Dean Smith

By Will Blythe From To Hate Like This is to Be Happy Forever, 2007 Soon after I returned to Chapel Hill , I had arranged to visit with Dean Smith, the former North Carolina head coach. I dressed up for the occasion, although these days the journalist in me had become...

The Stacks Chat: Alex Wolff

By Alex Belth The Stacks, April 2018 The Library of America’s newest sports anthology, Basketball: Great Writing About America’s Game, is out and deserves a place on the shelf of any self-respecting hoops fan. We recently sat down with the book’s editor, longtime SI...

Amen to Sonny

By Joe Flaherty The Village Voice, January 14, 1971 Will no one say amen? After reading and listening to the New York press, it seems that Charles “Sonny” Liston’s soul will be politely consigned to damnation. Milton Gross of the Post, the Eleanor Roosevelt of the...

The Summer in the City Game

With all due respect to the national pastime, summer is also time for hoops, especially of the pick-up variety. Of course, in the realm of basketball literature there is a whole rich subsection of writing devoted to the street game. We’ve got a couple few gems for...

The Old Man and the Mule

Here is a good story from Second Wind: Memoirs of an Opinonated Man by Bill Russell with the historian Taylor Branch (1979, Random House; currently out-of-print). It’s about Russell’s grandfather and his mule, Kate. Russell’s family was from Monroe, La., and he lived...

Manchild in the Promised Land

By Pete Dexter Inside Sports, April 1980 Early February. Frank Dawkins is sitting in a second-floor office made of cement and insulated against the noise downstairs in the plant. Exactly what is manufactured in the plant is hard to say, but it has something to do with...

The Magic Act

By Charles Pierce GQ, February 1993 At the corner of Washington and Ionia streets, in the city of Lansing, Michigan, there was a grand old movie house called the Gladmer Theater. Growing up on Middle Street, in a small auto-boom frame house, temple of the tiny dreams,...

No Rebound

By Stephen Rodrick The New York Times Magazine, June 1, 2003 Dennis Rodman, one of the greatest basketball players of all time, lounges in a chair on the patio of his oceanfront home in Newport Beach, Calif. After multiple hues and shades, Rodman’s hair is back to its...

Saint in the City

By Bruce Buschel Philly Sport, January, 1989 Waiting for the opening tip-off, in that eternal moment before life begins, he stands motionless, his body achingly still, permitting only his eyes to move, hazel eyes darting about the arena, welcoming and fearing familiar...

What Kobe Bryant Was Capable Of

By Elizabeth Kaye The Los Angeles Times Magazine, October 31, 2004 The year before Kobe’s troubles began, I had told him I thought he would love ballet because it’s as outrageously athletic and graceful and dynamic as he aspires to be. He went to see The Nutcracker...