THE BEST AMERICAN SPORTS WRITING 2015
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
JOEL ANDERSON. The Two Michael Sams
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
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
BURKHARD BILGER. In Deep
from The New Yorker
WELLS TOWER. Who Wants to Kill an Elephant?
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 SBNation.com, 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, Longfrom.org, The Nieman Storyboard, Longreads.com, 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 SBNation.com 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 SBNation.com 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 SBNation.com. 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: http://www.hmhbooks.com/hmh/bestamerican/sportsbookdetails It generally includes most, but not necessarily all, of the stories submitted to the Guest Editor for consideration.