Cover image: http://bit.ly/2xtzBkX
ESPN The Magazine’s first ever issue with a professional gamer on its cover, on newsstands Friday, takes a deep dive into the world of Tyler Blevins, the Twitch streamer better known these days as Ninja, who achieved in March what no gamer had ever done before: He broke through to mainstream fame. Now, though, comes the hard part. Ninja understands that it’s just as hard to stay on top, and every day he doesn’t stream for 12 hours can mean loss of revenue and influence. General editor Elaine Teng explores how he maintains that lifestyle, and most of all, whether it’s all worth it, in her cover story “Living the Stream.”
“Sunday in Jacksonville,” by senior writer David Fleming, tells the story of a 24-year-old gamer named David Katz who competed on Aug. 26 in a regional Madden tournament at a pizza parlor in Jacksonville, Florida. He lost his competition, left the restaurant, returned shortly after with two handguns in his backpack, and opened fire, killing two other gamers and wounding 11 before shooting himself. David’s piece is the definitive story of what happened, why it happened, and what it means for the Madden community and esports at large.
The “Good Guide, Well Played,” tells you which esport is for you, whether you’re best suited for League of Legends, DOTA2 or perhaps the ever-popular Fortnite. The Mag also looks inside the Sea Salt Suite in “Party Royale,” about the after-hours, invite-only party where the fighting-games community goes after EVO to unwind, hang out and win a little money.
Also in the special gaming issue is “Fortnite Dancing with the Stars.” The Mag had three jocks name a favorite from Fortnite’s 90-plus dances, then asked Olympic skater and Dancing with the Stars champ Adam Rippon to break down each dance step-by-step.
Also in this issue:
Rhapsody in Blue: Ramona Shelburne’s inside story of Matt Kemp’s journey back to LA, and how his All-Star play got the Dodgers through their terrible start and on the path to another playoff run.
The Nail Files: Many pitchers, including Diamondbacks reliever Archie Bradley, obsess over nail care. They take very detailed care of their digits and even attempt to compensate for injuries with press-on nails. Eddie Matz and Anna Katherine Clemmons write about the gripping tale of just how far pitchers will go to pamper their nails, and preserve their livelihood.
The Greatest Dad on Earth: The Mag’s senior writer Sam Alipour hangs out with Los Angeles Lakers star JaVale McGee while he’s on daddy duty in his new city.
First Loves: An excerpt from the upcoming oral history of how basketball came to be, and what it means to those who love it. By Jackie MacMullan, Rafe Bartholomew and Dan Klores
College Football Headsets: College football coaches’ wackiest stories from using headsets during games, from slamming them into the ground to getting fired over the radio.
Tiny Oral History: What happens when your sister celebrates your touchdown on the field…before the end of the game. By Anna Katherine Clemmons
“How Is This Happening?”: The Oakland A’s had the third-lowest Opening Day payroll in baseball, but this roster full of youngsters, journeymen and has-beens made a surprise summer run and is hanging on the heels of the reigning world champions. Will all that Moneyball magic finally work in October? By Tim Keown
You Cannot Be Serious: A humorous look at what NFL QBs really have underneath those wristbands. By Katy Yeiser
The Walk-In: The two-time All-Star is one of the WNBA’s up-and-coming bigs. But the 6-foot-5 center’s tall-ball style is already Springfield-worthy. By Stacey Pressman
“I Want to Make Her Proud”: Solomon Thomas opens up about his sister’s suicide in a powerful first-person. As told to Molly Knight
Jay Jay Nesheim: 646-547-5839, [email protected] (@JayJayN_ESPN)
Jennifer Cingari Christie: 646-547-5840, [email protected] (@JCingari)