We wrote a lot of long stories this year that you probably didn’t have time to read. Now is your chance to get caught up.
The Writer Who Was Too Strong To Live
Jennifer Frey drank herself to death.
Pakistan’s National Baseball Team Just Wants You To Know They Exist
This past weekend, Pakistan competed against teams representing Brazil, Great Britain, and Israel in World Baseball Classic qualifiers at MCU Park in Coney Island, Brooklyn. They were swept in the double-elimination tournament, losing to Brazil on Thursday afternoon and Great Britain Friday night, but the box scores…
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A Night Of Tear Gas And Chaos In Charlotte
Charlotte, N.C. — The fatal shooting of Keith Lamont Scott by a police officer in Charlotte on Tuesday sparked protests that started off peaceful and quickly turned violent. Those protests continued Wednesday night in the middle of a busy intersection in Uptown Charlotte, a night full of tear gas and at least one attempt to hurl a Molotov cocktail. One person was reportedly shot, and another was reportedly beaten in a parking garage. Here’s what it was like in the streets.
A Few Ghosts Are Still Haunting George Michael’s Sports Machine
Six years ago, the New York Times appended a correction to its obituary of George Michael, the sportscaster who pushed those big buttons on The Sports Machine, saying the original piece had “omitted three survivors.” The paper blamed the error on “information provided by a family member.”
How America’s Favorite Sports Betting Expert Turned A Sucker’s Game Into An Industry
Full wagering is illegal in 49 states, but sports betting is big business, with billions wagered each year—and everyone knows it. Lines and moves are discussed openly on TV, and covers are mentioned right next to game stories. Media outlets nationwide turn to a handful of people for insight and predictions into point spreads and odds. And the man they look to more than any other is RJ Bell, a self-proclaimed modern-day Jimmy the Greek.
This Was Ali
Muhammad Ali’s recent death has opened the floodgates for eulogies, tributes, evaluations, historical perspective analyses, and writing of nearly every kind imaginable. This isn’t surprising; Ali was, by almost any reckoning, the most celebrated sports figure ever, and the one with by far the widest worldwide cultural currency.
Kyrie Irving Did Outrageous Basketball Stuff At My Tiny High School
Kyrie Irving did gorgeous, stupefying things on a basketball court Monday night, but for me and my oldest friends, it was just an elevated version of a familiar sensation, a shot of nostalgia via the NBA Finals. Before the Cleveland Cavaliers guard played an injury-shortened season for Duke, and before he enrolled at St. Patrick’s High School, he graced the courts of Montclair Kimberley Academy, an academically-focused prep school in New Jersey with no known history of basketball excellence.
How I Accidentally Made The First Official Cuba-To-Florida Kayak Crossing
The shortest distance from Cuba to the United States is about 90 miles across the Florida Strait. By the standards of human-powered sea travel, it’s extremely doable, and it has been done for decades by refugees aboard the most makeshift of watercraft, driven by desperation. In the peak years, tens of thousand of Cuban balseros staked their lives on the journey, in hopes of finding something better at the end.
James Dolan Wants You To Love His Band
The richest touring musician in the world is being called to the stage for a soundcheck.
The Profane Teachings Of Johnny Rodz, The Wrestler Who Jobbed His Way Into The Hall Of Fame
I’m standing in Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn, New York, a place Ali and Jake LaMotta trained in decades ago, and Johnny Rodz is giving me shit because I told him I like The Wrestler.
The Deranged True Story Of Heavy Metal Parking Lot, The Citizen Kane Of Wasted Teenage Metalness
Suburban dirtballs of the 1980s are a lost culture, worthy of academic study, that disappeared abruptly, leaving mysterious artifacts for future generations to work over. Think of them as, say, the ancient Mayans, only with mullets.
Where Does Future Go Now?
In explaining Outkast’s often radical shifts in sound, style, and subject matter between albums, André 3000 has described those transformations as the natural result of the two- to three-year breaks he and his partner, Big Boi, would take between projects, wherein both rappers would live their lives, tour, fall in and out of love, expose themselves to new ideas, find different sources of inspiration, etc. All those new experiences went right back into the music.
How Wile E. Coyote Explains The World
A joke has structure. It has a central rule. Setup, punchline. The setup produces a tensed, expectant state; the punchline resolves the tension with a surprise. If the elements of the joke are not arranged into a setup and a punchline, it is not a joke. It is just a statement.
Why Does Anyone Care What Athletes Have To Say About Politics?
So LeBron James has offered his “endorsement”—since the traditional newspaper endorsement has lost whatever influence it ever had, it doesn’t seem too ridiculous to use the word to describe political support given by a guy who throws leather balls against the ground for a living—of Hillary Clinton for president. Or, more accurately, LeBron James™ would like you, his current and prospective consumers, to know that he is endorsing Hillary Clinton. Depending on your parameters for acceptable political discourse, this is may read as a good or a bad thing to you, with the lines most likely drawn by how closely his sentiments track your own. I, on the other hand, can’t help but think back to that old Dave Chappelle joke and wonder, “Where is Ja?”
Person Of Interest Was Anti-Prestige TV And Too Smart For Primetime
First, let me tell you what Person of Interest is. Person of Interest is the inverse of Game of Thrones. For every shock death from the HBO’s version of George R.R. Martin’s book series, it had Kevin Chapman getting maced by a model and beaten up with a handbag. For every Game of Thrones setpiece that sent 49 bloggers into an ejaculatory frenzy over the ambiguous motives and bloodlines of royals, Person of Interest had a scene where Jim Caviezel kicks seven shades of shit out of the cardboard archetype of a bad person. It’s weird watching Jesus throttle people, but you know what, we’re all going to Hell anyway.
I Found A Postcard From 1979 And This Is Its Story
It was tucked into the pages like a bookmark, postmarked Fort Lauderdale, dated December 3, 1979, and addressed to an apartment in Evanston, Ill. There was nothing else in the book—a collection of John Cheever stories I’d just bought at the used bookstore a couple blocks from my Chicago apartment.
I Covered The Braves For A Newspaper That Didn’t Exist
When my sportswriter friend asked me, back in September of 2000, if I wanted to join him at an Atlanta Braves game that he was working, my first thought was, “That sounds fun!” When he suggested that I use an outdated photographer’s pass he had in his possession, issued for a different game vs. a different team, never mind that I was a real estate broker and not a member of the media in any way, shape, or form, my next thought was, “Does Turner Field have a jail cell?”
With The Rivalry Reborn, Pitt And Penn State Players Remember The Game That Defined It
Chet Parlavecchio was 10 minutes into our phone interview when he really got going. He was repeating a story he’s been telling on and off for 35 years, the one about that time he appeared on a Pittsburgh radio show and dropped a burn on Pitt in the run-up to Penn State’s 1981 game against the No. 1-ranked Panthers.
I Was Catfished By ABC’s What Would You Do?
I originally leveraged online dating to begin seeing average-sized women. Before moving back to New York a few years ago, I had only dated little women— i.e., women who were born with dwarfism. At bars or parties, my social anxiety, the kind that comes with being a little person myself, made it difficult to gauge an average-sized woman’s interest in me. Talking with women online made it easier to determine whether or not they were comfortable with my achondroplasia.
The Story Behind The Perfect Photo Of Olympic Pain
What does it feel like to have your lifelong dream dashed in an instant? How would you react?
The Story Behind Hockey’s Most Famous Photo
The number of truly iconic hockey pictures is surprisingly small. The sport is notoriously difficult to photograph, thanks to the fast-paced action, the elusive puck, and some unique space, proximity, and lighting restrictions. There’s Denis Brodeur (yes, Martin’s father) and his shot of Paul Henderson celebrating Team Canada’s victory in the 1972 Summit Series; Ralph Morse’s eerie portrait of goaltender Terry Sawchuk, his scars and stitches simulated with makeup; Heinz Kluetmeier‘s “Miracle on Ice” celebration photo after the U.S. defeated the U.S.S.R. at the 1980 Olympics.
Team USA Was The Overwhelmed Newcomer At The Kabaddi World Cup
The ancient Indian sport of kabaddi is undergoing a revolution. For centuries it was only played on dusty fields in backcountry villages, but the launch of the Pro Kabaddi League in 2014 has transformed it from an antiquated pastime into a modern sporting spectacle on the Asian subcontinent, played in state-of-the-art stadiums and watched by hundreds of millions. The sport is growing so rapidly that the Kabaddi World Cup, which has been taking place this month in Ahmedabad, India, even features a team representing the United States.
The 300-Year Journey From Classical Standard To Gay Disco Anthem To The Most Iconic Anthem In Soccer
The first leg of the 1994 UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc Des Princes was rife with the tensions of early ‘90s provincial fandom. “The Boulogne Boys [PSG’s right-wing hooligan supporters] were looking for Arsenal fans to attack in the build-up to the game,” recalls London-based Arsenal supporter Kevin Whitcher, who was in attendance that night. “It was chaos.”
How To Legalize Sports Betting
Millions of Americans are gearing up for their fantasy football drafts. And thanks to the scores of lobbyists and lawyers employed by the daily fantasy sports industry, DraftKings and FanDuel are back in business in New York and many other states, just in time for the start of the NFL season. For the price of an “entry fee,” you can win a valuable “prize,” not to mention “bragging rights” among your friends, family and co-workers. Just don’t call it “gambling” though.
Dying Is Easy, Making Famous Politicians Seem Funny Is Hard
Disclaimer: Any assumption that the political jokes contained in this article are funny will lead to disappointment.
Secret Emails Show Kevin Johnson Spying On, Attempting To Bankrupt Enemies
The city clerk of Sacramento has released a trove of correspondence between Kevin Johnson and his cronies, over which the scandal-magnet lame-duck mayor of the California capital fought a long, dirty campaign in hopes of keeping it from journalists and legal adversaries. This latest document dump has nothing as tawdry as the abuse allegations leveled against the former NBA star and documented here and elsewhere through the years. But for anybody interested in the dark side of Johnson as an administrator and public official, there is plenty of fascinating material.
Adrien Broner Is A Dick
Adrien Broner is a dick.
Hindus And Trump Rallied Together In A Xenophobic Fever Dream
Grab a plate of good, oily pav bhaji and watch a well-loved Indian movie star perform for thousands of immigrants. He greets the crowd in Tamil, jokes about jet lag, shimmies, and shimmers in the hallucinogenic stage lighting; the crowd squeezes as close as security will allow. Then watch as presidential candidate Donald Trump takes the same stage minutes later, basking in the Bollywood afterglow, and rouses just as much applause. It feels like a warm family function somehow lapsing into a Klan rally, with all your favorite uncles and aunties unmasked as cheery bigots. It left me slack-jawed and numb.
How Two Investigations Into Minnesota’s Sexual-Assault Scandal Reached Two Very Different Conclusions
It was in the early morning hours after the Golden Gophers’ victory—in their September season opener, no less—that the student said she was sexually assaulted by multiple football players. She gave a statement to Minneapolis police a day later, going into detail about how she had sex with two guys and how more men then kept coming.
Zero Tolerance For Domestic Violence Will Only Make It Worse
Over and over in her interviews with law enforcement, Molly Brown said that money was one of the topics that made her husband, New York Giants kicker Josh Brown, angry. A fight over financial mail preceded him pushing her into a door while she was pregnant; years later, when she called King County sheriff’s deputies for help, fearing another physical confrontation, the fight was about their finances; and in between those, Josh Brown admitted to manipulating her with money. Molly Brown told a sheriff’s deputy, prosecutor, and advocate that the subject of money “escalates him.”
The NFL Investigation And Punishment Of Josh Brown Achieved Nothing
The details, emerging nearly two years into the NFL’s quest to “get it right” on domestic violence, followed the grimly familiar pattern. In several interviews with deputies in King County, Wash., Molly Brown described her relationship with her estranged husband, New York Giants kicker Josh Brown, and the outbursts of violence and intimidation within their marriage. There was, she said, the time he pushed her into a mirror, then threw her on the floor and held her face down into the carpet; the time she said he kicked in a bathroom door, knocking it off its hinges, and then hit her son in the arm; and the times he called her a gold digger.
Why Title IX Has Failed Everyone On Campus Rape
It registers less as news and more as routine when another Title IX lawsuit arises against a college or university for failing to meet its obligations to address sexual violence. The same is true when the claims made in these suits bear out. Earlier this year, Florida State announced it would pay $950,000 to Erica Kinsman to settle a lawsuit in which she said the university’s athletic department concealed from the administration her accusation of rape against their star quarterback, eventual Heisman winner and national championship game MVP Jameis Winston. The suit wasn’t a surprise. Neither was the settlement.
The Stone Cold Stunner Is The Most Important Wrestling Move Of All Time
Among the shirt-folding instructions, clips of puppies hugging babies, and trailers for gritty superhero movies that make up most of YouTube, there are certain videos that seem like they were created to dare viewers to watch them all the way through.
Growing Up In A Trump Town
On July 30, 2003, Cannon Mills died.
The Story Behind The Perfect Photo Of Sports’ First Streaker
When freelance photojournalist Ian Bradshaw went to Twickenham Stadium in the spring of 1974 to cover a rugby union friendly between England and France, he expected to shoot nothing more than another bloodbath between two fierce rivals. He returned instead with an instantly iconic photograph that signaled the start of a cultural phenomenon.
Jason Pierre-Paul Is Suing ESPN Because Its Reporting Was Too Accurate
New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul is scheduled to face off against ESPN and reporter Adam Schefter in a Florida federal court next August. At issue is a tweet Schefter posted in 2015 containing two photos of Pierre-Paul’s medical records.
Alex Rodriguez Was Big Enough To Take All The Blame
It’s obvious where this begins: Thirteen years ago, at baseball’s annual winter meetings, the entire story was Alex Rodriguez and when and where he would be going. The Texas Rangers, who’d averaged 90 losses in three seasons with Rodriguez at shortstop, had made clear that they wanted out from under the seven years and $179 million left on his contract; Rodriguez had made clear he wanted to play for a team that had a chance of winning something; and the Rangers, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, and Los Angeles Dodgers were all involved in a complex set of interlocking negotiations involving a variety of stars and hundreds of millions of dollars moving all over.
Your App Isn’t Helping The People Of Saudi Arabia
On March 15, 2002, 15 Saudi girls burned to death inside their school in Mecca. They were not trapped by fallen debris, or unaccounted for by firefighters. The mutaween, Saudi Arabia’s religious police, would not allow the girls to leave their burning school because they were not covering their hair or wearing their abayas.
Did Robert Caruso Con The Washington Press—Or Is That What The Russians Want You To Think?
How hard is it to con people in Washington, D.C.? Easier than you might think, considering it’s the place where things like nuclear war get decided. The national-security circuit in particular, with its think tank fellowships and massive government contracts, is one of the juiciest rackets around.
Donald Trump Is A Frightened Coward And I Bet $100,000 He Won’t Fight Me
Last month, I made a public challenge to Donald Trump, which I will repeat here: If he or either of his sons will box me for one round, I will make the maximum legal contribution to his campaign and donate $100,000 to the charity of his choice.
Lurid Confessions Of A Times Square Silver Man
During the early aughts, when I was bobbing about the murky shark tank of my mid-20s, there were several years when my income was derived entirely from standing in a silver unitard around NYC.
Inch For Inch, Inika McPherson Might Be The Most Talented Jumper On The Planet
The three priestesses of the high jump—the American reps in Rio—are an unconventional and disparate bunch, whose ability to launch themselves over a 6'6" bar is almost less interesting than how they made it to the Olympics in the first place.
How SB Nation Published Their Daniel Holtzclaw Story
Last week, Vox Media’s SB Nation published “Who Is Daniel Holtzclaw?”, a 12,000-word profile of a 29-year-old former Oklahoma City police officer who this winter was tried for raping 13 black women while on duty; convicted on 18 of 36 charges of rape, sexual battery, forcible oral sodomy, and burglary; and sentenced to 263 years in prison. The story was reported and written by journalist Jeff Arnold and edited by Glenn Stout, head of the SB Nation Longform vertical. It was published at noon on a Wednesday, and the response was immediate and swift. Those who read it were furious with the story, which was so sympathetic that it comfortably qualified as apologia and read as an attempt to humanize a monster at the expense of his black, female victims. It was pulled within five hours by SB Nation editorial director Spencer Hall and replaced with an editor’s note from Hall, who called it a “complete failure.” You can read a cached version of the story here.