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 / Sports
ESPN The Magazine

ESPN The Magazine 03.03.14

ESPN The Magazine is for the NEXT generation of sports fans who want to stay on top of the athletes, teams, topics and upcoming events in their own sports world. The Magazine celebrates not only sports, but the cultures and lifestyles that are an integral part of them - all with ESPN's unique personality and authority.

United States
ESPN Magazine LLC
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1 min.
spotlight nick miller and family

In 2010, as the Lions suffered through their 10th straight losing season, Nick Miller (on the hood) and his brother Weebe (on the roof) decided to build their own bandwagon. “We wanted to remind people to keep the love,” says Nick, who counts his son, Quinton, cousin Felicia (both in the car) and sister Tonya (left) as fellow diehards. From the paint job to the Honolulu blue wheels, the Millers put about $15,000 into their ride, including the plow. “That’s not for show—that’s a moneymaker,” says Nick, who with Weebe clears the roads of Pontiac, Mich., where they grew up going to games at the Silverdome. And the truck paid off too: In 2011 Detroit made the playoffs for the first time in 12 years, and this January was the…

3 min.
[ a strike against justice ]

Maybe it is over for Alex Rodriguez even though he has dropped his lawsuit against baseball. Maybe he’ll return in a year, meekly, end his career and then be discarded for good by major league baseball. He wouldn’t be the first to be shunned, nor would it be undeserved after he dissolved whatever goodwill he had accrued in the game. Still, there’s something troubling about the justice here. When discussing race, most Americans cannot handle the topic without a blankie and a rattle nearby, so it must be said immediately that, yes, there have been PED users of all backgrounds—from Gary Sheffield to Manny Ramirez to Andy Pettitte—who were allowed to come back and play and earn their millions. Likewise, black, white and Latino players have equally found the Hall of…

3 min.
[ pressure point ]

Nothing in the world of analytics agitates folks quite like the question of whether some athletes can turn up their game in critical situations. Traditionalists believe Tom Brady has clutch in his DNA, statheads think they can simulate clutch by crunching numbers, and frankly, I’m tired of their talking past each other. So for this column, I’m trying something different. Instead of building toward one inexorable conclusion, I’ll show what we know about clutch, playing no favorites. Trust me, by the end of this, we’ll find some common ground. Despite what many fans believe, clutch is in part the absence of anxiety. Athletes don’t actually play better under huge stress. Instead, studies in psychology and neurobiology show that while athletes (like most people) hold up well to moderate pressure, they typically…

1 min.

WHO Four-time Iditarod champ Jeff King and his sled dog team WHAT Training for the March 1 Iditarod WHEN Oct. 17, 2013 WHERE Denali Park, Alaska Jeff King may be the man behind the sled, but he knows he’s not the star of the 1,000-plus-mile Iditarod. “My dogs are the athletes, not me,” says King. “On the sled, my job is easy: Hold on.” King, a 36-year mushing veteran, has logged more than 3,000 training miles with his 26-dog team thanks to a year-round routine: He ties his huskies to his four-wheeler to calibrate their speed. “We train the dogs to run at a speed they think is slow, but it’s fast,” he says. King, 58, has no plans to slow down himself. “Some of my best moments have been on the sled beneath the aurora borealis,” he…

1 min.

WHO Jonny Gomes, Red Sox outfielder and one of the brains behind Boston’s beard act WHAT Trimming a season-old unkempt beard WHEN Feb. 4, 3:39 p.m. MT WHERE Gomes’ bathroom in Scottsdale, Ariz. “I haven’t touched this beard in a year. Our beards came to symbolize that we were all on the same page, on and off the field. Our starting pitchers pitched the same, our bullpen, our defense, our approach at the plate was all in sync. Then you throw in our facial hair and our lifestyle, it all blended together. Some guys shaved right after we won the World Series. I’ve kept it throughout the offseason, but now it’s time for it to go. We’re about to head into spring training and have to turn the page and start new. I’ve played 11 years, and they…

1 min.

Let’s hope Jameis Winston wasn’t in a hurry to leave. A month after he led Florida State to a dramatic comeback victory in the BCS national title game, the Heisman Trophy winner found himself surrounded by Seminoles faithful inside Doak Campbell Stadium during the team’s championship celebration on Feb. 1. “Before y’all ask me any questions, just know that we are the champions,” Winston told the crowd of 30,000. “It’s a new year and a new season, and we’ve got to keep getting better, and it starts now.” 51.6 Points per game by the Seminoles, who outscored their opponents by an average of almost 40 last season. 40 Touchdown passes thrown by Winston, setting the ACC record and the FBS freshman record. He also set a freshman mark for passing yards (4,057), while leading…