Jockey Mary Bacon   in 1978.

Pioneering jockey’s career fell apart after her appearance at a Ku Klux Klan rally

“Within minutes of bouncing it around, he beseeched his grandfather to lower the hoop in his driveway from 10 feet to seven and a half, and began taking pot shots” Photograph: Inpho

Bitten by the basketball bug, it’s almost time to enter the fraught world of the local league

New Jersey governor Chris Christie confronts a Chicago Cubs baseball fan during a game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Chicago Cubs in Milwaukee. Photograph: WISN-TV/ABC/handout via Reuters

With a huge ego and ‘always right’ attitude, New Jersey governor may have found a calling

Kike Tyson, Milan Tyson and  Mike Tyson enjoying the tennis at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden in Indian Wells, California. Photograph:  Julian Finney/Getty Images

One-time ‘baddest man on the planet’ surviving and thriving after all the wild years

Audie Attar stands sentry in the background as Floyd Mayweather jibes Conor McGregor during their final press tour stop in London. Photo: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Audie Attar has swapped battling prejudice for smiling benignly at McGregor’s racist jibes

 Dom Dwyer  celebrates scores on his debut for the  US against Ghana on July 1st in East Hartford, Connecticut. Photograph:  Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The Sporting Kansas striker marks a new era in the US pursuit of dual nationality players

Pete Flynn prepares the field for the game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the New York Mets during the last home match at Shea Stadium on April 8th, 2008. Photograph: Photograph:  Nick Laham/Getty Images

Leitrim native’s lifetime of service to New York Mets made him a much-loved figure

Commissioner Don Garber, David Beckham and Mayor Carlos Gimenez attend a press conference in 2014 to announce their plans to launch a new Major League Soccer franchise at Pamm Art Museum in Miami, Florida. Photo: Aaron Davidson/Getty Images

Former Manchester United player’s proposed franchise has faced numerous problems

Aaron Judge: added 30lbs of muscle to his frame since being drafted in 2013.

New York agog as muscle-bound newcomer rips up the record book with relish

Tiger Woods: like some child actor, preparing him for every feasible challenge on the course often involved neglecting his life off it. Photograph:  Darren Carroll/Getty Images

Basketball icon seems to have coped better with the pressures of fame and celebrity

Members of the Shamrock Rovers squad of the 1960s at a commemoration lunch in 2007. Their US adventure is chronicled in ‘Summer of ’67: Flower Power, Race Riots, Vietnam and the Greatest Soccer Final Played on American Soil’ by Ian Thomson. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

In 1967, the US hosted its first and only soccer season, and Irish players met the stars

 PK Subban  against the Anaheim Ducks  in  the  Stanley Cup playoffs  in Anaheim, California. Photograph: Sean M Haffey/Getty Images

Those who love him enjoy his antics, others say he doesn’t take hockey seriously enough

Former  Republican presidential hopeful and ex-Florida governor  Jeb Bush who has bid  $1.3bn for the Miami Marlins as part of a consortium including iconic former New York Yankee Derek Jeter. Photograph:  Justin Sullivan/Getty

Iconic ex-New York Yankee joined by Jeb Bush as consortium bid for baseball club

With revenues way down and expenses going up, around 100 high-profile employees were let go last week by the network. Photograph:  Mike Windle/Getty Images

Cable sports network loses 10m subscribers as technological revolution bites

Clubs take a bizarrely comprehensive approach each April when trying to figure out which of the best college prospects may be able to cut it in the more demanding professional game. Photograph:  Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Twelve-minute 50-question multiple choice test still used as aid in choosing draft players

BIG3: In a league of thier own.

Game’s marquee names come out of retirment to play new leagues’s half-court format

 Carli Lloyd   lifts the trophy as the USA celebrate winning the Women’s World Cup in 2015. Photograph: Ben Nelms/EPA

Irish women’s team receive same level of annual funding as girls’ U-15 squad in US

 Lonzo Ball (right) is expected to be a top three pick in this summer’s NBA draft unless clubs are scared off by his father’s antics. Photograph:  Andy Lyons/Getty Images

America at Large: Father of basketball prodigy Lonzo Ball shouts loud to get attention

 Christian Pulisic (right) is the youngest player to score for the USA in a World Cup qualifying match. Photograph: Getty.

Borussia Dortmund’s 18-year-old prodigy living with a nation’s high level of expectation

“When you live in fires and funerals and strikes and rats and crowds and people screaming in the night,” Jimmy Breslin once wrote, “sports is the only thing that makes any sense”

Pulitzer prize winning journalist and writer fell foul of conservative New York GAA mafia

 Trainer Lou Duva talks to to Pernell Whitaker during a fight against Oscar De La Hoya  in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photograph: Al Bello/Allsport

New Yorker was corner man, trainer, manager and promoter with 19 world champions

PJ Conlon during a Spring Training game between the Houston Astros and New York Mets in February. Photograph: Getty Images

PJ Conlon is a 23-year-old native of Belfast who has high hopes at the New York Mets

 Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson: “It’s not about what I did when I played. It’s about the new Lakers.”  Photograph:  Elsa/Getty Images

Legendary figure returns as president with the aim of returning the club to NBA heights

Connecticut Huskies head coach Geno Auriemma celebrates with the team’s supporters after victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in the NCAA Women’s Final Four National Championship   in 2015. Photograph: Mike Carlson/Getty Images

University of Connecticut women’s basketball team have won 100 games win in row

Jordan Speith: said  he didn’t sign for professional autograph hunters who collect stuff just so they can later sell it online for profit. Photograph: Tyle Terada/USA Today Sports

Sports memorabilia remains a multi-billion dollar industry throughout the USA

Golden State Warriors head coach  Steve Kerr.  “You want to solve terror, you want to solve crime. This is not the way to do it.” Photograph:  Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Personal history lends fitting weight to the words of Golden State Warriors’ coach

Bill Belichick: the New England Patriots head coach has formed a very successful partnership with his iconic quarterback Tom Brady. Photograph: Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The New England Patriots coach aiming to make history by claiming a fifth Super Bowl

Johnny Manziel’s contrite public statements  indicate he may just have started to realise how much he has squandered in his career. Photograph: Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

Quarterback who has squandered so many chances has embarked on rehabilitation tour

Green Bay Packers quarterback has family issues but has brought the game to another level

Linda McMahon was a failed Republican candidate for the US Senate in 2010 and 2012. Photograph: Abigail Pheiffer-Pool/Getty Images.

Forensic examination of professional wrestling magnate’s resume raises many troubling questions

Martha Firestone Ford: Detroit Lions have come a long way since the owner called the players together and told them she was sick of losing. Photo:  Diane Weiss/Getty Images

Remarkable 91-year-old owner has overseen a transformation in NFL team’s fortunes

George Karl: “I’m talking about performance-enhancing drugs – like steroids, human growth hormone, and so on. It’s obvious some of our players are doping.” Photograph: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Veteran coach points to major drugs issue within “cleanest” of USA’s big three sports

Conor McGregor  celebrates his KO victory over Eddie Alvarez  in their lightweight championship bout  at Madison Square Garden in New York. Photograph:  Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Sports review of 2016: Dave Hannigan on the Irish phenomenon’s seemingly unstoppable ascent to fame

Muhammad Ali goads Antonio Inoki at Tokyo’s Nippon Budokan during their mixed bout in 1976. Photo: Getty Images

Muhammad Ali one of a number of boxers to dabble in bizarre mixed combat sport bouts

Boxer Bernard Hopkins fights for the 65th and last time at The Forum  in California on Saturday. Photograph: Reuters

On Saturday the ex-con from North Philly will fight for the 65th and final time, aged 51

High school players will incur between 500 to 1,000 hits to the head during  a season, the true cumulative impact of which may not be known or felt for decades

Brain damage from tackling by high school players is not incidental, it is inevitable

 Minnesota Vikings’ Blair Walsh  misses a crucial  27-yard field goal in last January’s 10-9 play-off defeat to  the Seattle Seahawks. Photograph:  Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Blair Walsh the latest to discover you can be one poor attempt away from the sack

Jürgen Klinsmann was sacked as manager of USA after two World Cup qualifier defeats. Photograph: Getty Images.

US soccer failed to attain the self identity it craves under former German manager

 Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant celebrates a  touchdown against the Washington Redskins. Going into last weekend, TV audiences had declined by 15 per cent compared to 2015. Photo: Ray Carlin/ Getty Images

Most powerful ratings juggernaut in American sport has mysteriously slowed down

Conor McGregor during the post fight press conference of UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden, New York. Photo: Tom Hogan/Inpho

The Dubliner’s New York history-making was more of a coronation than a real contest

Conor McGregor celebrates his KO victory over Eddie Alvarez in their lightweight championship bout during the UFC 205 event at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Dubliner becomes first person in UFC history to hold two world title belts at same time

Lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, UFC president Dana White and  featherweight champion Conor McGregor interact with the media and fans during a press event at Madison Square Garden in September. Photograph: Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

Saturday night’s New York card shows how far the sport has travelled this last 20 years

 Art Briles during his time in charge of the Baylor Bears  in Waco, Texas. Photograph: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Art Briles unlikely to coach again as sexual assault scandal engulfs West Texas college

Bill Lee: On different days, he took to the field wearing a gas mask, a Daniel Boone coonskin cap, and a hat with a helicopter propeller whizzing around on top.

Former Boston Red Sox hero presents his alternative world view to Vermont electorate

Sonny Liston when he was the reigning world heavyweight champion in 1963. Photograph: Jim Gray/Getty Images.

Former heavyweight world champion boxer left questions that will remain unanswered

WWE chairman Vince McMahon prepares to have his head shaved by Donald Trump and Bobby Lashley while being held down by ‘’Stone Cold’’ Steve Austin after losing a bet in the Battle of the Billionaires at the 2007 WWE’s Wrestlemania at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

The US presidential candidate has already been inducted into the sport’s Hall of Fame

Joakim Noah: “I love America but I just don’t understand kids killing kids around the world.” Photograph:  Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

But New York Knicks player backs up his rhetoric with actions in troubled Chigago

 A fan with Ryder Cup sunglasses looks on during the 2016 Ryder Cup Celebrity Matches at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota. Photograph:  Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Clash between USA and Europe far down the list of priorities for general sports fans

The house in Dyersville, Iowa where the  character Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) lived in  the movie Field of Dreams, which was based on WP Kinsella’s novel Shoeless Joe.  Photograph:  Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images.

Canadian author exquisitely captured game’s brew of nostalgia, ritual and romance

Tim Tebow: “My goal has always been to make a difference in the biggest way possible. And one day if that’s a political route, that’s what I’ll do”

Former NFL quarter-back has signed for the New York Mets in a move raising eyebrows

Trevor Berbick backs away from a punch thrown by Mohammad Ali during their heavyweight fight in the Bahamas in 1981. Berbick won the fight in a 10-round unanimous decision. Photograph: Focus on Sport/Getty Images

In an extract from his new book Dave Hannigan details Muhammad Ali’s last fight

Trent Richardson was giving five-figure handouts to friends and family after he signed a $20.5 million contract with the Cleveland Browns. Photograph: Getty

Average careers last just over three seasons meaning healthy wages often don’t last

USA goalkeeper Hope Solo:  one of a quintet of high-profile stars who have filed a discrimination case against the USSF. Photograph:  Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Other factors in play as long-serving goalkeeper subjected to draconian punishment

Notre Dame used to style themselves a cut above schools where arrests and perp walks were as common as excessive touchdown celebrations. Not anymore. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

More than 1,300 college footballers have been arrested since 2010

Aside from aping Flair’s tired old egomaniacal act (right down to wearing Aviator sunglasses indoors just like the superannuated grappler), a lot of McGregor’s professional career has reeked of the WWE. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Irishman’s UFC career has always had more than a touch of the Ric Flairs about it

As soon as returning home, the USA gymnastics team will embark on a now traditional 36-city nationwide tour to cash in on the sport’s popularity. Photograph: Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

USA Gymnastics coming under the spotlight for ignoring sex abuse allegations

American footballer and athlete Jim Thorpe  competing for Carlisle Indian Industrial School at the US Olympic trials in Celtic Park, New York, in  1912. Photograph: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

Native American’s sons and tribe still seeking to bring him home to a fitting resting place

Silhouetted horses galloping in morning sunrise at Saratoga Race Course. Photograph: Getty Images

John Morrissey was, among many things, America’s bareknuckle boxing champion

 Lenny Dykstra pictured in March 1998 during his time with the Philadelphia Phillies. Photograph: Rick Stewart/Allsport

Former baseball star’s recounting of his colourful life leaves some gaping holes

 USA international DeAndre Yedlin with Sunderland team-mate Patrick van Aanholt at the end of last season. Photograph: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Most families can expect little change out of $7,000 for their nine-year-old to play game

 Donald Trump with new New Jersey Generals  signing Herschel Walker in 1983. Photograph:  Sporting News via Getty Images

US presidential candidate’s move into pro sport largely an attention-seeking exercise

A supporter of the use of cannabis as a painkiller for NFL players, Eugene Monroe was recently released by the Baltimore Ravens. Photograph: Rob Carr/Getty.

Rather than using presciption painkillers many are now advocating marijuana

Muhammad Ali, a few weeks shy of his 40th birthday, takes on Trevor Berbick in his last ever fight on  December 11th, 1981 in the Bahamas. Berbick won the fight in a ten-round unanimous decision. Photograph: Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Such is wealth of material you never know what gems the journey has in store

Muhammad Ali during training for his fight with Al “Blue” Lewis in Croke Park. Photograph: Getty Images

The fascinating story behind Muhammad Ali’s fight against Al ‘Blue’ Lewis in Dublin

Muhammad Ali in October 1974, 11 days before the “ Rumble in the Jungle” heavyweight world championship fight in Kinshasa, Zaire, against George Foreman.   Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Boxing legend was one of world’s most-loved sportsmen

 LeBron James with Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue: “The organisation gave us everything we need. There are no more excuses,” said James.  Photograph: Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

Cavaliers face a best-of-seven NBA series with current holders Golden State Warriors

A New York Red Bulls supporter holds a sign before a MLS game against   New York City FC. Photograph: Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

Defeat to Red Bulls reflective of crass marketing attempts that do MLS no favours

Penn State University head coach Joe Paterno: According to court documents pertaining to a lawsuit between Penn State and an insurance company, one boy informed Jpe Paterno about an attack in 1976. Photograph: Jeff Haynes/Reuters

Refusal to accept their hero did anything wrong by not reporting child molester Jerry Sandusky to police

‘I’m living under a series of mantras from The Grateful Dead right now,’ says Bill Walton, ‘I learned from them about how to become a champion.’ Photograph: Ethan Miller/Getty Images.

Bastketball great’s musing makes for compelling television entertainment

For all the puerile trash-talking and braggadocio, both men now find themselves in remarkably similar, awkward situations.

New Yorker born into riches and former apprentice appeal to same demographic

Curt Schilling of the Boston Red Sox: “There’s no grey area. If you do it and you don’t stop, you are going to eventually get cancer of the mouth.” Photo:  Nick Laham/Getty Images)

American municipalities now starting to outlaw the vile habit from sports venues

D’Brickashaw Ferguson (in green) of the New York Jets in action against the New England Patriots. Photograph: Al Bello/Getty Images

Numerous big-name players are taking matters into own hands and quitting game

Augusta National Golf Club is spoken about in hushed tones but the vast majority of the city’s residents could not care less about blushing azaleas or stately loblolly pines. Photograph: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Masters aside, this is a city of meth labs and pawn shops, strip joints and gang culture

Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully acknowledges applause from fans in front of wife Sandi , and sons Kevin  and Todd  before the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium on September 23, 2015. Photograph: Harry How/Getty Images

The voice of baseball’s LA Dodgers will call time on his commentary career at the end of this season

Leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has won the favour of a number of current and former US sports stars. Photograph: Ralph Fresco/Getty Images.

Dave Hannigan’s America at Large: John Daly the latest to row in behind presidential candidate

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning speaks during his retirement announcement. He left many in the room in tears. Photograph:  David Zalubowski/AP Photo

Tawdry allegations and crass commercialisation made this a strange farewell

Steven Gerrard of Los Angeles Galaxy and  Andrea Pirlo  of New York City FC make all the right noises about the standard of play. Photograph: Getty Images

Pirlo shows why real progress is difficult to quantify for US soccer league

Mike Francesa (left) and Chris Russo: their relationship is to be the subject of a forthcoming ESPN documentary. Photograph: Andrew H Walker/Getty Images

Mike Francesa, New York’s most popular sports talk show host, is bowing out

 Gymnast Simone Biles: In competition, on the beam, on the vault or on the floor, she is a study of impeccable grace under pressure. Photo:  Harry How/Getty Images)

The coming Olympics will showcase the talent of perhaps the best gymnast ever seen

Dave Mirra riding in 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. Photograph: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Suicide of BMX icon Dave Mirra has called into question attitude towards safety in sport

 Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton pauses in front of a television camera after scoring a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals in  January. Photograph: Erik S Lesser/EPA

Treatment of NFL’s most exhilarating quarterback is a window into race relations in US

US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders at a campaign rally in St Paul, Minnesota. Photograph: Eric Miller/Reuters

US presidential candidate’s democratic socialism has its roots in sport of his childhood

Jeff Sims (left) in action against Tim Witherspoon in Atlantic City in January 1990, three years before he was shot dead outside a Miami store

Troubled Florida contender Jeff Sims couldn’t keep dodging the bullets

Paul DePodesta has excelled is at harvesting the reams of information now available to coaches and scouts. Photograph:  Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Paul DePodesta expected to be nothing less than saviour at struggling Cleveland Browns

 Peyton Manning, whose clean-cut image is in danger of unravelling. Photograph: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Denver Broncos quarterback accused of using Human Growth Hormone

Tregg Duerson, the son of Dave Duerson, and his mother Alicia with the late Chicago Bears defensive back’s NFL Man of the Year trophy. The family is upset at the portrayal of Duerson in Concussion. Photograph: Marc Serota/The New York Times

Hard-hitting film exposes traumatic links between American football and brain injury

 Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors  has been kind of Jordanesque, averaging almost 32 points despite playing less than 35 minutes per game. Photograph: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

LeBron James is a player for ages but Stephen Curry could be ready to usurp him

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady chats with Donald Trump. Photograph:  Donna Connor/WireImage

NFL icon in minority as star athletes including Charles Barkley lambast Republican

Former San Francisco Giants batter Barry Bonds’ misdemeanours have been quickly forgiven by the public and those in baseball. Photograph:Thearon W Henderson/Getty Images

Rehabilitation of former San Francisco Giant and others shows criticism dies quick

 Muhammad Ali: the three-time world champion and social activist  went on to become arguably the greatest sportsman of the century. He famously refused to fight in the Vietnam War saying “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet-Cong – they never called me nigger”.

Comparing the Irish UFC fighter to someone like Muhammad Ali simply ludicrous

Mal Whitfield (right) of the USA beats Arthur Wint of Jamaica to win the 800 metres at the 1948 London Olympics. Photograph: Getty Images.

Wherever he went, he held training clinics and woke up a continent to athletics

Abby Wambach holds the World Cup trophy after the USA’s  5-2 victory over Japan in the FIFA Women’s World Cup final in July in Vancouver, Canada. Photograph: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

World Cup winner and record goalscorer Abby Wambach bows out next month

 A Washington Redskins helmet sits on the grass during a preseason football game between the Redskins and Cleveland Browns in Landover, Maryland. Photo:   TJ Root/Getty Images)

Club appealing a court decision to ban their trademark which offends Native Americans

Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne: will captain two teams of former greats in a Twenty20 game at the New York Mets’ Citifield. Photograph: Earl Wilson/The New York Times)

For a decade cricket became a sinister means of surveilling New York’s Muslim community

New York Mets infielder Daniel Murphy scores in the fourth inning of Game 1 of the World Series against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. Photo: Richard Perry/The New York Times

Improbable rise to World Series place a big achievement for Big Apple’s second team

 Gennady Golovkin celebrates his eigth round tko against David Lemieux during their WBA/WBC interim/IBF middleweight title unification bout at Madison Square Garden. in New York City. Photo:  Al Bello/Getty Images

Kazakh boxer has conquered America to become the world’s most exciting fighter

 Travis d’Arnaud  of the New York Mets celebrates after hitting a two-run homer  in the third inning against  Los Angeles Dodgers  at Citi Field in New York City. Photo:  Elsa/Getty Images

Sport which strictly observes by the game’s arcane by-laws turned a blind eye to drugs issue

Louisville Cardinals coach Rick Pitino has denied claims made in Katina Powell’s book “Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen”. Photograph: Getty Images.

College basketball accused of using all means in recruitment drive of young talent

Joe Frazier: It is 40 years since  arguably the greatest world title fight of all when he fought Muhammad Ali in  the famed  Thrilla in Manila. Photo: PA Wire.

Forty years on from the Thrilla in Manila, his place in boxing’s history is assured

In the first week of the new NFL season, DraftKings and FanDuelspent a combined $27 million on television advertising

Billion-dollar industry exploiting loopholes in US’s notoriously restrictive gambling laws

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