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In the vast content wilderness that is Medium, nobody pulls off an arbitrary ranking quite like the fine folks at LEVEL. From the Rocky movies to nacho toppings to the most annoying LinkedIn offenders—if you can think of it, they can rank it.

Given that we’re all stuck inside (at least a little longer), staff writer Tirhakah Love has the perfect, Godzilla-sized list you never knew you needed: the official NBA hair power rankings.

The NBA is, in my mind, the best drama on TV right now. So why not add a new wrinkle to our team-by-team comparisons? As an…


The ‘debate’ over trans student-athletes relies on ancient — and false — ideas about women’s weakness

Photo: David Waldorf/Getty Images

In the early 2000s, I used to debate feminism with straight men. It’s a losing game, and I don’t advise you to try it, but I was in college, so chalk it up to youthful experimentation. The men I spoke to did not have the most advanced grasp on the matter, and tended to stall out at the “women aren’t worse than men” portion. By saying women were equal to men, they’d ask, wasn’t I really saying women were the same as men? Weren’t there some things men were just better at? I’d ask what they meant, and they’d sputter…


Column

As it bumbles its way toward what looks like an even shorter season than it planned, MLB itself is leading the league in errors

Michael Hermosillo of the Los Angeles Angels catches a fly ball in an empty stadium. Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

I think Major League Baseball saw all this coming; they just didn’t give a shit. Baseball returned last week to empty stadiums all across the country, and even before the first pitch was thrown, MLB had fucked everything up. Nationals superstar Juan Soto tested positive for the coronavirus (he has yet to purge it from his system and has reportedly been very testy about the inconvenience). But MLB let the Nats, who had practiced with Soto, play that same night anyway. And I watched it, because I’m a terrible person.

That was mere prelude. Yesterday, it turned out that at…


The Way We Work Now

Even before the pandemic, it was hard to make ends meet as a massage therapist for college athletes

Photo: aldomurillo/Getty Images

After seven years as a massage therapist for the Virginia Commonwealth University Rams men’s basketball team, I received what I considered a big promotion. The coaching staff at the university’s men’s tennis team offered me a temporary contract for five days of massage therapy for their athletes. The call came in early February, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect: I genuinely needed extra money to pay rent.

My first day with the tennis program went great. The team was friendly and appreciative, and I was excited about the prospect of treating all six players as they continued their…


A chat with pioneering tire-changer about her sport’s Confederate flag ban and broader reckoning with racism

Photo: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Four years ago, Brehanna Daniels was a 5’5” walk-on combo guard at Norfolk State who had her post-graduate sights set on a professional career in Europe. Stock car racing was nowhere on her radar when her team’s play-by-play announcer suggested she meet with a group of recruiters from NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity Pit Crew Development program and try out for a position on “the fastest team in sports.” (The average pit stop lasts about 16 seconds.)

Through hard work and determination, Daniels hasn’t just emerged as one of the few women in the sport but as the first and only…


Column

Nothing says ‘See? Normal!’ like ‘Football Night in America’

Photo: Pool/Getty Images

It’s no secret that I am horny for sports right now. Live sports. Not sports documentaries. Not off-season sports transactions. Not sports reruns. Not WWE matches staged in Vince McMahon’s steroid locker. I want the primo, uncut shit, and I have been willing to stay up well past the onset of clinical depression to get what I need. Thankfully, the brave and noble leaders of North American sports have seen my horniness — and definitely only mine — and feverishly labored to bring back Major League Baseball, the NFL, and even the NBA before the end of the year. …


Column

You can’t sleep on KBO if you’re as horny for sports as I have been

Banners showing faces of fans are placed in the seating area of Happy Dream Ballpark during a baseball game in South Korea.
Banners showing faces of fans are placed in the seating area of Happy Dream Ballpark during a baseball game in South Korea.
Photo: Jong Hyun Kim/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The pregame

Being a sports fan is its own form of voluntary jet lag. I live on the East Coast, so I know all about the NBA, the NFL, and Major League Baseball starting prime-time games too late and deliberately impinging upon my dad hours. On sportsless days, I’m in bed by 9:30 and asleep by 10. It keeps me beautiful. When sports are around, I violate that self-imposed curfew, because, like LeBron James, I will die for sports in general, which is neat, because American team owners are about to ask their players to do just that. …


Column

Now more than ever, I need athletes to go places and do cool things so that I might live vicariously through them

A practice field at the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox spring training facility, Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona, on April 7, 2020. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

There are still no sports on. I’m aware that we’re merely at the beginning of an extended sports blackout and that the lack of televised sports right now is piddly shit compared to five figure body counts, millions of lost jobs, and watching the economy burn to a crisp in real time.

But, holy fuck, if sports don’t come back soon I will take a header off the American Legion Bridge. The NCAA tourney final was supposed to be April 6. Obviously I’m relieved that I don’t have to see Duke win anything for any reason, but the first weekend…


The grueling month-long dog race was more than half complete when the coronavirus began to spread

Dogs from Aliy Zirkle’s team run during the 2020 Iditarod Sled Dog Race. Photo: Lance King/Getty Images

As Aaron Peck’s dogsled cut a path across the icy Alaskan wilderness, an unshakeable melancholy crept into his normally steely focus on the task at hand. The veteran musher was trying to get to Nome. Preferably before the other mushers on the trail. He was engaged in a test of his limits, racing the Iditarod, his sport’s most prominent event. Yet what was normally a thrilling adventure for Peck, who fell in love with sled dog racing as a 13-year-old, was this year beginning to feel, in his own words, downtrodden.

The Iditarod takes complete mental and physical devotion as…


For one Korean American writer, the late athlete bridged generational and cultural divides

Kobe Bryant (center) sits with Lisa Leslie and Magic Johnson during the NBA All-Star Weekend in New York on February 7, 1998. Photo: Tim Clary/Getty Images

This year I will turn 50. When the topic comes up, my mother shakes her head in disbelief. I shake my own head, too. If I’m 50 that makes my brother 54, my dad 82, and my mom 79. Both in the final chapters of their lives.

Today is January 27, 2020. It would normally be an insignificant weekday. I am nearly 2,500 miles away from them, my parents and brother. It is gray and 30 degrees outside, the usual shitty weather that Pittsburgh graces us with every other day. …

GEN

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