Jimmy Rollins

Producer: Chapman Downes

At 5’7”, Jimmy Rollins of the Philadelphia Phillies may be one of the most unassuming stars in Major League Baseball. Called “J-Roll” by teammates, he’s a three-time National League All-Star, former league MVP and one of the best defensive shortstops of his generation. And since the Bay Area native’s arrival in the big leagues in 2001, the Phillies have gone from mediocrity to being one of baseball’s top franchises. Rollins boldly stated that Philadelphia would conquer its division in 2007, and has since led them to four straight division titles, two N.L. pennants and a World Series crown. Now, after all these accomplishments, the 32-year-old faces the greatest challenge of his career: proving he’s still an elite player after two injury-plagued seasons. In this real Sports/Sports Illustrated collaboration, correspondent Mary Carillo goes one-on-one with the Phillies’ undisputed leader and talks to his mother and wife, who helped him get where he is today.

Broken Pros

Producers: Nick Dolin

When an athlete’s playing days are over, the paychecks may stop, but the ailments accrued over the years never cease. After seeing a Real Sports story about former pro football players who struggled with formidable mental and physical challenges after their careers ended, Dr. William Focazio of Clifton, NJ, started the innovative program P.A.S.T. or Pain Alternatives, Solutions & Treatments, assembling a staff of top medical specialists from across North Jersey to treat former players on a pro-bono basis. In his first assignment since rejoining Real Sports, correspondent Armen Keteyian meets with Dr. Focazio, his team of doctors and the former players he is helping, and shows what progress is being made in their care.


Producer: Maggie Burbank

Competitive cheerleading is a grueling physical sport, testing the limits of even the most dedicated athletes. So imagine pre-pubescent girls, ages five to eight, tumbling, dancing, stunting and flying through the air on the national stage in true competitive fashion. Just like the big girls, they don lipstick, glitter and miniskirts, too. Leading up to the United States finals, Real Sports correspondent Andrea Kremer explores the lesser-known world of mini-cheerleading.

A Story of Triumph

Producers: Zehra Mamdani/Beein Gim

Marlon Shirley is no stranger to adversity. Born to a prostitute and her pimp, he was placed in foster care at age five and subsequently lost his left foot in a lawn-mower accident. After years in the foster care system, Shirley finally found a family in Utah who helped him work through his traumas and opened the door to a world of opportunity. He beat the odds and went on to win two Paralympic gold medals in the 100-meter competition. Real Sports first told his remarkable story in 2007. Now, correspondent Frank Deford reconnects with the San Diego resident, who overcame a life-threatening illness just weeks before competing in the 2008 Beijing Paralympic games.

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