Al Davis's win-at-all-costs approach didn’t always work, obviously, but it didn’t always fail, either. Even when the Raiders were mediocre, they had a mystique. “I don’t want to be the most respected team in the league,” Davis famously said. “I want to be the most feared.” And so he was.

He loves basketball, really loves Walter McCarty, and really hates refs. But Tommy Heinsohn, Hall of Fame player, Boston Celtics color commentator, mega-homer and New England icon, is much more than the sum of his goofinesses.

Star power aside, Brock Lesnar never quite became what he could've been. Alistair Overeem, who ended Lesnar's career last weekend and added another major accomplishment to his own, could become something that no MMA heavyweight has ever been.

Andrew Luck is ready to be a very good professional quarterback. Andrew Luck was also, for all the brilliance that makes the first statement unassailable, kind of boring to watch in college. The two are not unrelated.

Big time high school football is big business already, and could be even more so even sooner than you think. All of which will make some people rich, some teenagers a lot more famous, and a lot of us uneasy, for some very obvious reasons.

From its start, Ring of Honor was one of the universe's most appealingly outsized and entertaining indie wrestling federations. That makes it all the more disappointing to see standard-issue MMA moves and attitude overtaking the fun stuff.

In January of 2010, Neil Chamberlain left Brooklyn for a three-month tour of Muay Thai boxing camps in Thailand. While abroad he kept an online chronicle of his experiences that was followed voraciously by his family and friends.  Neil returned from Thailand in early April; less than two weeks later he was dead at age twenty-eight, killed by a hit-and-run driver. In light of the brute intensities he’d so recently and lovingly chronicled, the cruel and sudden randomness of his passing was impossible to comprehend. Like many others close to him I’ve re-read this often since his accident, missing my friend, lusting after his sentences, wishing desperately that I could read even one more. It’s a great cliché to describe prose as “alive” and I’d be perfectly content if this is the last time I ever do so, but it’s a privilege to say it now, and to share Neil’s words and travels here. -Jack Hamilton

Gambling has been big business in New Jersey for a long time, and the state is prepared to go to federal court in hopes of opening its first sports book. But the recent history of the Garden State's less-than-legal sports betting scene suggests that the criminals will always understand this game better than anyone else.

West is one of only a handful of professional athletes of note to acknowledge a diagnosis. Gonzo gun play and locker room quarantine are signs of a man in need of psychiatric care; it's a testament to West's value as a ballplayer, an open secret in NBA circles, that he's still around. His personal challenges are a largely private matter, but West will always come across as different. Even when West is medicated and functional, he raises eyebrows.

There is a place where the University of Kentucky's basketball team still rocks the cat-scratch uniforms, high-top fades never went out of style, and Pete Maravich scores 50 in total silence. Thanks to the booming, but still strangely secretive, internet trade in vintage sporting events, that place is your DVD player.