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Old Traditions

THE MAYWEATHER-MCGREGOR BOUT AND NBA FREE AGENCY CALL INTO QUESTION THE STRUCTURE OF LABOR AND COMPENSATION IN AMERICAN PROFESSIONAL SPORTS.

As the sports world fell into the early days of its annual summer coma, a series of portentous moments were taking place. At a glance, and taken individually, they looked a lot like the peripheral or back-office goings-on that typically fill the quieter months until football season starts. But by the time Lonzo Ball, the Lakers rookie point guard, whose passing ability is exceeded by only his father’s self-promotional thirst, lit up the NBA’s summer league in Las Vegas in early July, a pattern was emerging. Beyond all the insiderish commentary about NBA free agency and where Gordon Hayward, a borderline All-Star, might end up, there was a steady stream of news that seemed to call into question the structure of labor and compensation in American professional sports.

It started on the first day of July, when

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