ESPN The Magazine’s Analytics of the NBA Body Issue #ESPN

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Changing how you view NBA players—from head to toe.

The NBA has brought the metric revolution to the human molecular level, remaking the bodies of its players through analytics. Now, in partnership with TrueHoop, we reveal the depths of this revolution, from Kawhi Leonard’s biometrically engineered rise and the radical rebuild of Steph Curry’s ankles to the science behind big man longevity and the daily medical miracle that is Kobe Bryant. So sit back and appreciate today’s NBA: the synchronous ballet of man, metrics and machine.

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kawhi Leonard

ON THE COVER: In “This Is Your Body on Analytics,” The Mag’s Tom Haberstroh breaks down how the NBA biometrics revolution has created a monster and an MVP candidate in the forward of the future—the San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard.

Issue Highlights and Features:

The Wow Factor

A behind-the-scenes inside look at the NFL’s wild, divisive sweepstakes to return to Los Angeles. By Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham

The FBI vs. FIFA

How federal agents and a corrupt official teamed to infiltrate FIFA. This piece explains how the FIFA scandal broke open, told through the lens of Chuck Blazer, the American FIFA executive who ratted out his comrades to the FBI. By Shaun Assael and Brett Forrest 

 The Best Worst Ankles in Sports

Thanks to an unorthodox performance director and a strict training regimen, the injuries that cursed the start of Stephen Curry’s NBA career turned into his greatest blessing. By Pablo S. Torre

The Anti-Logic of the NBA Schedule

The impact of the absurd 82-game slog is felt far and wide. The Mag dives into how the grueling pace of the NBA schedule is destroying players’ bodies, focusing on the science, the ravages of travel and the damage done by lack of quality sleep. By Tom Haberstroh

The Daily Reanimation of Kobe Bryant

It takes a personal pit crew to keep the 37-year-old Los Angeles Lakers star on the court. By Baxter Holmes

 Larry Bird Will Die Young. Just Ask Him

Towering over the rest of the population can be a curse for the NBA’s biggest men. From Moses Malone to Hot Rod Williams to Jerome Kersey and many others, there’s no denying that big men often die young. The Mag digs into the reasons, talking to experts to find out what makes big bodies so difficult to maintain, and to legendary big men Bill Walton and Larry Bird, who live with the problems that come with such height. By Jackie MacMullan

The NBA’s Most Exceptional Body

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo—nicknamed The Greek Freak—has the NBA’s ideal body, so say the metrics. The Mag breaks down his measurements, including his ridiculously long wingspan and enormous hands, showing how each impacts his game. By Kevin Arnovitz

Also in this issue:

  • A Q&A with Chloe Kim, a 15-year-old history-making snowboarder who’s already defeated Kelly Clark, the world’s winningest rider—male or female—twice at the X Games. Fresh off X Games Aspen gold, she talks about her historic accomplishments. By Alyssa Roenigk
  • The NBA body is changing: Tall isn’t what it used to be. This column helps explain why the league now puts a premium on wingspan rather than height. By Peter Keating
  • A feature on Melo Trimble, who has helped Maryland announce its presence among NCAA basketball’s elite, loud and clear. But for a deep March run, the talented point guard has to find his voice. By Hallie Grossman

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