USC’s Dying Linebackers

In 1989, USC had a depth chart of a dozen linebackers. Five have died, each before age 50. Football was inextricably tied to their mortality. These are their stories.

Published: Oct 7, 2020
Length: 24 minutes (6,000 words)

Love and Lhotse

James Morrison and Hilaree Nelson were brought together by death and loss but united in love — for each other, for self challenge, and for the mountains — in their attempt to become the first adventurers to summit Lhotse and ski down.

Published: Feb 6, 2020
Length: 20 minutes (5,207 words)

Inside the Toxic Culture of the Nike Oregon Project ‘Cult’

Mary Cain was a promising distance running star when she began training under the revered Nike Oregon Project long-distance team. But Mary says that the team’s coach, Alberto Salazar, often publicly berated her for her weight, causing her to develop disordered eating and spiral into self-harm. Several former Nike Oregon Project members have come forward to validate Cain’s allegations of abuse.

Published: Nov 13, 2019
Length: 15 minutes (3,772 words)

Sidney Wants to Be Someone Else

At age 25, Sidney Gilstrap-Portley had enough of his current situation in Dallas, so he became Rashun Richardson, a homeless teenager who escaped Hurricane Harvey. But Gilstrap-Portley’s gift—he was an athletic slasher and scorer on the basketball court—ultimately doomed the facade he tried to build as Richardson.

Published: Jan 23, 2019
Length: 23 minutes (5,990 words)

Athlete gets cancer. Athlete fights cancer. Repeat, again and again…

“I have learned that the human mind and body are truly resilient.” This is the story of American professional middle-distance runner Gabriele Grunewald, who has battled a rare cancer again and again and again.

Author: Tim Layden
Published: Jul 10, 2017
Length: 22 minutes (5,552 words)

Dalvin Cook and the Stories Behind the Red Flags

Dalvin Cook, a 21-year old running back from Florida State, should juke and stiff-arm his way into the promised land these next four days, joining the likes of Devonta Freeman, Chris Thompson, and Greg Jones (among other Seminoles) to be selected in the NFAL draft. So why are so many people trying to sabotage Cook’s dream?

Published: Apr 25, 2017
Length: 16 minutes (4,019 words)

The Joker: Nikola Jokic Gets Serious In Denver

Nikola Jokic has been in the NBA for just two seasons, but the Serbian center, who plays for the Denver Nuggets, has in that short time managed to completely revolutionize how the position (perhaps) should be played. Though Jokic stands 6-foot-10, he plays with a flash and style that seem suited for someone much smaller, and Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins perfectly illustrates the illusion that Jokic represents—at a time when the NBA is skewing towards hybrids that can stretch the floor while still crashing the glass, Jokic is perfectly comfortable skewering opposing defenses with his deft touch, smoothly disjointed post moves, and absurdly beautiful no look passes.

Published: Feb 8, 2017
Length: 11 minutes (2,872 words)

The Rehabilitation of Michael Phelps

The best may still be ahead of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps.

Author: Tim Layden
Published: Nov 10, 2015
Length: 26 minutes (6,728 words)

How Two Lives Become Intertwined

The story of a woman who fell from Oakland Coliseum, and the man who saved her life.

Published: Feb 10, 2015
Length: 17 minutes (4,250 words)

Football in Ferguson

Despite the turmoil tearing apart their small Missouri town, the boys of the McCluer High School football team still have their first game of the season Friday. Sports Illustrated‘s Robert Klemko follows the team and their coach, as they try to make sense of the madness around them as well as their “city’s conflicted past, its tumultuous present and its uncertain future, and what it all means for the people of Ferguson.”

Published: Aug 19, 2014
Length: 11 minutes (2,992 words)