Profiles of Superstars

They looked alike. Two six-year-old boys, roughly the same size and shape, wearing identical “Blue Bombers” uniforms, with sandy blond hair cut in bangs an inch or two above their eyebrows. From the stands, it was hard to tell them apart, even for their parents, as those boys chased a soccer ball around a field at the Dallas Convention Center.

So it was that Margaret Stafford, cheering wildly as her son, Matthew, scored what she thought was his second goal of the game, turned to look at the mom cheering wildly behind her. That’s nice, she thought. She’s really happy for Matthew. But in reality, Marianne Kershaw was cheering for her own son, Clayton, because he, not Matthew, had scored the goal.

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As the 2014 season opens, Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s confidence is at an all-time high. For the first time since 2004, he opens the season with realistic championship hopes. That's huge, of course, and to understand how huge, you have to understand how far he has fallen. Read more > 

LUBBOCK, Texas — Lightning streaks across the West Texas sky, briefly illuminating Texas Tech’s Jones AT&T Stadium. Another bolt lights up the parking lot—it’s almost empty, with just a few pickup trucks dotting the black pavement.

What they’re doing here now, so early in the morning that it still feels more like late last night, is an open question. The sun won’t be up for hours. Neither will the birds.

A pair of lights approach, two eyes glowing in the dark. A white Lexus stops next to a sign that bears coach Kliff Kingsbury’s name, and he steps out of the driver’s side.

It’s 4:51 a.m.

He’s “late.” Read more.

Trent Dilfer bounces between extremes because the only way Dilfer knows to do anything is full speed. He hits golf balls until his hands bleed, studies Tom Brady in the shotgun until he doesn’t know what he’s watching, and when he finds a song he likes, he downloads the band’s entire catalog and listens to it until he gets sick of it...and then moves on to the next big thing.

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As Danica Patrick's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career takes root, the sharp edges of her image have been sanded away. That aura of what'll-she-do-next? that once followed her has dissipated, like smoke wafting from spinning tires. Her clothes have been put on. Her notoriety has worn off. She is finally becoming what she always said she wanted to be all along: just a driver. Read more >

The scorching sun cooks students as they float to and from class on Louisville’s campus. Gorgui Dieng, the basketball team’s 6-11 center, stops at the door to the Swain Student Activities Center. He is explaining his goals in life. He points to his head, where he stores them, where no one can touch them or see them.

As he enters his junior season, the college basketball world is trying to get in there, too, setting plenty of goals for him: Dominate in the paint. Lead Louisville to another Big East championship. Win the NCAA Tournament. Go on to an NBA career.


Photo credit: Cbl62/Wikimedia

Photo credit: Cbl62/Wikimedia

Miguel Cabrera goes from English to Spanish and back again as he steps over 6-foot-8 pitcher Doug Fister’s legs, which go from here to there and back again. “Nice sombrero,” Cabrera says to a Tigers beat writer who always wears a nifty lid. To the people he doesn’t greet physically, he says hello by shooting his eyebrows up and tipping his head. The Tigers superstar talks constantly—on the field, in the dugout and loudest of all with his bat.


Smiles to go before he's done

Robinson Cano can't stop smiling. It's a Monday off for the Yankees, and he is spending it partaking in one of his favorite hobbies: Shoe shopping. He laughs when asked how many pairs he has. "You don't want to know."

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Sackmaster of Soul

The guitar’s name is Denise. It is Da’Quan Bowers’ most prized possession, a 1964 Fender Stratocaster that his father, Dennis, played for most of Da’Quan’s life to provide the family’s income. “Put it like this,” Da’Quan Bowers says, “if I left it with you, I’d rather something happened to you than to it.”

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All show, all go

The star of the Kyle Busch Show is smirking. Always smirking. He struts out on stage during introductions before NASCAR’s All-Star race, every stitch of his driver’s suit oozing confidence. The crowd acknowledges him, with boos, with cheers, with words unrepeatable.

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 Let’s start with a story about the 'stache. Shad Khan’s mustache is two lightning bolts of black cool, shooting right and left out from under his nose like perfectly coiffed noisemakers. It has graced Khan’s face for 40 years, but even his friends who have known him for longer than that still wax poetic about its waxed perfection. If people who have seen it for decades continue to consider it beyond compare, you can imagine what football fans in Jacksonville did when they saw it after Khan’s purchase of the Jacksonville Jaguars was announced near the end of last season. Read more >


Once upon a time, in a far away land called Cameroon on the continent of Africa, there lived a young boy named Ndamukong. He grew and he grew and he grew, He grew until he was 7 feet, 3 inches tall. Then he went off to fight in World War II.

He came home to Cameroon and raised a son, and that son raised a son named Michael. As a young man, Michael Suh decided to leave Cameroon and its Third World struggles. He eventually moved to Portland and met a beautiful woman named Bernadette. Bernadette, too, had traveled a circuitous route to Portland. Michael from Cameroon and Bernadette from Jamaica fell in love and married and had a son. They named him Ndamukong, and he is the subject of our legend. Read more >