Posted on: June 20th, 2011 by Jen Mueller

Last week the sports world crowned new NBA and NHL champions, but there’s just as much to talk about this week including the NBA Draft, Wimbledon, Golf, and the NFL Labor Talks.   The short summaries of each story give you enough information to understand why it’s relevant.  Click on the links provided to read more about each story and use the questions provided to spark conversation this week.  Don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers.  It’s not necessary. The whole purpose of having a conversation with a sports fan is to engage, connect and rely on their knowledge to help build your own.

NBA – The NBA Draft is Thursday night.  The Cleveland Cavaliers have the first overall pick.  Experts predict the Cavs will take Kyrie Irving out of Duke.   The NBA invited 15 players to be in the “green room” Thursday night.  These are the players the league believes will be top picks.  How do you see the draft playing out?  How important is it for teams to build through the draft?

NFL There’s a lot on the line for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell this week. Tuesday, owners will get an update on the state of the labor negotiations.  Goodell is expected to explain how the money will be split between the players and the owners and recommend the owners take the deal.  If the owners refuse, many people feel the lockout could stretch into September.   Are you worried about where the players and owners are in the process?  Any predictions as to when a deal will get done?  How has Goodell handled the process?

MLB – Interleague play continues this week.  That means National League teams will play American League teams.  This only happens for a few days out of the season.  Typically teams follow the rules of the home team.  However, when the Seattle Mariners and Florida Marlins play in Seattle this weekend, Florida will be considered the home team and will follow National League rules. That means no designated hitter and pitchers will hit.   It’s the first time that’s happened at Safeco Field.  There are pros and cons to each style of play, are you excited to see a different type of baseball this week?  Many players and managers dislike interleague play, how do you feel about it?

Golf – 22-year-old, Rory McIlroy won the U.S. Open Sunday by 8 strokes becoming the youngest players in 88 years to win a U.S. Open Title.  He also helped put doubters to rest after blowing a chance to win the Masters earlier this year. There have now been 11 different winners in the last 11 majors.  Prior to that time frame you could expect to see Tiger Woods at the top of leader board.  Do all the new winners make it difficult to pick a favorite and follow the tournaments?  Do you think Rory will be the next dominate golfer and become the fan favorite?

Tennis – Play at Wimbledon starts this week and you don’t want to miss an interesting matchup Tuesday.   You might not remember the names John Isner and Nicolas Mahut but they played the longest match in history last year at Wimbledon and play each other again Tuesday. Last year, Isner outlasted Mahut in a match that lasted 11 hours 5 minutes and spanned 3 days.  The two have since become friends and can’t believe the pairing.  Rafael Nadal is the defending champion.  He is on the opposite half of the draw from Roger Federer, which means those two could meet in the final.  Sisters Venus and Serena Williams are also on opposite halves.  Who are you most looking forward to watching?  How long do you think it will take Isner and Mahut to finish this year’s match?