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Which 12 players are front-runners for the All-Star roster?

The U.S. Olympic team roster is out. These 12 players, including Arike Ogunbowale and Caitlin Clark, might battle Team USA in the WNBA All-Star Game.

Published by Web Desk



The USA Basketball women's national team for the 2024 Paris Olympics has officially been named and kicks off group play July 29 as the program pursues its eighth consecutive gold medal.

With the 12 Olympians selected, WNBA All-Star voting will tip off Thursday to help determine the roster that will go up against Team USA in the 2024 WNBA All-Star Game on July 20 in Phoenix.

All-Star voting -- featuring a combination of input from fans (50%), current WNBA players (25%) and media members (25%) -- will conclude June 29.

The top 10 vote-getters will automatically be named to the All-Star Game, with those players not already on the U.S. 5-on-5 Olympic roster assigned to Team WNBA.

The 12 WNBA head coaches will then take the names of the next 36 highest vote-getters and fill out the remaining spots on the 12-player All-Star squad.

Rosters will be announced July 2, and starters will be determined by each respective team's coach.

Team USA versus Team WNBA is a familiar format. The 2021 All-Star Game used the same configuration, with the WNBA All-Stars prevailing behind Arike Ogunbowale's 26 points. There were also midseason showcases in 2004 and 2010 between Team USA and squads of WNBA stars, but those weren't officially considered All-Star Games.

Two and a half weeks is a lot of time for players to play themselves into or out of consideration, and this year's booming interest in the league and the rookie class in particular could impact the fan voting component of the selection process.

It's early, but here are our projections for which players should make the Team WNBA roster. (Players listed alphabetically.)

Forward | 6-foot-4

Bonner turns 37 in August, but she's having one of the best seasons of her career, averaging 18.6 points and 5.6 rebounds and moving into the No. 5 spot in the league's all-time scoring list. She's angling for her sixth overall and fifth All-Star bid in six seasons, and this one would present an opportunity for her to go up against her Sun teammate and fiancée Alyssa Thomas, who was named to her first Olympic team. Plus, Bonner will get to show out in the city where she played the first 10 seasons of her WNBA career (and won two titles).

Guard, 6-foot

The highs and lows of Clark's first 13 WNBA games have been thoroughly covered and analyzed, but between the heavily weighted fan vote and her overall solid career start, she'll likely be headed to Phoenix. The rookie, who ranks fourth in the league in assists per game, joins Olympian Jackie Young as the only players this season averaging at least 16 points and 6 assists. Regardless of whether you think Clark should have made the Olympic team, it's hard to deny that it's a tantalizing prospect to see her go against Team USA as part of the WNBA All-Stars.

Guard, 6-foot

Gray's trade to Atlanta from Dallas prior to last season prompted a sort of career renaissance, as she emerged as one of the top two-way wings in the league in 2023 on her way to guiding Atlanta back to the playoffs. The former South Carolina standout earned her first All-Star nod last year and could return to that stage next month thanks to her strong start. Her 15.3 points per game includes 45.1% shooting from 3, one of the best percentages in the WNBA.

Forward | 6-foot-3

Few have been as dominant this summer as Hamby, who entered this season with clear aspirations of not just getting an All-Star bid but MVP votes. The former two-time Sixth Player of the Year is one of four players averaging a double-double with 20.0 points and 11.4 rebounds, which rank sixth and second in the league, respectively. Hamby was an All-Star in 2021 and 2022, then with the Las Vegas Aces, but this would be her first nod since her trade to the Sparks and having her second child in early 2023.

Guard, 6-foot-2

Howard has been an All-Star each year she has been in the WNBA, and the trend could continue -- though her situation is unique. The 2022 No. 1 pick was named to the U.S. 3x3 Olympic squad alongside Cameron Brink, but Howard would have to get voted onto Team WNBA if she is to play in the All-Star Game. Howard (15.2 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 3.7 APG) continues to do it all for the Dream and is second in the league with 2.5 steals per game.

Forward, 6-foot-3

Jones has returned from her June 2023 Achilles injury as smoothly as she could hope, with her 13.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game helping the Sun claim the top spot in the standings and rounding out their big three alongside Thomas and Bonner. Jones, who ranks second in the league in field goal percentage (59) and is known for anchoring the paint on defense, is looking for her third consecutive All-Star bid in years in which she's healthy.

Forward | 6-foot-6

Jones, who was born in the Bahamas but has played for Bosnia and Herzegovina's national team, gave Ogunbowale a run for the 2021 All-Star Game MVP, finishing with 18 points and 14 rebounds for Team WNBA. Then still part of the Sun, Jones would go on to win league MVP that summer. Fast forward three years and Jones is poised to pick up her fifth All-Star nod and first since being traded to the Liberty. She is averaging 15.5 points and 8.8 boards. She has been on a tear recently, scorching the Sun and Mystics with a combined 51 points (including seven 3s), 16 rebounds, 8 assists and 6 blocks.

Guard, 5-foot-11

Mabrey would be the only veteran first-time All-Star on this list, although she was on the fringe of that conversation last year. The Chicago guard is stepping up even more this season under first-year coach Teresa Weatherspoon, having a career year in all phases of the game (15.6 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 4.2 APG). She brings a flair to the floor that, combined with some hot shooting, could make for an entertaining performance in Phoenix.

Center/forward | 6-foot-4

The conversation around Seattle in the offseason surrounded the Storm's newly formed big three of Jewell Loyd plus free agency acquisitions Nneka Ogwumike and Skylar Diggins-Smith. But Magbegor's presence (13.2 PPG, 9.4 RPG) makes Seattle's core more akin to a big four. The 24-year-old Australian Olympian and 2023 WNBA All-Star continues to stand out with her defensive impact in particular, where she's tied for first in the league in blocks per game (3.0) and anchors a unit that's one of the best in the WNBA.

Guard | 5-foot-11

No one is shooting as well as McBride, who is hitting a blistering 51.7% of her 3-pointers on the season and went 15-for-23 from the arc this past weekend. The former Notre Dame star, who is averaging 17.8, has been a stalwart for the Lynx the past four seasons and has helped Minnesota become a top-three team. It's only fitting that McBride earns her fourth All-Star nod this season and first since 2019, when she was still with the Aces. At this rate, she might be in consideration for the 3-point contest.

Guard | 5-foot-8

Ogunbowale, who ranks second in the WNBA in scoring behind A'ja Wilson (26.4 PPG), is a no-brainer. Her nifty handles and clutch shooting are practically made for All-Star Games, as was evident in the 2021 Team USA vs. Team WNBA showdown when she was named All-Star Game MVP. The three-time All-Star has been in the national team player pool and has competed for USA Basketball in the past, but has yet to be named to a World Cup or Olympic roster. If that spurs any extra motivation, Ogunbowale could come out firing once more in Phoenix.

Forward | 6-foot-2

Ogwumike missed three contests this season with ankle and eye injuries, but success in her first season in Seattle has been undeniable as the Storm's second-best scorer behind Jewell Loyd (18.2 PPG) and second-highest rebounder behind Magbegor (7.7 RPG). The former longtime Sparks star -- someone who was controversially omitted from the U.S. Olympic rosters in 2012, 2016 and 2021 -- has been a fixture in All-Star Games. The only time since she didn't make one was in 2021, when she was injured most of the year.
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Biden is on track to beat inflation and lose the presidency

The North Star of macroeconomic policy — the ideal point that fiscal and monetary measures are meant to lead us toward — is an America where jobs are abundant and prices rise by 2 percent a year. And we might have just arrived in that place.   In May, the US …

Published by Web Desk



The North Star of macroeconomic policy — the ideal point that fiscal and monetary measures are meant to lead us toward — is an America where jobs are abundant and prices rise by 2 percent a year. And we might have just arrived in that place. In May, the US economy added 272,000 jobs, far more than economists predicted. That same month, prices remained unchanged from April, and only 3.3 percent higher than they were one year earlier, according to a Consumer Price Index (CPI) report released on Wednesday. These figures were both lower than anticipated. What’s more, the official CPI data likely overstates the actual pace of price increases in the economy. This is because a major driver of overall inflation in recent months has been housing costs, and the Consumer Price Index’s measure of rental prices is out of date. The CPI measures what consumers are currently paying in rent, but most renters are paying rates that were set months ago, when they first signed their leases. In that time, the going rate for new leases has fallen, according to industry data. Thus, the actual market price of a rental unit today is lower than the average price that’s presently being paid. Asking rents fell for a 10th straight month in May, according to a Rental Report released this week. The typical rent has now fallen by $24 since August 2022. By contrast, the new CPI data shows rent prices up 0.4 percent from April and 5.4 percent from one year ago. As the economist Paul Krugman notes, if you remove outdated rental data from CPI, the inflation rate looks right in line with the Federal Reserve’s 2 percent target. In his view, this means that “inflation has basically been defeated.” On its face, this would seem like great news for Joe Biden. Inflation has long been the president’s greatest political liability. If May’s trends continue and Biden presides over full employment and stable prices come Election Day, the case for Donald Trump’s candidacy might seem drastically weaker. But there are three reasons for Democrats to fear that slowing inflation will prove too little, too late. For one thing, voters’ distrust of Biden’s economic management appears unshakeable. In a recent Gallup poll, just 38 percent of Americans expressed confidence in Biden to “do the right thing for the economy.” That is up a smidgen from Biden’s 35 percent mark in 2023, but it is still the worst economic approval that any modern president has suffered in Gallup’s polling, with the exception of George W. Bush immediately after the financial crisis. By contrast, 46 percent of voters have confidence in Trump’s economic management. In RealClearPolitics’s average of recent surveys, Americans disapprove of Biden’s handling of the economy by a 17.6 point margin. And voters’ appraisal of Biden’s economic acumen has not substantially improved in recent months, even as inflation has declined. By the end of Trump’s term, on the other hand, voters approved of his economic management by a 7.8 percent margin. Thus, the idea that Biden is personally responsible for the surge of inflation in 2022 — and that he cannot be trusted to effectively manage the economy for that reason — appears deeply rooted in voters’ minds. The fact that wages have been rising much faster than prices for more than a year has left no dent on this impression. Another few months of falling inflation could move the needle a bit, but there’s little reason to assume that such a development will dramatically change public opinion. Second, relatedly, historical precedent suggests that the economy’s performance up to this point in Biden’s term will matter more than its performance from now until November. According to Democratic data scientist David Shor, when you examine the relationship between GDP growth and past incumbent presidents’ electoral outcomes, their economic records between inauguration and April of their reelection year count for much more than economic conditions in their campaigns’ final months. Finally, if inflation has truly been defeated, victory has come too late to yield substantial interest rate cuts before November. The Federal Reserve declined to reduce rates after its meeting this week and forecast a single, quarter-percentage-point cut by year’s end. Investors predict that such a cut will come in September at the earliest. Even if the rate cut comes before Election Day, it would still leave Americans with dramatically higher borrowing costs than they faced when Biden was inaugurated. It is conceivable that a small September cut may help the president a bit at the margins. Another possibility is that Biden will effectively shepherd the nation out of an economic crisis and deliver it into a low-inflation, high-employment economy and then promptly hand the White House back to Donald Trump, who will proceed to receive the lion’s share of the credit when the Fed slashes interest rates next year. After all, whatever else you might say about Trump, he knows how to inherit more than he deserves.
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Chestnut-Kobayashi wiener-take-all on Labor Day

Competitive eating legends Joey Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi will face off in a hot dog eating battle on Labor Day that will be televised by Netflix.

Published by Web Desk



Joey Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi -- the top dogs of the competitive eating world -- are ready to eat in the same arena for the first time since 2009.

The two gastronomic icons, who have won a combined 22 Mustard Belts at the Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, will face off in an all-beef hot dog battle against each other Sept. 2 in an event to be streamed on Netflix.

The location for the event has yet to be determined.

Kobayashi, who announced his retirement from competitive eating due to health concerns just last month, won the annual Nathan's contest on July 4 from 2001 to 2006, increasing his total of hot dogs and buns consumed from 50 at the start of that run to 63 in 2007, when Chestnut won his first title with 66.

"Retiring for me will only happen after I take him down one last time," Kobayashi said in a statement. "This rivalry has been brewing for a long time. Competing against Joey live on Netflix means fans all over the world can watch me knock him out."

Chestnut has won the Nathan's event 16 times, including the past eight, and holds the record of 76 hot dogs and buns eaten in 10 minutes. He will not compete this year, however, due to a Major League Eating "hot dog exclusivity provision" after Chestnut chose to represent another hot dog brand.

George Shea, a Major League Eating event organizer, said Netflix was "trying to recreate the Nathan's contest to some extent and you just can't do that."

"Imitation is the best form of flattery," he added.

Chestnut and Kobayashi tied in the 2008 contest with 59 hot dogs consumed in 10 minutes, but Chestnut won an "eat-off" in which he downed five more in 50 seconds -- 7 seconds faster than Kobayashi.

"Through all of my years in competitive eating, Kobayashi stands out as my fiercest rival," Chestnut, who owns 55 eating world records, said in a statement. "Competing against him pushed me to be so much better. I know that fans have waited a long time for another chapter of our rivalry and I can't wait for our massive showdown live on Netflix! It's time to give the people what they want!"

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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