Four black helmets gleam in a neat row as four young men dig in their cleats and claw at the grass. If there is one sure thing in all of football, it is their talent and potential. Muscles twitch with each motion, forearms bulging, thighs rippling under the black uniform of Hargrave Military Academy.

Read MoreThe Hargrave Four

Brazzaville rolls by the car’s open window, the Congolese capital dense with dust and diesel fumes. Unpaved roads lead past bullet-pocked government buildings, crowded markets and residential compounds walled in corrugated tin, toward a UNICEF facility for street children. Something catches Serge Ibaka’s eye. Read MoreStraight Outta the Congo

The unlit scoreboard casts a shadow as Jack Sula hauls his workout bag across Carson High’s patchy turf. Read MoreThicker than Blood

Ken Jennings owns the podium. He glances sideways at his opponents and cocks his eggish head before writing his answer. Really leaning into it. Driving the pen home like the sword of truth that it is. Read MoreDaily Double Dynasty


Barrel flashes and the crack of AK-47s in the distance told Lance Cpl. Mark Patterson where to return fire: straight into an intersection full of cars. Read MoreUnfortunate Sons

Five hours north of Cabo, Highway One cuts east through the mountains. Two lanes cling to brown slopes and jagged canyons for 30 nerve-racking miles of S curves and hairpin turns. This dangerous drive protects a stretch of empty coastline where Baja California remains true to its desolate, wild-wild west self. Read MorePaddleboarding Baja

Wataru “Wat” Misaka never tried to make history. He just wanted to play basketball—at the same time that his government was keeping 120,000 of his fellow Japanese Americans locked up in concentration camps. Read MoreBasketball’s Japanese Jackie Robinson

The day before the monsoon buried India’s Himalayas in snow, Conrad Anker stood at the rocky edge of Tapovan meadow, reciting the Hindu names of the surrounding mountains. “Mount Shivling,” the lanky American said, pointing to the nearest snowcapped pyramid, “is the abode of Lord Shiva.” Read MoreTo the Center of the Universe

You might expect to find an off-duty NFL quarterback lounging in the VIP section of a club in Vegas or South Beach. But if you’re looking for Ben Roethlisberger, check the dive bars across the river from downtown Pittsburgh. Read MoreBen Roethlisberger is Just an Ordinary Guy

He gave up NFL millions for this? A twin foam mattress without sheets on a bare tile floor? It looks like a dog’s bed, except no dog lives in this cozy plank house. Instead, Colt Brennan, college football’s most complete quarterback, lounges here, waiting out the early August heat in Kahuku, a two-stoplight town in rural Hawaii. Read MoreNo Man is an Island