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2018-05-22T13:49:53.370Z
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{"feed":"The-Players-Tribune","feedTitle":"The Players Tribune","feedLink":"/feed/The-Players-Tribune","catTitle":"Sports","catLink":"/cat/sports"}


I was standing on the court after a game … Tara happened to still be there. She walked out of their locker room and she came and stood beside me. And she said, “Jennifer, I want you to look around. I want you to see this place sold out, full of fans, and I want you to picture us winning the national championship by your senior year. Can you do that?”



On June 18, 2010, exactly a week before heading to the NHL draft, I was supposed to go to the movies. My friend Nick had texted me that morning. He was going to pick me up that night to head to the theater with a few friends.

I texted him back right away. I was in.

Most of my hockey memories from growing up in Las Vegas involve Nick. He was a year older than me, but we always played on the same team. He was trouble. If there was a vase in a house, he was going to break it. If we were getting bag-skated after practice, he was probably the reason. And I don’t know exactly how to phrase this, but you usually wanted to be part of that trouble, you know? Even if it meant a bag-skate. Nick had a magnetic personality. If you knew him, you felt like his best friend.

Our hockey careers took different paths as we got older. Nick had played in juniors with the Billings Bulls that season. I was busy getting ready for the draft — I was fully committed to being in the best shape possible before being selected. So when my trainer texted me that afternoon and rescheduled a workout for early the next morning, I had to text Nick.

I told him I couldn’t...



Joey Lane is back. Last weekend the junior guard took fans behind the scenes at Ohio State on Selection Sunday. Now, in Boise for the Buckeyes’ first-round game against South Dakota State on Thursday, he’s documenting OSU’s preparations for its first NCAA tournament appearance in three years. 

 

 



Seemingly every year there is one team that makes waves in the NCAA tournament. This year, Lipscomb University, a small Christian college in Nashville, made headlines when it punched its first ticket to the Big Dance. The No. 15 seed will take on reigning national champion North Carolina in the first round on Friday. What do you need to know about this underdog before it enters the national spotlight? Get the inside scoop from the Bisons themselves.



If you want to call it coming out, that was sort of accidental in a way. I just thought everyone knew. I never really hid anything, but I never said anything. And that’s one of the things, I think, when you keep this wonderful part of yourself bottled up, you don’t get to have that experience of, “Here’s my wife, here’s my child.” You don’t get those experiences — and those are the experiences that make us. Those are the connections that make us as people. 

 



The Tennessee men’s basketball team was predicted to finish 13th in the SEC this season. Instead, they have defied the odds and become one of the best teams in the country. On Thursday, the Volunteers begin their NCAA tournament fight and have some advice for anybody who may still be foolish enough to doubt them.



Ever wonder what it’s like to be an athlete at the Olympics? How’s the food? What are the rooms like in the Olympic Village? How exactly do you stay focused with so much other stuff going on? U.S. snowboarder Jamie Anderson used her smartphone to go behind the scenes of the PyeongChang Games in an attempt to answer some of those questions. The two-time Olympian also gave her impressions of the opening ceremony and the venues, took a field trip beyond the athletes’ village, and shared her reaction to winning silver and gold medals. The result is a one-of-a-kind glimpse into the life of an Olympic champion — and a 27-year-old tourist with an eye for detail.

 



What’s up, y’all? This is Joey Lane. Number 14 from The Ohio State men’s basketball team, co-founder of Towel Gang. If you don’t know me, I’m that kid at the end of the bench with a towel around his neck. But anyways, today is Selection Sunday, and my job is to give you guys an inside look at one of the best stories, from one of the best teams in college basketball.

 



Going into this past season, I pretty much knew.

I mean, I had to know, right? With everything I’ve experienced so far in my career, I probably understand the “business” of football as well as anyone. And trading up to take a quarterback in the draft isn’t exactly a subtle move as to the future of a franchise. It was pretty obvious what that meant for me.

But I still had a job to do.

So I put the blinders on and locked in, because I couldn’t let whatever might happen to me distract from the team’s goal of winning the Super Bowl.

After that, I don’t think I thought about my future again until after the playoff loss to the Titans. I woke up that next morning disappointed that our season was over and that we fell short of our ultimate goal. But I also woke up with the uncertainty about what the future might hold for my family and me.

Back in 2013, when the 49ers traded me to the Chiefs, I had no idea what to expect. Growing up in San Diego, playing college ball at Utah and then going back to California to play for the Niners, I had...



You ever been punched square in the face?

Not pushed, or shoved up high … punched in the face.

Because that’s the closest comparison I can make to what the Edmonton-Calgary rivalry has been like over the years. That’s the image that comes to mind when I think about it.

The Battle of Alberta is like a punch that lands right on your jaw — you may or may not have seen it coming, but you better believe you’re going to be feeling it in the morning. And the next day. And the day after that.

When I was getting my feet wet in the league with Edmonton during the early ’80s, the rivalry was just starting to really heat up. From pretty much 1981 on up through 1991, the Oilers and the Flames were the best of the best in our conference, and those matchups were some of the most intense, brutal and hard-fought that I’ve ever been a part of.

Everyone remembers the offensive firepower on those teams — Gretz and Jari and Messier … Glenn Anderson and Paul Coffey … Joe Nieuwendyk and Al MacInnis and Joey Mullen … and on and on — but what stands out for me more than anything else is how hard and mean the games were.

Every time we played Calgary … it would be mean and vicious.

Meaningless preseason game?

Mean.

Random Saturday night matchup in March?

Mean and fun.

If...



March Madness descended on New York City last week, with both the ACC and the Big East holding their men’s basketball tournaments at Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden, respectively. Photographers from The Players’ Tribune were on the scene at both arenas, capturing everything from Providence’s wild upset of Xavier in the Big East semifinals on Friday night, to Virginia cutting down the nets Saturday night in Brooklyn.



Olympic bronze medalists Alex and Maia Shibutani are more than just ice dancing partners — they are also brother and sister. The two recently sat down with The Players’ Tribune to play “the Shibling Game,” a challenge that not only showed how well they know one another, but which also led to some embarrassing revelations.

 

 



Basketball is my first love, but it’s not my only one. From the small town in Iowa where I grew up, to Chapel Hill for college, to the Bay Area and now to Dallas, I’ve been lucky in my life to get to meet a wide variety of people, each with their own beliefs, dreams, habits, and outlooks on the world. Interacting with different people with different stories sparked my curiosity about what makes people not only good at what they do, but good, period. I am drawn to leaders who set out to make positive change in their communities.

In that spirit, I’m doing a series of interviews this season with people who I admire from afar. I want to get to know them better and share our conversations here.

My latest interview is with someone who needs little introduction — Emmitt Smith. Emmitt was one of the first people I met when I moved to Dallas.

Harrison Barnes

Emmitt, thanks for taking the time. Let’s start out with one of my favorite things to ask. What is something that you believed in your 20s that you still believe in today?

Emmitt Smith

That’s a great question. One thing that I definitely believed in my 20s...



The Olympics are supposed to be the pinnacle of sport, a place where the world’s best gather every four years to showcase their abilities. It’s a dream most athletes hold close and work tirelessly towards. Last month, during the women’s 2018 Olympic slopestyle final in PyeongChang, I saw another side of the Games. The conditions were dangerous and unfair. The surging winds made it the single worst event of my career. And yet the officials did not intervene, or even confer with the athletes. It robbed 26 women of the chance to showcase their sport to the world and put them at risk of injury. How did this happen and why?

For the past 14 years, I’ve competed in nearly every major slopestyle snowboard event across the planet. X Games, U.S. Open, Dew Tours, World Cups, Grand Prixs, and Vans Triple Crowns—you name it, I’ve done it. I’ve seen my sport grow and evolve so much in those 14 years, most notably the inclusion of my discipline into the Winter Olympics.

It robbed 26 women of the chance to showcase their sport to the world and put them at risk of injury.

Attending my first Games in Sochi was a dream come true. As an athlete, getting to represent...



I remember the exact moment when I realized NBA legends weren’t SHIT.

My man Sam Cassell took me out the night before my very first NBA game. We were playing the Bucks down in Houston and he knew I was about to take his ass to the cleaners. But Sam is from Baltimore, and I’m from D.C., so this dude was trying to Jedi mind-trick me into thinking he’s doing me a favor keeping me out until six in the morning, giving me all this brotherly advice. We weren’t even partying, man! That was all part of his scam. We were out at some club, drinking ice tea or whatever, and he’s telling me all about what I gotta do to survive in the NBA.

After a while, I’m like, “Bro, I think maybe I need to go.”

He hits me with the, “Nah, what you need to do is sit there and listen to me tell you how to deal with these groupies.”

This motherf****r has me hypnotized. Then around 5 a.m., the whole vibe changes. Now he’s telling me how he’s gonna whip my ass the next night. I’m like,



Dreams are funny things, aren’t they?Why do we dream what we dream?

For instance, you could say this past year has been a dream come true for me. Winning the Euros at home in Holland and becoming the player of the tournament. Signing for Barcelona, my favorite club. Sharing a plane with Lionel Messi.

Being named the best player in the world.

Sometimes it’s hard to even comprehend it all.

But I have to confess something. As a little girl, I never really dreamed about any of this. I never thought about winning the Euros. I didn’t even see myself playing for Holland.

And it wasn’t because I didn’t want to dream it. I just couldn’t.

Let me explain. I grew up in a tiny village called Bergen, on the border of Germany, with just a few thousand people. Back then, women’s football in Holland wasn’t as big as it is now. Today, little girls can see the path that leads to the top. They have female role models. They can dream about playing for Ajax, Barcelona, Manchester City… big clubs.

But I couldn’t. All I knew was that I wanted to play football, all the time. I didn’t have any female heroes. I couldn’t look up to someone who was doing...



On November 5th, right after halftime against the Hawks, I had a panic attack.

It came out of nowhere. I’d never had one before. I didn’t even know if they were real. But it was real — as real as a broken hand or a sprained ankle. Since that day, almost everything about the way I think about my mental health has changed.

   “I did one seemingly little thing that turned out to be a big thing.” Kevin Love discusses his decision to seek help after suffering from a panic attack. (0:54) progressbar

I’ve never been comfortable sharing much about myself. I turned 29 in September and for pretty much 29 years of my life I have been protective about anything and everything in my inner life. I was comfortable talking about basketball — but that came natural. It was much harder to share personal stuff, and looking back now I know I could have really benefited from having someone to talk to over the years. But I didn’t share — not to my family, not to my best friends, not in public. Today, I’ve realized I need to change...



So some of you guys might not know, or have heard, we brought the Lombardi Trophy back to the city of Philadelphia. I, you know, remember some of it. Some of it’s a little blurry. But there’s always going to be those memories that you would never forget — like never. 



Reigning WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder successfully defended his title against Luis Ortiz with a 10th-round knockout at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on March 3. While the undefeated Wilder was getting ready for his 40th fight, The Players’ Tribune got a behind-the-scenes look at the boxer known as The Bronze Bomber.



Prima di cominciare questa storia devo chiedere perdono a Dio. Per Dio, intendo “D10S”…Diego Armando Maradona. E voglio chiedere perdono anche a mio padre.

Gli chiedo perdono perché quando avevo otto anni ho commesso un peccato: forse per la maggior parte della gente non lo sarebbe ma se cresci a Napoli, soprattutto negli anni in cui io ero bambino, lo è eccome. Avevo appena iniziato a giocare nella scuola calcio della mia zona e desideravo tanto delle vere scarpe da calcio: non le avevo, perché in realtà non sarei neanche dovuto essere un membro di quella scuola. Ero troppo giovane, e sicuramente troppo piccolo di statura.

Ero “bassino”, come diranno tanti.

A me però non importava. Io volevo giocare a calcio a tutti i costi e così un giorno sono andato alla scuola calcio, dove mio fratello maggiore doveva sostenere un provino insieme ad altri ragazzi del quartiere. Sarei dovuto rimanere solo a guardarli ma i miei piani erano diversi: mi sono spinto in campo, mi sono buttato sul terreno di gioco e ho pianto finché non mi hanno lasciato giocare. E finalmente uno degli allenatori ha detto: “Ok,...