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Signs welcoming Indiana Fever's new player Caitlin Clark, at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Mykal McEldowney-USA TODAY NETWORK via Reuters

Basketball double whammy: Gender pay gap and betting scandals

It’s been a big week for professional basketball leagues catching heat. Fans were outraged to learn that college basketball legend and all-time NCAA top-scorer and top WNBA draft pick Caitlin Clarkwill earn a meager $338,056 over four years with the Indiana Fever.

That means, Clark’s earnings will be less than 1% of the 2023 NBA top draft pick, Victor Wembanyama’s $55 million deal. It’s even lower – much lower– than some NBA mascots.

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Afghanistan's captain Hashmatullah Shahidi celebrates the team's victory against Pakistan in the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023, at MA Chidambaram Stadium, in Chennai on Monday.

ANI via Reuters

Afghanistan’s cricketers inspire nation with World Cup dream

The streets of Kabul erupted in joy Monday night as Afghans celebrated their national team’s massive upset victory against Pakistan in the Cricket World Cup. It’s a brief moment of elation amid the crushing crises that have immiserated millions since the US withdrawal.

The stunning eight-wicket win against one of the sport’s most celebrated sides put Afghanistan in a four-way tie for a knockout stage berth. They face an uphill climb for a shot at the trophy, though: The mighty South African and Australian teams are sure to put Afghan bowlers and batters through their paces, and they’ll have to beat both Sri Lanka and the Netherlands as well. If they manage to pull it off, waiting in the knockout stages is thus-far undefeated India, playing at home to roaring crowds.

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Qatari fans celebrate after the announcement that Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup


Saudi vs. Qatar: A sporting rivalry

Saudi Arabia announced this week that it plans to launch a new sports investment company that will be part of the oil-rich Gulf kingdom’s $650 billion sovereign wealth fund.

The move signals the Saudis are accelerating their efforts to become a global powerhouse in sports — not so much with their athletes as with their wallets. The kingdom recently bought up English Premier League football club Newcastle United, absorbed the Men’s PGA Golf Tour into a Saudi-based rival, and lured Portuguese megastar Cristiano Ronaldo to a local football squad with a nine-figure contract.

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Can sports fans save America?
Can Sports Fans Save America? | GZERO World

Can sports fans save America?

You already know that America is getting more polarized by the day. Democrats and Republicans hardly live together, work together, or hang out together the way they used to.

But a new book called Fans Have More Friends argues that highly-engaged sports fans are less politically polarized, have greater trust in institutions, and generally live happier lives.

To learn more, GZERO's Alex Kliment met up with one of the book's authors, Dave Sikorjak, a marketing consultant who studies the motivations of sports fans. Where'd Alex and Dave link up? Where else -- at a tailgate in Philadelphia ahead of a game between the Giants and the Eagles. It all went great until Alex got taped to the front of a bus, but you'll get to that...

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Podcast: The IOC's Dick Pound on how sports and politics should mix


Listen: On the GZERO World Podcast, a look at the long history of protest at the Games with Dick Pound, the longest serving member of the International Olympic Committee and a former Olympic athlete himself. With COVID rates rising globally, this year's Olympics faced some major hurdles. But the pandemic was only part of the picture. The Tokyo Games played out against a backdrop of mounting global tension surrounding gender equality, racism and human rights, leaving many people to examine the place of politics on the playing field and podium.

Subscribe to the GZERO World Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, or your preferred podcast platform, to receive new episodes as soon as they're published.
Dick Pound: Olympics successful despite COVID tensions
Dick Pound: Olympics Successful Despite COVID Tensions | GZERO World

Dick Pound: Olympics successful despite COVID tensions

Before the Olympics, most Japanese people were against the Games due to fear of COVID. As the tournament got on, the International Olympic Committee's Dick Pound says that most resistance vanished, but some resentment still lingers among Tokyo's residents. "There's that tension, that still exists, but it's not interfering with the sport," Pound tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

Watch this episode on US public television - check local listings.

How should athletes protest at the Olympics?
How Should Athletes Protest at the Olympics? | IOC's Dick Pound | GZERO World

How should athletes protest at the Olympics?

For Dick Pound, the longest serving member of the International Olympic Committee, protesting at the Games is fine — as long as it doesn't "interfere" with the competition itself or awards ceremonies. The Olympics, in his view, are an oasis of calm in the middle of an increasingly tense world, and "we shouldn't be spoiling that by pointing out the obvious , which is that there are social and political problems." Watch his interview with Ian Bremmer on the latest episode of GZERO World on US public television.

Gabriella Turrisi

How political sports boycotts (really) work

In recent days, America's pastime has become deeply embroiled in America's politics. US Major League Baseball pulled its annual All-Star Game (an annual friendly matchup of the sport's best players at every position) out of Atlanta to protest the Georgia state legislature's recent passage of restrictive new voting laws.

Just a week into baseball season, the move is a big deal in the US. But more broadly, it's the latest in a series of increasingly high-stakes sports decisions around the world that have a lot to do with politics.

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