Tom Goldman

Tom Goldman is NPR's sports correspondent. His reports can be heard throughout NPR's news programming, including Morning Edition and All Things Considered, and NPR.org.

With a beat covering the entire world of professional sports, both in and outside of the United States, Goldman reporting covers the broad spectrum of athletics from the people to the business of athletics.

During his more than 20 years with NPR, Goldman has covered every major athletic competition including the Super Bowl, the World Series, the NBA Finals, golf and tennis championships, and the Olympic Games.

His pieces are diverse and include both perspective and context. Goldman often explores people's motivations for doing what they do, whether it's solo sailing around the world or pursuing a gold medal. In his reporting, Goldman searches for the stories about the inspirational and relatable amateur and professional athletes.

Goldman contributed to NPR's 2009 Edward R. Murrow award for his coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and to a 2010 Murrow award for contribution to a series on high school football, "Friday Night Lives." Earlier in his career, Goldman's piece about Native American basketball players earned a 2004 Dick Schaap Excellence in Sports Journalism Award from the Center for the Study of Sport in Society at Northeastern University and a 2004 Unity Award from the Radio-Television News Directors Association.

In January 1990, Goldman came to NPR to work as an associate producer for sports with Morning Edition. For the next seven years he reported, edited and produced stories and programs. In June 1997, he became NPR's first full time sports correspondent.

For five years before NPR, Goldman worked as a news reporter and then news director in local public radio. In 1984, he spent a year living on an Israeli kibbutz. Two years prior he took his first professional job in radio in Anchorage, Alaska, at the Alaska Public Radio Network.

Suddenly, John McEnroe and Serena Williams are involved in a tennis match of words, and the pace picked up Tuesday. Both are rushing the net — stick with the metaphor here — and firing volleys.

First it was McEnroe, who told NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro on Sunday that while Williams is "an incredible player," (she's won 23 major singles titles and 14 in doubles) she'd be "like 700 in the world" if she played on the men's circuit.

There's good news and bad news for the Cleveland Cavaliers following their 113-91 loss last night to the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

Their bad news first.

They lost.

Their good news? The reasons they lost were pretty clear. Meaning they don't have to dig too deeply to understand what they have to correct for Game 2. Or try to correct.

Cleveland turned the ball over 20 times. Compared to four for the Warriors.

"Twenty turnovers in the Finals definitely is not going to get it done," said Cleveland point guard Kyrie Irving.

For NBA fans, grumbly and otherwise, the wait is almost over. The Finals, finally, begin tonight.

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Updated at 9:30 p.m. ET

By now, it's fair to say South Carolina is a better team than Mississippi State. The Gamecocks' 67-55 win in the national title game Sunday was South Carolina's third — and most convincing — win over the Bulldogs this season.

The women's first basketball championship is all the more impressive since the team lost senior center Alaina Coates to an ankle injury before the tournament started.

In a hectic finish, the North Carolina Tar Heels were able to hold off the Oregon Ducks, 77-76.

North Carolina now advances one step closer to a redemptive title after losing at the buzzer in last season's championship game. This time they'll play Gonzaga Monday night.

Down the stretch, with the Tar Heels holding a slim lead, the semifinal didn't have the feel of a game that close. Perhaps because a series of timeouts disrupted the rhythm; perhaps because there wasn't a sense that the Ducks could make a final push to get past the Tar Heels.

Finally, today, they will play football.

The Atlanta Falcons take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 51.

After an NFL season of sagging TV ratings, it's expected today's game, in Houston, will do what Super Bowls always do — turn 60 minutes of football into a national holiday.

The U.S. men's national soccer team is back in action with a game against Serbia on Sunday. It's a so-called friendly, meaning it's not part of any official competition.

But it will provide a first look at the team under its new head coach or, more precisely, its new old head coach.

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And it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: It's less than a month until the Super Bowl. And the NFL playoffs begin today. NPR's Tom Goldman joins us now for the first time in 2017. Good morning, Tom.

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Voters in seven more states said "yes" to marijuana this month. Pot now is legal for recreational or medicinal use in more than half the country.

It's still against federal law and classified as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning U.S. officials consider marijuana to have a high risk of abuse or harm, and no accepted medical use in treatment. Also, it's still banned in professional sports.

To say the mood at Progressive Field in Cleveland was electric the last two nights is the understatement of the baseball season.

The first two games of the World Series brought sellout crowds, mostly made up of Indians fans, totaling more than 38,000 both nights. Everywhere you turned, there were happy Clevelanders sporting Indians jerseys, jackets, hats and t-shirts.

The Cleveland Indians are hot stuff.

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The NFL's New York Giants are heading to London for a game against the Los Angeles Rams this Sunday, without their All-Pro kicker Josh Brown.

The decision to leave Brown behind comes after new information emerged in a year-and-a-half-old domestic violence case. And suddenly, there are new questions about whether the league adheres to its supposedly tougher policy against domestic violence.

In May 2015, Brown was arrested for assaulting his then-wife Molly at their home in Washington state. Brown wasn't charged.

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Olympic fans, prepare to watch hookers in a scrum who hope not to end up in the sin bin.

The lexicon of rugby, and the men's game itself, return to Olympic competition after a 92-year absence. The return in Rio also involves a couple of debuts: It's the first Olympic appearance for women in the sport, and a first for Rugby Sevens. It's a seven-on-seven game. Traditional rugby has 13 or 15 a side.

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Michael Phelps knows he'll be going to his fifth Olympic Games next month. Phelps officially qualified for Rio on Wednesday, by winning the 200-meter butterfly, a race he described as the hardest swim of his career.

He followed that up with a win in the 200-meter individual medley late Friday at the time the U.S. swimming trials in Omaha, and also qualified for the finals for the 100-meter fly on Saturday.

The wins had meaning far beyond the pool — a symbolic victory over the personal problems he wrestled while becoming the most decorated Olympian in history.

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