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Why Owning an NBA Team is Like Having a House on the Best Beach in the World

Last year the Milwaukee Bucks were purchased by two hedge-fund billionaires for $550 million. In a piece for Grantland, Bill Simmons tried to nail down what exactly drives the super rich to acquire NBA teams, a purchase that—at least by the numbers—is often a pretty lousy investment. Simmons concluded that for many owners, exclusivity and prestige outweigh straight number crunching: “You can’t […]

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How A Black High School Basketball Coach Transformed A White, Mennonite Town: A Longreads Guest Pick By Chris Mahr

Chris Mahr is the managing editor of Lost Lettermen, a college sports website and athlete database. “Talk to any young sportswriter today and odds are that their introduction to both Sports Illustrated’s long-form journalism and renowned writer Gary Smith are one in the same: ‘Higher Education.’ Smith’s March 2001 masterpiece tells the tale of Perry […]

Posted inBest of 2013, Nonfiction

Longreads Best of 2013: Favorite New Writer Discovery

Above: Thomas “TJ” Webster Jr. *** Ross Andersen is a Senior Editor at Aeon Magazine. He has written extensively about science and philosophy for several publications, including The Atlantic and The Economist. “Flinder Boyd’s piece about an aspirational streetballer and his cross-country trip to New York’s legendary Rucker Park had me from the very first […]

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A Former Basketball Star's New Life in Europe: Our College Pick

Every week, Syracuse University professor Aileen Gallagher helps Longreads highlight the best of college journalism. Here’s this week’s pick: College athletes who don’t go on to play professionally sometimes continue their career in Europe. And that’s usually the last we hear of them. But the University of Pittsburgh’s Jasper Wilson made good use of a […]

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A high school basketball star’s career derailed by drugs and bad decisions. Jonathan Hargett also says he was offered $20,000 to attend West Virginia (a claim university officials deny): Hargett wanted to go to Arizona. The Wildcats won the national title in 1997 and had recently had a string of star guards like Miles Simon, […]

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Now that LeBron James has his first championship ring, his narrative is complete. A brief history: Finally, after several drama-clogged months, LeBron James announced his intentions. He called a public meeting in the Roman Forum, at the very spot from which Marc Antony had addressed his countrymen after the death of Julius Caesar. (Some found […]

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Twenty years later, how Michael, Magic and the NBA’s best players sought to regain U.S. dominance in Olympic basketball: Nathaniel Butler (official NBA photographer): We were sitting on the baseline. Magic is backing a guy down, and the guy on defense is yelling at his bench, “Now! Now!” And on the bench, one guy’s pulling […]

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A writer digs into his grandfather’s past and discovers stories about life as a professional basketball player in the 1940s for the Chicago Stags, part of the BAA (Basketball Association of America), which later merged with another league to become the NBA: Detroit’s coach gave Schadler the score: ‘I have a wife and kids, and […]