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ESPN The Magazine 03.31.14

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.

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access_time1 min.
spotlight scott wilson

Born and bred in Austin, Wilson went to his first Texas football game on Nov. 1, 1958, at age 7. Now 62, the attorney has a streak of 448 consecutive games dating to 1977. This year he’ll eclipse 900 straight baseball games, “unless I’m dead or in jail,” he says. And even if UT doesn’t reach Omaha, he’ll make his 34th trip in a row. “I tell people I tailgate with that I ain’t no lawyer in Nebraska,” says Wilson, who drives to games in a ’75 burnt-orange-and-white Cadillac, with longhorns for a hood ornament. He also has season tickets to four other sports and has followed UT to 38 states. When baseball is on the road, Wilson leads the faithful in “The Eyes of Texas.” “My qualifications for song…

access_time3 min.
[ spring thaw ]

[F] or the first time in his baseball career, Barry Bonds is exposed, unprotected by the superior eyesight, massive power and miracle reflexes that simultaneously distanced him from his mortal peers and insulated him from the repercussions of an unceremonious personality. Now that he is nearly 50 years old, those gifts that made Bonds the towering athlete of his time are long gone, dissolved by age into history, unimportant compared with skills he has always been far less able or willing to master. Relationship-building, listening, communicating and being a member of a group instead of above it were qualities Bonds never felt he needed, once saying that when his playing skills faded, he would too, happily ridding himself of baseball without looking back. Babe Ruth retired and never returned to the…

access_time3 min.
[ follow the money trail ]

[A] s a Mets fan, it’s bad enough that I have to watch my team struggle year after year (after year). But I also have to endure the bleating of their huge-spending-yet-never-satisfied crosstown rivals. My guys can’t find a few dimes under the couch for Stephen Drew, and I have to listen to Yankees nuts worry that after signing Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann and Masahiro Tanaka, their lineup might still have … a couple of holes. My angst is echoed by fans all over. Baseball is a sport with no salary cap, the argument goes, so it’s too easy for big-money teams to throw around their cash. Watch the Yankees, Dodgers and Angels and you get the feeling they can buy as many wins as they want. But they…

access_time1 min.

Mariners ace Felix Hernandez has no idea who died and made him King. “It came from a newspaper when I played in the minors,” he says. “After that, everyone started calling me King.” The crown fits. Hernandez, 27, is the best young pitcher in Seattle history, amassing more wins (110) and K’s (1,703) than any other Mariner through his age, to go along with a franchise-best 3.20 ERA (minimum 500 innings). Like the many jocks who had their nicknames immortalized by poster magnates John and Tock Costacos in the ’80s (who can forget Karl Malone as the Mailman?), Hernandez has embraced his moniker. “I turned it into my Twitter handle,” he says. Indeed, it’s good to be the @RealKingFelix. FOR MORE IMAGES, GO TO ……

access_time4 min.
double trouble

There’s an old joke involving Michael Jordan, one that dates to his days at North Carolina. Who’s the only man who could hold MJ under 20 points, the line went. The answer? Dean Smith—a snarky take on the coach’s egalitarian system. Lately, an updated version of that crack has been making the rounds, starring Kevin Durant as MJ. Only this time, the role of Smith belongs to Durant’s OKC sidekick, Russell Westbrook, whose affinity for his own shot often seems to be the only thing keeping Durant from breaking 30 every night. And during Durant’s streak of 12 consecutive 30-point games in January, that dynamic no longer seemed to be a laughing matter. As an injured Westbrook watched from afar, fans and experts alike wondered aloud whether the All-Star point guard…

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cold hard facts

PRESENTED BY COORSLIGHT 35 Years since an NBA center had posted 14 assists in one game. Noah notched that number in his triple-double performance against the Knicks in early March, matching Sam Lacey of the Kansas City Kings, who collected 14 assists on Dec. 6, 1978. 2 Bulls with more career triple-doubles than Noah, who has six over his seven seasons. You may have heard of them: Michael Jordan, with 28, and Scottie Pippen, with 15. Noah had three career triple-doubles through his first 444 games and three more in his next 11. 4 Number of centers in NBA history to average 12 points, 11 boards and 5 assists in a season: Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Russell and Bill Walton. Averaging 12.2/11.3/4.9 (through March 12), Noah is knocking on the club’s door.…