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Who has struggled, succeeded from sports lens in past 6 months

Empty seats at Levi's Stadium are shown as Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) takes the snap against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Six months, we’ve endured. Heads down. Masks up. Staying indoors. Avoiding the scale. Trying not to snap in public.

That’s a long time to live inside a pandemic.

Karen, the name, now carries a stigma. Snoop Dogg has been hired to resuscitate the image of Corona beer, a brand damaged by the coronavirus. Those in commercial real estate are likely looking for a new profession. Same with those who sell suits.

Our way of living has changed dramatically, in ways we don’t even yet realize. High-fives to everyone who have made it this far. And be thankful you are not:

Larry Scott: The Pac-12 commissioner who will go down as one of the biggest failures in conference history.

Alex Meruelo: Proof that even a billionaire can’t save the Coyotes. After failing to pay rent at his hockey arena and failing to pay on-time bonuses to his players, it’s fair to wonder if he’s even a billionaire anymore.

Novak Djokovic: With Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal not participating, Djokovic got himself kicked out of the U.S. Open for hitting a linesperson with a tennis ball. The only person who could beat him in this major was himself. That’s exactly what happened. And that says a lot.

Torey Lovullo: Pushed all the wrong buttons as a sprint coach. Oversaw the Robbie Ray debacle. His hitters wouldn’t listen. He didn’t have his team ready to play. On Thursday, he apologized for psyching them out too much, for putting them under too much pressure in a 60-game season. He earned himself a hot seat entering next season.

The Los Angeles Clippers: One of the most unlikable basketball teams in a long time.

There have also been plenty of winners along the way:

In the first stage of the pandemic, Cardinals general manager Steve Keim orchestrated the heist of the decade; the Houston Astros received the reprieve of a lifetime, gifted games without fans, spared from the vitriol once in their forecast; the PGA Tour posted great numbers while local golf courses served big numbers and made big money; Commissioner Roger Goodell guided the NFL through a terrific offseason, including the most relatable NFL draft in history; and Michael Jordan re-emerged as a cutthroat superstar in a 10-part documentary.

More recently:

Jimmy Butler: The breakout star of the NBA’s bubble, by far. Everything you want in a leader. The reason why you can feel heat coming off the Heat, a team that might make the NBA finals after missing the playoffs only a year ago.

Patrick Mahomes: Signed a contract worth nearly a half-billion dollars.

Devin Booker: Won a televised video game tournament; led the Suns to an 8-0 record in the bubble, including an iconic game-winning shot against the Clippers; while continuing to date L.A. celeb-icon Kendall Jenner.

DeAndre Hopkins: Demanded a new contract with three years left on his existing deal. Not many players have tried that before, and his conviction is breathtaking.

Mom’s the word: There were nine mothers in the main draw of the U.S. Open, proving tennis is no longer a teenager’s sport.

Dustin Johnson: It’s been a rocky road for the PGA Tour star. But he got hot at the right time, pocketing $15 million for winning the FedEx Cup. That’s a lot of prize money for a golfer. Especially a star who never gained commercial and endorsement fame like Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson.

Sports fans in Slovenia: Reveling in the exploits of Luka Doncic and Goran Dragic. A country also dominating the Tour de France.

Sports fans in America: We are witnessing a rare confluence of events: The start of the NFL; conference championships in the NBA, the Stanley Cup Finals; MLB teams clinching playoff berths; and major tournaments in tennis and golf. The glut of viewing options has been better than anticipated, proving there is only one thing better than sports:

More sports.

Reach Bickley at Listen to Bickley & Marotta weekdays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

Reach Bickley at Listen to Bickley & Marotta weekdays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station.

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