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About This Week's Cover

He's eccentric, unpredictable and immensely talented: Mario Balotelli is a force to be reckoned with, he's just fundamentally misunderstood. The international star graces the cover of Sports Illustrated for the first time as the 23-year old striker begins the new soccer season with A.C. Milan.

This Week in SI

Orange Crush: How did Chris Davis go from struggling power hitter to one of the most feared players in Major League Baseball? Read how the league leader in home runs used centuries-old wisdom, a changed swing and some advanced biomechanics to transform into the player now known as "Crush." By Tom Verducci

The Iron Man: A Division I point guard out of high school, a Division III linebacker by graduation, undrafted by the NFL, London Fletcher is closing in on the defensive Ironman mark. This is how he got from there to here. By Tim Layden

VIDEO: Watch Fletcher talk about his run in the NFL

Super Mario: He's a friend of the Pope, enemy of race-baiters, face of New Europe, class clown and heir to Lionel Messi. For better or worse, Mario Balotelli is the most entertaining player that Italy has to offer. By Grant Wahl

A New Venure: The Celtics' new coach is a lifelong student of the game -- which is fitting since he could pass for a college kid. The former Butler coach has his new sights set, and now the world is watching how he adapts to the professional ranks. By Tim Layden

Words with... Chris Fowler: The host of ESPN's College Game Day (and aficionado of heavy metal) discusses two decades as a Saturday morning staple. With the season nearing, Fowler talks about his long time in the field as well as what the future holds. By Richard Deitsch

DEITSCH: ESPN's Chris Fowler talks about GameDay, his future and more.

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