Bryant Gumbel conducts an exclusive one-on-one interview with Jimmy Battista, a high school acquaintance of disgraced NBA referee Tim Donaghy. In his first media interview, Battista offers a detailed first-hand account of what took place when he teamed up with Donaghy and launched a betting strategy that would rock the NBA and end in prison terms for Battista, Donaghy and third associate Tommy Martino. At a dinner meeting in Philadelphia in Dec. 2006, the night before Donaghy was scheduled to work a 76ers home game against the Celtics, the three hatched a scheme in which Donaghy would provide inside information to Battista, a professional gambler. The trio kept their secret and cashed in their winnings for four months, until the plan unraveled amid a law enforcement inquiry.
After suffering a catastrophic neck injury during a high school football game in 2001, Schertz, Tex. resident Chris Canales faced the challenge of living paralyzed from the neck down. His first year of recovery was especially difficult. In Dec. 2002, when his depression was at its worst, Chris' father, Eddie Canales, made an unorthodox attempt to cheer his son up that would forever change their lives: He took Chris to a football game. During the contest they saw a player suffer a catastrophic neck injury similar to Chris' and, without flinching, went straight to the hospital to offer counsel and support to the player and his family. Father and son quickly saw the value of the unique assistance they could provide and created the nonprofit organization Gridiron Heroes to raise money and lend support to paralyzed high school football players and their families. In a Real Sports/Sports Illustrated profile, correspondent Jon Frankel looks at this amazing organization and the inspirational leaders behind it.
Completing an Ironman Triathlon takes athleticism, strength, conditioning and willpower, attributes New York City firefighter and triathlete Matthew Long has always had in abundance. But to cross the finish line at the 2009 Lake Placid Ironman this summer, Long needed even more - he needed a miracle. In Dec. 2005, the Brooklyn native was riding to work during a transit strike when he was run over by a bus and impaled on his own bicycle. After months in the hospital, 40 operations and years of physical therapy, Long has willed his way back to endurance competition. As correspondent Mary Carillo discovers, nothing can keep this 43-year-old down.
It's no secret that alcohol consumption and football often go hand-in-hand - having a few beers at a tailgate party or during the game is a tradition for many fans. In recent years, however, a series of highly publicized alcohol-related incidents suggests that drinking has gone too far at NFL stadiums. In response, the NFL has aggressively stepped up its efforts to curb dangerous and disruptive fan behavior with a host of new initiatives, including increased security, alcohol reduction rules and even a text messaging program that allows fans to report unruly behavior. Having first examined the issue in Jan. 2008, Bryant Gumbel takes another look at alcohol consumption at NFL games and explores the attempts to limit the negative conduct associated with it.