Foreword by Glenn Stout




Introduction By Guest Editor Wright Thompson




SETH WICKERSHAM.  Awakening the Giant            


            from ESPN The Magazine




CHRIS JONES.   One Thousand Two Hundred and Fifty-Eight Pounds of Sons                                                         


from Esquire




JOEL ANDERSON.  The Two Michael Sams

 from Buzzfeed




JEREMY COLLINS.  Thirteen Ways of Looking at Greg Maddux                                          


from SB Nation




ELIZABETH MERILL.  Being Tommy Morrison’s Son                                                                                   






DAN O’SULLIVAN.  Money in the Bank                                                                   


from Jacobin




RICK BASS.  The Rage of the Squat King                                          


from New Nowhere




CHRIS BALLARD.   Haverford Hoops                                                                      






TOMMY TOMLINSON.  Precious Memories                                                              






DON VAN NATTA.  Jerry Football                                                                                                  






TIM GRAHAM.  Broke and Broken                                                                           


from the Buffalo News




GREG HANLON.  Sins of the Preacher                                                         


from Sports on Earth




FLINDER BOYD.  Run and Gun                                                        






KATIE BAKER.  Those Kansas City Blues : A Family History           


from The Daily Beast




BRIAN PHILLIPS.  The Sea of Crises                                                                                    


from Grantland




BURKHARD BILGER.   In Deep                                                                               


from The New Yorker




WELLS TOWER.  Who Wants to Kill an Elephant?                                        


from GQ




ARIEL LEVY.  Breaking the Waves


from The New Yorker




CHRISTOPHER BEAM.  The Year of the Pigskin                                                       


from The New Republic                       




SCOTT EDEN.  No One Walks Off the Island






DAN WETZEL.  Peyton Manning Leaves Crushing Super Bowl Loss with Reputation Intact                                    





Contributor’s Notes and Notable Sports Writing of 2014 will appear in the book




Series Editor’s Note:


Each year I put about 75 stories forward to the guest editor. These are done so blindly, in WORD files, not identified by either author or source. The Guest Editor is responsible for the final selections, and is always welcome to select stories not put forward by the Series Editor.


When I began working as a consultant to SB Nation just over three years ago, helping to launch their longform page, I immediately asked my editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt if she believed this represented a conflict of interest with my duties as BASW Series Editor. She did not. For one, the selection of stories each year is, as indicated above, the sole responsibility of the Guest Editor. As Series Editor I only suggest, but do not make, a single selection. Furthermore, it is virtually impossible for either a Series or Guest Editor for any of the Best American titles not to have some kind of relationship with some authors of stories under consideration, either as friends, acquaintances, colleagues, or even as editors or publishers.


Nevertheless, in regard to stories from, I adhered to a higher standard. I only put forward those few stories that had been widely cited and praised by multiple notable longer form journalism aggregators, and/or had been cited by a wide variety of end of the year “Best” lists, such as those compiled by Sports On Earth, Sports Illustrated,, The Nieman Storyboard,, USA Today and others. In addition, at the beginning of the process, since 2013 I have informed the Guest Editor of my role with SB Nation and asked if he still wished to consider material from that source, if I considered any worthy. On both occasions, the Guest Editor found that acceptable (Note: No stories from were selected for BASW 2013 – so much for putting in the fix).


This year, at the end of the process, when the Guest Editor made his selections, I informed him that he selected one story from for inclusion. The Guest Editor was offered the opportunity to remove them from consideration. He indicated that he felt their inclusion was merited and felt no need to do so.


In January 2014, I was named Longform Editor of I continue as Series Editor of The Best American Sports Writing. Going forward I plan to continue to follow the procedure outlined above to preserve the high standards and integrity of The Best American Sports Writing.


The Notable Sports Writing of 2015 list will appear in the book and here:   It generally includes most, but not necessarily all, of the stories submitted to the Guest Editor for consideration.


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