LeBron, Cavs are in trouble, but Nike is a champ

It’s not looking good for LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers against the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. But LeBron’s sneaker company of choice, Nike, has been a slam dunk stock this year.

Nike’s stock is up nearly 20%, near an all-time high. It’s one of the top Dow performers in 2018 — and it was up about 25% last year too.

Nike has enjoyed a nice rebound from a brutal 2016, when shares fell 20% and the company was the biggest loser in the Dow. That was mainly because of sluggish sales and growing competition in the United States from German rival Adidas.

But Nike’s recent strength may surprise some people.

It comes despite the fact that Nike president Trevor Edwards, who many viewed as a likely successor to CEO Mark Parker, stepped down in March following workplace misconduct allegations. Edwards was one of several execs to leave Nike.

It’s not as if Nike is profiting at the expense of its competitors.

Under Armour, who sells sneakers endorsed by LeBron rival Steph Curry of the Warriors, has bounced back this year too, largely because of strength in international markets. Under Armour’s stock is up more than 65% this year.

And Adidas hasn’t lost any momentum either. Shares are up another 20% in 2018.

So what’s going on? It appears that consumers are buying more athletic apparel in general this year. A rising economic tide is lifting all boats, or in this case, sneakers and sweatpants.

Lululemon is also trading at an all-time high. And sporting good retailers Dick’s and Foot Locker recently surprised Wall Street by reporting strong sales too.

The sneaker slump may be over. Nike CEO Parker said in its last earnings report in March that there was a “significant reversal” in the trend of weak North America sales. He noted the company was starting to gain momentum in its home market.

Parker said sales of basketball shoes were particularly strong across the globe. That was in part because of new sneakers in the LeBron line as well as the launch of the latest shoes for former LeBron teammate Kyrie Irving (now on the Boston Celtics) and Paul George of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Parker added that the company was doing extremely well in China, where sales rose 24% in the past quarter. China now makes up 15% of the company’s overall sales.

After Justin Timberlake wore Nike’s new limited edition Jordan 3s during the Super Bowl halftime show in February, the company immediately started selling them on its new SNKRS app, which is now available in China.

Even though Michael Jordan hasn’t played professional basketball since 2003, demand continues for his signature shoes. Apparently, a lot of people still want to be like Mike.

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Warriors on verge of sweeping Cavs in NBA Finals

The Golden State Warriors survived an off shooting night by Stephen Curry on Wednesday to rally for a 110-102 Game 3 victory that puts them one win away from sweeping the Cavaliers and repeating as NBA champs.

They did so thanks to Kevin Durant, who scored a career playoff high 43 points, including a long 3-pointer in the game’s final minute that capped the victory. He also contributed 13 rebounds and seven assists.

Another victory Friday night in Cleveland will give the Warriors not only their second straight NBA championship, but also their third title in four years.

The cards are stacked against LeBron James and the Cavaliers, with teams that have fallen behind 0-3 in the playoffs having never come back to win the series.

James posted his 10th triple-double in the NBA Finals, scoring 33 points to go along with 10 rebounds and 11 assists. Kevin Love added 20 points and 13 rebounds while J.R. Smith had 13 points.

All five of the Warriors starters scored in double digits, although Curry’s 11 points came on 3-for-16 shooting, including 1-for-10 on 3-pointers. Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and JaVale McGee each had 10 points.

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Warriors on verge of sweeping Cavs in NBA Finals

The Golden State Warriors survived an off shooting night by Stephen Curry on Wednesday to rally for a 110-102 Game 3 victory that puts them one win away from sweeping the Cavaliers and repeating as NBA champs.

They did so thanks to Kevin Durant, who scored a career playoff high 43 points, including a long 3-pointer in the game’s final minute that capped the victory. He also contributed 13 rebounds and seven assists.

Another victory Friday night in Cleveland will give the Warriors not only their second straight NBA championship, but also their third title in four years.

The cards are stacked against LeBron James and the Cavaliers, with teams that have fallen behind 0-3 in the playoffs having never come back to win the series.

James posted his 10th triple-double in the NBA Finals, scoring 33 points to go along with 10 rebounds and 11 assists. Kevin Love added 20 points and 13 rebounds while J.R. Smith had 13 points.

All five of the Warriors starters scored in double digits, although Curry’s 11 points came on 3-for-16 shooting, including 1-for-10 on 3-pointers. Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and JaVale McGee each had 10 points.

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Cleveland DB promises free jerseys if Cavs win

Cleveland Browns safety Damarious Randall’s Twitter boasts in support of the Golden State Warriors may just end up costing him millions.

Randall made a promise on Twitter on Monday that if LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers upset the Warriors in the NBA Finals he would buy a jersey for anyone who retweeted his post.

As of early afternoon on Wednesday, Randall’s tweet had been retweeted more than 760,000 times, becoming the most retweeted tweet of any NFL player ever.

 

{“url”:”https://twitter.com/RandallTime/status/1001311828557824006″,”author_name”:”Damarious Randall”,”author_url”:”https://twitter.com/RandallTime”,”html”:”&#lt;blockquote class=\”twitter-tweet\”&#gt;&#lt;p lang=\”en\” dir=\”ltr\”&#gt;If the Cleveland Cavaliers win the 2018 NBA finals I’ll buy everyone who retweet’s this a jersey…&#lt;/p&#gt;— Damarious Randall (@RandallTime) &#lt;a href=\”https://twitter.com/RandallTime/status/1001311828557824006?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\”&#gt;May 29, 2018&#lt;/a&#gt;&#lt;/blockquote&#gt;\n&#lt;script async src=\”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\” charset=\”utf-8\”&#gt;&#lt;/script&#gt;\n”,”width”:550,”height”:null,”type”:”rich”,”cache_age”:”3153600000″,”provider_name”:”Twitter”,”provider_url”:”https://twitter.com”,”version”:”1.0″}

 

Although Randall did not specify which jersey he would buy, the promise would easily cost him more than the $1,090,381 in base salary and $424,037 roster bonus he’s set to earn this season.

That’s because the absolute cheapest Cavs jerseys offered online in the NBA Store cost around $30, with prices climbing as high as $300 for more exclusive editions. Meanwhile, Browns jerseys at the NFL Shop average around $99, although jerseys of former Browns players can be had for as little as $40.

That would mean Randall’s promise would cost him at minimum $22.8 million to upwards of $76 million, unless he can get a deal buying in bulk.

While other Twitter users have cast doubt on whether the newly acquired defensive back will follow through, he tweeted back at one skeptic on Monday with the promise he would “100 percent” keep his promise.

 

{“url”:”https://twitter.com/RandallTime/status/1001313084181504000″,”author_name”:”Damarious Randall”,”author_url”:”https://twitter.com/RandallTime”,”html”:”&#lt;blockquote class=\”twitter-tweet\”&#gt;&#lt;p lang=\”en\” dir=\”ltr\”&#gt;100% chance 🤙🏾🤙🏾 &#lt;a href=\”https://t.co/ChKwjvHnT1\”&#gt;https://t.co/ChKwjvHnT1&#lt;/a&#gt;&#lt;/p&#gt;— Damarious Randall (@RandallTime) &#lt;a href=\”https://twitter.com/RandallTime/status/1001313084181504000?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw\”&#gt;May 29, 2018&#lt;/a&#gt;&#lt;/blockquote&#gt;\n&#lt;script async src=\”https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js\” charset=\”utf-8\”&#gt;&#lt;/script&#gt;\n”,”width”:550,”height”:null,”type”:”rich”,”cache_age”:”3153600000″,”provider_name”:”Twitter”,”provider_url”:”https://twitter.com”,”version”:”1.0″}

 

Randall, who has been openly rooting for the Warriors throughout the playoffs, was traded to the Browns from the Green Bay Packers in March.

Some Cleveland fans have questioned the wisdom of a Browns player actively rooting against one of the city’s other pro teams, but Randall has also tweeted support for James as MVP and said he would have “gladly rooted” for the Cavs had the Houston Rockets beat the Warriors in the Western Conference finals.

With Game 1 of the NBA Finals set for Thursday night in Oakland, California, Randall has said he intends to be courtside when the series comes to Cleveland for Games 3 and 4 next week.

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Stanley Cup Final hottest ticket in sports

The NBA’s two biggest superstars will face off in the NBA Finals again. But the pairing of LeBron James and Steph Curry is not the hottest ticket in sports.

That honor goes to the Stanley Cup Final, which pits the Vegas Golden Knights expansion team against the Washington Capitals. Tickets for the final are the most expensive ever recorded, averaging $1,983 for the series, according to TicketIQ, which has tracked tickets since 2011.

In just their first year of existence, the Golden Knights are creating tremendous buzz.

The team opened the best-of-7 series with a Game 1 victory.

The Knights are new and unexpected, and the Capitals have never won a Stanley Cup, which is generating excitement as well.

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, on the other hand, are meeting for their fourth consecutive NBA championship series starting Thursday. The story lines seem familiar. The average price for a “get in” ticket — a metric ticket sites use to aggregate the cheapest prices — to any of the NBA Finals games cost $390. That’s the lowest they’ve been in the past four years.

The average cost of all tickets to the NBA championship — which includes more than just “get in” pricing — increased from last year and is the second highest since 2011, according to TicketIQ. The rise in average can be attributed to an increase in some of the seat prices at Oracle Arena where the Warriors play. TicketIQ founder Jesse Lawrence said demand is also up because the Warriors are expected to win in four games.

Stanley Cup Final tickets tend to be more expensive than NBA Finals tickets. But this year has been unprecedented for the Cup. Not only is the average price for all tickets higher than ever before, but across the series, the average cost of the cheapest tickets is also up more than $100 from last year.

For Game 5, which won’t happen if there’s a sweep, the lowest prices on TicketIQ are over $1,100 for the Stanley Cup Final and around $600 for the NBA Finals. On Ticketmaster and StubHub, NHL tickets are priced at over $800 and NBA seats are around $600.

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Golden State to face Cavs in NBA finals

The Golden State Warriors will face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA finals after their 101-92 victory over the Houston Rockets in Game 7 in the Western Conference finals Monday night.

Golden State (58-24) has reached the finals for the fourth straight season.

Houston (65-17), which hasn’t advanced to the NBA Finals since 1995, was without star Chris Paul who strained his right hamstring in the fourth quarter of Game 5 and missed the Rockets’ 115-86 loss on Saturday.

Houston advanced after beating Minnesota 4-1 in first round and Utah 4-1 in second round.

Golden State came to the finals after beating San Antonio 4-1 in first round and New Orleans 4-1 in second round.

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