The Sporting Life

By Nik Cohn Inside Sports February 1981 In Atlantic City, Willie Mays played an elderly game, serving as designated greeter at Bally’s Park Place Hotel. After the fracas of his hiring, when Bowie Kuhn barred him from baseball, he settled into a gentle routine of...

Willie Morris And The Courting of Marcus Dupree

By Allen Barra Inside Sports May 1985 It’s hard to think back on this story now without sadness. You hear so often about some running back who could have been the greatest. Well, Marcus really was the greatest, or at least he could have been. I’ve never seen...

Trouble in Paradise

By Pat Jordan Inside Sports 1980 This is a story about Southern California, and baseball, and sex, and fame, and wealth, and beauty, and the American Dream. It is a story about a famous athlete and his beautiful wife and the life they live in that rarefied atmosphere...

Sympathy For the Devil

By Joe Flaherty Inside Sports January 1981 All lives are failures in some degree or another. Somewhere along the line we fudge the pristine youthful dream. Even when we achieve, the compromises we’ve made, the injuries we’ve inflicted sully the prize. But most of us...

The Snake at 34

By Pete Axthelm Inside Sports September 1980 Yes, I am a pirate, Two hundred years too late. The cannon’s don’t thunder, There’s nothing to plunder… Jimmy Buffett wrote the song, A Pirate Looks at Forty, in honor of a familiar character around the treasure-dreaming...

Pistol Pete’s Last Shot

By David Halberstam Inside Sports April 1980 They are slow this day at the baggage counter at the Seattle airport, and the players—up too early for the flight after a game the night before, anxious to get on with it, to get to the hotel so they can practice and then...

The Relentless Scrimmage of Dean Smith

By Gary Smith Inside Sports March 1982 THE COACH—Why should I win? Why should I feel fine tonight? Why should my friends and the ones who think they’re my friends stand out there pretending to wait for the traffic to thin when they’re really waiting to pump my hand...

Off-Broadway Joe

By Tony Kornheiser Inside Sports July 1981 He came straight from Florida, and in black tie the combination of the tan and the tux glistened in the heat of the night. His eyes were bright, gorgeous green, and the shadings of brown in his hair were caught, then polished...

LeeRoy, He Ain’t Here No More

By Pete Dexter Inside Sports May 31, 1980 The child in the child is somehow faded. She is eight years old but there is nothing in her manner to say she isn’t nineteen, with a house full of screaming babies and a high school sweetheart who doesn’t always come home at...