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ESPN The Magazine

ESPN The Magazine 02.27.17

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.

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2 min.

New York or Chicago: Thin crust or deep dish? Empire State Building or Willis Tower? Jay Z or Kanye? Yankee Stadium or Wrigley Field? Tough calls! (Well, except for the pizza. Sorry, Chicago.) Speaking of tough calls: We lined up two dynamic duos for the Entertainment Issue, but how could we choose between Chicago’s own Chance the Rapper with Bulls dynamo Jimmy Butler and Knicks superfan Leslie Jones with MSG unicorn Kristaps Porzingis? Well, we didn’t. We sidestepped the centurylong spat between the cities and chose both. Both players are locked in on a second-half playoff push, while our entertainers are booked down to the minute. (Jones would have to hurry from our shoot to SNL rehearsals and Chance to an open mic event for Chicago teens.) Thankfully, everyone’s people…

2 min.
top nba prospects at each position

Yet more confirmation that this season has been the Year of the Freshman: First-year players dominate NBA draft Insider Chad Ford’s Big Board 3.0, holding top billing at each of the five spots on the floor. PG | WASHINGTON (NO. 1) Fultz has been awesome (23.2 ppg, sixth in NCAA) and can’t be blamed for the Huskies’ 9–14 record. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound guard is still the favorite to go No. 1 and would be a Wooden Award favorite if his team were better. It’s not a slam dunk, but Fultz’s smooth style, versatility and lack of a glaring weakness make him the top pick for most GMs. Malik Monk SG | KENTUCKY (NO. 6) Monk is the best pure scorer on the board—his 47 points against UNC was the most against the Tar Heels in…

1 min.

THE ONLY PLACE FOR EXCLUSIVE ANALYSIS AND CONTENT FROM OUR EXPERTS. HERE’S HOW TO BECOME AN ESPN INSIDER! Turn back to the cover and find your account number on the mailing label of your ESPN The Magazine. It starts with ESN and is 10 digits long. Fire up the internet and go to Enter your account number and click “Activate your Insider account.” Fill in the required fields to create an Insider member name and password. Click “Finish.” Congrats! You’re already smarter than the average fan.…

4 min.

Fire and Ice How Tara Lipinski and a Pennsylvania fire department inspired a Special Olympics figure skater to reach for gold. Let me introduce myself. I am Ian Rawn, 34 years old, from Plano, Texas. I work for an accounting firm, am a trained firefighter and love the Dallas Cowboys, Arkansas Razorbacks football, Les Mis, Tara Lipinski, karaoke and cooking. I am also a figure skater, and I will be the only member of Team USA from Texas at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria (March 14-25). I have Down syndrome, you see, but thanks to my wonderful family and an amazing support group, I am doing things that some might never have thought possible. Take my program for Austria, which my coach, Jayne Marshall, and I have been working on…

4 min.
the numbers

When Moneyball Met The Bachelor Can the same statistical methods we use for sports tell us anything about love? You bet! So will you accept these analytics? Is reality-TV dating a sport? Of course it is! It’s competitive and strategic, and its battles reveal how its participants respond to challenges. It requires stamina. It has inspired fantasy leagues. And it’s way more popular than the biathlon. While, uh, conducting research on this matter, I realized it’s possible to apply the same kind of Giant Killer analytics we use to identify college hoops dark horses to The Bachelor : Using regression analysis, we can isolate the variables that have keyed past winners, then see which current contestants share those characteristics. After all, as Shushanna Mkrtychyan, the only Bachelor contestant ever with “mathematician”…

28 min.
a racing mind

Dale Earnhardt Jr. returns at Daytona after letting his brain heal from multiple concussions—and after undergoing a different sort of rehabilitation for his psyche. “I ALWAYS MAKE THINGS WORSE THAN THEY ARE, OR CREATE PROBLEMS THAT AREN’T THERE.” DALE EARNHARDT JR. Darlington Raceway on a Wednesday in December is vast and cold and empty. Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew works alone in the garage, making last-minute tweaks to his race car. The car is stripped of paint and decals, down to bare primer—gunmetal gray. There are no fans, just a NASCAR official and a Charlotte neurosurgeon. Today is not about money or trophies. It’s about whether Dale Jr.’s brain has healed enough to do what his heart needs so bad. • A helicopter comes in low over the rim of the track and…