ESPN The Magazine brings back its “Next” issue, taking a fresh look at the young prodigies who are already taking the sports world by storm. Gracing the cover is UCLA QB Josh Rosen, a top NFL prospect in this year’s draft who wants to be “the winningest QB in NFL history.” Senior writer Sam Alipour sat down with Rosen for an exclusive interview with the would-be franchise QB who goes deep on Tom Brady’s rings, the NCAA and being radioactive.
In “The One Baseball’s Been Waiting For,” Senior writer Tim Keown attempts to find out how two-way phenom Shohei Ohtani will live up to his Ruthian expectations by tracing the Angels standout’s journey back to Japan. Also on the “Next” shortlist: A’ja Wilson, the biggest star in women’s hoops, who is still discovering her powers; “Wonder Boy” Luka Doncic, who is heading to the NBA and is out to change how people think about European imports; and the Hughes brothers, America’s future first family of hockey, who are already breaking records.
Also in “Next”:
Stand for Nothing – At a time when students across the nation have shown the power of protest, the NFL’s player activist movement has withered. The Mag’s Howard Bryant looks at what’s going on.
Deep in the Rough – Former teen phenom Lydia Ko has changed coaches, caddies and clubs—but still can’t find the magic that made her No. 1. By Kevin Van Valkenburg
The King Meets The Process – Screenwriters Bill Lawrence and Justin Halpern imagine a near future when LeBron James joins Joel Embiid and Philly’s cool kids.
ZOOM – ESPN’s Eric Gomez looks at the process for taking grasshoppers from Mexican fields to Seattle Mariners concession stands.
The Second Act of A.J. Hinch – In 2010, the manager was a failed experiment. Now he’s a World Series winner. What changed? Only the entire philosophy of MLB. By Tim Keown
Tiny Oral History: Boo, Eagles, Boo – Eagles fans packed last year’s NFL draft in Philly, and the always-welcoming home crowd spent three days booing when every rival team made a pick—especially when Cowboys great Drew Pearson came onstage for some troll-playing. By Anna Katherine Clemmons