MONEY Sports

Germany vs. Argentina in 9 Numbers

When the World Cup ends on Sunday, we'll know whether Germany or Argentina can claim victory. In the meantime, here's a look at how the residents of Berlin and Buenos Aires win and lose financially.

TIME Basketball

Heat To LeBron: Thanks for The Memories

The basketball star brought the team two NBA titles.

The Miami Heat wished LeBron James farewell with a nostalgic tweet of a photo of the Cleveland-bound NBA star before a crowd of cheering fans.

“Thanks for the memories,” it read.

The Miami sports franchise has many reasons to thank James, not the least of which are two NBA titles.

TIME NBA

Hometown Has-Beens: Sports Stars Who Returned

Can LeBron avoid being a hometown has-been?

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It’s not often sports heroes get to bring it back to where it all started.

LeBron James is going back to the team that drafted him in 2003 while he’s in his prime, but usually stars return in the twilight of their career.

The memories fans have of their favorite players loom over diminished play from the stars, and even greats like Reggie Jackson and Babe Ruth couldn’t bring back their hometown magic.

If James is hoping to make this a happy reunion, he’s going to have to buck decades of hometown has-beens.

TIME Sports

Will LeBron James Return Home to Haters?

4 years ago, Cleveland Cavaliers fans said they were betrayed by LeBron James. Now, he's coming home. Here's a recap of that saga.

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Now that LeBron James has made his decision to go back home to the Cleveland Cavaliers, the big question is, is he going home to fans who love him, or still taste the bitterness from his 2010 departure?

Cleveland fans may have to bury the hatchet if it means earning a championship ring. Or as TIME’s Sean Gregory writes, “If LeBron has any ‘haters’ left, now’s not a bad time to exit that whole silly business.” Read more from that article here.

 

TIME World Cup

The Greatest Moments of the 2014 World Cup Timeline

Relive the greatest moments of Brazil's 2014 World Cup—the goals, the saves, the tension, the legends.

 

TIME World Cup

Watch: The History Behind the Germany vs. Argentina Rivalry

This Sunday, Germany and Argentina will face off in the World Cup final. But this is not the first time that the two countries played against each other

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This weekend, the 2014 FIFA World Cup Trophy will go from the current holder of the gold statue, Spain, winner of the 2010 World Cup, to either Argentina or Germany. But this is not the first time the two countries have faced each other in a World Cup final.

In 1986, Argentina beat Germany 3-2, in a magic match where Maradona became Maradona. And it happened a second time in, 1990, when the Germans won 1-0 in what was considered at the time a less than exciting performance from the two teams.

Will Sunday’s match be a 1986-type final – energetic, surprising, memorable – or a 1990 final?

TIME’s Bill Saporito takes a look back at the rivalry between the countries.

TIME NBA

A Heat Fan Who’s Happy for LeBron

Atlanta Hawks v Miami Heat
LeBron James of the Miami Heat looks on during a game against the Atlanta Hawks at American Airlines Arena on November 19, 2013 in Miami, Florida. Mike Ehrmann—Getty Images

It's a bummer, but Miami will be fine

LeBron James took a lot of ludicrous abuse in 2010 for accepting a better job with better co-workers and a better boss in a better city. He was a free agent. He had every right to take his talents to South Beach. I’m an obnoxious Miami Heat fan, so I’m sad he’s returning to Cleveland—sadder than I ever imagined I’d be—but I’m not going to dump on him in Comic Sans. He’s got every right to take his talents home.

I’ve always thought the widespread over-the-top LeBron hatred reflected something more insidious than natural disappointment about his lame ESPN special announcing his departure from Cleveland. He had fulfilled his contract. Thanks to a salary cap designed to save NBA owners from themselves, he had been vastly underpaid. And Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert had been too cheap and too arrogant to surround him with winning talent. After he left, Gilbert’s infamous open letter—just removed from the Cavs website last week!—revealed some incredibly ugly sentiments. He clearly saw LeBron as the help.

This situation is different in many ways. The Heat organization did right by LeBron. It surrounded him with good players—not quite as good as I thought, at least this year–who played the right way and helped him lift his game.

And owner Micky Arison has been predictably classy about his departure from Miami. That said, LeBron did right by the Heat, too. He fulfilled his contract and then some, leading the team to four straight Finals and two championships. And I can’t emphasize enough how much fun it’s been to watch him play every night. He’s just unbelievably unselfish on the court. He always seems to make the right play. He guards speedy point guards and giant centers and everyone in between. Even after four MVP’s, he’s still underpaid and underrated; I assume he always will be.

But the dude wants to go home. He thinks he can win more titles with Kyrie Irving—I’m trying to be gracious, but how overrated is that guy?—and (probably) Kevin Love than Chris Bosh and whatever’s left of Dwyane Wade’s knees. He’s willing to go work for an owner who trashed him as a heartless coward after raking in millions of dollars off his labor. Well, he’s given me a lot of enjoyment over the last four years, and I’m not going to start questioning his choices now.

Anyway, this isn’t going to be like 2010. We always knew that LeBron was an Ohio guy. This is a bummer, but the people of Miami will be fine.

I mean, it’s not like we have to live in Cleveland.

TIME World Cup

The World Cup’s Moments of Strange Symmetry

In the game of two halves, sometimes history does seem to repeat itself

As an event that brings in people and cultures from all over the planet, a major part of the spectacle of the World Cup is its celebration of diversity, which makes the odd moment of symmetry all the more striking.

From full body suited fans to goofy goal celebrations, here are some oddly mesmerizing moments of similarity at the World Cup.

TIME World Cup

Argentina vs. Germany Referee Controversy Echoes, 24 Years Later

1990 World Cup Germany Argentina
West German forward Rudi Voeller heads the ball over Argentinian defender Oscar Ruggeri as forward Juergen Klinsmann looks on during the 1990 World Cup final between West Germany and Argentina July 8, 1990 in Rome. GEORGES GOBET—AFP/Getty Images

The two teams last faced off during the 1990 World Cup in Italy

sportsillustrated

By Ben Lyttleton

The outstanding image from the last time Germany and Argentina met in the World Cup final, back in Italy in 1990, was not Andreas Brehme striking home the winning penalty in the 85th minute, securing the 1-0 win for the European side, nor was it coach Franz Beckenbauer celebrating with the trophy.

WATCH: All Eyes On Rio: World Cup focus shifts to the Maracana

It was actually current U.S. national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann, tackled late by Pedro Monzon after a one-two combination with Lothar Matthaus, rolling three times and then raising up on one shoulder to continue his pained reaction. The challenge was in keeping with the rest of the game, and Monzon, a halftime substitute, was shown a straight red card for the tackle by referee Edgardo Codesal.

Worse was to come for Argentina: five minutes from time, Codesal awarded West Germany a penalty after Matthaus played through Rudi Voller, who, tightly marked by Roberto Sensini, fell to the ground in the area.

Previously in the match, Codesal had rejected Gabriel Calderon’s claims after a similar clash with Klaus Augenthaler.

Two minutes later, Codesal sent off another Argentine, Gustavo Dezotti, for grabbing Jurgen Kohler around the neck and wrestling him to the ground in an effort to get the ball off him for a throw-in. Codesal ran over and theatrically brandished his second red of the game, reducing Argentina to nine men.

“The referee has been physically manhandled by five players and if Argentina continue like this, FIFA will have to ban them from the next World Cup!” said BBC commentator John Motson. “Surely you can’t have this in the final!”

Brazil’s Nightmare Gets Worse: Argentina to Play for World Cup Title

This was Codesal’s last game as a referee. When he returned to Mexico after the game [he was Mexican-Uruguayan, and his grandfather was born in Argentina], he was confronted with hordes of journalists.

“I was brave and honest, like I always am,” he said. “The foul was Argentina’s fault, not mine. I’m calm and happy.”

At that World Cup, Codesal had taken charge of Italy’s 1-0 win over USA, awarding a penalty missed by Gianluca Viali, and blew for two penalties as England beat Cameroon 3-2 in the quarterfinal. FIFA observers gave him an average rating of 8.5 for his performances.

Codesal’s father, Jose Maria, was a referee who officiated at the 1966 World Cup. The one piece of advice he gave his son: “Don’t ever give a penalty if you think you will have to explain it a thousand times.” Nine years on, he remained convinced that his decision had been the correct one.

“I have no doubt,” he told Ole. “The referees don’t have to look for intent, they have to look for contact. This is what I saw: the Argentine tried to get to the ball first but he stretched his leg and tackled the German. It was a penalty. I was convinced at the time and I have not changed my mind since. For me, it’s a closed case.”

Netherlands Avoids Antics, Drama, But Feels Familiar Heartbreak

The case, actually, was far from closed. Soon after that interview, Humberto Rojano, the former president of the Mexican Referees’ Commission, went public on how Codesal had been appointed. He spoke of a meeting he had with Javier Arriaga, former head of the Mexican FA’s Referees’ Commission and a key figure in FIFA’s Referees’ Commission in 1990. Arriaga also happened to be Codesal’s father-in-law.

Rojano told Mexican paper La Jornada that “the authorities,” ­a phrase that is deliberately vague, ­had told Arriaga that “Argentina didn’t have to win.”

“I know the Argentines still hate me and that hurts,” Codesal told Reforma years later. “I love them and it hurts that I made them suffer. I would have liked Argentina won their third World Cup back in 1990. If I were God, I would change things, but I’m not God. I do know that in 50 years, they still won’t forgive me.”

Five Goals in 18 Minutes: How Mighty Germany Ripped Apart a Helpless Brazil

Codesal had actually watched the 1986 World Cup final between the same sides in Mexico, and had been supporting Argentina. But in 2011, over 20 years after the incident, Codesal’s stance had hardened against the continued hostility from the losing nation.

“I admire the Argentines for their will to win, but they have not learnt to lose, they just can’t accept it,” he said. “Someone told them that they lost because I was the referee, and they believed it. When Maradona uses his hand to score, that’s intelligent; but if they don’t win, it’s because someone stole from them.”

FIFA will announce the referee for Sunday’s clash between Germany and Argentina Friday afternoon, and whoever earns the honor will surely be operating with the cloud of Codesal lingering in the memory.

This article originally appeared on SI.com.

GALLERY: Brazil Fans React to Semifinal Demolition

TIME NBA

Yeah, LeBron James Totally Won Free Agency

LeBron's a different man now

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If LeBron has any “haters” left, now’s not a bad time to exit that whole silly business.

In a simple, direct, and utterly genuine essay penned, with the help of writer Lee Jenkins, on SI.com, James announced Friday he’s coming home to Cleveland. He’s leaving the Miami Heat, which has won two championships during his four years in South Beach, for a team with the worst record in the NBA since he departed in 2010. Why would he take less guaranteed money with Miami, and much shakier prospects at adding more rings to his fingers, to sign with the Cavs?

“My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball,” James wrote. “I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now.”

No chirping about taking his talents somewhere. “I’m not having a press conference or party,” James writes. He just a offers a frank assessment of where his head is at now, compared to where it was four summers ago, when he made his infamous “Decision” on national television. James’ openness, and emotional maturity, should be applauded. He admitted what any reasonable person watching James in that Boys & Girls Club four years ago could see: he was stressed as all hell about leaving Cleveland. He looked somewhat miserable that evening.

“I was thinking, this is really tough. I could feel it,” James writes. So could everyone else. “I was leaving something I had spent a long time creating.”

But he needed that first ring, and knew, back then, that joining up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami was the easiest path to that goal. “When I left Cleveland, I was on a mission,” James writes. “I was seeking championships.” After sports fans cheered when the Big Three lost to the Dallas Mavericks in 2011 NBA Finals — and LeBron underperformed — James became a happy mercenary. You can still criticize him, I guess, for avoiding the rough road to a title. Michael never left Chicago. Bird never left Boston. Magic never left the Lakers. Kobe never left the Lakers. Isaiah Thomas never left Detroit. But LeBron never had his Scottie Pippen, his McHale and Parish, his Kareem and Worthy, his Shaq, his Joe Dumars and his Bad Boys. And bottom line, when James writes, “I became a better player and better man” in Miami, he’s absolutely right. He put in the work to develop a post-game, to become a more efficient outside shooter and creator. He took no easy road.

He’s made his peace with Dan Gilbert, the Cavs owner who torched James when he left for Miami. “I’ve met with Dan, face-to-face, man-to-man,” James writes in SI. “We’ve talked it out. Everybody makes mistakes. I’ve made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?” Gilbert is so, so lucky that James is a “better man.” No one would have blamed James if he never wanted to work for someone who became so unhinged.

So James is coming home to write the fairy tale ending, and try to deliver Cleveland its first major sports title since 1964. The Cavs team he left in 2010 was probably more championship-ready than the one he’s coming to (unless Cleveland can land Minnesota’s Kevin Love in a trade). Now, he’s voluntarily taking a rougher road — at less money, we should repeat — for more hardware. Should Miami fans feel cheated? Ha. Lebron helped the Heat win two more titles, on top of the one Wade delivered, nearly on his own, in 2006. The Miami Heat made its franchise debut 26 years ago, and have won three championships. You know how many franchises have won more titles than Miami over that period? Just three: the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs. Detroit, like Miami, has won three. So 25 NBA teams, and fan bases, would love to have Miami’s problems. Also, South Beach isn’t the most sympathetic fan base. Remember when all those people left Game 6 of the 2013 Finals, and tried to get back into the arena after Ray Allen’s killer game-tying three kept the Heat alive in a series it would go on to win?

LeBron’s reportedly off to Brazil, to watch the World Cup final. Over the next few days, he’ll let the fans and pundits back home dissect this momentous move. He’s already written his piece. Millions of captivated hoops fans will be watching, over the next few seasons, to see how the story ends.

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