A year ago, when Michigan residents were coping with the crippling effects of the recession, coach Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans rallied the state with an inspiring ride through the NCAA tournament, all the way to the National Championship game at Ford Field in Detroit. It marked the fifth time Iron Mountain, Mich. native had taken his team to the Final Four, which resulted in a national championship title for the school in 2000. Now, as his team prepares for Michigan State's 13th consecutive NCAA tournament appearance, correspondent Jon Frankel travels to East Lansing in this REAL SPORTS/Sports Illustrated report to learn what drives Coach Izzo and why he remains the perfect fit for the Spartans.
For sportswriters today, dealing with competition for stories, deadline pressures and job cutbacks can be overwhelming. But those obstacles seem trivial compared to the hardships and challenges endured by three journalists from Los Angeles, Chicago and New York who decided to begin the process of changing their gender from male to female. How would you explain this to family, friends and co-workers? And how did these writers handle the transition while trying to maintain their jobs in the male-dominated world of sports? In this unique REAL SPORTS report, Bryant Gumbel explores the transgender stories of Mike Penner/Christine Daniels of the Los Angeles Times, Christina Kahrl of Baseball Prospectus and Bobbie Dittmeier of MLB.com, revealing the tragic consequences for one of them.
Being blind since age three never stopped Mike May from achieving at the highest possible level. Defying expectations for more than 40 years, the Davis, Cal. resident was a world record-breaking and gold medal-winning Paralympic skier, CIA employee, entrepreneur, inventor and family man. But none of these accomplishments could have prepared him for his most recent endeavor. On March 7, 2000, May underwent experimental stem cell surgery in an effort to regain his sight. Incredibly, the surgery was successful, making him one of only a handful of people ever to have regained vision after nearly a lifetime of total blindness. In this powerful REAL SPORTS report, correspondent Frank Deford joins Mike May after his life-changing surgery to better understand the trying journey he's undertaken as he deals with the world as he never saw it before.
On the heels of one of the most destructive earthquakes in modern history, REAL SPORTS returns to Haiti to update viewers on the inspiring work of Boby Duval. First profiled by REAL SPORTS in Aug. 2000, Duval is an upper-class Haitian educated in Canada who returned to his homeland to devote much of his time and money to helping those mired in poverty. One of his projects involved transforming an industrial dumping ground into a soccer field where disadvantaged children could come to play the game, receive meals and get a basic education. Now, just two months after the earthquake, correspondent Frank Deford finds that amid the rubble, Duval's will is unshaken and his dream for Haiti's youth lives on.