The Attentive Eye

By Peter Goldman Introduction to The Attentive Eve May 2002 New York City For our forty-two years together, I have been assuring Helen Dudar that she ought to do a book. For forty-two years, she has assured me that she should not. My argument, reduced to its essence,...

Agee Unfettered

By Will Blythe The New York Times June 15, 2008 On May 16, 1955, James Agee, 45, died of a heart attack in a New York City taxicab while on the way to his doctor’s office. Elegized by the critic Dwight Macdonald as a literary James Dean, he left behind an...

Benching Himself

By Will Blythe The New York Times November 4, 2001 At 59, the novelist John Edgar Wideman has recently given up the game of playground basketball. His new memoir, Hoop Roots, originates in that loss, which is monumental, the terrifying and inevitable fate of every...

Death in Venice

By Steve Oney Los Angeles Magazine May 2005 “The boardwalk squeaks and out come the freaks,” declares Ian McShane, plainly including himself in the assortment of street preachers, panhandlers, and body builders gathered at Venice Beach on this foggy spring morning....

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...

Coming to My Senses

By Charles Bowden GQ October 2004 She stands in the small kitchen of the ancient building by the canal. The stove rides at a right angle to the wall so that she can look out while she cooks in her fourth-floor aerie. She cannot stand to cook if she must stare at a...

The Almighty Bob Baffert

By William Nack GQ May 2003 By the late morning of last year’s Kentucky Derby, after watching War Emblem go through his final stretching exercises at Churchill Downs—his black coat looking sleek as mink as he jogged off the racetrack in the silver light—Robert Anthony...

Dubai’s Dream Team

By William Nack GQ October 2002 It was a moment that joined two worlds, one in which the very old really began to understand the very new. It was 5:40 P.M. on Saturday, May 1, 1999, ten minutes after a horse named Charismatic—yet another male-line descendant of the...

The Stacks Chat: Bill Nack

By Alex Belth Bronx Banter December 15, 2008 Looking for that ideal last-minute holiday gift for the sports fan in your life? Look no further than The Best American Sportswriting of 2008, edited by Bill Nack, who is one of the finest sportswriters we have. Nack is a...

My Ears Are Bent

By John Schulian MSNBC 2001 Not a holiday season arrives that I don’t think of a gray, clammy day long ago on Baltimore’s waterfront and a lost soul who told me about the woman who had given him his only gift in years: a Christmas card. It was just the sort of story I...

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...

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 and...