ESPN

41 articles
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Former North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith’s battle with dementia.

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Brazil’s restless youth in the lead-up to the World Cup.

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Two very different fates at the Chicago Marathon.

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The beginning of Don DeLillo's Underworld, in memory of Andy Pafko.

"Pafko is out of paper range by now, jogging toward the clubhouse. But the paper keeps falling. If the early paper waves were slightly hostile and mocking, and the middle waves a form of fan commonality, then this last demonstration has a softness, a selfness. It is coming down from all points, laundry tickets, envelopes swiped from the office, there are crushed cigarette packs and sticky wrap from ice-cream sandwiches, pages from memo pads and pocket calendars, they are throwing faded dollar bills, snapshots torn to pieces, ruffled paper swaddles for cupcakes, they are tearing up letters they've been carrying around for years pressed into their wallets, the residue of love affairs and college friendships, it is happy garbage now, the fans' intimate wish to be connected to the event, unendably, in the form of pocket litter, personal waste, a thing that carries a shadow of identity -- rolls of toilet tissue unbolting lyrically in streamers."

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On lucha libre’s exóticos, “wrestlers who dress in drag and kiss their rivals, never quite revealing whether the joke is on their opponents, themselves or conservative Mexican society at large.”

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In search of the former boxing champ, who refuses to believe he has HIV.

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On September 20, 1973, 50 million Americans watched Bobby Riggs lose to Billie Jean King in a tennis match dubbed “The Battle of the Sexes.” This spring, a man named Hal Shaw came forward with a secret he’d held for 40 years: Riggs, in debt to the mafia, had lost on purpose.

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On not making the NBA.

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A journey into the world of Italy’s racist soccer thugs.

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A college football coach is falsely accused of producing and possessing child pornography.

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A beloved girls’ basketball coach is accused of sexually molesting several of his players.

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A profile of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

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A profile of 101-year-old marathoner Fauja Singh.

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Bob Voulgaris and his math prodigy sidekick attempt to create the perfect betting algorithm.

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A profile of Jordan at 50.

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On the tortured psyche of former 49ers coach Bill Walsh and how it led to Finding the Winning Edge, his 550-page guide to the game that has become the football’s bible.

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The night his Alabama Crimson Tide beat the LSU Tigers for the national championship, Brian Downing put his balls on the face of a passed out LSU fan named Garrison Stamp. The act was caught on video, the video went viral, and their lives were never the same.

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Captain Iván Castro, who lost his vision in Iraq, runs the Boston Marathon.

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On the strange relationship between Lionel Messi and his Argentinian hometown.

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When the best three months of your life are “called three of the uglier months in the recent history of the National Football League.”

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Two brothers dreamed of baseball stardom. One would end up killing the other.

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Escalating competitions between two boys take an unexpected turn.

"Most of my losses, though, were at the hands of the son, Jimmy Knockwood Jr. Two years older than me, Jimmy wore a hint of Iroquois aristocracy in his cheekbones, and some part of his body was usually sheathed in a dirty plaster cast. He beat me at every sport we had equipment for. At 13, he had arms like a man and could throw a baseball with such force that after playing catch with him you couldn't turn a doorknob. Once, when we were wrestling, he put me in a choke hold that made my vision go white. I cursed Jimmy's mother, and he rubbed a toad into my teeth. Seeing me in tears afterward, my father asked why I put myself through the disgrace of playing with Jimmy. He had forgotten the infatuation a boy has no choice but to feel for a peer who is good at everything."

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A new chapter for Ohio State’s football coach.

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June 4, 1974: the first and last 10-cent beer night in Cleveland Indians history.

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A fictionalized account of a moment in baseball history from a contemporary master of detailed Americana.

"Russ wants to believe a thing like this keeps us safe in some undetermined way. This is the thing that will pulse in his brain come old age and double vision and dizzy spells -- the surge sensation, the leap of people already standing, that bolt of noise and joy when the ball went in. This is the people's history and it has flesh and breath that quicken to the force of this old safe game of ours. And fans at the Polo Grounds today will be able to tell their grandchildren -- they'll be gassy old men leaning into the next century and trying to convince anyone willing to listen, pressing in with medicine breath, that they were here when it happened."

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Catching “the world’s most prolific criminal fixer of soccer matches.”

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A Kenyan runner loses himself in Alaska.

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An investigation into the true identity of a high school basketball player.

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The inside story of Pennsylvania’s governor and the fall of Joe Paterno.

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 The same forces that put his family in the slum also gave him the golf course on the other side of the wall, and the teachers and sponsors, and the strange ability to hit a ball with a club. But it still doesn't make sense. Sometimes it seems as if fate is wrestling with itself, making sure the circumstances of his birth are always conspiring to take away whatever gifts might allow him to escape it. He lives in two worlds, each one pulling away from the other. Anil is in the middle, trying to keep his balance.
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The origin story of a now-ubiquitous celebration.

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Inside the world of 10-and-under competitive cheerleading.

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The story of Nate Fleming—walk-on point guard at Oklahoma State, fan favorite, golden child—and the 2001 plane crash that took his life.

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Searching for Jimmy Robinson, a boxer who fought Muhammad Ali in 1961, then disappeared.

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A profile of the Los Angeles Clippers owner, an oft-sued real estate baron with a racist streak and a penchant for heckling his own players. Since Sterling bought the franchise in 1981, the Clippers have by far the worst record of any major pro team.

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A profile of Ernie Adams, Bill Belichick’s mysterious right hand man.

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How Madden NFL went from a programmer’s childhood dream to a $3 billion business.

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Kevin Hart wanted a scholarship to play Division I college football. It didn’t come. So he made one up–and called a press conference.

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On the day of the earthquake, two men went into Haiti’s Soccer Federation headquarters. Only one came out.