30 for 30 Shorts: ‘The High Five’
Our latest film, from award-winning director Michael Jacobs, tells the story of a celebratory gesture and the tumultuous life of the man who made it happen Welcome back to our 30 for 30 documentary short series.
The Consigliere Commissioner
How incoming MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has quietly accumulated and wielded power for his office, from the 1994 strike to the 2013 Alex Rodriguez PED case If Major League Baseball were the Genco Pura Olive Oil Company, then Robert D. Manfred Jr.
America’s Most Wanted
How DeAndre Yedlin went from being the player with a 1 percent chance of making the USMNT’s final cut to one of the breakout performers in the 2014 World Cup The email arrived on a Monday morning in May. DeAndre Yedlin was not yet a star.
Van Gaalogy 101
You know what it takes to manage Manchester United? It takes brass balls to manage Manchester United. The first time Louis van Gaal pulled his pants down in front of his players happened in — but hang on; let’s walk that back a second.
Diamonds in the Rough
The human body is 18 percent carbon, which means that if you subject it to high enough pressures at high enough temperatures and hold it there for a long enough time, it will form diamonds. You can try this yourself, in a laboratory.
The League That Never Sleeps
You probably know the 2014 NFL season kicks off in Seattle tonight, with Russell Wilson, Russell Wilson’s unairbrushable loins and the defending champs laying six points to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. I’m excited to have Brady, Gronk, Belichick and every other Patriot back in my life.
Are Manning and Brady Cheating? How Rule Changes Have Helped Extend a Rivalry
Did you enjoy the misleading headline we came up with to generate traffic and rig Google results, only it’s a complete misrepresentation from what I wrote this week? What a farce, right? We’ll never do that again, right?
An Outsider’s Guide to Loving College Football
I did not grow up with this sport. In Washington, D.C., the only college football we have is Maryland and UVa, and watching those games growing up was kind of like planting someone in front of an MLS game and telling them to go crazy for soccer.
Imagining Football in a Non-NFL World
One question I get asked once in a while as a football writer — especially by friends who don’t really follow or enjoy football — is whether I think there will still be a sport for me to cover in 20 or 30 years.
The NFL Draft and Michael Sam
Why he slipped and how he’ll do in St. Louis. Plus, the worst trades of the draft! As the seventh and final round of the NFL draft rolled to a close on Saturday evening, two very important men were anxious for very different reasons.
Five Years Later, the 2009 NFL Draft May Be the Worst Ever
Twenty years later, we can reasonably call 1994 the birth of modern NFL drafting. That’s when the NFL went to a seven-round format, down from eight the previous season. Over that time period, and with five years of perspective, it’s safe to say that the 2009 draft is the worst of that era.
What Is the NFL’s ‘Corner 3’?
It all started in a bar. A friend and I were watching Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals between the Pacers and Heat at Old Town Pour House in Chicago. Miami was up just two with 8:37 left in the fourth quarter when Ray Allen started to go off.
The Ballad of Reggie Bush
T   he following is an excerpt from Season of Saturdays: A History of College Football in 14 Games by Michael Weinreb. Copyright © 2014 by Michael Weinreb. Reprinted with permission of Scribner, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. Preorder your copy here.
Josh Gordon and the NFL’s Drug Problem
Back in May, news leaked that Pro Bowl Browns receiver Josh Gordon had tested positive for marijuana. He had done so before, as a rookie, and then tested positive for codeine a year ago. With this, his third offense, he’s facing a yearlong ban from the NFL.
The American Band Championship Belt
When you decide that spending about 27 work hours determining the holders of the American Band Championship Belt going back to 1964 is a good, even noble idea, you quickly come up against two inconvenient facts.1 One, many of the best bands ever aren’t from the United States.
Losing Yourself All Over Again
Few cities have as rich a cultural and sporting history as Detroit. From the ’80s Pistons to Bob Seger, Eminem to Miguel Cabrera, the Motor City is a rich tapestry of compelling figures, unbelievable moments, and uniquely American ingenuity.
Wu-Tang, Atomically
Twenty years after the Wu-Tang Clan invaded and radically altered hip-hop, Shaolin’s finest are struggling to reunite for one more album. Here, a 10-part portrait of how the legendary group lives apart today.
Jack White’s Meg White Problem
Before Jack White envisioned the world in red and white, he saw Lime. Harry Lime, that is, the character played by Orson Welles in the classic 1949 noir The Third Man. A Welles fanatic, White quoted dialogue from Citizen Kane on the White Stripes’ 2001 commercial breakthrough, White Blood Cells.
The Board Game of the Alpha Nerds
Before Risk, before Dungeons & Dragons, before Magic: The Gathering, there was Diplomacy. One writer enters international competition to play the world-conquering game that redefines what it means to be a geek (and a person). It was the summer of 1909. I was on the south coast of Spain.
The Rise of Nintendo: A Story in 8 Bits
From ‘Donkey Kong’ to the NES — how a Japanese company took over the American living room. An exclusive first serial from ‘Console Wars.’ The following is an excerpt from Blake J. Harris’s new book, Console Wars. It has been slightly modified for this publication.
Everybody Loves Mike
How a lanky kid from South Dakota became the trusted confidant of LeBron James and Tracy McGrady — and seemingly everybody else in the NBA When the Orlando Magic traded Mike Miller in 2003, Tracy McGrady’s constant complaining about the deal irritated coach Doc Rivers.
Kobe’s Beautiful Madness: Understanding the Lakers’ Absurd Present and Unknowable Future
Watching the Lakers right now is honestly unlike anything I can remember in my NBA life. They have transcended basketball and become some meta public art piece that we can all enjoy.
How Rebounds Work
Early in the fourth quarter of an April game against Orlando, Chicago’s Jimmer Fredette came off a Taj Gibson screen and rose up for a left wing 3. As the ball arced toward the rim, Joakim Noah raced from the elbow toward the restricted area.
The Commissioner
When Bob Ryan would begin writing a Celtics game story — a “gamer,” as it’s known in the trade — he’d look for a lede. An insight, a gag, a short scene. Something he could extract from his brain before deadline that would give the reader a proverbial starting point.
My Trip to NBA Scout School
A writer enrolls in a two-day seminar during NBA summer league and learns you have to be absolutely, insanely in love with basketball to survive the rigors of life as a professional scout I spent five days in Las Vegas by myself earlier this month.
NBA Windows: The Cavs Have All the Makings of a Title Contender
This year, more than any in recent memory, the NBA is about windows of opportunity. As we gear up for what could be a classic season, Grantland will take a close look at the ones that matter. He has lived through four years of ceaseless losing while friends have urged him to leave Cleveland.
Kyle Korver: An Offense Unto Himself
As the second round of the 2003 draft puttered along, the Nets watched as teams ahead of them plucked every player in which New Jersey had interest.
Noah’s Spark
How Joakim Noah went from being the teenage hot dog vendor at ABCD All America camp to being an NBA All-Star and the emotional leader of the Chicago Bulls France Joakim Noah was 5 years old the first time his father, Yannick, gave him a tennis lesson.
Are You Ready for the Big-Man Renaissance?
For a long time now, it’s been popular to worry about the decline of big men in the NBA. Lately, it hasn’t even been a worry. It’s just a fact. It happened for a couple different reasons. The NBA eliminated handcheck rules, which made it easier for guards to be the focal point of the offense.
The Ultimate Crapshoot
How crazy is the NBA draft? Just look at what would happen if we redid the top picks from the past 19 years. First things first — I love the 2014 NBA draft.
The Faded Smile
Moochie Norris recognized that face. As basketballs danced and shoes screeched across the court, Norris zeroed in on the teenager.
Sterling’s Fold
I dressed in black for Game 5 of the Clippers-Warriors series. I wasn’t alone. More than 40 percent of the fans wore black T-shirts, black blouses, black dresses, black everything. The cheerleaders wore skimpy black outfits.
DataBall
With an ocean of new statistical information available, the NBA could be on the verge of understanding the value of every single movement on the court. Welcome to the era of EPV. On February 13, 2013, the San Antonio Spurs found themselves in a surprisingly close game in Cleveland.
At Least One Real, Authentic Moment of Humanity With Cameron Diaz
Contact person sends an email re: where and when to meet Cameron Diaz for 25 minutes of Q&A. The email’s subject line says “Itinerary,” which implies some sort of journey, possibly by train/steamship. Actual journey is 8.
The Lessons of ‘Lost’: Understanding the Most Important Network Show of the Past 10 Years
Lost premiered 10 years ago this week. It ended four and a half years ago. And I still miss it like crazy. This doesn’t seem to be a popular opinion these days, as backlash to the underwhelming series finale seems to have overtaken the memory of everything that came before.
This Is Katie F-​-​-ing Ledecky: A Thesis About Kicking Ass
This is a column about Katie Ledecky. It has a simple thesis. The thesis is that Katie Ledecky kicks ass. The thesis is a gasoline fireball from which Katie Ledecky is walking away in slow motion, too cool to look back.
God Loves Cleveland
Yeah, I read LeBron James’s classy letter in Sports Illustrated. I believe him. I think he wanted to come home. I think he always wanted to come home. In the summer of 2010, LeBron handled everything wrong. He knows that now. His hometown turned on him. His former owner excoriated him.
The Goodell-Must-Go Bag
My Thursday-night pick: Baltimore -2.5 over Pittsburgh. Who cares? Does ANYONE care? Let’s break out the special-edition “HOW THE HELL DOES ROGER GOODELL STILL HAVE A JOB?” mailbag! But first … how the hell does Roger Goodell still have a job?
The Front Lines of Ferguson
I don’t know what made me buy a plane ticket to St. Louis at 1:15 a.m. on Tuesday. Maybe it was remembering that feeling of helplessness and guilt after learning of the Trayvon Martin verdict while embarking on a carefree cross-country road trip.
The ‘World Cup Is Over, Now What?’ Guide to Soccer
Just because the World Cup is over doesn’t mean soccer stops. Soccer never stops; that’s one of its biggest appeals.
Stop Making Sense
Should we talk about where we’ve just been? The group stage was one coup after another, a sequence of thrilling games that gradually dismantled the existing order of international soccer. The last two world champions died in their baths.
So Money
Suddenly, heartbreak fed the need to wear ribbed tank undershirts. You got crushed? You hid under a fedora. She left? You bought vintage bowling shoes, threw on some Sinatra, and pretended to understand the virtues of single-malt scotch. Any Glen.
Livin’ Thing:
Boogie Nights began as a teenage boy’s wet dream. Nearly a decade before its 1997 release, it was a fantasy to chase. The year was 1988. The boy was a precocious, plotting 17-year-old named Paul Thomas Anderson.
The Action Hero Championship Belt
Before Steve McQueen, Hollywood didn’t produce action movies in the modern sense. You never saw John Wayne trapped on a luxury yacht with scheming terrorists, or Paul Newman tearing through Paris to find his kidnapped daughter.
The Land of 10,000 Takes
The mayor of Brainerd didn’t like Fargo. “It’s a movie that people who don’t live here seem to enjoy, but for us it’s a little bit of an embarrassment,” Bonnie Cumberland told the Star Tribune in the blizzard-shot winter of 1997.

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