What is the Rickshaw Challenge 2018, what’s the route, who is taking part in Children in Need and how can I donate?

CHILDREN in Need 2018 is finally here and with it comes the annual Rickshaw Challenge, headed up by a team of teenage cyclists.

Here is everything you need to know about what the challenge is all about…

Meet the 2018 Rickshaw Challenge contestants
Meet the 2018 Rickshaw Challenge contestants

What is the Rickshaw Challenge?

The One Show’s Rickshaw Challenge has returned for the eighth year and launched on Wednesday, October 10.

A team of six young people, who have been supported by BBC Children in Need-funded projects, will be joined by Matt Baker on the eighth day.

The challenge itself started on Friday, November 9 and came to an end on Friday, November 16.

They will cross the finish line in time for this year’s Children in Need Appeal Show.

What is the route for the 2018 challenge?

The 2018 Rickshaw Challenge began on Friday, November 9 in Calais, France.

They then pedalled 31 miles through the service tunnel of Channel Tunnel, which has only been used by professional cyclists before.

From there, to complete Day One, they headed from Folkestone to Ashton.

Day Two saw the cyclists travel from Ashford to Linfield and then spend Day Three working to get to Hook.

On Day Four, their journey took them to Royal Wootton Bassett.

Then, they cycled to Malvern on Day Five and to Ironbridge on Day Six.

After travelling to Chester on Day Seven, the challenge came to an at Salford Quays on Day Eight.

Alex and Matt
Alex and Matt are joined by Maisie who will be taking part in the Rickshaw Challenge

Who is taking part in the Rickshaw Challenge this year?

The Rickshaw challenge features a diverse and inspiring group of young people from all different backgrounds.

Abbie, 16, is from London and was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 12. She fought her cancer diagnosis with various treatment methods and finally heard happy news in October 2015. Throughout her journey, she was supported by Teens Unite, which runs motivational workshops for young people following a cancer diagnosis and helped rebuild Abby’s confidence.

Harry, 17, is from Plymouth and was diagnosed with quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy and Worster-Drought Syndrome at the age of one. He’s had multiple surgeries to help him use his legs more easily. Harry also struggles with communication. He’s been supported by Friends and Families of Special Children, which supports disabled children and their families. He is determined to show the world that he can do anything through the Rickshaw Challenge.

Kayla is a 16-year-old from Derry. Kayla’s mother has passed away from an alcohol-related disease following her battle with alcoholism and her father suffers from a rare flesh-eating bug. She cares for his dad and has been supported by Bogside and Brandywell Health Forum which provides a safe space for young people and empowers them.


Kieran, 18, is from South Wales and cared for his mum and younger siblings throughout his youth until he was unable to cope. By 13, Kieran was placed in foster care and started attending The Hwb Torfaen, a project that supports young people to encourage skill development and volunteering.

Maisie, 16 is from Southampton and has achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism. She has gone numerous operations to ease her movements and straighten her leg. At the age of 4, Maisie was introduced to Dwarf Sports Association and says it’s had a really positive influence on her life.

Phoebe, 19, is from Leicester and has had a stammer since she was 8. It made her feel isolated and impacted her self-confidence. She was supported by Action for Stammering Children which helped her gain confidence while communicating and provided a support network.

When is Children in Need 2018?

Children In Need is held in November each year.
The Appeal Show 2018 can be watched on Friday, November 16.


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Meet the Chinese MMA Fighter Taking on the Grandmasters of Kung Fu

Fighters aren’t usually the blushing type. But Xu Xiaodong can’t hide his embarrassment when asked about his latest battle scar, a three-inch crimson railroad track that snakes over his right eyebrow. It was caused, he says, by an overzealous opponent’s knee at a recent training session, during which Xu grappled with four younger mixed-martial-arts (MMA) fighters in quick succession. “I was tired by the end and bam!” Xu tells TIME in his Beijing gym. “Twenty-six stitches!”

It’s by far the most obvious of the 40-year-old’s war wounds, eclipsing even cauliflower ears and a catalog of creaking bones. But it’s nowhere near the deepest. Xu has spent a lifetime fighting, first at school and later channeling a red-hot adolescent temper into competitive MMA. But the fiercest blows he suffered were far from the ring, when he took on practitioners of traditional Chinese martial arts, known officially as wushu but more colloquially as simply kung fu.

The dispute started with an argument on social media. Xu wanted Wei Lei, a kung fu master in the discipline of tai chi, to account for the outlandish powers he claimed to possess. Wei boasted of using an invisible force field to keep a dove on his hand, and pulverizing a watermelon’s innards without damaging its skin. The idea that masters of kung fu achieve mystical skills is widely accepted in China; Wei is just one of many making such claims. Xu believes this “fake kung fu” sullies true martial arts. The online quarrel escalated, and before long Xu and Wei were facing off in a basement in the central Chinese city of Chengdu for a bare-knuckle match. Xu says he only wanted to open people’s eyes, but the bout was billed as East vs. West, the master of a hallowed tradition vs. an alien upstart.

In the video of the April 27, 2017, bout that later went viral on social media, Xu takes a standard MMA striking pose. Wei shuffles to and fro with both arms raised like a praying mantis. After sizing each other up for a few seconds, Xu advances, furiously hurling punches at Wei’s head. The tai chi master instantly tumbles onto the checkerboard matting. Xu leaps forward and rains down blows on his opponent until the referee stops the fight. Victory had taken 20 seconds.

The bout left Xu with barely a scratch but a life in tatters. The video quickly became a viral sensation on China’s social-media platforms. Online trolls accused Xu of humiliating traditional Chinese culture, and he found he was banned from social media. The Chinese Wushu Association condemned the “suspected illegal actions that violate the morals of martial arts.” He and his family received death threats.

Many wanted a rematch. One aggrieved Chinese entrepreneur offered $ 1.45 million to any fighter who could defeat Xu. Other tai chi practitioners began challenging Xu both online and in person, setting up camp outside the MMA gym in Beijing that he manages. Some brazenly wandered in to pick fights.

Xu insists his aim was not to disparage Chinese martial arts, but to show that what is often sold as a powerful fighting skill is useless in actual close combat situations. But his efforts were framed by his critics as placing the Western culture of MMA above cherished Eastern traditions–a perfidious sin in an increasingly nationalist China. President Xi Jinping has made reviving traditional Chinese culture a signature policy, deploying kung fu to boost the nation’s “soft power” overseas. Now, here was a man apparently dedicated to exposing it as a fraud.

“A lot of people have been brainwashed by these fake kung fu masters,” says Xu, who broke his silence to talk to TIME. “I’m trying to wake them up and let them know what real traditional kung fu actually is.”

 

The supposedly 4,000-year-old roots of kung fu can still be glimpsed in China’s Henan province, home of the fearsome fighting monks of Shaolin Buddhism. Dating from A.D. 495, the Shaolin temple is perched on the west side of the forested Mount Songshan, one of China’s so-called five Sacred Mountains.

According to legend, the monastery’s fighting prowess evolved from perfecting household chores like sweeping, fetching buckets of river water and collecting firewood. Feuding warlords would eagerly petition the warrior monks’ help for their bloody campaigns. Even after the Shaolin temple was routed for subversive activities during the Qing dynasty, its influence spread as its monastic diaspora journeyed across the Middle Kingdom and as far as Japan.

Today, life inside the temple begins before daybreak, when the hundred resident monks shuffle into the central shrine to perform a 5 a.m. ritual. Kneeling before golden statues of the Buddha, they chant melodic rites accented by drum and cymbal, beneath bronze effigies of the order’s iconic warrior brethren.

Later, the tourists arrive and the monks get to work. Novices put on kung fu shows where they tumble through the air, shatter metal bars over skulls and bend wooden spears with throats. Lithe performers adopt animalistic fighting styles, like monkey, leopard and leaping bullfrog. The reputation of the Shaolin monks has traveled far and wide; organizations using its name are all across China and the world. There are now around 140 Shaolin schools in 70 nations, according to local media.

In the U.S. kung fu entered the culture in the 1960s and ’70s, partly due to Bruce Lee, the U.S.-born actor and martial artist who starred in cult movies Enter the Dragon and Fist of Fury. His popularity helped pave the way for actors like Jackie Chan and Jet Li to turn kung fu expertise into Hollywood stardom. In the 1990s, hip-hop group the Wu-Tang Clan littered their music with references to the Shaolin temple and samples from Chinese kung fu movies.

But kung fu’s cultural reputation has taken a battering with the rise of MMA, and in particular the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The first UFC tournament in 1993 was billed as pitting different martial art styles against one another, featuring experts in kung fu, karate, wrestling and even sumo. In the end, Brazilian jujitsu reigned supreme.

A quarter of a century later, MMA rivals boxing in global popularity, augmented by the booming celebrity of stars like Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey. Many fans prefer the intensity of the format and stripped-down rules. Brazilian jujitsu, Thai kickboxing and wrestling remain the pillars of MMA fighting. The fluid acrobatics of wushu barely feature.

In China, kung fu remains a powerful draw. A study by Chinese Internet giant NetEase estimated the wushu industry’s worth at billions of dollars, including film, television, education, tourism and retail. Its official association boasts of 2 million full-time students at 12,000 academies. But MMA is catching up, with several rival promotions vying for supremacy. When Canadian MMA fighter Vaughn “Blud” Anderson moved to Beijing in 2008, there were maybe five MMA contests all year. Now there can be 10 in a weekend. “It’s growing faster here than anywhere else in the world,” he says.

Shaolin temple abbot Shi Yong Xin tells TIME kung fu can’t be compared to MMA because its true essence is spiritual rather than simply physical, bringing not superpowers but inner peace. But many people in China still give credence to the idea that the most skilled practitioners have supernatural abilities, and there’s no shortage of self-styled masters willing to go along with the ruse. A quick glance on YouTube reveals kung fu masters with claims of telekinesis and “shamanic dances that open up other realms of existence.” Some make money by promising to train others, and many have passionate disciples; the defeated Wei, for example, has 94,000 followers on China’s Twitter-like microblog Weibo.

The Shaolin temple itself is not free of commercialization. As the monks practice before rapt audiences, hawkers brandish DVDs. Shi himself has a gold-embossed business card with no less than three QR codes on it. But he says crooked kung fu practitioners and teachers often use the temple’s name without permission. “I had one worker who wasn’t even a monk but quit and started his own Shaolin school,” he says bitterly.

So Shi backs Xu’s campaign to rid kung fu of deceptive practitioners, like the female tai chi master who claims she can repel 12 opponents without using her hands. “He’s a good guy, even though he’s a totally amateur MMA fighter,” Shi says, before quipping to a fellow monk that “a hundred people in Henan province alone” could defeat Xu. But overall, concedes the abbot, “Xu is doing the right thing by fighting fake kung fu.”

Xu’s battle is increasingly a lonely one, however, as the Chinese government is weaponizing kung fu for its own propaganda purposes. This year, the Shaolin temple controversially flew the Chinese national flag for the first time, illustrating its “patriotic” credentials under the auspices of the all-powerful Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Jackie Chan, the Hong Kong–born actor among the most beloved icons in kung fu, became a political adviser to the party in 2013 and now regularly appears on its behalf.

In this context, it’s easy to see why Xu weathered such a backlash. His mission to expose unscrupulous kung fu masters was a threat to the cultural outreach of the CCP. The idea that kung fu is unique, with perhaps otherworldly elements, gives it popular currency that sets it apart from Western combat skills. “Everybody thinks that in Shaolin there’s some secret knowledge that nobody wants to teach to others, especially the ‘evil foreigners,’” says Marta Neskovic, 26, a Serbian doctorate student who’s training at the temple for her fieldwork on Shaolin kung fu.

Even veterans of other forms of pugilism believe. “I know Chinese MMA fighters who believe there are kung fu experts who live in mountain caves and can disappear and reappear at will,” says Anderson. He suspects ancient kung fu morphed toward the cabalistic because modern weaponry was making hand-to-hand combat less relevant. “It just isn’t efficient as a form of full-contact combat with a resisting opponent,” he says. “Bullfrog kung fu cannot be what defended the empire.”

 

Proving that to nationalistic Chinese will be difficult, but Xu has dedicated himself to trying. After his defeat of Wei, police stopped a second bout against tai chi master Ma Baoguo, and the mounting opprobrium forced Xu to retreat from public gaze.

Yet he can claim a partial success. In November 2017, China’s General Administration of Sport issued a directive apparently in response to Xu’s bout with Wei, clamping down on self-appointed masters and demanding practitioners “build correct values about martial arts.” But it also banned unauthorized fights, in a bid to stifle debate about the relative merits of traditional and modern martial arts. On Nov. 5, Xu heard he was barred “indefinitely” from organizing tournaments for fighters at his gym.

Nevertheless, Xu is continuing his personal campaign. In April, he fought and defeated kung fu master Ding Hao in under two minutes, and he’s planning another bout against what he says will be three “top, top” kung fu masters in a single day. He hopes that each victory will stifle his dissenters and restore normality to his life. Defeat isn’t an option, he says. “I cut their way of making money by exposing them,” he says. “So I cannot stop, as then the whole weight of pressure will come crushing down on me. I have no choice but to keep on fighting.”

–With reporting by ZHANG CHI/BEIJING

This appears in the November 19, 2018 issue of TIME.
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Matthew Barnaby, The NHL Hug Fest and Millennials Taking Over

With all this talk about the NHL not having as much "hate" anymore, we invited seasoned tough guy Matthew Barnaby to the pod for his takes on the state of the NHL, his favourite fights, and some regrettable things he said on the ice.Jackie & Sophia talk about Boston win…

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Taking Steps to Be an Athlete for Life

Kevin McManigal’s active lifestyle is measured by many milestones … starting from the time Bill Bowerman, the famed founder of Nike, specially made a pair of shoes for Kevin and his teammates on the South Eugene High School track team. (They won the state championship.)

In the years since, the now 60-year-old Kaiser Permanente nurse has summitted just about every Pacific Northwest peak, cycled and run tens of thousands of miles, and explored wilderness trails on horseback, cross country skis, and foot.

Bump in the road

Then came the proverbial “bump in the road.” He hiked deep into the Wallowa Mountains in northeastern Oregon, and came out a week later, hobbling in pain.

Over the next several months, he tried ignoring the pain. He ran less and cycled more. He saw an orthopedic surgeon at Kaiser Westside Medical Center, where an X-ray revealed that cartilage — the firm, rubbery material that serves as a “shock absorber” — had deteriorated in his right knee.

“The pain was constant and became more intense over time,” he says. “It felt like my knee would break, and I would collapse.” He thought that he was “too young and active” to be having joint issues, but he has since learned that it can happen to athletes and others at just about any age in their adult lives.

He wore a brace and walked with a cane.

“It was difficult, but you manage and adapt,” says Kevin, who works in the Medical Procedures Unit at Westside. But when it became too much to endure, he consulted with orthopedic specialists and scheduled surgery for last April.

Just do it

“My surgeon (Erik Kroger, MD), thought that I might only need a half-knee replacement, but he wouldn’t be sure until he actually began the operation. I was confident that he would take excellent care of me, so I told him to ‘Just do it.’”

After total joint replacement, Kevin spent one night in the hospital, and continued his recovery at home. He describes the entire experience from pre-op through recovery “as smooth as can be.” He credits the knee surgery, as well as two previous hand surgeries at Kaiser Permanente, with saving his career and ability to thrive: “I would be disabled now, if not for the excellent care I’ve received. I’d be working at a desk, instead of doing what I love – taking care of patients at the bedside,” said the 32-year Kaiser Permanente employee.

Riding high

Five months following surgery, Kevin experienced another milestone. He participated in Cycle Oregon, an ambitious bike ride that climbs 28,000 feet in elevation through northeastern Oregon. On the last day of the weeklong event, Kevin happened to chat with Eric Bosworth, MD, who cycled the course and months earlier, consulted on Kevin’s case.

Kevin’s conversation with the Kaiser Permanente orthopedic surgeon went like this:

Dr. Bosworth: “I saw you limping on the job all last year … and you’re here at Cycle Oregon?”
Kevin: “Yes, I completed all 400 miles!”
Dr. Bosworth: “You did the whole tour after having had knee replacement surgery in April?”
Kevin: “Yes, that’s right.”
Dr. Bosworth: “That’s great – but did you check with your ortho surgeon before you did this?”
Kevin: “No, because my knee was/is feeling great — and I needed the bicycle ride!”
Dr. Bosworth: “I can understand that. I’m an athlete, too.”

The next milestone for Kevin? He’s planning a multi-day canoeing and hiking trip in Canada and a dozen other adventures, thanks to his new knee and lifelong passion for staying active.

The post Taking Steps to Be an Athlete for Life appeared first on Kaiser Permanente.

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All hail our Homecoming queen!Julia Roberts is taking on her…

All hail our Homecoming queen!

Julia Roberts is taking on her edgiest roles yet with the powerful movie Ben Is Back and thrilling new series Homecoming. Get the inside scoop from the Hollywood icon herself as she opens up about her 30-year career. 📷: Julia Roberts photographed by Carter Smith at the Beekman Hotel

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Boy Who Made Meghan Markle a Macaroni Necklace Now Taking Jewelry Orders from Around the World

Meghan Markle is known for being a style icon, even when it comes to the homemade accessories she wears.

While greeting fans in Melbourne during the Royal Tour last week, Meghan was approached by 6-year-old Gavin Hazelwood, who gifted the Duchess a homemade pasta necklace. The royal, 37, instantly put the adorable necklace on, and now Gavin is becoming just as well-known with jewelry order requests coming in from around the world.

“We had a lot of people saying to Gavin, you should make more, you’ll make lots of money from this, everybody will want to buy her necklace,” his mom, Rowan Hazelwood, told Network 10, as reported by CBS News.

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The family decided to create a website for Gavin, where fans can purchase the dinosaur-shaped pasta with gold paint necklaces for $ 20. The kindergartener has since received orders from Australia, the U.K. and the U.S.

Gavin intends on donating all of his profits to a stillborn research charity, CBS reported, as his mother previously lost a baby girl.

“She’s a part of our lives still, even for the kids, and they talk to her every day,” she told Network 10.

The Melbourne native, who was adorably dressed as a Qantas pilot, crafted the ribbon and gold-painted pasta necklace earlier that morning after telling his mom he was feeling sick so he could skip school and make the necklace for Meghan.

“I did the pasta with gold paint. Mum helped me thread through the necklace,” he told Fairfax Media.

RELATED VIDEO: Meghan Markle Stylishly Declares Her Love For Prince Harry With Customized Necklace

After receiving the gift, Meghan immediately put it on over her navy Dion Lee dress. The royal mom-to-be, who is expecting her first child with Prince Harry, proudly wore the gift during the rest of the outing until she arrived at a formal reception inside Government House.

Meghan often wears jewelry that has sentimental meaning.

Earlier in the tour, she wore butterfly earrings that once belonged to Princess Diana. And when Prince Harry and Meghan first began dating, she was spotted wearing a gold, personalized necklace with the letters M and H on it.


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259 people have died taking selfies – but that won’t stop anyone from taking risks to get that perfect snap

Vanity is killing us.

A man in Maryland narrowly avoided death Sunday after falling into the Potomac River while trying to snap a selfie in front of wild floodwaters. He was thankfully saved by onlookers, but accidents and deaths by selfie are far from rare.

Last month, an Italian teen fell off…

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Jussara Lee Taking Her Message of Sustainability to a Multisensory Performance in New York

SECONDHAND NEWS: Committed to sustainability as an individual, designer and business owner, Jussara Lee used that ideology as a rookie costume designer for “Inside the Wild Heart.”
Based on the writings of one of Brazil’s most famous writers, Clarice Lispector, the immersive theatrical experience was conceived by Andressa Furletti and Debora Balardini and directed by Linda Wise. The show bows Thursday in New York. Lee was initially approached by the Brazilian theater company Group.BR about helping to fund the production. She offered to pitch in with the cast’s attire instead.
Lee described Lispector’s work as “amazing,” but the project’s upcycling is what really sold her. Working with a low budget meant “that it was all about secondhand and vintage shopping. I was very interested in that and told them, ‘We’ll make adjustments. We’ll make things fit. That’s what we do best,’” said Lee, adding that she liked the idea of reusing “things that had already been extracted and polluted. There is so much clean-up to do and so much stuff in this world.””
In addition, the project forced her to switch up her usual routine and do some thrifting at Beacon’s Closet in Brooklyn and “all the other underlings.” It was also an

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LeBron James Is Taking on the NCAA’s Rules Prohibiting Pay for College Players

LeBron James, the best basketball player in the world and one of the most influential athletes on the planet, fights for off-court causes he cares about. In 2017, for example, James starred in Nike’s “Equality” ad campaign, which was released at the outset of the Trump presidency in 2017, following the Women’s March and the President’s executive travel ban that sparked protests across the country. This past summer, James opened a public school for at-risk students in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. He has criticized Trump for using sports to divide the country. Trump responded by questioning James’ intelligence.

Now, James is taking on a new foe: the NCAA. He’s the executive producer of a new documentary, Student Athlete, which debuts on HBO Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET. The film picks apart amateurism in major college sports, a model that allows schools to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues, but prevents the cash from tricking down to the players themselves. Instead, it flows to coaches’ salaries and athletic facilities with barber shops and bowling alleys and flat-screen TVs. (James himself notably skipped college, instead going from high school directly to the pros.)

The hypocrisy exposed in Student Athlete is not new: lawyers are challenging amateurism in the court system, while advocates and media outlets have long screamed for change. Still, the film –— which was co-directed by Oscar winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy — hits the mark. Over its 88 minutes, Student Athlete packages five stories — on a high school prospect, a former college coach, and three former college players — that show how the system takes its toll. In the opening scene, the viewer meets former Rutgers tight end Shamar Graves, who played for the Scarlet Knights from 2007 through 2009. He’s sleeping in his car.

Student Athlete shines an invaluable light on athletes like Graves, who effectively held an unpaid full-time job while playing his sport in school, managed to earn his degree, but has struggled in his post-college life. Most major college athletes aren’t going pro. Those who sacrificed internships and other career development opportunities in school in order to concentrate on sports may find that the promise of a degree — an education sets you up for life! — falls far short of expectations. A back injury ended the college career of Mike Shaw, a former top-ranked high school basketball prospect who played at the University of Illinois and Bradley University. The film shows Shaw at this graduation ceremony at Bradley. His pro basketball dreams shattered, he’s still hopeful he’ll find his way. We soon learn, however, that Shaw has struggled with his mental health. Shaw shares that he’s rehabbed in a psychiatric hospital.

If the film falls short in one area, it’s in offering solutions for athletes like Graves and Shaw. Yes, the undercurrent is that colleges should pay their athletes. “The thing that’s disgusting,” says John Shoop, a former offensive coordinator at the University of North Carolina and Purdue, “is that coaches are making millions of dollars, and they’re coaching players whose families live below the poverty line.” (Shoop seems to have been blacklisted from the college coaching ranks due to his advocacy for athletes). But not all college athletes would earn lucrative salaries while playing their sports. Graves and Shaw, for example, weren’t stars. If they could have earned money for playing in college, would they find themselves in a better situation today? In recent years, many college graduates have learned that their degrees don’t guarantee stable employment. Is it the obligation of schools to offer full services like post-graduate career training and job placement and health insurance for their athletes? If so, are the schools obligated to do the same for all students?

You can’t blame Student Athlete for largely glossing over the prescriptions for college sports. Quick and easy fixes don’t exist. But the film drops at an opportune time, as college sports are ripe for major reforms. Testimony just wrapped up in the latest anti-trust trial — Alston v. NCAA — challenging compensation caps in college sports. A federal trial that promises to expose the underbelly of college basketball, and resulted from an FBI investigation into under-the-table payments by shoe company representatives and financial advisers to coaches and players, begins in New York this week. College athletes deserve better. Having LeBron James on their team can only help.

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