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ESPN The Magazine

ESPN The Magazine June 2019

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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1 min.
in your face

It happened in the blink of an eye. Seriously, all it took was a matter of seconds and then bam . USWNT cover star Julie Ertz kicked a soccer ball—with full intensity and strength like she was striking it in a game—straight into my camera lens. The powerhouse kick smashed the lens hood of my camera, propelled my body back, gashed the area above my eyebrow and shocked everyone. And, here’s the thing: I asked Ertz to kick the ball on set. I wanted her to bring the energy she has on game day to this photo shoot. I wanted to shoot in burst mode to capture it all, from the moment she started the movement to the ball in the air. It just so happened that the one place…

1 min.
what i learned while speaking french to france’s biggest soccer star

I asked Martinique-born Renard how it felt to have her accent mocked as a teenager. I could relate. I spent my high school years in Paris but never shed my telltale intonation. (I still have nightmares about having to recite to the class in French.) During our interview at the Olympique Lyonnais training center, Renard helped me when I fumbled with a word, like the supportive leader she is. She captains the dynastic OL club, which has seven players on France’s roster, and a Lyon magazine recently named her the city’s most influential woman. As she says, “The little one from the Antilles has come a long way.’’ MORE ON PAGE 74 112 Total number of hours it took to complete all 28 player illustrations from the U.S. 23 and the…

4 min.
the truth

There was magic at Dodger Stadium on April 15, when the league held its annual Jackie Robinson Day celebration. The pregame ceremony was especially powerful, for this year represented the 72nd anniversary of Robinson’s debut and the 100th anniversary of his birth. Jackie’s widow, Rachel Robinson, who turns 97 in July, made the flight to Los Angeles to appear. Sharon and David Robinson, Jackie and Rachel’s two living children, stood by her side. Scholarship students from the Jackie Robinson Foundation lined the first- and third-base lines and gave testimonials on Jackie’s inspiration. Baseball is a different game than it was during Jackie’s time; a cold, unsentimental business has become a celebratory one. But honoring Jackie’s legacy is a far more complicated, murky space. The tributes rolled in nationally, as they do…

4 min.
the numbers

Analytics and foolishness have achieved what collusion could not: the destruction of baseball’s fundamental labor covenant, whereby teams controlled athletes early in their careers and rewarded the best with big contracts once they hit free agency. Organizations now appreciate that it’s usually a bad gamble to bet huge sums on future performance of players over 30. Suddenly, an athlete like Adam Jones can’t land more than a one-year deal for $3 million, no matter the decade of great service he gave to Baltimore. So even as MLB’s annual revenues sail north of $10 billion, total payroll has declined this year. Emboldened by their success in damming up free agency, the owners have pressed their advantage on multiple fronts. Teams persuaded 30 players, including Mike Trout, to sign contract extensions this spring…

2 min.
1 coming up aces

ESPN: How did it feel to go No. 1? JACKIE YOUNG: I was supposed to get a hint the night before, but I didn’t really get it. So I was stressed out the whole day and didn’t know what to expect. When I heard my name get called, it was a relief. I was in shock. It’s definitely an honor. In your career, you’ve always been a prolific scorer. But with so much young scoring talent already on the Aces roster, how are you going to approach being an impactful player? I felt like I did that at Notre Dame. I didn’t really focus on my scoring there. I did whatever I could to help the team win—guarding the best defender, getting rebounds and assists. I’m willing to put others before myself and…

1 min.
2. out of the woods?

DRIVING DISTANCE At 299.6 yards off the tee, Tiger is almost 5 yards longer than he was in his first full season. But don’t be fooled. Courses—and his competitors—are far longer than they were 22 years ago. GREENS IN REGULATION (GIR) Despite dinking it around, his ability to earn himself birdie putts remains unrivaled. How? ’Cause he’s still an artist with a long iron—third on tour in approaches from 200 yards or longer. PUTTS PER GIR One problem with all those birdie putts? Not making ’em! To wit: Tiger, who once jarred everything, is now 208th on tour in putts of 3 feet or less and 204th in three-putt avoidance. Not good! PAR-5 SCORING The inevitable result of all of those stats: Woods, who once ate par 5s for lunch, is barely snacking on them this season…