On the start of the high school football season in Odessa, Texas. An adaptation published alongside the release of Bissinger’s 1990 book of the same name, which led to the movie and the show.
After one of the most decisive wins in Kentucky Derby history, Barbaro broke his leg at the Preakness, ending a promising career and beginning a herculean effort to save his life.
On the joys of watching the winningest tennis player of all time play live at Wimbledon.
The first piece of gonzo journalism, annotated.
A profile of the Los Angeles Clippers owner, an oft-sued real estate baron with a documented racist streak and a penchant for heckling his own players, on the occasion of him winning an NAACP lifetime achievement award.
A brief history of the world and the late 1990s Chicago Bulls.
"This is the version of him that has no future or past. No ex-wife or kids, no off-court life. He lives in the United Center. He doesn't fuss with food or water. There are whole months in the air, between the floor and the rim. This moment of quiet and loud gets stuck on repeat. Michael Jordan shoots, swishes, but a lot of times he just stands, lit. An occasional swivel. Rotates like a figurine. Television size. He could dribble his basketball in the palm of your hand."
A story of a playoff at-bat, a franchise, and a spectator couple.
"Coco has watched every home game with her husband from these seats since the ballpark opened in 2008 while listening to the game play by play on 106.7 FM. She has endured horrible seasons, but 2009 when her beloved team lost 108 games, and 2010 when they lost 93 more, are distant memories. Now she feels like a winner. This is the playoffs. After marriage, and kids, and grandkids, after retirement and their dream trip to Dubrovnik, this is what she has been hoping for. It is the last of her major life events. Something to retell at family dinners. Remember the World Series of 2012?"
A profile of a previously unknown rookie pitcher for the Mets who dropped out of Harvard, made a spiritual quest to Tibet, and somewhere along the line figured out how to throw a baseball much, much faster than anyone else on Earth.
Wealthy businessman Merv Bodnarchuk put together a curling Dream Team. Then he put himself in the lineup.
Sex in the Olympic Village.
Previously: The Longform Guide to the Olympics.
Tensions rise when a high school teacher fails a star student-athlete.
"Word spread: Jimmy Carter, the prize of the Permian Basin, the boy who could flat-out fly, the jovial kid who never turned in work but still somehow always got Cs, was in danger of getting yanked off the team, all because some Yankee teacher had to show his moral fiber. How convenient that his son just happened to be the backup."
In a Haitian tent city, a referee prepares for a soccer game.
"Almost unconsciously, I began gathering various items from the tent: my official registration card, a couple of Fox whistles, two pairs of black socks, a black undershirt, an armband, two flags, my kangaroo-leather turf shoes, and then three different jerseys that I had so painstakingly preserved. I stuffed all of this into an Agency sack, which I normally used for collecting my ration of nourimil cereal."
A childhood evening in a barrio.
"Now they’re bossing all the kids around. Just because they have the nicest soccer ball in all of Cuatro de Marzo, they think they can slave-drive the other kids to make the soccer field, to carve it out from the dirt street. They think they can practically reinvent the game. The ball is pretty nice. Nobody knows exactly where they got it, but they never let it out of their sight. They take turns guarding it, sleeping with it at night. It’s the same kind the Guadalajara Chivas use, one that looks official—all red, white and blue with their coat of arms on the side."
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."
On the best teacher the writer ever had.
Personal dislikes and tensions abound during Speed Week at the Bonneville Salt Flats.
"I have been held up to the standards of this perfect girl since. It was Nancy who pushed for Bonneville. She was a Nevada girl, through and through. Utah and the Salt Flats were only ever a mountain range away. Once the idea of Bonneville had been planted, it rooted itself in Jeffery, eating him like a mold. He had to be there. He had to be part of it. By 2007, forum members had pledged enough money to send us all out. Jeffery set a record that year then lost it the next."
An aging wrestler reflects as he prepares to wrestle an old nemesis: a black bear.
"Emperor Jones Number Two vs. Dave 'Warthog' Ferrari in 'The War 2 Settle The Score' was the main event of that evening's Wrestling Road Show. It was the only match on the card that featured any animals. Times were changing, Friar had told me. The draw at the gate had been better than Friar expected; he'd sold more than a hundred tickets in advance and there were now twice that many people crammed into the small gymnasium. When commissioning the gym, the Legionnaires decided to have a stage built at one end, for medal ceremonies or other such honors. That was where Friar had his ring set up. Normally you work in the round, but this set up had it's advantages for a promotion like Friar's. It was easy to bring animals in and out and people wouldn't get too nervous seeing how they had to be wrangled from their cages when it was done behind a curtain."
An oral history of a murdered prep basketball star.
"All I can think is how narrow the drive-through is and how it's full of exhaust and grease and the vent where the air blows out and how they couldn't move, couldn't go backward or forward 'cause there were five LAPD cars and how Tenerife must have been trying to call me. Trying. I just took two more. I know I had some wine. I don't care."
A high school runner is torn between championship meets and quality time with his drunk, racist father.
"It’s five thirty. Mom called Dad, but he’s not home. Must be on his way, she says. I nod. We’ve made this exchange a hundred times. I’m wearing a new camouflage t-shirt from the Army-Navy Surplus outlet. Mom bought it. You look like a little soldier, she says. I made her buy face paint too, but I’m saving that for the woods."
A high school athlete from a troubled Brooklyn family tries to stay on the right path in a small Virginia town.
"But it didn’t take long for Marcus to get around to missing Brooklyn. On weeknights his granny would be in bed by eight, and since the television in the living room got such poor reception Marcus would go to his room. The windows in Granny’s house had no curtains or blinds, so when it was dark he got a creepy feeling, like he was being watched. There were no yellow streetlights, no sirens or car stereos, nobody calling out to anybody else outside. Just unfamiliar sounds rising and filling up the air until it sounded like they were invading the room itself. Frogs? Crickets? He couldn’t tell. He’d make up his bed and lie down in it and put on his headphones and close his eyes and think about home."
Tracing the Boston Marathon route via the people who live and work along its course.
A businessman-cum-boxer struggles with the motives and attention of an unlikely mentor.
"We went from the weigh-in directly to the ring. We were introduced not only by name and by record but by salary, title, and time served with the company. I felt certain this was the wrong thing to do, but there was no one I could tell. Everyone was in the bag for Cory. The referee had his arm around him and was saying nice things about his father, comforting things. A woman in the front row had a sign that said 'A Good Employee Punches In' and, beneath it, a drawing of a boxing bell."
A young boy observes life through the actions of his father and of former Knick center Patrick Ewing.
"'We’re not leaving till you make five free throws in a row,' my dad says. Even at ten, I get it. He thinks I’m going to make the shots quickly. He thinks I’ll make five free throws in a row and be reborn confident and new, my anemic offense rebooted in a single stroke of coaching genius. But then I remember Patrick Ewing, the doom of his body, how he never pulls up for a jumper, how he always runs headfirst into his trembling opponents. "
The story of a rookie clinging to his dream, as told by his uncle.
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.
The story of the 1944 German national soccer championship game.
The relationship between Buffalo and its team.
The gamblers and teenage cons who haunted New York City’s 60s-era all night bowling alleys.
Dunks, drugs, and disappointment: an oral history of the 1980s Houston Rockets.
How FC Barcelona became the most successful - and most beloved - club in soccer.
Captain Iván Castro, who lost his vision in Iraq, runs the Boston Marathon.
In Argentina, where the fútbol underworld controls everything from t-shirt vending to murder, and “rowdy gangs” have turned the stadium into a battleground.
On the strange relationship between Lionel Messi and his Argentinian hometown.
Catching up with the controversial radio host, who recently returned to the air after years away.
A profile of the cyclist by his former mechanic and assistant.
A profile of Mo Isom, a former goalie on the LSU women’s soccer team now trying to kick for the football team.
The liberation of the Williams sisters.
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."
How To Not Be The Biggest Asshole In Media: 4 Lessons I Learned From Meeting Jay Mariotti And Reading His Awful Book
“What follows is my attempt, based on a few increasingly hostile exchanges and a close reading of his terrible book, not only to examine why Mariotti is currently jobless but to explain why, in a sane world, he should forever remain that way. I present this as a cautionary tale for other sportswriters, both young and old.”
Life as an elite Scrabble player at the “first-ever four-day, 54-player, 24-match $100,000 Scrabble Superstars Showdown.”
June 4, 1974: the first and last 10-cent beer night in Cleveland Indians history.
On the scene of the darkest games in Olympics history.Part of our Olympics primer, on the Longform blog.
An Englishman’s account of the first modern Olympic games.
Three years after her gold-medal performance – and amidst rumors of a fall from grace – the author travels to Transylvania to track down gymnast Nadia Comaneci. He also enjoys several drinks with her coach, Bela Karolyi.Part of our Olympics primer, on the Longform blog.
How Sherwin Shayegan pulled off a 3,000-mile, piggyback ride-fueled road trip.
“Calça de veludo ou bunda de fora.” Why Neymar, one of the world’s best talents hasn’t taken the money and run.
Surfing San Francisco with a true believer.Part of our collection of stories on surfing for Slate.
The playground, the Ivy League, the triangle offense, and how we dreamed up a “black basketball” and “white basketball.”
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."
An interview with Pavement’s Bob Nastanovich on his career afterlife as a “a clocker and chart-caller” and occasional breeder at an Iowa race horse track.
“Over the past century, coaches have used intuition and discipline to vastly improve athletic performance. Now scientists are taking the last step, helping athletes approach perfection.”
In a Plano bowling alley one night, Bill Fong came so close to perfection that it nearly killed him.
An ode to professional basketball players and why pro ball is the best ball of all.
The Penn State sex abuse scandal as told through a father, a son and “Victim 1.”
The controversy surrounding the death of Uche Okafor.
On conspiracy theories in sports, from the ‘85 NBA draft lottery to Michael Phelps’ gold medal performance in the 100-meter butterfly.
It’s a club “filled exclusively with people who do not want to be members.”
“Robert Victor Sullivan, whom you’ve surely never heard of, was the toughest coach of them all. He was so tough he had to have two tough nicknames, Bull and Cyclone, and his name was usually recorded this way: coach Bob “Bull” “Cyclone” Sullivan or coach Bob (Bull) (Cyclone) Sullivan. Also, at times he was known as Big Bob or Shotgun. He was the most unique of men, and yet he remains utterly representative of a time that has vanished, from the gridiron and from these United States.”
The search for a missing ultramarathoner in New Mexico’s Gila Wilderness, and the life that lead him there.
Catching “the world’s most prolific criminal fixer of soccer matches.”
On the lost pickup basketball games in D.C. between Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor, then both still in college, during the summer of 1957.
An investigation into the true identity of a high school basketball player.
The story of former Vikings linebacker Fred McNeill and the lasting impact of his concussions.
The strange saga of Sarah Phillips, who went from message board commenter to ESPN gambling columnist and hid her identity from editors, scamming many of the people she met along the way.
The alchemy of predicting professional success, from quarterbacks to teachers.
A father and son attend a Mexican bullfight, experiencing a clash of time and cultures.
"My son cheers loudly now. His eyes are bright and he sports shiny cowboy boots. I try to smile and clasp my cool fingers together. The woman sitting behind me leans over to her friend again, 'No more American rodeos. Bullfights are much nicer. Quieter. The bull is an elegant animal. And lastly,' she says, 'We are Spanish.'"
How a scandal involving sex, money and a Wiccan coven brought down yogi John Friend.
In 1999, “original superagent” Leigh Steinberg represented 86 NFL athletes. His life today:
At age 63, Steinberg -- for years hailed as the real-life Maguire -- now finds himself a bankrupt, recovering alcoholic, plotting a comeback from the bottom. And before 10 p.m. tonight, as mandated by the California Bar Association, he must show that his urine is clean.
What happens when Moneyball-style statistical analysis is applied to mixed martial arts.
A writer’s trip home to Hot Springs, Arkansas, and the racetrack inextricably linked with the histories of his family and his hometown.
How the golfer hasn’t changed, post-scandal.
Try as his publicity squad might, it's tough to maintain—or now restore—the Tiger Image when former insiders sprout secret-sharing campaigns. "It's always a divorce," David Feherty, longtime commentator and golf-gab-show host, told me recently. "Tiger expects the curtains to remain drawn, and when somebody opens them, it pisses him off. He has appeared superhuman for so long, and it's like he feels the need to perpetuate that myth."
The inside story of Pennsylvania’s governor and the fall of Joe Paterno.
A story about the tortured life of 1910s ballplayer Morrie Rath.
"Morrie's 1920 season is awful. He's sent back to the minors for a little while, then to the Pacific league, and then it's over. He will never have another World Series at-bat. He will never know what it's like to really be the best in the world."
How a con-man convinced Los Angeles that he was prepared to purchase the Dodgers from the now-bankrupt Frank McCourt.
At 2:11 p.m., as two ambulances waited with motors running, 10 horses burst from the starting gate at Ruidoso Downs Race Track 6,900 feet up in New Mexico’s Sacramento Mountains.Nineteen seconds later, under a brilliant blue sky, a national champion jockey named Jacky Martin lay sprawled in the furrowed dirt just past the finish line, paralyzed, his neck broken in three places. On the ground next to him, his frightened horse, leg broken and chest heaving, was minutes away from being euthanized on the track. For finishing fourth on this early September day last year, Jacky Martin got about $60 and possibly a lifetime tethered to a respirator.
Lance Butterfield was the captain of the football team, had a 4.0 GPA and a girl he loved. It wasn’t enough for his dad. And then his dad became too much for him.
Part of our guide to Skip Hollandsworth's true crime writing at Slate.
A profile of the “acrobatic genius of the trapeze”:
As he spoke, he looked up at the pipes and swings in the arena ceiling. A mechanic was working on the rigging, but Tito spoke thoughtfully, for he seemed to be seeing something else. "Sometimes I see movies of myself in the air and I say, 'Jesus, how can I do that?' I wonder who do I think I am ... but, yes, I do admire myself in films sometimes as if I am watching another person. I have sometimes dreamed my tricks at night, you know, and then tried to master them from the dream."
Dikembe Mutombo, humanitarian and former NBA center, and oil executive Kase Lawal arrange a ill-fated deal to buy $30 million in gold in Kenya.
A elderly father and his grown son attempt uneasy bonding on fishing trips.
"But he would talk to me during that time when he wasn't concentrating on a cast or reeling something in. I loved that he would tell me stories. That day with the mayflies he told me how he went fishing everyday as a kid, had to because they ate whatever he caught that day for dinner. And when he went fishing with his dad in a little aluminum boat and when the motor gave out his dad told him to get out and drag the boat. He put a rope around him and pushed him into the water, which was probably full of gators and moccasins, and he dragged his big, fat, drunk dad in the boat until they got to shore."
A newspaper writer’s attempt to solve the mystery of a homeless man who claims to be a once-famous boxer.
The story of Olympic boxing hopeful Quanitta Underwood, who was sexually abused by her father as a child.
The story of a high school star who died minutes after hitting a game-winner to end an undefeated season, and the family and friends he left behind.
On Mike Powell, a Chicago-area high school wrestling coach who hasn’t allowed a life-threatening illness to interrupt his life’s work.
On a young Arnold Schwarzenegger and the body-building culture of Venice Beach in the 1970s.
A former first-string tackle considers the green zone as a war zone:
Just as football has evolved in accordance with the evolving business ethic of American society, so has it evolved in accordance with the changing strategic assumptions about war. The development (or rebirth) of the T-formation in football coincided almost exactly with the development of a new era of mobility and speed in warfare best exemplified in the Blitzkrieg tactics of the German armies in Europe in 1939-40. The T-formation soon overwhelmed the “Maginot Line” mentality of traditional football, based as it was on rigid lines and massive concentrations of defensive and offensive power.
How a rugby legend came out and made history.
How the game gets made.
On Clifton “Pop” Herring, the then-26-year-old high school basketball coach who famously left Jordan off the varsity squad as a sophomore.
A step-by-step proposal for fixing the broken economics of big-time college sports.
On the recovery of snowboarder Kevin Pearce, who suffered a massive brain injury five days before the 2010 Olympics.
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.
Bill Russell, race, and the NBA of the 1960s.
On the death of a high school basketball star in New York City.
On champ-turned-coach Alberto Salazar and the New York City Marathon.
The Green Bay Packers are a historical, cultural, and geographical anomaly, a publicly traded corporation in a league that doesn’t allow them, an immensely profitable company whose shareholders are forbidden by the corporate bylaws to receive a penny of that profit, a franchise that has flourished despite being in the smallest market in the NFL—with a population of 102,000, it would be small for a Triple A baseball franchise.
He rose from poverty to fame as a marathon champion at only 23. But was his fall from a balcony outside of Nairobi murder, accident, or suicide?
On the Red Sox’s historic implosion:
Drinking beer in the Sox clubhouse is permissible. So is ordering take-out chicken and biscuits. Playing video games on one of the clubhouse’s flat-screen televisions is OK, too. But for the Sox pitching trio to do all three during games, rather than show solidarity with their teammates in the dugout, violated an unwritten rule that players support each other, especially in times of crisis.
On the backyard wrestling clubs of South Florida.
A profile of Bob Fishman, the impresario of CBS’s NFL production crew.
The original article on Billy Beane and the Oakland A’s, published a month before the release of Moneyball.
Eight years after Moneyball, nearly every MLB front office has integrated statistical analysis into its strategic process. So where does that leave a former wunderkind like Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein?
On the battle between Shaquille O’Neal and his former IT guy, who’s in control of much of O’Neal’s archived (and often damning) correspondence.
A profile of Barry Bonds published as the steroid talk intensified.
When the greatest players in the world go head-to-head, things can get downright angsty.
An attempt to sort out whether Vick is truly a changed man or simply a very gifted football player who was bound to be forgiven.
An 11-month investigation ends with a booster, now in prison for a Ponzi scheme, going public with details of how he spent millions on college athletes from 2002 to 2010.
[Shapiro] said his benefits to athletes included but were not limited to cash, prostitutes, entertainment in his multimillion-dollar homes and yacht, paid trips to high-end restaurants and nightclubs, jewelry, bounties for on-field play including bounties for injuring opposing players, travel and, on one occasion, an abortion.
Live from the World Series of Poker.
As the head of the CBF, Ricardo Teixera rules Brazilian futebol from the top down, controlling everything from the value of championships to broadcast rights. He needs the pull off a flawless 2014 World Cup in order to set the stage for being elected FIFA’s president, but there’s one hitch; the trail of bribes and scandals he has left in his wake.
Whenever you want him to go on the record, Teixeira shushes you and raises a finger to his lips. He addresses men and women alike as “meu amor,” with an exaggerated Rio accent. “Meu amor, it’s all been said about me – that I smuggled goods in the Brazilian national team’s airplane, that there’s been dirty dealing in the World Cup, all those investigations into Nike and the CBF."Translated from the original Portugese.
On the world’s longest foot race, which takes place entirely within Queens, N.Y.:
Such were the hazards last summer in Jamaica, Queens, at the tenth running of the Self-Transcendence 3,100. The fifteen participants—all but two of them disciples of the Bengali Guru Sri Chinmoy, who has resided in the neighborhood for forty years—hailed from ten countries on three continents. They ran in all weather, seven days a week, from 6:00 a.m. to midnight, or until their bodies compelled them to rest. If they logged fewer than fifty miles on a given day, they risked disqualification. By their own reckoning, the runners climbed eight meters per lap, mounting and descending a spectral Everest every week and a half. They toiled in this fashion for six to eight weeks, however long it took them to complete 5,649 circuits—3,100 miles—around a single city block.
How Frank and Jamie McCourt bought the Dodgers for “for less than the price of an oceanfront home in Southampton” and eventually became entangled in one of the most expensive divorces in California history, which laid bare their finances and confirmed what many already knew: they had bankrupted one of the most storied franchises in baseball.
In all, the McCourts reportedly took $108 million out of the team in personal distributions over five years—a sum that Molly Knight, a reporter with ESPN who has extensively covered the story, notes is eerily similar to the cash payment that she says Frank McCourt has claimed he made for the team.
Was Steinbrenner’s Partner the “Madoff of Memorabilia”? Inside a collector’s hoax.
What happens to 7-footers when they step off the basketball court?
A profile of driver A.J. Foyt on the eve of what was supposed to be his final Indy 500.
A profile of Florida legend—and pardoned killer—Charlie Driver.
On witnessing an incredible junior college basketball game 23 years ago in North Dakota.
On being – and playing for - Lady Vols basketball coach Pat Summitt.
Fred Wilpon, the owner of the hapless New York Mets, had more than $500 million tied up with Bernie Madoff when the Ponzi scheme was exposed. Now he may be forced to sell his beloved ballclub.
Kevin is the only surviving Von Erich brother, born into a wrestling family that lived and died by the code of the ring.
In his first Major League at bat, Adam Greenberg was hit in the head with a fastball. He never made it back.
The story of the 100 mile Barkley Marathons.
What makes it so bad? No trail, for one. A cumulative elevation gain that’s nearly twice the height of Everest.
Manny Pacquiao, possibly the greatest boxer of his era and still in his fighting prime, on the campaign trail for a congressional seat in the remote, untamed Southern province of the Phillipines that spawned him.
On the talent, ego, and late father of Bryant Gumbel.
On recommitting to the Knicks after “a decade of dysfunction and delusion.”
The author came late to basketball. A profile of his favorite player:
He creates a sense of danger in the arena and yet has enough wit in his style to bring off funny ideas when he wants to.
Basketball is considered one of the most difficult sports to effectively bet on, therefore gamblers like Haralabos Voulgaris who make a handsome living on NBA lines are a rare breed, whose knowledge of the game and personal statistical databases rival most of the league’s front-offices’.
What one learns about Jose Canseco while trying, unsuccessfully, to interview Jose Canseco.
On former Knicks savior Stephon Marbury and his post-NBA life playing in China.
A profile of Carmelo Anthony, newly anointed savior of the New York Knicks.
How skateboard legend Mark “Gator” Anthony was born again, first as a street preacher, and then as a rapist and murderer.
Chris Klucsarits, aka Chris Kanyon aka Mortis,was a ’90s name in wrestling whose comeback had dual aims; for him to gain a spot on WWE’s roster, and to become wrestling’s first out star. It would end in suicide.
Over the past 33 years, Dick Hoyt has pushed, pulled and carried his disabled son, Rick, through more than 1,000 road races and triathlons, including 28 Boston Marathons. But as time bears down on them, how much longer can they keep it up?
Manny Ramirez is a deeply frustrating employee, the kind whose talents are so prodigious that he gets away with skipping meetings, falling asleep on the job, and fraternizing with the competition.
The inner workings of a high school basketball team stacked with international talent.
How a commuter college in Miami became a chess powerhouse.
How Lalit Modi built a billion-dollar cricket empire—only to be exiled from his sport and homeland.
Five years after they leave the league, 60 percent of NBA players have nothing left. In the NFL, it’s closer to 80 percent after just two years. On the economics of professional sports.
A profile of a 25-year-old Spanish sensation.
After the 1919 Black Sox scandal, Ring Lardner, America’s first great sportswriter, walked away from the game.
The story of the 2010 NCAA championship game between Duke and Butler, and what would have been greatest shot in college basketball history.
On Baylor’s freshman basketball star Perry Jones and how the new era of one-season careers has changed the landscape of college basketball.
A profile of the highest paid coach in college basketball. A pioneer of one-and-done recruiting, Calipari is also the only coach in NCAA history to have two runs to the Final Four removed from the record books for rules violations.
The man who brought together heat, yoga, monthly fees to use his methods, and raw sexuality, on allegations that he has slept with scores of his followers: “Only when they give me no choice! If they say to me, ‘Boss, you must fuck me or I will kill myself,’ then I do it! Think if I don’t! The karma!”
The bizarre tale–and unlikely turnaround–of an NHL player who tried to have his youth coach murdered.
The pecking order of All-Star Weekend sex-with-basketball-player-or-rapper hopefuls.
“If genius is hard to define, madness is even more so.” One chess champion’s take on the tortured life of another.
A profile of Vova Galchenko, teenage juggling virtuoso and early viral star.
The story of a small town just outside Pittsburgh that has suffered through a half-century of economic decline, racial tension, and endless crime. Despite that trajectory, or perhaps because of it, Aliquippa has also produced an astounding number of NFL players.
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.
A remembrance of relationships formed when the author, at 13 and using a false identity, frequented hockey chat rooms.
In 1998, at age 45, Ken Bradshaw surfed the tallest wave in recorded history.
A profile of A.J. Daulerio, editor of Deadspin and procurer of, among other things, cell phone pics of Brett Favre’s penis.
A 134-pound magazine writer takes his chances at the U.S. Open sumo championships.
Searching for Jimmy Robinson, a boxer who fought Muhammad Ali in 1961, then disappeared.
A jogging buddy collapses during a marathon, his heart suddenly finished beating. The writer goes looking for answers.
Guz Dominguez says he was trying to help baseball players from Cuba; the U.S. government says he was smuggling athletes. The truth is more complicated.
A 15-year-old dies shortly after collapsing from heatstroke during a high school football practice. Was it has coach’s fault? The state thought so, and put him on trial.
A reporter heads to Istanbul, where Iverson is playing minor league hoops in a 3,200-seat arena and hanging out at T.G.I. Friday’s.
A profile of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, written at the midpoint of his career.
A profile of Yao Ming published during his second season in the NBA.
Michelito Lagrevere is a 12-year-old Mexican matador sensation.
Brian Windhorst was one of the first reporters to cover LeBron James. He was there in high school. There at the draft. There in Cleveland. And now he’s there in Miami, though the relationship is far from what it used to be.
Nobody knows the full story of why legendary surfer Andy Irons died in a Dallas hotel room earlier this month. But some who knew him have come forward to discuss the demons he’d battled for years.
How Cantor Fitzgerald is bringing the principles of day trading to sports betting in Vegas.
An encyclopedic evisceration of the NFL owner and former Six Flags chairman.
When a boulder shifts and pins his hand, a climber on a solo trip is forced to do the unthinkable: amputate his own arm. A first-person account of the six-day ordeal, excerpted from Ralston’s Between a Rock and a Hard Place.
A profile of Auburn quarterback Cameron Newton, junior college transfer and Heisman Trophy frontrunner.
A profile of Ernie Adams, Bill Belichick’s mysterious right hand man.
The comeback of Marty Reisman, the most flamboyant figure in the history of table tennis, and the self-proclaimed greatest hardbat player ever.
During his career, Josh Luchs gave college athletes thousands in cash, meals, and trips. Now he’s retiring and coming clean.
Pitching a no-hitter in the middle of a multi-day acid bender was only one of Dock Ellis’ many amazing exploits.
Or, the perils of promoting a middle schooler’s basketball skills. An excerpt from Play Their Hearts Out.
Notes from the Friars Club roast of Don King.
Ten years ago, a pair of legendary TV executives decided it was time to change the formula for football broadcasting. One bet on Dennis Miller. The other bankrolled Vince McMahon and the XFL.
Long before he lied about taking steroids and was indicted for perjury, Clemens was just a good ol’ boy from Texas with a world-class workout regimen.
A profile of Jimmy Connors on the eve of the 1978 U.S. Open. Connors’ legendary confidence, honed by his mother since childhood, was in freefall. (He would go on to win the final in straight sets.)
A prominent sportswriter spent his life wanting to be a woman and, to great public attention, made the gender switch. But his change brought regret, and eventual suicide.
The life and death of Johnny Romano, the youngest pro skateboarder ever.
In the British sport of “ferret legging,” underwear-less competitors tie their trousers at the ankles, stuff a pair of the carnivores down there, and hold on for as long as possible. Reg Mellor is the world’s best.
An interview with Sandy Koufax on “the management of excellence.”
In Mexico’s remote Copper Canyon, the Tarahumara Indians party hard, get by on a diet of carbs and beer, and can still run 100 mile races, even in their 60s.
How Madden NFL went from a programmer’s childhood dream to a $3 billion business.
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.
John Friend, who founded a new school of yoga, says the practice should be about both exercise and spirituality. Oh, and making money.
The champ is now a vegan, claims to be broke, and says he feels freer than ever before. “I have this uncanny ability to look at myself in the mirror and say, ‘This is a pig. You are a fucking piece of shit.’”
The first attempt at a behind-the-scenes narrative of LeBron James joining Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade on the Heat, a plan which had apparently been in the works since 2006.
Mykal Riley’s last-second three-pointer kept thousands of fans out of the path of tornado. Just as remarkable? That Riley was there to shoot the three in the first place.
On his journey from phenom to champion to wannabe rock star to Emmy-winning commentator, John McEnroe hasn’t changed much.
Ty Cobb, who would go on to be the greatest baseball player of his time, was a 17-year-old minor league prospect when his mother shot and killed his father at home in Georgia.
The importance of the sports metaphor in the American consciousness and why Lewis Lapham didn’t join the C.I.A.
In the 1980s, Billy Ray Bates, once dubbed “the Legend,” drank himself out of the NBA and ended up playing in the Philippines. For a few wild years, his legend grew–both on the court and in the bars.
Before embarking on dangerous rock climbs, Matt Samet would use whiskey to wash down powerful prescription tranquilizers. A first-person account of extreme addiction.
Argentina’s Lio Messi, the best soccer player on the planet, stands all of 5’7” and needed growth-hormone injections to get there.
Lance Stephenson, the latest in a long line of Coney Island basketball prodigies, carries a burden none of his predecessors did: restoring New York City’s reputation as the hoops capital of the world.
When deep sea diver Dave Shaw reached the bottom of Bushman’s Hole, he discovered the body of Deon Dreyer. Though Dreyer had been gone for 10 years, Shaw was determined to return and bring him back.
Muhammad Ali and his followers were the greatest show on earth. Then the show ended, and life went on.
Can the Houston Rockets’ Shane Battier score zero points in an NBA game and still be the most important player on the floor?
Over a scotch a few months after his underdog Jets won Super Bowl III, a 26-year-old Joe Namath told Jimmy Breslin what he’d done the night before the game: “I went out and got a bottle and grabbed this girl.”
Inside the twisted, half-conscious world of Jure Robic, the Slovene soldier who might be the world’s best ultra-endurance athlete.
On the day of the earthquake, two men went into Haiti’s Soccer Federation headquarters. Only one came out.
How Todd Marinovich, engineered from birth to be the greatest quarterback of all time, ended up a heroin junkie while still playing pro football. A 2010 National Magazine Award winner.
On October 17, 1973, John McClamrock was paralyzed playing high school football. Doctors doubted he would make it through the night. But he and his mother refused to give up—for more than three decades.
In the wake of a brazen but mysterious Philadelphia gunfight, Marvin Harrison, the man who holds the NFL record for receptions in a season, may find himself with a permanent record of a different sort.
Sixty years ago, the U.S. upset England in the World Cup on a goal from Joe Gaetjens. In most countries he would have been idolized. Instead, he was ignored in America and marked for death in his native Haiti.
The latest frontier of statistical research in baseball—and the newest front in the Yanks/Red Sox arms race—is defense. And it’s yielding some surprising insights about who is actually worth his salary.
At age 17, Bonnie Richardson won the Texas state track team championship all by herself. Then she did it again.