From Tiger to Jordan The 49 greatest ESPN sports magazine article example The Magazine stories
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From Tiger to Jordan The 49 greatest ESPN sports magazine article example The Magazine stories
Nadav Kander for ESPN J IM SURBER, DEPUTY PHOTO EDITOR I loved the photo feature in which we asked athletes to re-create classic album covers . I had just started my career here, and it was incredibly exciting to be working on such a unique issue. I had never seen anything like it before, and I thought it was such a smart concept. "Awakening the Giant," Seth Wickersham's Y.A. Tittle profile . This story, about how the Hall of Fame QB found fleeting moments of solace with his daughter during a final trip home -- even as his memory faded and his body broke down -- was a tender, compassionate meditation on mortality. The fact that I read it just days after my own father, a former college QB, suffered a stroke that stripped him of his memory made it even more poignant. LINDA ROOT POUDER, ASSOCIATE ART DIRECTOR I'm going with Mina Kimes' "The Search for Aaron Rodgers" . The Packers quarterback is one of the most guarded stars of this generation. Enter Mina, who sits on her living room couch with Rodgers, watches him critique the contents of her apartment and while doing so watches the fence come down so she can masterfully reveal Rodgers as something most anyone can relate to: a middle-aged man struggling to grasp his place in the world. I will always love "The Book of Coach," by Seth Wickersham . Seth was able to tell two stories in one powerful feature -- one about the inner torment of Bill Walsh, and another about how Walsh's legacy lives on in a book that has become a secret must-have handbook for wannabe coaches. Every time I look at "If Not for Them" , I get chills. It showcased 12 of the brave women who were among the hundreds of sister survivors who came forward about the abuse they endured from Larry Nassar. These images and interviews truly embody strength and power. I'll forever be grateful that these women shared their stories with us. "How They Do in Oxford," an essay by Kiese Laymon on Ole Miss football and the stains of the Confederacy, gives me chills every time I reread it for how daringly it embraces uncomfortable truths, both personal and political. "While the World Watched," Wright Thompson's piece on the dictatorship in Argentina during the 1978 FIFA World Cup . As the researcher on the story, I had a chance to speak to some of the survivors. I was struck by their humility, yet each commanded admiration and respect for what they endured. Illustration by Heads of State DON VAN NATTA JR., SENIOR WRITER "The Greatest, At Rest," Tom Junod's story on Muhammad Ali's burial , a masterful reporting and writing job by our modern master. I read it in three takes and didn't want it to be over. Dan Le Batard's story on 14-year-old Danny Almonte , who had found himself at the center of an international Little League Baseball cheating scandal. The first sentence is "So much got lost in the translation," which was perfect because the story was not only about the translation from Spanish to English, but from the Dominican Republic to America, and the chance at a better life that sports can provide -- and the desperate lengths a parent will go to in the hopes of securing it for their child.
I often think about "When 772 Pitches Isn't Enough," Chris Jones' story on Tomohiru Anraku, the Japanese pitching phenom . I read the story on a train ride to Connecticut for my job interview with The Magazine , and it affirmed my desire to start writing about sports. When Alyssa Roenigk writes about something -- anything -- you can count on her sensitivity, empathy and lack of ego informing the story. This was never more true than when she reported on freeskier Gus Kenworthy's coming out , a piece that told a vital story, made a huge impact and did it all with a grace uncommon not just in sports journalism but in all prose. Roenigk showed why restraint always trumps shouting, and why listening with an open, welcoming heart is the most vital reporting skill of all. Eddie Matz's feature on Brandon McCarthy, a pitcher who embraced the use of analytics . At the time, I knew sports analytics would be an interest of mine, but what changed me reading the piece was how well it told a fascinating, fun story while making the esoteric feel relatable. SACHIN DAVE CHANDAN, REPORTER/RESEARCHER The imagery for our One Day, One Game issues, particularly the one we did on the Heat and the Bulls , was always exciting; it gave us all a behind-the-scenes look into the day and showcased the exhilarating world of sports. Steve Wulf's essay following 9/11 is still the most moving piece we have done. I remember that week that I questioned why we were in the office producing a magazine, considering the horror playing out not far from our office door. But I also remember that his words and those pages were our way of helping all of us get through that time, reminding us that heroes had always been among us and that with time we could, and had to, move forward. Way back in October 2012, Sam Miller wrote his first story about Mike Trout for the Magazine. He's written dozens since on the best player in baseball, but this one -- which also introduced us to the origins of the Millville Meteor nickname: an internet commenter named Weed Mouse -- remains my favorite. TARYN AYOTTE, EDIT OPERATIONS COORDINATOR There's no such thing as a perfect story -- and that applies to Wright Thompson's astonishing profile of Michael Jordan at 50 . I would have liked some discussion of MJ's gambling habit and history. But this is Wright's masterpiece and comes as close to a perfect profile as any piece I've ever read. My father and I agree: The first thing we turn to is Howard Bryant's column, for his perspective on the intersection of sports, race, politics, patriotism and social justice. One in particular stands out, "Divided They Stand," , in which he writes: "The chilling chorus of 'stick to sports' ... is not just patronizing; it ignores the reality that sports hasn't been sticking to sports for nearly a generation." In "At the Corner of Love and Basketball" , Allison Glock tells the stories of teen basketball stars Rosalind Ross and Malika Willoughby, who are in love. Over the course of 13 years, they are shunned by family and community but always find their way back to each other. Until, as Glock puts it, "a black hole of reality yawned open, a mirror held to the lie, and Willoughby ... did the only thing she believed she could do to save herself. She killed the dream." Patrik Giardino for ESPN RACHEL ULLRICH, SENIOR EDITOR Hallie Grossman's gift is that she treats her subjects with real care, she pays attention. And so, in "Money Brawl" , we see why Cris Cyborg is unique , and perhaps uniquely trapped; but we also see the way in which her UFC career symbolizes the plight of so many women in MMA. And because Hallie resists glibness and rote thinking and cheap sentiment, she diagrams the complexity of the situation - all the ways the UFC and the media and the audience and the fighters themselves are implicated and at cross purposes. No one escapes unscathed. It's a wonderful portrait that succeeds the way the best profiles do; you reach the end satisfied but thinking, "I wonder where this story will go next?" "The Dictator's Team," by Steve Fainaru , which details how Bashar al-Assad's government in Syria has torn apart a generation of soccer players. This is one of our extraordinary stories that amplified unheard voices and hopefully made a difference to the world. I'm not sure if Wright Thompson's great profile of Urban Meyer is my favorite story from The Magazine in terms of appreciation. It is, however, the most influential one in terms of my behavior. Simply put, the moment when Meyer's volleyball-star daughter celebrates her college signing day by giving a speech thanking everyone who supported her -- and then singles out her father for not supporting her and not going to her games -- is one of the most terrifying things this father of a high school softball player has ever read. I have never missed a game without thinking of it, and I have missed precious few games because of it. I owe Wright and ESPN The Magazine for many, many hours as a captivated reader. But I owe Nicki Meyer for my B in attendance. "Water's Edge," by Taffy Brodesser-Akner , a story on a male synchronized swimmer named Bill May. Lyrical and heartfelt, it will have you rooting for him like he's family by the end. "True Lies," by Eric Adelson, the story of a basketball coach who was accused of sexually abusing several of his players . This was the first story that grabbed me by the throat. I begged everyone I knew to read it; they all had the same reaction. And it inspired me to try to write stories as captivating as this one. "Neither Royal Nor Ancient," a photo essay by photographer Claire Martin , which memorably highlighted a unique and absurd connection between famed St. Andrews and a golf course in the Australian Outback. Randall Slavin for ESPN STEPHANIE FALLON, ASSOCIATE MANAGER, PREPRESS & DIGITAL PRODUCTION "Blaze of Glory," by David Fleming . The Packers were saved from ruin by the insurance money collected after their training facility burned down in 1950. Aaaaand .. sports magazine article example . they might have torched it themselves. One part whodunit, one part history lesson, Flem examined the NFL's present through a little-known event in its past. Peter Keating's portrait of Donald Sterling -- published five years before Sterling's ouster from the NBA -- is The Mag at its very best: rigorous reporting, nuanced writing and astonishing prescience. Mina Kimes' profile of Aaron Rodgers . How do you pull off a Hail Mary? Planning, timing, trust and, ultimately, execution. Whether it's a last-second midfield heave over Lambeau's tundra or Mina's 2017 profile of the NFL's most enigmatic QB, the encapsulation of Aaron Rodgers comes down to balance. Preparation? Meet opportunity. David Fleming's story on former NFL receiver Reche Caldwell . When you can recite full sentences from something you read years ago, you know it's a memorable story ... CHRISTIAN ROGERS, DIRECTOR, EDITORIAL OPERATIONS & COPY "You Can't Quit Cold Turkey," by Tommy Tomlinson . When Jared Lorenzen passed away recently, I went back to Tommy Tomlinson's poignant profile of the portly quarterback that is both light and heavy at the same time -- a paradox manifested by Lorenzen himself. It also has one of the best leads I have ever read: "Jared Lorenzen and I are in love with the same woman. Her name is Little Debbie ..." "So you stand on the curb holding your suitcase and your confusion, deciding what to do next." That's how Tim Keown described a 16-year-old Russell Westbrook in "A Man Apart" , recalling the time he'd arrived at a big-time camp but no one knew who he was. The description was so poignant and painful, it's never left me. And it made me feel like I got to see a layer to Westbrook's experience that I had never seen before. That's what a great magazine story does, and Tim Keown has written so many of our best. "Why Him, Why Me" by Eli Saslow . The best magazine stories are always ones with moral ambiguity and few, if any, do that better than Eli Saslow. His haunting story about the bond shared by two men, a generation apart, who took someone's life playing football will stick with me forever. For me, the Michael Vick Issue represents The Mag at its very best: bold, brave, creative, collaborative and a little crazy. The only time we ever dedicated an entire issue to one person resulted in amazing, tireless work by dozens of people, a National Magazine Award nomination and an epic expense report that included a PayPal charge for a private jet so Seth Wickersham and I could get one-on-one time with Vick. Tommy Tomlinson's deeply reported, fun, sad, personal, prescient, weird 2014 story on Jared Lorenzen . Like countless others, it was the type of story you could only find here. "The FBI vs. FIFA," by Shaun Assael and Brett Forrest , which chronicled Chuck Blazer's corruption and subsequent plummet as FIFA turncoat. The visage of a 400-pound, adult-diaper-clad millionaire racketeer ogling the Manhattan skyline from his penthouse while FBI agents wire his torso is quintessential ESPN The Magazine . "The Mismatch," Tom Friend's Tommy Morrison story from our very first issue , because it served noticed both to Sports Illustrated that they had competition on the block and to young writers that there was a home for the ambitious stories we dreamed of writing. JAY JAY NESHEIM, SENIOR DIRECTOR, COMMUNICATIONS Edmond, OK - Monday February 27, 2017: Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook poses for the cover of the Analytics Issue of ESPN the Magazine Pari Dukovic for ESPN  Pari Dukovic for ESPN Facebook Twitter Facebook Messenger Email Sep 6, 2019 Staff Facebook Twitter Facebook Messenger Pinterest Email print What's your favorite ESPN The Magazine story ever? That's the excruciatingly hard question we put to our staff , as they put to bed the final issue of our 22-year print run . Their answers ... "Game of Her Life," by Tim Crothers , the story of a chess prodigy from Uganda. "To be African is to be an underdog in the world. To be Ugandan is to be an underdog in Africa. To be from Katwe is to be an underdog in Uganda. And finally, to be female is to be an underdog in Katwe," Crothers writes. Yet, Phiona Mutesi won. It wasn't a sport-as-the-savior tale. The piece spoke to her humanity and that of Katwe. "We Live Baseball," the interview project of 46 Latino baseball players from the Béisbol Experience Issue . It's one of the best examples of how this magazine could examine a slice of life, in all its complexity. The quotes are funny, sad, moving, individual even as they build to capture a shared experience that is, of course, more relevant than ever. "Flying Horses Don't Come Cheap" , an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the LA leg of the Masters Grand Slam of show jumping. I am a sucker for everything equine, and this assignment felt like going to a horsey Super Bowl! "Ode to the Girl on a Wheel," by Nikky Finney . Look, a freaking poem was printed in The Magazine , a testament to the unconventional ways we experimented with storytelling. This line still rattles in my head: "... the lanky girls, who uncrossed their legs, who rode by emancipated on their wheels ..." JOHN MASTROBERARDINO, MANAGER, OPERATIONS & RESEARCH Dan LeBatard's cover profile of Kimbo Slice , who, if you were to believe the internet, was a terrifying backyard brawler but in reality was a man simply fighting to bring himself up out of homelessness and grow as a human being. "Junior Seau -- a Life in Pictures" . We had the unique opportunity to visit with Junior's wife not long after his death and were given access to never-before-seen photographs of him in his youth and with his family. The collection of images tells a story of the promise of his youth, the sad and abrupt conclusion of his life and the grief in the aftermath of his death. Ronda Rousey was one of the biggest, most confident mainstream superstars when Ramona Shelburne negotiated unprecedented access to profile her for our year-end issue . The cover story set out to chronicle this feminist hero with the Hollywood hype and the 'DNB T's' but a stunning defeat toward the close of The Magazine set the story on different path, one that rocked both Ronda's face and her confidence. Ramona was left to deftly navigate an athlete who was having a career crisis. "While the World Watched," Wright Thompson's story about Argentina's Dirty War and the 1978 FIFA World Cup . While traveling around this beautiful country recently, I met many fútbol-mad folks, including a local guide, who told me that to him as a huge Albiceleste fan, the 1978 World Cup should not really count for Argentina because of all the corruption allegations and match fixing and, most importantly, the grim legacy of the military junta. That is exactly the essence of what happened in 1978, and Wright was able to capture it in his deeply moving story. "Revis, Party of One," Mina Kimes' Darrelle Revis profile . Revis was always an intriguing player to me as a Jets fan, and I felt like Mina's story gave me a lot more insight into him as a person. Since "any profile by Tim Keown" likely isn't a specific enough answer, I did the impossible and chose one: Tim's profile of Raiders owner Mark Davis , he of the "Roman centurion bowl cut" and "cartoon villain laugh." The investigative reporting in "The Enablers of Larry Nassar," by John Barr and Dan Murphy , cracked open to the world secrets that too many were hiding. Commissioning illustration for sensitive topics is always tough, but Mark Smith gave me his best here. I was proud to work on this one. "The Secret History of Tiger Woods," by Wright Thompson . Tiger's real-life saga is better than any scripted sports drama ever. how to write a short article for newspaper