FIFA wanted vibrant culture and masses in the streets during this World Cup. Unfortunately for them, they got both earlier than anticipated. The party is happening alright, but it’s made up of people who are fed up with government mismanagement and fealty to FIFA’s demands. In that spirit, what follows is the beginning of a playlist to accompany a proper World Cup gathering.

Li Muhao stands 7'2, has serious skills, and could well become the first Chinese basketball player drafted since 2007. If he continues to develop as he has, he could be the best Chinese-born NBA player in longer than that. So why does China not believe in him?

On the economics of player development and the buried profit imperative that shapes it all. A selection from Jonathan Tjarks' new e-book The Pattern of Basketball and the 2014 NBA Draft.

The USMNT is not quite the team they might someday be, but no longer the team they were. At times, they're both at once. That, as much as anything else, is a reason to believe in them.

There's a constant sense of anxious and somewhat self-pitying among those cheering for England in the World Cup, as there generally is. But there's no curse at work, here: just a bunch of things that needed to change, and which may finally be changing, and the stubborn urge to watch it happen.

There are free agents who will make more money on the open market than Lakers gunner Jodie Meeks, who is coming off a seasons in which he was, by the numbers, one of the most efficient scorers in the league. But none of those free agents will make GM's think harder about what they're really worth.

Even for those who have left baseball behind, a long car ride and a baseball game on the radio make for a powerful time-travel experience.

Every four years, fans and the World Cup have a passionate and all-consuming love affair. But when it's over, it's over.

The San Francisco Giants have a very particular problem with their broadcast team and their female fans. But it's bigger than the Giants, and bigger than it seems.

You can bet on an Arsenal game from inside Emirates Stadium, but Americans need to go to Las Vegas or a series of dodgy websites. Why is it so much harder to bet on a soccer game in the United States than it is in the United Kingdom?