attack team with a weak pass rush or a run-heavy team with subpar quarterback play and a strong secondary. It’s on you to choose the style that best fits your game. It gets even better from there!

Before the game, there is a brief fantasy draft, where you can add up to three players to your existing team. Players vary from existing superstars like DeAndre Hopkins, to past legends like Lawrence Taylor, and even celebrities like DJ Khaled who is a quarterback. The idea of DJ Khaled suited-up is pretty funny. We assume celebrities would have padded attributes that don’t correspond to their real life talents – imagine Khaled doing wind sprints.  The idea is similar to one in NBA 2K games.  If the free trial period goes well for EA Sports’ Madden, our guess is the new Superstar KO mode would become available integrated into future Maddens.