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Golden: Gov. Abbott, the NIL bill is a no-brainer, so sign it

Governor Abbott can sign off on the bill.

Texas track and field star Tara Davis is an Olympic hopeful in the long jump, a marketer's dream when it comes to the potential to benefit from her name, image and likeness. Gov. Greg Abbott could sign off on an NIL bill this week.
  • The Texas Senate passed a bill that would allow college athletes to profit from names, image and likeness,
  • Phil Mickelson, 50, became the oldest PGA golfer to win a major.
  • The NBA is toying with the idea of a midseason tournament.

Our governor should not overthink this no-brainer.

It's past time that college athletes profit from their name, image and likeness and Sunday's House approval of the state Senate bill moved these young men and women one step closer to cashing in on their hard work and brand building.

Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, will likely do his part and sign off on SB 1385, which would put the ball in Gov. Greg Abbott's court.

Make it happen, Guv. Don't bury it because you can. On behalf of the thousands of college athletes in this state and many more outside our borders, it would be great if the Lone Star State did its part to keep this national movement trending in the right direction. 

More:Texas House approves NIL bill for athletes by overwhelming margin

Frankly, it should have happened years ago. Transcendent talents like Vince Young, Kevin Durant, Huston Street, Cat Osterman and Sanya Richards could have taken full advantage of their statuses as elite athletes in their day. They left indelible marks and received quality educations to boot while the money came rolling in.

Their generation represented the merchandising boom and the era of eruption of sports video games, which resulted in the NCAA, its schools, apparel companies, coaches, athletic directors, television networks and gaming companies getting mega rich off the backs of athletes who gave far more to their schools than their scholarships provided.

Don't like what I just wrote? Tough. Your view of an athletic scholarship should not be viewed through the same lens as an academic scholar, who doesn't bring big heavy dollars into this place. Young and UT's 2005 football team brought millions onto this campus and while Texas provided the facilities and threads, the athletes put in the work.

I don't remember seeing any Mack Brown jerseys in the stands that year, but I remember quite a few No. 10s.

Imagine what Texas freshman Lulu Sun could command right now from local tennis clubs for local appearances? Don't you think a few Dripping Springs businesses are interested in becoming partners with UT softball player Camille Corona, who was the defensive star of the super regional win over Oregon?

More:Rising Sun: Texas freshman wins stunner as Longhorns claim NCAA women’s tennis title

 And what of track superstar Tara Davis, whose boyfriend Hunter Woodhall has already put together a huge social audience? Davis, an Olympic long jump hopeful, is a marketing dream in the making. If she was an up and comer in the business sector, she would already be well on her way to becoming a millionaire.

More:Golden: Texas jumper Tara Davis has turned despair into a summer feel-good story

Others like them will follow. I can't wait to see them get their just rewards.

It's been a long time coming.

Phil Mickelson's win at the PGA Championship golf tournament in Kiawah Island, S.C., was one for the ages. At age 50, he's the oldest player to win a PGA major. He was a 200-1 underdog to win it this year.

Let's hear it for Lefty: How many of the 1970s babies shed a happy tear on Sunday after 50-year-old Phil Mickelson became the oldest player to win a golf major?

Lefty, a 200-1 underdog in the days leading up to the PGA Championship, did it for those of us who grew up on eight-track tape players and the Love Boat. He did it for sports writers like Kirk Bohls who worked on RadioShack word processors. He did it for televisions with rabbit ears and for AM radio.

All jokes aside, Mickelson's win ranks right up there with Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods winning the Masters in their 40s, 36-year-old Muhammad Ali beating Leon Spinks to win the heavyweight title for an unprecedented third time and tennis great Jimmy Connors making it to the U.S. Open semifinals at age 39.

I'm not sure what was more impressive, Mickelson holding it together on the back nine Sunday after a shaky start or the fact that he wasn't trampled by the thousands who overwhelmed the security guards on 18.

"It was unnerving, but exceptionally awesome," Mickelson said.

It will go down as the signature moment of a career that earned him millions though he was one of dozens who spent the first decade of the 2000s in Woods' sizable shadow. His sixth major ties him with Lee Trevino for the 10th most among Americans and left us feeling great about him giving the world a great live sports moment in the COVID-19 era. 

Lest we forget, this time last year, he was playing exhibition golf with Tiger, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. 

This was tons better.

Texas ex Kevin Durant, right, seen with Brooklyn Nets teammate James Harden, are leading the Nets in this year's NBA playoffs. The NBA is considering adding a midseason tournament. League owners are excited about discussing the idea with the NBA Players Association.

Bad idea, NBA: With the playoffs in full swing, the NBA is about to greed itself out of the No. 2 spot in American sports.

While many of us are trying to make sense of this play-in tournament — it just doesn't pop for yours truly — the Association is now toying with the idea of playing a tournament right smack dab in the middle of the season, according to ESPN.com.

It's not broken, but the league is sure aiming to fix it.

The owners' excitement stems partly from the enthusiasm and viewership of the play-in tournament though it's obvious they're overlooking the fact that anytime LeBron James' Lakers and Stephen Curry's Warriors meet, hoops fans will flock to the screen.

But the real reason for wanting to halt the regular reason is money. They market the heck out of this thing and squeeze a few more dollars out of advertisers.

Not feeling this idea one bit.

More:NBA playoffs: Young stars Devin Booker, Trae Young, Ja Morant up to the challenge in postseason debuts

Tyson Fury, right, and Deontay Wilder exchange punches during their WBC heavyweight championship title match at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas in 2020. The two will fight for a third time on July 24 in Las Vegas.

Boxing news: It's rare that boxing pits the best against the best, and they got it half right this week with the news that Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder will lace up the gloves for the third time — it will go down on July 24 in Las Vegas —  though some would have liked to have seen Fury go up against Anthony Joshua.

I'll take the trilogy, thanks.

The other big signing came in the welterweight division where Errol Spence Jr., who nearly lost his life in a scary automobile accident in Dallas just 19 months ago, will defend his title against fight legend Manny Pacquiao on Aug. 21 in Vegas.

Of the two, I would have much rather preferred to see the 31-year-old Spence fight 33-year-old multiple world champion Terence "Bud" Crawford, but the promoters are rarely interested in pitting their guys against one another, a problem which keeps the sport in the background in America.