This week’s batch of reads is heavy on sports and I did a little thinking to figure out why. First, I have always been partial to a good sports article. The best authors manage to weave enough psychology and human story into the sports to make their pieces worth reading even if you know nothing about sports. But secondly, I think I’m gravitating toward sports right now because everything else seems to be about politics. And while I like to be well-informed about events, sometimes I’d like a break. Even if you’re not a sports fan, I encourage you to peruse a few of these articles that I handpicked for you.
What is the “Esquire Man” Now?: I don’t really read Esquire, but it’s interesting to see how publications change to fit the times.
How Jokes Won the Election: This story asks “How do fight an enemy who’s just kidding?” As little as I like to talk about the election or current state of politics, it certainly does provide plenty of fodder for analysis.
The Man Who Cleans Up After Plane Crashes: This profile is morbid and at times almost grisly, but a good look into the mundane elements of tragedy–like picking up all the pieces.
I Created the Milo Trolling Playbook: As someone who despises the Milo playbook, I find this a depressing read. But as a marketer, I can’t help but respect the undeniable success of the despicable playbook.
Dropped: This is a story about the man who is probably the best juggler alive right now and possibly the best juggler of all time. With no fanfare, he quit juggling to open a construction business. Why?
How the Haters Made Trump: I’ve seen lots of pieces about the psychology of Donald Trump and this is one of the better ones. It’s quite long and unapologetically crude in places (lots of strong language), but very insightful. I came upon it while looking for information about the 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner–a dinner where both Obama and keynote comedian Seth Myers spent unprecedented amounts of time making jokes about Trump, who was sitting front and center. In light of President Trump’s refusal to attend this year’s WHCD, this article is especially timely.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on La La Land: This article is interesting for 2 reasons. 1. It’s by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who is best known as a basketball player (not a movie critic). [see my last Lyse Links for a great long-form profile of him.] 2. While I loved La La Land, this is actually a very good critique of troublesome issues in the film.
A Racing Mind: I’m not really a NASCAR fan, but this is a good profile of Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is a great racecar driver, but maybe not a great man. (Although that seems to be changing.)
The Misunderstood Genius of Russell Westbrook: Even with the plethora of fascinating characters in the NBA right now, Westbrook stands out. I thoroughly enjoyed this profile of him.
A 15-year-old basketball prodigy: What does life look like for a teenager who is being scouted and courted by big name schools? On a writing note, I especially appreciated how the author managed to convey the unique attitudes and language of a teenage boy without sounding either too close or condescending.
LeBron James: The Second Chapter: After a crazy successful career as a basketball star, LeBron James appears to be gunning for a second career, this time as an entertainment icon.
Basketball at Orr and the Bleeding of a City: In a high school in the middle of violent Chicago, a coach and team struggle with the fear and death around them. This 5-part series is less polished than I often like in long-form journalism, but it’s a good look at the reality of being a student-athlete in the more violent parts of Chicago.
World championship ski competitor see snow for first time: The title of the article calls this athlete the “World’s Worst Skier,” but that seems extraordinarily unfair. He’s just the worst at this world championship. But his story is fascinating.
What was your favorite story? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!