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What it’s really like to be an NBA player

Dorell Wright drives to the hoop in a game between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Boston Celtics at the Moda Center, January 22, 2015 (Credit: Icon Sportswire/Zuma Press/David Blair)We all wonder what it's like on the inside. What is it like to be a professional athlete? It's why we have an entire cottage industry of reporters and experts who promise to take us behind the curtain to know what it's really like back there. We think we have a pretty good picture of what it's like, but most of us really have no idea of what comprises the life of a modern professional athlete.

Dorell Wright wrote a fascinating "open letter" on the Player's Tribune to his younger brother, Delon recently. Dorell, a former 1st round pick of the Miami Heat in 2004, never really became a star in the NBA. His best season, 2010-2011 for the Golden State Warriors, saw him average about 16 points per game along with 5 rebounds. Those are not astounding numbers, but still, considering how many young NBA players that never materialize, Dorell's 11 year career is something to be proud of.

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Who will pay for coach-ordered referee hit?

Jay High School head football coach Gary Gutierrez, center, and principal Robert Harris, left, are sworn in at a University Interscholastic League (UIL) State Executive Committee, where they reported that they believed that assistant coach Mack Breed told players to retaliate against an official in the closing minutes of a game earlier this month, Round Rock, Texas, September 24, 2015 (Credit: AP Photo/Eric Gay)On September 4, two football players from John Jay High School in the San Antonio, TX, area blindsided a referee during their game, deliberately tackling him from behind late in the fourth quarter. Caught on video and disseminated widely on YouTube, the incident resulted in the boys' suspension from the team and school. While the boys attend the district's alternative school, appeals move forward. The boys claim that an assistant coach directed them to "make the referee pay" for alleged racial slurs and poor calls during the game.

The assistant coach has since admitted to such direction and resigned his position. School and state athletic officials now gather to determine the next steps. Will the coach be punished? Will the school or its football program suffer consequences? Will either player ever be allowed to play football in Texas again?

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Giving birth at a baseball game

Youngest fan ever? Baby boy born at Petco (Credit: San Diego Padres)On Thursday evening, about 7 p.m. local time in San Diego, a baby was born at Petco Park in the 4th inning of the Padres game. Just another day at the ballpark, or so many people thought, until they heard the news that a baby had been born while they had been watching a baseball game. Just another day at the ballpark, to people waking up across the country, seeing headlines instead of MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred meeting with Pete Rose, and former FIFA president Sepp Blatter being investigated for criminal offences. So many profound things go unnoticed in our news-cycle world.

Not only was there a baby born during the game, but the game also featured a rare run-scoring balk, an epic stare-down between pitcher and umpire, and a dramatic walk-off win for the home team.

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NFL fans hope, fear and predict after two games

Dallas Cowboys staff lift injured quarterback Tony Romo (9) during the third quarter of game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, September 20, 2015 (Credit:Icon Sportswire/Zuma Press/Paul Moseley)Now that we are two weeks into the NFL season, it's time for fan bases to forget that there are still fourteen games to play and start offering up definitive answers on the fate of their favorite teams. The NFC East offers us an interesting case study in just how easy it can be to rush to judgment after only a couple of games. For fans of the Cowboys, who have now lost their best receiver and their starting quarterback for a big part of the season, it's natural to ask if they can hold on long enough for the cavalry's return to make a difference. Even the hopeful remnant that still thinks they can hold on to win the division (guilty as charged…) can't help but wonder whether it is logic or insanity driving that belief.

Giants fans have to be wondering if they'd be sitting pretty at 2-0 rather than 0-2 if their franchise player, Jason Pierre-Paul, hadn't blown off a chunk of his hand in a Fourth of July accident. After their defense generated only two sacks through those fateful games, it's easy to think that the man who led the team last season with 12.5 sacks and 16 tackles for a loss could have made a difference. Given the way they lost those games by coughing up the lead in the last minutes, many are likely wondering if their team is simply cursed.

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Peyton Manning and Malcolm Gladwell

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) hands off to Denver Broncos tight end James Casey (80) during the NFL game between the Denver Broncos and the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, September 17, 2015 (Credit: Icon Sportswire/William Purnell)We're hardly two weeks into the NFL season, and people are already declaring Peyton Manning is finished. They point to his lack of accuracy so far, his interceptions, and his arm strength to support the claim that, nearing 40, we are all finally witnessing the end of Peyton Manning's football dominance. The topic has received so much attention that sportswriters are having to write detailed articles, including the latest at Grantland by Bill Barnwell, showing how this judgment might be premature.

Every season players from all sports are routinely written off because of their poor performance in the first few weeks of competition. Ours is a culture that loves making snap, decontextualized decisions. We love to debate and criticize others' performances, but routinely we are wrong. Baseball fans have, with regularity the past few seasons, declared David "Big Papi" Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox done. After a while, though, he starts hitting home runs again and puts all those judgments to rest.

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