Dirk Nowitzki, Kristaps Porzingis
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Kristaps Porzingis could play in Rio Olympics; Dirk Nowitzki won’t

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New York Knicks star rookie Kristaps Porzingis could play in the Rio Games, but Dirk Nowitzki will not, after FIBA announced the final three teams, among 18 overall, for Olympic last-chance qualifying tournaments in July.

A total of 15 teams had already qualified to be split among the three, six-team tournaments, via continental events last year.

The final three would be determined by which nations FIBA selected to host each last-chance qualifier. FIBA could have selected from among already-qualified nations, opening up spots for the top-ranked non-qualified nations, or nations not already qualified.

On Tuesday, FIBA announced that the three tournament hosts would be Italy, the Philippines and Serbia.

Italy, the Philippines and Serbia previously qualified for the last-chance tournaments, meaning Porzingis’ Latvia, 1992 Olympic silver medalist Croatia and Turkey were invited to round out the group of 18 teams fighting for three Olympic berths.

Nowitzki’s Germany, which was heartbreakingly eliminated in EuroBasket group play, was one of two nations among the six finalists to host the three tournaments that had not previously qualified for the last-chance qualifiers. Turkey was the other.

Neither nation was named a host, but Turkey ended up getting in anyway due to its world ranking (No. 8) and/or round of 16 finish at EuroBasket.

The winners of each of the last-chance qualifying tournaments will round out the Olympic men’s basketball field, which already has nine of its 12 teams.

Porzingis, 20 and the No. 4 overall draft pick, did not play for Latvia at EuroBasket in September, one month before the start of his maiden NBA season. He previously played for Latvia’s youth national team.

Nowitzki, 37 and a 13-time NBA All-Star, led Germany at the Beijing 2008 Olympics, shaving the Olympic rings into the side of his hair and carrying his nation’s flag into the Opening Ceremony. The Germans went 1-4 and were eliminated in the group stage.

That was the only time Germany’s men’s basketball team has qualified for the Games since 1992.

MORE BASKETBALL: Kobe Bryant will not play in Rio

*A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Lebanon received a berth in the last-chance Olympic qualifying tournaments rather than Turkey.

Eddy Alvarez, Olympic short track medalist, to play for Miami Marlins

Eddy Alvarez
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Eddy Alvarez realized his MLB dream, six years after earning a Winter Olympic medal, and during a global pandemic that affected his club more than any other U.S. professional sports franchise.

Alvarez, a 2014 U.S. Olympic short track speed skating medalist, is being added to the Miami Marlins roster for Tuesday’s restart of their abbreviated season, president of baseball operations Mike Hill said Monday, according to Marlins beat reporters.

The 30-year-old was among a group added after as many as 18 Marlins tested positive for the coronavirus last week, forcing the club to cancel seven games.

Alvarez is believed to be the first U.S. Winter Olympian to become a Major League Baseball player.

He may be the second Olympic medalist in a sport other than baseball to make it to the majors, joining Jim Thorpe. (Michael Jordan tried to do so with the Chicago White Sox, playing Double-A in 1994, but returned to the Chicago Bulls in 1995.)

Alvarez, a Miami native, played baseball in high school and at Salt Lake Community College before focusing on short track in 2012 for a 2014 Olympic run.

He came back from missing the 2010 Olympic team and surgeries on both knees, reportedly leaving him immobile and bedpan dependent for four to six weeks, to make the Sochi Winter Games. Eddy the Jet earned a silver medal in the 5000m relay.

Then Alvarez returned to baseball after three years away. He signed a minor-league contract with the Chicago White Sox in June 2014. He worked his way through the minors between that franchise and the Marlins system.

Alvarez was a Kannapolis Intimidator, a New Orleans Baby Cake and a Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp.

Now, he’s a big leaguer.

“It definitely was a chance, picking up a kid who hasn’t played in three years who is starting at the age of 24,” Alvarez said in 2014. “It’s not your typical story, but I play like a 17-year-old kid. I’m running around everywhere. I’m diving around everywhere. I’m full of life. I definitely see my progression moving at a rapid pace.”

MORE: What Olympic baseball, softball return looks like in 2021

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Katie Ledecky balances glass of chocolate milk on her head while swimming

Katie Ledecky
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Katie Ledecky will always remember Aug. 3 as the date she won her first Olympic gold medal, at age 15 in 2012.

Now, she can also associate it with the time she created another kind of buzz on social media.

The five-time Olympic champion posted video of her swimming the length of a pool while balancing a glass of chocolate milk on her head. Barely any, if any, milk spilled into the pool.

Ledecky swam as part of a new got milk? ad campaign.

“Hoooowww nervous were you when you did this?!” fellow Olympic champion and training partner Simone Manuel asked Ledecky on Instagram.

“I have never braced my core so hard,” Ledecky wrote. “It’s a great drill!”

“Try doing it breaststroke,” British Olympic 100m breaststroke champion and world-record holder Adam Peaty wrote.

“Is it wrong of me to think this is even more impressive than a few of your WR’s?!!!” wrote 1992 Olympic champion Summer Sanders.

MORE: The meet where Kathleen Ledecky became Katie Ledecky

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