Shaka Smart is Wreaking Havoc on College Basketball

Shaka Smart's college basketball coach, Bill Brown, is only half-joking when he boasts, "There's not a home in America that Shaka can't get in." Smart's players testify to his ability to effortlessly switch roles between that of coach, father figure, brother and friend. X's and O's? He'll crouch down and perform defensive slides. Music? Wale is up there. Something to eat? He'll be there in 10 minutes. What are you craving?

The NBA's Plan to Go Beyond the Anthem

In more than a dozen interviews...a range of NBA figures...laid out a different vision for how a predominantly black league, with a long tradition of social activism, will be part of the movement. Players are still speaking out, but they are eschewing silent protest in favor of actively engaging with law enforcement, civic leaders, children and their communities—demanding change over symbolism because, as Memphis Grizzlies star Mike Conley Jr. said, “Silence isn't going to change anything.”

‘I Can’t Be Silent’ -- The Running Backs of Baton Rouge Know How to Protest

No one is naive enough to believe a sport can repair this wounded place. Still, Baton Rouge needs a unifier to power hope when emotions get stirred, not unlike when the New Orleans Saints captured the Super Bowl a few years after Katrina, when the Superdome transformed from an evacuation center into a house of joy. “I feel like if we go out and win football games, and win a championship, just imagine how that would pay off for Baton Rouge and the whole community,” said LSU cornerback Tre’Davious White.

Inside the Unbreakable Bond: Patrick Peterson and the Honey Badger

Mathieu had admired Peterson for years. In Mathieu’s eyes, Peterson had conducted himself like a professional long before being drafted into the NFL. The two had played together for a memorable season at LSU in 2010. But that was before Mathieu’s accolades turned him into the Honey Badger, a nickname given to him because of his ability to play tough football against much larger opponents, which mimicked the behavior of the fearless, pugnacious but small animals that go by that name. Little did he realize, however, that the spotlight and distractions that accompanied the moniker would create a significant hurdle in his life.

Hassan Whiteside: From Forgotten to Coveted

He had never played under any structure. Whiteside still never doubted the prophecy he once delivered to an elementary school teacher suggesting that he would play in the NBA. He had a destination with no directions. "What's the Plan B?" Whiteside asked. "I didn't have a Plan B. I didn't." He can talk comfortably and reflectively now as the free-agency target of multiple teams, including Portland and Dallas, that will likely offer him a max deal. Whiteside engaged in one of the most circuitous routes possible to find NBA stability.

Chasing an NBA Dream When Everyone Else Says You’re Not Ready

Malachi Richardson did not know the woman. The woman thought she knew Richardson. Maybe she noticed him along with most of the country when, as just a freshman, he dazzled in the final half of the Elite Eight, catapulting Syracuse to a dizzying comeback win over Virginia and into the Final Four. His mind had wandered elsewhere when he came across her, away from basketball, when she approached him that day midway through his errands with some stern, unsolicited advice.“Don’t ruin your life by entering the NBA this year,” she said.