You might already know their names; you might not. But we're telling you now. The faces in this issue are the ones to watch.
Every year since 1998, The Magazine has recognized an elite group of emerging athletes to watch in the year ahead -- athletes we call NEXT.
don't need to crunch the numbers. You don't need some experts
endorsement. You just need to watch Cam Newton one Sunday afternoon.
That's what NEXT does: It slaps you in the face. It makes you feel as if
you've seen something you've never seen before. It leaves you wanting
more. Of course, we could be wrong about the Panthers rookie and our
other NEXT selections—hype is a dangerous game to play.
Expectations can follow you and promises can be struck down by unseen
forces, leaving you reaching for your quest for greatness. NEXT is
elusive that way. It's also revelatory when you try to chase it down.
NBA: Season Preview In
the NBA, coaches need to manage for a marathon, not a sprint, in order
to keep their players healthy and energized—through condensed schedules,
back-to-back travel—if they hope to make it to the playoffs playing at
their best. By Ric Bucher
NFL: The Top One Percent Through
the lens of Matt Ryan’s career, see what it takes to separate a great
quarterback from the very good quarterbacks. Is it nature or nurture,
practice or genius that marks the elite club of Brady, Rodgers, and
Brees? By Seth Wickersham
MLB: Each Day I Get a Little Stronger About Being Weaker Ben
Petrick was drafted by the Rockies as a catcher straight out of high
school, and he spent five years playing in Colorado and Detroit, but he
never became the franchise player he was expected to be. Turns out, he
had been playing with Parkinson’s disease, even popping meds during
games. This is the story of an athlete who was once NEXT and what’s next
for him now as he faces life with disability and disease. By Steve Wulf
One in a BillionAt
age 14, the average boy is 5’5”. This feature tells the story of Satnam
Sngh Bhamara, a 7’1” basketball prodigy from a tiny village in Punjab,
India. He learned to play basketball on a makeshift hoop his father
mounted on the farming shed, before training at the Ludhiana Sports
Academy and being “discovered” at age 13. By Mark Winegardner
The $300,000 CrapshootAthletes say they’re born to compete. But racehorses are made. A look at the life and story of Struck It Lucky. By Tim Struby