Four decades ago, Rick Telander penned Heaven is a Playground , about his experiences frequenting New York City pickup basketball games. Now, Telander returns to the borough that produced so many schoolyard legends and witnesses its change now that Brooklyn has an NBA team of its own.
2 of 8Kyle Terada/US Presswire; Charles Rex Arbogast/AP; Andrew Hancock, Chuck Solomon/SI
It's a small-market party in this year's playoffs, and several of the most important players hail from outside of the United States. Whether it's Cubans Yoenis Cespedes and Aroldis Chapman or the Taiwanese Wei-Yin Chen, Albert Chen writes that the world market is becoming an important place to help build a World Series contender.
3 of 8Walter Iooss Jr./SI
USC's 2005 squad was hailed as the greatest college offense of the generation. The 11 starters were destined for greatness. So why now is the Heisman-winning quarterback a career backup, the (former) Heisman-winning running back underwhelming, and the receivers virtually non-existent in the NFL? Austin Murphy sifts through the legacy of the 2005 USC Trojans.
4 of 8Greg Nelson/SI
Phillip Rivers is always near the top of the stat sheet, but never deep in the playoffs. What is keeping this quarterback so far away from a Super Bowl title? Jim Trotter explores the curious case of the prolific quarterback.
5 of 8AP; Robert Beck, Bill Frakes/SI
SI asked its Twitter followers whether they thought Terry Francona could bring the Indians immediate success in the AL Central. Flip over to The Mail to read about that and whether readers think Mike Trout or Miguel Cabrera should be the AL MVP.
6 of 8Al Tielemans/SI
Is he elite? It's the question that constantly hounds Joe Flacco, and last week Dan Patrick sat down with the Ravens' QB for the magazine staple Just My Type . Patrick talks Orioles, autographs and the notion of being elite in the popular insert.
7 of 8Andrew Hancock/SI
It's unclear how well Frank Solich was treated at Nebraska since he was merely Tom Osborne's successor. People forgot about him when he left Lincoln. Now, Solich is in Athens, Ohio, and he may be turning Ohio -- no, not Ohio State -- into the next Boise State.
8 of 8Damian Strohmeyer/SI
Check in on this week's Point After, authored by the A's Brandon McCarthy. McCarthy suffered a skull fracture after being struck by a line drive. Though he is unable to pitch for the A's in the playoffs, McCarthy discusses the stunning transition from baseball player to brain surgery and back to normal life (with one brand new scar).
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