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ESPN The Magazine 06.09.14

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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nelson paviotti

In 1994, Nelson Paviotti made a pact with the football gods: If Brazil ended its 24-year World Cup drought, he’d wear the colors of his home country for the rest of his days. The Seleção triumphed—and, as you can see, Paviotti kept his promise. In fact, not only does the 72-year-old lawyer from Campinas dress in yellow, green and blue (even for court), he painted his home and his two VW Beetles those colors. He also claims that 90 percent of his diet is made up of foods that match Brazil’s flag. Sadly, Paviotti has never been to a Cup game, but you can bet he’ll be glued to the screen this summer. And if Brazil wins its sixth, who knows, he might just run through Campinas in nothing but…

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[ cashing in ]

Seven months after they came two wins short of reaching the World Series for the first time since the Reagan administration, the Dodgers are awash in swagger. Magic Johnson & Co. spent $2 billion to buy the team in 2012—then spent $217 million more on players last year. Now, after losing in the NLCS to the Cardinals, their payroll is a history-making $229 million, $30 million more than the Yankees’. Much of it, of course, goes to Clayton Kershaw, who signed a record seven-year, $215 million contract extension in the offseason. But some of it also goes to unproven 27-year-old Cuban infielder Alex Guerrero, whose $28 million deal prompted one GM to refer to the big-spending Dodgers’ way as “shooting ducks with howitzers.” (Guerrero failed to win a starting spot…

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[ game changer ]

We got robbed,” Doc Rivers said after Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals, when the officials awarded the Thunder a critical possession, then called Chris Paul for fouling Russell Westbrook on a 3-point shot, helping the Clippers blow a seven-point lead with less than a minute to play. He could have been speaking for any of us whose teams feel the pain of controversial calls this time of year. NBA referees typically play a significantly larger role in the playoffs than in the regular season; clubs are more evenly matched, scoring drops and fouls increase. But this postseason in particular has seen an inordinate number of high-impact calls: Through May 14, refs had whistled shooting fouls on 3-point attempts a whopping 85 percent more this year than last, according to…

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Just as the World Cup galvanizes nations, sports unify Brazil—it’s actually been a constitutional right to play since 1988. Working in Rio de Janeiro for the artistic collective Riverboom, photographers Gabriele Galimberti and Edoardo Delille set out to capture the democracy and ubiquity of play areas in the city with a brand-new drone and some good old-fashioned legwork. “From the beach to the favelas, these places are everywhere,” Galimberti says. “Shooting from above was a good way to show their environments, but it was also a way to level the differences between people.” So while one of them flew the drone, the other would give directions and organize the subjects. This particular photo is of a group of young soccer players on a field at the top of Morro da…

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WHO Stipe Miocic WHAT The double life of a UFC heavyweight, who moonlights as a firefighter/paramedic WHEN April 30, 9:10 p.m. ET, and May 1, 11:34 a.m. ET WHERE The Valley View Fire Department in Valley View, Ohio, and the Strong Style Mixed Martial Arts and Fitness Center in Independence, Ohio Step into UFC heavyweight Stipe Miocic’s office. Not the Octagon, his other office—the Valley View Fire Department. In addition to being an elite heavyweight (11–1–0), Croatian-American Miocic has been a part-time firefighter for the past seven years. So does he have an insatiable attraction to danger? Nah. “My whole life I’ve liked helping people,” he says. “I figured I’d be a fireman. The job helps me stay calm against pressure.” Miocic will face his next nonfire threat when he takes on Fabio Maldonado on May 31. —BRETT…

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This is what unity through sports looks like. An estimated 2,000 soccer fans—representing six of Ukraine’s Premier League teams—stood together on this bridge in Kiev on May 18, burning flares to show their support for a single Ukraine. Just two weeks earlier, in Odessa, fans of the home team Chornomorets walked alongside fans of the visiting Metalist, toward the city’s stadium in a march for unification. They were attacked by pro-Russian activists, leaving numerous dead and dozens wounded. Thankfully, there was no violence on the Kiev bridge this night, a temporary reprieve for a political crisis that knows no end. —ANNA KATHERINE CLEMMONS 16 Number of teams currently in Ukraine’s Premier League. 2 Number of clubs (Tavriya Simferopol and FC Sevastopol) from the UPL that may move to play in Russia. 5 Consecutive UPL…