The Denver Nuggets on Tuesday won their first NBA title after beating the Miami Heat 4-1 in the best-of-seven NBA Finals. Nuggets star Nikola Jokic, a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, added the NBA Finals MVP to his cabinet.
Kylian Mbappe on Monday said that he would not be extending his contract at Paris Saint-Germain after next season putting his future at the French club in doubt. French champions PSG risk losing him for nothing in a year’s time if he does not sign a new contract.
Germany bounced back from 1-3 down to salvage a 3-3 draw against Ukraine in an international friendly.
Here’s a look at the key stories from international sporting events through the day for June 13, 2023:
Nuggets win NBA Finals
The Denver Nuggets captured their first title in 47 NBA seasons on Monday, defeating the Miami Heat 94-89 behind 28 points and 16 rebounds from Nikola Jokic.
The Nuggets won the best-of-seven NBA Finals 4-1 to bring the Mile High City an NBA crown as a sellout crowd roared in delight while delivering Miami’s third finals loss in 10 seasons.
“I’ve got news for everybody out there. We’re not satisfied with one,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said afterwards. “We want more.”
The championship filled the final gap in the impressive resume of Serbian star Jokic, a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player and five-time All-Star center in his eighth NBA campaign.
Two days after countryman Novak Djokovic won the French Open for his record 23rd Grand Slam tennis crown, Jokic was named the NBA Finals MVP.
He delivered on a night when the team struggled with shooting futility but blanked Miami for more than five minutes of the fourth quarter.
“It was amazing effort by the team,” Jokic said. “It was an ugly game. We couldn’t make shots. But at the end we figured it out, how to defend and we scored 90 points. That’s why we won. I’m just happy we won the game.
“It’s good. The job is done and we can go home now.”
Denver was the playoff top seed in the Western Conference while the Heat had to win a play-in game just to reach the playoffs but then upset NBA wins leader Milwaukee, New York and Boston to advance to the finals.
Michael Porter Jr. added 16 points and 13 rebounds and Jamal Murray added 14 points, eight rebounds and eight asists for the Nuggets.
Mbappe’s PSG future in major doubt
Kylian Mbappe told Paris Saint-Germain on Monday that he would not be taking up an option to extend his contract until 2025, raising the spectre of him following Lionel Messi out of the club this summer.
The 24-year-old France striker’s current deal expires at the end of next season, with the option of another year.
If he does not sign, the French champions risk losing him for nothing in a year’s time – so they could now sell him this summer rather than miss out on a windfall for one of the world’s best players.
Mbappe’s decision not to renew, announced in a letter to the club and revealed by the French sports daily L’Equipe, is a fresh blow to PSG following the loss of Messi to Inter Miami.
There had been a deadline of July 31, 2023, for Mbappe to decide.
Mbappe’s move comes a little over a year since he snubbed Real Madrid by signing a surprise extension to his contract to remain at the Parc des Princes.
Real would again be chief among his suitors.
Mbappe’s entourage did not respond immediately when asked late Monday evening.
The striker’s departure for free at the end of his current contract, in the summer of 2024, would prove catastrophic for PSG.
In addition to the void left in the team, the club would also be deprived of the millions of euros a transfer would earn.
The future of Brazilian fellow star striker Neymar, under contract until 2025, also appears vague ahead of what is shaping up to be a summer of upheaval in the French capital.
The announcement of Mbappe’s intentions to PSG are yet another annoyance for the club’s Qatari owners following a difficult season on and off the pitch, despite winning the French title.
After another failure in the Champions League, the club are working to find a successor to coach Christophe Galtier.
The season was widely seen as a disappointment after PSG were dumped out of the Champions League by Bayern Munich in the last 16 and from the French Cup at the same stage.
Germany salvage draw with Ukraine
An injury time penalty from Germany captain Joshua Kimmich salvaged a 3-3 draw with Ukraine in a friendly in Bremen on Monday.
Germany trailed 3-1 with less than 10 minutes remaining but a goal from Kai Havertz gave the home side hope, before the Chelsea forward won a penalty in injury time, bringing Kimmich to the spot.
Despite the comeback, an impressive Ukraine led for much of the match and will take significant momentum into this month’s crucial Euro 2024 qualifiers against North Macedonia and Malta.
The script looked to be going according to plan for the hosts early, Antonio Ruediger’s pressure forcing a hurried Mykhaylo Mudryk to pass directly to an unmarked Niclas Fuellkrug just metres from goal.
While the striker blasted centimetres wide, Fuellkrug had the ball in the net soon after, deflecting a Wolf shot into the net just six minutes in.
Originally awarded to Wolf, the goal was later credited to Fuellkrug, making it the Bremen striker’s seventh in seven games in Germany colours.
Germany pushed for a second but Ukraine struck twice in five minutes to turn the match on its head.
Ukraine latched onto a lazy pass from Julian Brandt, Viktor Tsyhankov’s counter-attacking goal awarded on VAR review after being initially scratched off for offside.
The visitors countered again and it was Mudryk who made the difference, the Chelsea forward’s shot deflecting in off a flat-footed Ruediger for an own goal.
Flick upset the home fans by taking off Bremen striker Fuellkrug at halftime for Havertz, but Ukraine extended their lead soon after, again due to a Germany mistake.
Germany scored next through Havertz, the Chelsea forward slotting in a looping pass from Ruediger to give the home fans hope of a comeback.
The forward won a penalty soon after, brought down in the box by Eduard Sobol, bringing captain Kimmich to the spot.
The Bayern Munich midfielder’s penalty bounced in off the post, saving Germany’s blushes a year out from hosting the 2024 European Championships.
While Germany have already qualified as hosts, Ukraine have showed real promise that they could make it to the tournament, despite a tough qualifying group including Euro 2021 finalists England and Italy.
US Congress probes golf merger
The US Congress launched a probe Monday into the surprise merger of the PGA Tour with Saudi-backed LIV Golf, the chair of an investigative panel announced.
The deal unveiled last week raises questions about the role of the Saudi government in the accord, said Senator Richard Blumenthal, chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
The merger settled a legal battle between the rival tours only a year after LIV Golf launched with several stars who had jumped from the PGA for big-money offers from the upstart series.
LIV Golf was launched in October 2021 and lured top PGA Tour talent with record $25 million purses and money guarantees, bankrolled by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF).
Critics said LIV was conceived by the kingdom as a “sportswashing” exercise designed to improve Saudi Arabia’s international image, battered after the 2018 murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
In letters to PGA Tour and LIV Golf, Blumenthal said Saudi Arabia had a “deeply disturbing human rights record at home and abroad” and aimed to “use investments in sports to further the Saudi government’s strategic objectives.”
Blumenthal cited what he called “the risks posed by a foreign government entity assuming control over a cherished American institution.”
He asked for documentation from the PGA and LIV on the merger by June 26.
The golf deal came as Saudi Arabia chalked up another coup in the sports world, with its football team Al-Ittihad signing the French star Karim Benzema to a three-year deal believed to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
With text inputs from AFP
Updated through the day