Paul George is "tired of rehabbing" as he nears a return from a pair of off-season shoulder operations that have postponed his Los Angeles Clippers debut.

Six-time NBA All Star George, along with 2018-19 champion Kawhi Leonard, joined the Clippers in the close season, with the Oklahoma City Thunder trading the 29-year-old for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, five first-round draft picks, and the rights to swap two other first-round picks.

However, two minor shoulder surgeries set the small forward back and he is yet to feature for his new team.

Having returned to practice on Saturday, George insists he is now raring to go, though he is willing to be cautious with his comeback in order to ensure his long-term fitness.

"I still got some stuff," George told the Los Angeles Times. "From a health standpoint, I feel great.

"But I think with rhythm especially, with where these guys are at right now in their season, they're flowing right now, so I just want to come in with an easy transition.

"I'm tired of rehabbing. It sucks. But, you know, I'm here for the long run. I'm here for the long haul."

The Clippers have made an impressive start in George's absence, winning six of their nine games so far. They go up against last season's champions – and Leonard's former team – the Toronto Raptors in their next outing.

Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard is looking forward to his reunion with reigning NBA champions the Toronto Raptors.

Leonard led the Raptors to their first NBA title last season before leaving Toronto for the Clippers via free agency.

A two-time NBA champion and Finals MVP, Leonard will reunite with the Raptors when the Clippers face Toronto on Monday and he is relishing the clash.

"It's going to be fun to see the guys," Leonard said. "And just congratulate them and be able to shake hands and compete."

Asked what he will remember about his one and only season with the Raptors after being dealt by the San Antonio Spurs, Leonard added: "The guys, the journey. Also the country. The city was amazing. And it's just so much, you can keep going on and talking about it.

"I never went in with a negative mindset. Playing with Cory Joseph in San Antonio, him being from that area in Toronto, I knew what the city kind of brought... I always felt positive with the trade and the front office.

"I knew it was great already with Masai [Ujiri] being in there. So it was never a negative thing, always open-minded about it."

Three-time All-Star Leonard is averaging 29.0 points, 8.1 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game with the Clippers this season.

"It's not like he left in bad terms, really," Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said about Leonard's Raptors exit.

"It's one of those leave-good situations, not one of those leave-awful situations, and let's be honest, in our league it's usually the other way. He's had the rare benefit of being able to leave in a happy state. Has it happened? If it is, it's rare."

Paul George teamed up with Leonard at the Clippers after leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder in the offseason and he could make his debut on Monday.

However, George – who has been recovering from shoulder surgery – is likelier to debut for the Clippers following the Raptors showdown, with games against the Houston Rockets and New Orleans Pelicans to come.

"It's going to take time for conditioning," Rivers said. "You don't not play - when did they lose? - yeah, he hasn't played since April and then you walk in a game in November... it's just not done. I don't know, I doubt he plays [Monday], but it's a possibility. It's possible I may play, too, for that matter. I don't know the answer. I really don't."

Paul George insists the Los Angeles Clippers are not looking to compare themselves to the Los Angeles Lakers in the coming NBA season.

Following the arrivals of George and Kawhi Leonard at the Clippers and Anthony Davis joining LeBron James at the Lakers, the two LA teams are seen as genuine championship contenders in 2019-20.

But while the sides will share the same home at Staples Center and comparisons are likely to come easy, the Clippers will not be thinking that way internally.

George said: "Staples Center is where you want to be, with the team we've got and the team they have.

"But I don't put that pressure that that's the team we necessarily have to compare ourselves to. There are 29 other teams we've got to go ahead and go against and compete against.

"It's not a head-to-head battle. We've got to come out, got to play, do what we got to do, the same way 29 other teams got to do."

George has undergone shoulder surgery in the offseason, having seen injury hamper him towards the end of the previous campaign at the Oklahoma City Thunder, where he was an MVP finalist.

George is targeting a return to action in November and is pleased with the way his body is recovering.

"As far as my health, I'm pretty good," he said. "I'll be in camp starting this week. Nothing contact, but all the scripted stuff I'll be a part of.

"I'm used to being in this rehab stage and knowing what it takes to get my body prepared and get my body up to speed.

"It's a long process, but, again, I think me going through it and having had a drastic injury in my leg, I know what to expect. I know what pressures to put on myself and what pressure not to put on myself as well.

"It comes with a lot of stress when you're going through rehab. I'm just in a good place. I know what I need to do, what I'm capable of, and ultimately I know when my body is ready."

George hopes the season will end with a Clippers championship, but he is also aiming to be healthy enough to play for the United States at the Tokyo Olympics.

"I would love to. Hopefully, God willing, I can get through a season healthy," he said. "When that time comes, I would love to be a part of the Olympics and represent.

"But this comes first obviously, getting through this year, giving everything to this year.

"Hopefully, by June, we are the last team standing. I'll deal with it at that point. It doesn't really matter if we go all the way, as long as I'm healthy.

"When I get to that point and I'm healthy, I'm in. I want to be a part of that group."

Los Angeles Clippers recruit Paul George is targeting a November return after undergoing surgeries on both of his shoulders.

George – acquired by the Clippers in the offseason to team up with Kawhi Leonard – had an operation on his right rotator cuff in May, while he also had minor surgery to repair a partial tear of his left labrum in June.

The six-time NBA All-Star added he has "a little ways to go" as he continues his rehabilitation.

"I'm where I want to be right now at this point in the season almost starting," George told ESPN's SportsCenter on Sunday. "I like where the progression is going."

George added: "I will be out of the preseason. As of now, I'll be out of October fully, but who knows? We'll see. In the November range is our target date."

George averaged 28 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 77 games with the Oklahoma City Thunder last season.

The 29-year-old had wanted out of Oklahoma City after just two seasons with the Thunder and he moved to the Clippers for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari and draft picks.

The Clippers open their regular season against city rivals the Los Angeles Lakers on October 22.

 

Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer certainly aims high as he unveiled plans for a new facility for the NBA team.

The former CEO of Microsoft and majority owner of the Clippers unveiled plans for a new multi-billion dollar, state-of-the-art facility, one day after the team officially announced the acquisitions of All-NBA players Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.

While Leonard was briefed on the possibility of a new arena – which Ballmer said will be entirely privately funded – it was not something meant to convince the 2019 Finals MVP to choose the Clippers.

For Ballmer, it was more about showing the All-Star that he is committed to improving the franchise.

"I want it to be beautiful," Ballmer told ESPN. "But I want it to be about basketball. I want it to be comfortable. But I want it to be about basketball."

He continued: "Being in LA, the free-agency thing will always be a little more important to us. That means we've got to invest in the player's experience."

The building does face opposition from Madison Square Garden, which owns The Forum, which sits less than a mile away from the proposed site for the new arena in Inglewood, California.

The litigation surrounding the proposition could take a while to figure out, but Ballmer sounds confident the plans will come to fruition.

"This is really going to happen," Ballmer said he told Leonard. "Obviously we have to go through the process... the lawsuits that Madison Square Garden has brought, but we are feeling confident that we can build our stadium in Inglewood."

Ballmer wants the building to hearken back to college basketball, with large sections devoted to rows and rows of stands completely absent of suites and boxes.

He wants to have a portion of the seats behind one basket from the floor to the top row dedicated to fans, and above all else – noise.

"I want it to be a noisy building," Ballmer said of the section he dubbed 'The Wall of Sound'. "I really want that kind of energy; think Oracle [Arena] has been that way, Utah, Portland has got good energy.

"I think our Clipper fan base is a little more tenacious. They're people [who have] decided they're sticking with us, and now I think we will get new kinds of fans with Paul and Kawhi joining us but I think it is a hardcore fan base. I think that we can get real noise, real energy in the building."

Ballmer said he was aiming for the stadium to be ready by 2024. Leonard and George might not ever play there, as both could be free agents after the 2021-22 season.

But Ballmer was clear, while this was something to show off to the team's new star players, this is about more than them.

"I don't want to say it was a major milestone in the meeting but we did share because it is another statement that we are really committed," Ballmer said. "I don't know how it's humanly possible but I still occasionally get a question about it; will your team move to Seattle? We are building our billion-dollar-plus house here in Inglewood, California."

Kawhi Leonard said he was "very close" to signing for either the Los Angeles Lakers or Toronto Raptors before joining the Los Angeles Clippers.

Leonard swapped Toronto for the Clippers via free agency after leading the Raptors to their first NBA championship in 2018-19.

A return to the Raptors or a move to the Lakers to team up with LeBron James had been mooted for Leonard, who eventually opted for the Clippers after they acquired Paul George from the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Asked how close he was to joining either the Raptors or the Lakers, Leonard told ESPN: "I was very close. Real close.

"When [the Clippers] presented the opportunity of playing with Paul [George], it was easy, it was a yes. I said let's get it going."

Leonard entered free agency coming off one of the best postseason runs ever with the Raptors.

He averaged 30.5 points in the playoffs, was named the Finals MVP and helped the team avoid elimination by knocking down a crazy bouncing buzzer-beater against the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

All-Star Leonard said Clippers head coach Doc Rivers played a role in his decision to join the franchise.

"I grew up a Clippers fan," Leonard said during his introductory news conference on Wednesday. "I loved the Clippers as a kid. With Doc [Rivers] being a championship head coach, that is something I wanted, an experienced coach. And the front office is very transparent with me. They want to win. It's an opportunity for us to build our own [thing] and make history."

George, meanwhile, reportedly asked Oklahoma City to move him to the Clippers, who ended up landing him in exchange for guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, forward Danilo Gallinari, five future first-round selections and two pick swaps.

"This [wasn't something] that came out of the blue," George told ESPN. "We were all on the same page. The initial plan was to give it another year, see what we could do, and I did that. We played another year and it felt like we were just stagnant. Next thing was, let's move forward with other plans.

"Again, it was mutual amongst everybody. [The] Thunder got amazing packages out of it ... And we all thought it was a win across the board, we all thought it was the best moment to pull the plug."

Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer brought plenty of noise and enthusiasm as he welcomed Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to the NBA franchise.

NBA Finals MVP Leonard and fellow star George were introduced as Clippers players on Wednesday, following their arrivals from the Toronto Raptors and Oklahoma City Thunder respectively.

It was a landmark day for the Clippers, but a hyped and loud Ballmer stole the show as he went crazy with excitement.

"I have these notes, but I've gotta say, I'm just fired up to be here today," Ballmer started off by saying in his news conference.

"It's pretty cool. It's pretty damn cool!... WOOOO!"

Ballmer – gesturing to reporters and fans – added: "I'm pumped to say hello as Clippers to Paul and Kawhi… COME ON, GET UP! COME ON AND GET UP IF YOU'RE AS PSYCHED AS I AM!... YEAH!"

The Clippers earned plenty of admirers last season after reaching the playoffs with a 48-34 record before falling to the Golden State Warriors in the first round.

Los Angeles are yet to win a championship and Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said: "This is a great moment, but it's not our finest moment. That's coming. We're here to celebrate. This feels like a movement. Today is more about what's coming."

Leonard knows what championships are made of. He has two rings to go with two Finals MVPs.

"For me, Doc's a championship coach and that's something that I wanted," Leonard said. "The front office was transparent with me. It's an opportunity for us to build our own. We have a chance to do something special."

But, of course, Leonard had to put his own spin on the perspective around a title potentially going to the Clippers and not the Los Angeles Lakers.

"If we go to the championship and win and we get no coverage, that's fine with me," he said.

Leonard chose the Clippers and did not say goodbye to the Raptors. It felt weird, but it turns out it was just Kawhi.

"I want to think the Toronto Raptors fans. I don't have social media so I'm not able to put a paragraph out or whatever," he said. "Thanks all of Toronto, the city, the country. It was a great, amazing season. It was the best parade ever."

He continued: "Thanks to the doctors for delivering my baby boy. I also just want to thank the city as far as the restaurants. They had 'Kawhine and Dine' throughout the playoffs. I took advantage of that."

George will link up with Leonard, who was drafted by the Indiana Pacers in 2011 before being sent to the San Antonio Spurs in a trade.

"I remember I was in Indy when we drafted Kawhi," former Pacers star George said. "I was a little confused by it because I was the two-guard and Kawhi was the same position and I was a bit nervous for the competition that was coming.

"But fast forward, knowing that the player I am and the player he developed into, I wish we would have kept that pick and we could have [grown] together ... It seems like this was destiny that we were supposed to play together."

The Oklahoma City Thunder will be making a lot of first-round picks over the coming years after trading away Paul George and Russell Westbrook.

OKC completed their third major recent trade when they sent Westbrook to the Houston Rockets on Thursday in exchange for two future first-round selections, two pick swaps and Chris Paul, according to a report from ESPN.

Westbrook was the second top-level player the Thunder sent away this offseason. They moved George, who finished third in the MVP voting in 2018-19, to the Los Angeles Clippers and received five first-round selections, two pick swaps, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari in return.

The Thunder then sent forward Jerami Grant to the Denver Nuggets for another first-round pick.

In total, Oklahoma City have added eight first-round picks this offseason and hold 15 over the next seven drafts.
 

Here's a complete list of the Thunder's first-round picks from 2020 to 2026.

2020: Own (1-20), Nuggets (1-10)

2021: Own, Miami Heat (swap rights with the Houston Rockets)

2022: Own (1-14), Clippers

2023: Own (swap rights with the Clippers), Heat (1-14)

2024: Own, Clippers, Rockets (1-4)

2025: Own (swap rights with the Clippers, Rockets)

2026: Own, Clippers, Rockets (1-4)

The Oklahoma City Thunder roster underwent a complete overhaul in less than a week.

Oklahoma City completed their third major trade when they sent Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets in exchange for two future first-round selections, two pick swaps and Chris Paul, according to the ESPN on Thursday.

Westbrook was the second top-level player the Thunder dealt away this offseason. They moved Paul George — who finished third in the MVP voting in 2018-19 — to the Los Angeles Clippers and received five first-round selections, two pick swaps, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari in return.

The Thunder then sent forward Jerami Grant to the Denver Nuggets for another first-round pick.

In the blink of an eye, the Thunder went from a team that seemed to have championship aspirations to a franchise entering a rebuild. Oklahoma City finished with a 49-33 record last season, had two stars on their roster long term and some solid surrounding talent around them, including Grant, Steven Adams and Dennis Schroder.

George, however, forced the Thunder's hand after he reportedly asked to be dealt in hopes of teaming up with Kawhi Leonard and the pair ended up together in Los Angeles.

After that trade, the Thunder needed to move in a different direction and they did quite well for themselves.

Oklahoma City acquired eight first-round picks over the last week and they should have the opportunity to draft plenty of young, controllable players to replenish their rotation. The team could also elect to package some of those picks in a deal for a different star, should one become available.

But, that is not all the Thunder added. Gilgeous-Alexander is a promising guard with plenty of upside. He could develop into a more than adequate replacement for Westbrook, with a much better contract.

Gallinari is a reliable three-and-D player on an expiring deal. If the Thunder elect to hold onto him, he will be a consistent contributor. If not, there is a good chance they can flip him for another pick or young player.

Paul, meanwhile, is a nine-time All-Star who still provides value as a scorer and distributor, despite the massive amount of money remaining on his contract (three years, $124.1million). He could still receive interest on the trade market and Oklahoma City could acquire additional assets if they decide to move him again.

Despite losing some of the league's biggest names, Thunder general manager Sam Presti has set his team up to be competitive in the future.

There is never a dull day in the NBA, but this past weekend may have been the craziest moment in league history.

We will get to that in a second, but we will also touch on the Home Run Derby and the Houston Texans who are looking like a train wreck once again.

All that and more on this week in US Sports.

 

1. Clippers eclipse Lakers

This was as crazy of an NBA offseason as there has ever been. An MVP candidate (Anthony Davis) was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, two stars signed with the Brooklyn Nets (Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving), the Boston Celtics reloaded with an All-NBA guard (Kemba Walker) and the New York Knicks are the Knicks.

But all of that news paled in comparison to what happened in the wee hours of Saturday morning when news broke the Los Angeles Clippers were going to get both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. While the Leonard news broke first, what we came to find out was Leonard had convinced George to accept a trade to Los Angeles from the Oklahoma City Thunder. So, while he signed seemingly on his own with the Clippers, what actually went down was the George trade was agreed to which sealed Leonard's move to Los Angeles.

Now the Clippers and Lakers have even odds to win the NBA Finals next year, but the Clippers have much of the momentum and possibly the best defensive tandem in the NBA in George, Leonard and Patrick Beverley. The Western Conference is going to be fun next year.

 

2. Home Run Derby for the ages

For years the Home Run Derby has been stale. A few years ago, the MLB was forced to change the format from 10 outs to a timed round in which players could hit as many pitches as they want rather than being selective and taking pitch after pitch. Some rounds would seem to creep into the 30-minute range and fans were losing interest.

Absolutely no interest was lost on Monday though in a Home Run Derby for the ages. This derby featured a man (Joc Pederson) who hit 39 home runs in a round and lost (Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit 40) and an event where a rookie bashed 91 balls over the fence and did not win (Guerrero).

There were 321 total homers in the event and the final between two rookies (Guerrero and Alonso) took three overtimes to decide. The Home Run Derby was not boring this year, it was what a Derby was always supposed to be.

 

3. Drama in Houston

The Houston Texans have been one of the better organisations in the NFL over the last several years as they have made the playoffs three of the last four seasons while winning their division five times since 2011. But all that success seems to be in spite of themselves and this offseason is a perfect example as to why.

Houston selected Jadeveon Clowney with the first pick in 2014. He has 29 sacks and 67 quarterback hits in his career and has been named to three Pro Bowls while missing a total of six games over the last four years. And yet, the Texans do not want to sign him to a long-term deal. In fact, they likely will not be signing him to a long-term deal at all this offseason, according to a report from the Houston Chronicle.

Even more damning may be the team's ineptitude in the front office. General manager Rick Smith left last year to take care of his sick wife, but it was reported he did so because of a rift with Bill O'Brien. Then the man hired to replace Smith was fired after one year with the team, but after the Draft. Finally, the team decided on Thursday they were not going to hire a replacement GM and will run the team as a committee next season. The Texans are lucky to be in one of the worst divisions in the NFL, otherwise they may be getting more flak for their actions.

 

4. Chad Mendes retires

A former WEC title contender has retired. Chad Mendes, who accumulated an 18-5 record and had Conor McGregor beaten and bloodied on short notice, has decided to end his long and illustrious career in the WEC and UFC.

"I just want to say THANK YOU to all my fans and everyone that tuned in to watch me battle!" Mendes wrote on Instagram. "With 29 years of competing and 11 year in the Mma game, I feel it's time for the next chapter in my life! It's been an incredible journey with so many life lesson along the way. I feel extremely blessed to be living this life I live and can't wait to see what the next chapter has in store for me!"

 

5. Astros' Marisnick suspended two games

Houston Astros outfielder Jake Marisnick has been suspended for two games after running over Los Angeles Angels catcher Jonathan Lucroy in a game on Sunday, MLB announced on Thursday.

Lucroy sustained a concussion and broken nose on the play and manager Brad Ausmus called for Marisnick's suspension after the game as did St Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina.

Kawhi Leonard has officially joined the Los Angeles Clippers, but has reportedly made a surprising decision regarding his contract.

The three-time All-Star is rumoured to have signed a three-year, $103million deal with a player option in 2021-22, rather than the four-year, $141m contract he initially was expected to sign.

Such an agreement would allow Leonard to become an unrestricted free agent alongside his co-star Paul George – whose arrival from the Oklahoma City Thunder was also ratified on Wednesday – in two seasons, which puts pressure on the Clippers to be successful.

Leonard, the 2019 NBA Finals MVP, declined his player option with the Toronto Raptors after their championship run and elected to return to his home state of California. 

The ruptured Achilles Kevin Durant suffered in Game 5 of this year's title series made Leonard the most sought-after free agent on the market. He made things interesting by orchestrating a blockbuster deal.

The Clippers, at Leonard's request, sent Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari and a staggering five future first-round picks to the Thunder for George, making them the favourites to win the championship in 2020.

They went from an eighth seed in the Western Conference to a powerhouse with two All-NBA talents and a strong supporting cast featuring Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell.

The Clippers have come back stronger than ever after a first-round playoff exit at the hands of the Golden State Warriors, but their window to win it all could be smaller than what many thought it would be.

Paul George farewelled the Oklahoma City Thunder after moving to the Los Angeles Clippers to team up with NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.

In-demand free agent Leonard left NBA champions the Toronto Raptors for the Clippers in a blockbuster deal after the Los Angeles franchise agreed a trade with the Thunder.

The Clippers sent five draft picks, plus Danilo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in exchange for six-time All-Star and 2018-19 MVP finalist George.

Ahead of his move to Western Conference rivals the Clippers, George – who left the Indiana Pacers for Oklahoma City in 2017 – thanked the Thunder.

"Thank you Oklahoma for two great years, you took me in as one of your own from the day I touched down," George wrote via Instagram on Saturday.

"Thank you to the fans who make representing those 3 letters mean something. Thank you to Sam and Clay for being the best management a franchise and player could ask for.

"Thank you to the friends within the organisation that took care of my family and I whenever we needed help. The picture shown is a bond that can't be broken I truly loved and enjoyed the race from start to finish. Thank you OKLAHOMA! You already know what it is @russwest44! Love brodie!"

Leonard was heavily recruiting George to join him at the Clippers, even though the latter had signed a four-year deal with the Thunder last offseason. 

The Thunder could have denied George's request and tried to make it work, but they reportedly were concerned it could turn into a situation similar to Anthony Davis' departure from the New Orleans Pelicans – who eventually sent the disgruntled big man to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Oklahoma City finished the regular season in sixth position in the Western Conference with a 49-33 record. The Thunder suffered a disappointing early exit from the playoffs at the hands of the Portland Trail Blazers.

George averaged 28 points on 43.8 per cent shooting in 2018-19. He also averaged 8.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 77 games last season.

Los Angeles is set for a blockbuster NBA rivalry next season after Kawhi Leonard reportedly agree to sign on for the Clippers.

With Paul George also said to be joining from the Oklahoma City Thunder, an exciting Clippers team is set to go head-to-head against a Los Angeles Lakers franchise fronted by NBA icon LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

Leonard, who spearheaded the Toronto Raptors to a maiden championship last season, is a signing who can make the Clippers – who finished eighth in the Western Conference in 2018-19 – a real force to be reckoned with.

In July 2018, it was the Lakers making waves when they drafted in superstar James from the Cleveland Cavaliers.

There is now some real star power across both Los Angeles teams, and inspired by this, we have taken a look at times when cross-city rivalries sent the sporting world into a frenzy.

 

Manchester City v Manchester United

For a long time, Manchester City lived in Manchester United's shadow, suffering multiple relegations while their rivals won a treble and dominated the domestic game under Alex Ferguson's tutelage. Things changed in 2008, however, when City were bought by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, owner of the Abu Dhabi United Group, and they have since gone on to become much more than the "noisy neighbours" that Ferguson dubbed them in 2009.

The pendulum did not swing fully in City's favour until the last day of the 2011-12, when they clinched their first Premier League title in the most dramatic of circumstances. Sergio Aguero's last-gasp goal in a 3-2 win against QPR is the thing of folklore, the Argentina striker scoring after Edin Dzeko had already levelled the scores in stoppage time. It denied Ferguson's United, who thought they had the job done having won at Sunderland until news of City's sensational finale filtered through.

United got their revenge the following season, but since Ferguson left, the Red Devils have hardly come close to keeping pace with City.

Rabbitohs v Roosters

The oldest and fiercest rivalry in the NRL is between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Sydney Roosters.

Their rivalry escalated in the 1990s when the increased financial standing of the Roosters came in stark contrast to the lack of funds available to the Rabbitohs, who broke a 10-year, 13-game losing streak against their nemesis in 2005.

In the last regular-season rounds of 2013 and 2014, the Roosters came out on top against their rivals to claim the Minor Premiership, though the Rabbitohs won in the preliminary final in the latter campaign to reach their first grand final in 43 years. Four years later, the Roosters defeated Souths 12-4 in the preliminary final at Allianz Stadium, in front of a record crowd.

Mets v Yankees 

In 2000, the New York Mets and New York Yankees met in the Major League Baseball World Series - the first time two teams from the Big Apple had met in the showpiece since 1956.

Referred to as the "Subway Series", it was the Yankees who came out on top with a dominant 4-1 series win, despite having lost 15 of their last 18 regular season games.

It was a third successive World Series triumph for the Yankees, who also made it to the same stage in 2001, but lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The rivals have not met in a World Series since, and it took the Mets another 15 years to make it back to the big stage.

UCLA v USC

One of the biggest college football rivalries comes in the form of the UCLA Bruins and USC Trojans.

The most famous encounter between the two universities came in 1967, in a match known as "the game of the century." It matched USC - with OJ Simpson - against a UCLA side including Gary Beban, with the Conference Championship on the line, while Simpson and Beban were competing for the Heisman Trophy.

It was USC who ran out victorious in a 21-20 victory and they went on to defeat Indiana in the Rose Bowl and win the National Championship. Beban claimed the Heisman Trophy, despite Simpson's notable performance in the encounter and 1,543 rushing yards over the season.

Boca Juniors v River Plate

One of the most famous and fierce local rivalries in football, or indeed any sport, the Superclasico is an incredible Buenos Aires derby between Argentina's two biggest clubs - Boca Juniors and River Plate.

In 2018, both sides progressed to the final of the Copa Libertadores, making it the first Superclasico final of an international competition. It was a two-legged encounter with one match to be played at each ground.

Tensions were high, and after a 2-2 draw in the first leg at Boca's home Estadio Alberto J. Armando, they boiled over in dramatic and violent fashion prior to the second leg at El Monumental, with the match eventually called off after the Boca coach was attacked en route to the stadium.

After much controversy, the second leg finally took place at Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid, with River winning 3-1 to secure a 5-2 aggregate victory and their fourth Copa Libertadores title.

Day one of the NBA's free agency period saw a number of huge deals reportedly agreed, while Chris Paul confirmed he will remain with the Houston Rockets. 

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