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ESPN The Magazine 12.04.17

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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3 min.
hungry for a win

Staff writer Hallie Grossman on Philly’s insatiable appetite for its QB: Carson Wentz is a pretty popular guy in Philadelphia right now. Welcome to Wentzylvania, Ginger Jesus, Carson City. If you can think of a way to pay tribute, Philly’s found it. Before the Eagles’ 51-23 romp over the Broncos on Nov. 5, I went to a tailgate where I met superfans Shaun Young, who sits in Section 128 every week in uniform and full pads; Stephanie Phillips, a season-ticket holder for 31 years; and their friend Chuck Solomon, aka Tatman. Chuck has over 100 Eagles-inspired tattoos, from David Akers midkick to Bill Bergey’s autograph on his stomach—but no Wentz ink just yet. “It takes a couple of years,” he said. “Gotta see how long he’s gonna be here.” MORE ON…

4 min.

Thirty years later, I still remember the mattress. When we were growing up together in Aurora, Colorado, I’d go to Roy Halladay’s house, and we’d always wind up in his basement, where Roy’s father had mounted a queen-size mattress on a wall. Down there, Roy and his father were plotting greatness. Night after night, Roy II—a strapping, gregarious pilot—worked with his son, watching him throw. He’d offer mechanical tweaks on Roy’s arm slot and foot placement and describe how a pitcher should square up after the delivery to field a ball. Roy’s father wanted his son to understand and love the game. Most of all, Roy’s father wanted to be a good dad. Baseball is a sport often passed from fathers to sons, on dirt fields with dandelions and buffalo grass…

4 min.
the numbers

Most smart players, coaches and fans have absorbed the first lesson of NBA analytics: Shot efficiency varies tremendously by shot location. (If you need a refresher, watch any Rockets game.) Now new play-by-play data is teaching us that productivity also depends on the kinds of plays that generate shots. Exhibit A: the Warriors’ transition offense. Last season Golden State jumped from third to first in the league in transition plays (18.5 percent of possessions) and from third to second in points per possession off transition (1.21), according to This season the Warriors are off and running even more frequently, on 22.2 percent of plays (through Nov. 12), and scoring an astonishing 1.34 ppp when they do. To put that last number into context, if a team scored as efficiently as…

15 min.
buyer’s market

“WITH HIS IMAGE, NEYMAR CAN MAKE THE CLUB SO MUCH STRONGER.” MAXWELL, PSG ASSISTANT DIRECTOR WoooootttWOOOOOOOO! The noise carries across the two practice fields, where some Paris Saint-Germain players are finishing an early-September workout with an informal game of five-on-four. It breaches the fences that surround the practice complex, permeates the offices of the administration building beyond. WoooootttWOOOOOOOO! • If you are nearby, you can’t help but hear it. It is a noise of exuberance, a noise of joy, a noise that seems delightfully inappropriate for world football’s carefully scripted soundtrack. Every few minutes, it shatters the tranquility of Camp des Loges, PSG’s training ground in tidy Saint-Germain-en-Laye, beyond the Paris perimeter. WoooootttWOOOOOOOO! And afterward, always: peals of laughter. The explanation comes later, once the team has showered and lingered to talk and probably…

2 min.
raise your gift game

MLB GAME-USED BASE STOOL $825 UNCOMMONGOODS.COM The ultimate in man-cave couture comes at a premium, but can you really put a price on something that Jose Altuve might have once spit upon? NBA CANDY CANE REPEAT SWEATER $69.99 FANATICS.COM Go on, be that guy reppin’ Dubs Nation when the Cavs visit Oracle on Christmas (3 p.m. ET on ABC). You’re welcome. SHERPA PUFFY BLANKET $189 RUMPL.COM Soccer moms and dads, rejoice. With this cozy, water-resistant fleece-lined spread, the only element you’ll fear is overtime. NHL GAME-USED PUCK BOTTLE OPENER $95-$200 UNCOMMONGOODS.COM The most Canadian thing ever? You (and your buddy Justin Trudeau) opening a cold one with an NHL game-used hockey puck. AIRSELFIE CAMERA $299 AIRSELFIECAMERA.COM Get ready for a whole new class of selfieno longer bound by a stick or the length of one’s arm. What could possibly go wrong? SHIBAFUL SPORTS iPHONE CASE $50…

25 min.
roger goodell has a jerry jones problem

There was a pause. It was Aug. 9, inside Roger Goodell’s sixth-floor office at the NFL’s Park Avenue headquarters in New York City—down the hall, past the executives’ offices and his assistant’s desk, and through a large, thick wooden door that is both imposing and usually left open to serve as a welcome. Goodell huddled over a speakerphone with general counsel Jeff Pash. On the other end was Jerry Jones. Adhering to the protocol of giving owners a 48-hour heads-up before a major disciplinary issue involving their team is announced, Goodell and Pash informed Jones that after a 13-month domestic violence inquiry, the Dallas Cowboys’ star running back, Ezekiel Elliott, would face punishment—a six-game suspension. The line went quiet. Seconds passed. Goodell’s decision was an unconscionable violation of trust, Jones later…