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Are you ready for some #football? Barack #Obama is. Here’s Mr. #President, demonstrating perfect form at Soldier Field. Photograph by Pete Souza.

Are you ready for some #football? Barack #Obama is. Here’s Mr. #President, demonstrating perfect form at Soldier Field. Photograph by Pete Souza.

Finally, the wait is over: HBO’s Hard Knocks is back, this time with an all-access pass to Miami Dolphins training camp. Last year, the Emmy winner was on hiatus (due to the lingering NFL lockout), so our most recent memories consist of New York Jets coach Rex Ryan’s profanity-laced speeches and Antonio Cromartie’s failed attempt to correctly name all of his nine children. This offseason, the Dolphins underwent a coaching overhaul, hiring Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin as their new head coach (as well as bringing in new offensive and defensive coordinators). So, as the tides begin to change in Miami, here are the three players and storylines certain to grab our attention this summer.
Chad Johnson, WRComing off a season with the Patriots that seemed more like a disappearing act, Johnson — yes, it’s back to Johnson — has already declared 2012 will be a “monster year.” At 34, the Miami-native has vowed to resurrect the same outspoken personality last seen in Cincinnati: “When my mouth is running, it forces me to perform,” Johnson recently told the Miami Herald. The always-entertaining wide receiver is certain to be a camera magnet and, lucky for us, it already sounds like he’s shed that infamous New England straight jacket.
Reggie Bush, RBLast year, a Kardashian-free Bush had a breakout first season in Miami, eclipsing the 1,000-yard rushing plateau for the first time in his six-year career. Back in May, Bush set his sights on a new goal: “I want the rushing title,” he confidently told WSVN-TV. Surely Coach Philbin loves that confidence, but Dolphins fans should tread lightly. After all, Bush has a history of injury problems — two left knee strains led to surgery in 2008, and a broken right leg kept him on the sidelines in 2010. Plus, he’ll be forced to share the ball this season with Daniel Thomas, who rushed for nearly 600 yards as a rookie last year. Nonetheless, it’ll be interesting to see if Bush can make the final push towards superstardom.
Ryan Tannehill, QBThe No. 8 overall pick in this year’s draft is widely regarded as Miami’s quarterback of the future. Tannehill’s versatility and athleticism allowed him to excel as a wide receiver at Texas A&M before taking over as the signal caller during his redshirt junior season. And while his metamorphosis into a professional quarterback is ongoing, the experience and understanding he has of the receiver position puts him in a unique situation: A strong camp from Tannehill, combined with frequent struggles from veterans Matt Moore and David Garrard, could force Philbin’s hand. If that’s the case, Miami fans may get a look at their future earlier than originally anticipated. —Dan Brennan. Photograph by Joel Auerbach / Getty Images

Finally, the wait is over: HBO’s Hard Knocks is back, this time with an all-access pass to Miami Dolphins training camp. Last year, the Emmy winner was on hiatus (due to the lingering NFL lockout), so our most recent memories consist of New York Jets coach Rex Ryan’s profanity-laced speeches and Antonio Cromartie’s failed attempt to correctly name all of his nine children. This offseason, the Dolphins underwent a coaching overhaul, hiring Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin as their new head coach (as well as bringing in new offensive and defensive coordinators). So, as the tides begin to change in Miami, here are the three players and storylines certain to grab our attention this summer.

Chad Johnson, WR
Coming off a season with the Patriots that seemed more like a disappearing act, Johnson — yes, it’s back to Johnson — has already declared 2012 will be a “monster year.” At 34, the Miami-native has vowed to resurrect the same outspoken personality last seen in Cincinnati: “When my mouth is running, it forces me to perform,” Johnson recently told the Miami Herald. The always-entertaining wide receiver is certain to be a camera magnet and, lucky for us, it already sounds like he’s shed that infamous New England straight jacket.

Reggie Bush, RB
Last year, a Kardashian-free Bush had a breakout first season in Miami, eclipsing the 1,000-yard rushing plateau for the first time in his six-year career. Back in May, Bush set his sights on a new goal: “I want the rushing title,” he confidently told WSVN-TV. Surely Coach Philbin loves that confidence, but Dolphins fans should tread lightly. After all, Bush has a history of injury problems — two left knee strains led to surgery in 2008, and a broken right leg kept him on the sidelines in 2010. Plus, he’ll be forced to share the ball this season with Daniel Thomas, who rushed for nearly 600 yards as a rookie last year. Nonetheless, it’ll be interesting to see if Bush can make the final push towards superstardom.

Ryan Tannehill, QB
The No. 8 overall pick in this year’s draft is widely regarded as Miami’s quarterback of the future. Tannehill’s versatility and athleticism allowed him to excel as a wide receiver at Texas A&M before taking over as the signal caller during his redshirt junior season. And while his metamorphosis into a professional quarterback is ongoing, the experience and understanding he has of the receiver position puts him in a unique situation: A strong camp from Tannehill, combined with frequent struggles from veterans Matt Moore and David Garrard, could force Philbin’s hand. If that’s the case, Miami fans may get a look at their future earlier than originally anticipated. —Dan Brennan. Photograph by Joel Auerbach / Getty Images

Until five o’clock today, MLB fans around the world have the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. This year’s American League finalists include four veteran pitchers and rookie Yu Darvish, the Japanese export who caught the eye of analyst Al Leiter in 2009. As he explained to MJ's Blaine McEvoy earlier this spring:
I like him a lot. I saw him in the last World Baseball Classic and I’ve been studying his video too. He doesn’t throw 100, but I like his delivery and he’s got good breaking stuff too. I think what [Texas Rangers CEO and president] Nolan Ryan was impressed about most was that most Japanese pitchers are not his size. Yu is 6’5”. So the fact that he doesn’t have the normal build impressed Nolan for longevity reasons. I’m not sure whether he’s an ace yet, but I would say he’s a top two starter on a playoff-contending team. Photograph by Denis Poroy / Getty Images

Until five o’clock today, MLB fans around the world have the opportunity to select the final player on each All-Star team. This year’s American League finalists include four veteran pitchers and rookie Yu Darvish, the Japanese export who caught the eye of analyst Al Leiter in 2009. As he explained to MJ's Blaine McEvoy earlier this spring:

I like him a lot. I saw him in the last World Baseball Classic and I’ve been studying his video too. He doesn’t throw 100, but I like his delivery and he’s got good breaking stuff too. I think what [Texas Rangers CEO and president] Nolan Ryan was impressed about most was that most Japanese pitchers are not his size. Yu is 6’5”. So the fact that he doesn’t have the normal build impressed Nolan for longevity reasons. I’m not sure whether he’s an ace yet, but I would say he’s a top two starter on a playoff-contending team. Photograph by Denis Poroy / Getty Images

Coach Krzyzewski — Far be it from us to tell a man how to do his job (let alone one with an Olympic gold meal and four NCAA titles) but hell, we’ll give it a shot. After all, it’s the day before the Fourth of July and everyone’s already gone. After reviewing your shortlisted roster for the USA Olympic Basketball team, we have two suggestions for you and your staff.


Tap Anthony Davis over Blake GriffinFrontcourt depth remains a dilemma, and we believe the 6’10” Davis is the answer to troubles. Sure, Davis is raw on the offensive end of the court, but playing him alongside Kevin Love will give you two players that can hit the boards well and get the ball down court in transition. Griffin, your second option, is the epitome of flash over substance. Sure, his dunks make SportCenter’s Top 10, but the postseason, Griffin’s rebounding totals sunk from 10.9 to 6.9 per game on average. And while Griffin brings an established chemistry with teammate Chris Paul to the table, that doesn’t make up for what he gives up defensively.Give Russell Westbrook serious minutes and he’ll become an integral member of the team
At various points in the 2008 Games, you wisely played Chris Paul and Deron Williams in a dual point-guard set, allowing Williams to move without the ball and step into better looks. But playing Westbrook instead of Williams will deliver an even greater result. Sure, Westbrook’s perimeter game isn’t as deadly, but his unequaled quickness makes him nearly impossible to guard. Plus, his mid-range game has improved dramatically since the 2010 World Championships, and his almost supernatural ability to finish around multiple defenders is impossible to ignore. Play Westbrook off the ball and he could be your ace in the hole off the bench.We hope this letter finds you well, Mike. We’ll be keeping an eye out, and the remote control ready (because only the finest open letters conclude with a Shawshank reference). —Dan Brennan. Photograph by Streeter Lecka / Getty Images

Coach Krzyzewski — Far be it from us to tell a man how to do his job (let alone one with an Olympic gold meal and four NCAA titles) but hell, we’ll give it a shot. After all, it’s the day before the Fourth of July and everyone’s already gone. After reviewing your shortlisted roster for the USA Olympic Basketball team, we have two suggestions for you and your staff.



Tap Anthony Davis over Blake Griffin
Frontcourt depth remains a dilemma, and we believe the 6’10” Davis is the answer to troubles. Sure, Davis is raw on the offensive end of the court, but playing him alongside Kevin Love will give you two players that can hit the boards well and get the ball down court in transition. Griffin, your second option, is the epitome of flash over substance. Sure, his dunks make SportCenter’s Top 10, but the postseason, Griffin’s rebounding totals sunk from 10.9 to 6.9 per game on average. And while Griffin brings an established chemistry with teammate Chris Paul to the table, that doesn’t make up for what he gives up defensively.

Give Russell Westbrook serious minutes and he’ll become an integral member of the team

At various points in the 2008 Games, you wisely played Chris Paul and Deron Williams in a dual point-guard set, allowing Williams to move without the ball and step into better looks. But playing Westbrook instead of Williams will deliver an even greater result. Sure, Westbrook’s perimeter game isn’t as deadly, but his unequaled quickness makes him nearly impossible to guard. Plus, his mid-range game has improved dramatically since the 2010 World Championships, and his almost supernatural ability to finish around multiple defenders is impossible to ignore. Play Westbrook off the ball and he could be your ace in the hole off the bench.

We hope this letter finds you well, Mike. We’ll be keeping an eye out, and the remote control ready (because only the finest open letters conclude with a Shawshank reference). —Dan Brennan. Photograph by Streeter Lecka / Getty Images

The everybody-loves-Jeff Bridges home base is, of course, The Big Lebowski. For the two of you who haven’t seen it, Bridges’s Jeffrey Lebowski, a.k.a. the Dude, is a bowler stoner. He has a big heart, no job, and an omnipresent White Russian. He is hapless and well-intentioned, much like Bridges would be without his wife, daughters, sidemen, and manager. “The Coen brothers told me they were writing a script for me,” recalls Bridges. “I thought, ‘That’s cool.’ Then I read the script and I was like, ‘Have you been following me around to parties?’ It’s a lot like a younger version of me.” I vowed to be the first magazine writer not to write about Bridges’s Dude-like qualities. Such a cliché, I thought. And then you meet him and he is, well, the goddamned Dude in all his fuzzy-headed, non sequitur goodness. If anything, Bridges’s cinematic Dude understates things. — from Stephen Rodrick’s Secrets of a Contented Man

The everybody-loves-Jeff Bridges home base is, of course, The Big Lebowski. For the two of you who haven’t seen it, Bridges’s Jeffrey Lebowski, a.k.a. the Dude, is a bowler stoner. He has a big heart, no job, and an omnipresent White Russian. He is hapless and well-intentioned, much like Bridges would be without his wife, daughters, sidemen, and manager. “The Coen brothers told me they were writing a script for me,” recalls Bridges. “I thought, ‘That’s cool.’ Then I read the script and I was like, ‘Have you been following me around to parties?’ It’s a lot like a younger version of me.” I vowed to be the first magazine writer not to write about Bridges’s Dude-like qualities. Such a cliché, I thought. And then you meet him and he is, well, the goddamned Dude in all his fuzzy-headed, non sequitur goodness. If anything, Bridges’s cinematic Dude understates things. — from Stephen Rodrick’s Secrets of a Contented Man

"Let’s just come out and say it: The women here are beautiful. There’s an offhanded understanding of the possibility of sex that permeates the town. Maybe it’s the heat and the fact that everyone wears so few clothes; maybe it’s because nature so clearly dominates the rhythms of life here. Maybe it’s just Brazil." — from Andrew McCarthy’s The Last Real Beach Town.

"Let’s just come out and say it: The women here are beautiful. There’s an offhanded understanding of the possibility of sex that permeates the town. Maybe it’s the heat and the fact that everyone wears so few clothes; maybe it’s because nature so clearly dominates the rhythms of life here. Maybe it’s just Brazil." — from Andrew McCarthy’s The Last Real Beach Town.

"At 80 and past concealing that fact, Clint Eastwood looks like the wise old blue-eyed patriarch of an alternative-history America that has never lost a war or run a deficit. He comes off like a man with few worries and few regrets who lives by the Spartan motto “Get on with it” and has learned to dismiss his animal needs." — from Walter Kirn’s The Gunslinger and the Apprentice

"At 80 and past concealing that fact, Clint Eastwood looks like the wise old blue-eyed patriarch of an alternative-history America that has never lost a war or run a deficit. He comes off like a man with few worries and few regrets who lives by the Spartan motto “Get on with it” and has learned to dismiss his animal needs." — from Walter Kirn’s The Gunslinger and the Apprentice

Meet Marty Reisman. Marty plays classic hardbat ping-pong, with a hardwood paddle covered by only a thin sheen of rubber. This is what Marty calls “the witty game,” an urbane dialogue between two players that unfolds like a chess match, as hardbat grandmasters set up their winning shots several moves in advance. Games can stretch on for hours to the hypnotizing, metronomic plick-plock of the plastic ball, as soothing as rain on a tin roof. Hardbat bears about as much similarity to modern table tennis as “Folsom Prison Blues” does to “Achy Breaky Heart.”

Meet Marty Reisman. Marty plays classic hardbat ping-pong, with a hardwood paddle covered by only a thin sheen of rubber. This is what Marty calls “the witty game,” an urbane dialogue between two players that unfolds like a chess match, as hardbat grandmasters set up their winning shots several moves in advance. Games can stretch on for hours to the hypnotizing, metronomic plick-plock of the plastic ball, as soothing as rain on a tin roof. Hardbat bears about as much similarity to modern table tennis as “Folsom Prison Blues” does to “Achy Breaky Heart.”

We asked four of our favorite guys what gear they never leave behind. Here’s what they had to say. Clockwise from top left:
Travis RiceProfessional Freeride SnowboarderI never travel without Merken spice. It’s a Chilean hot chili–based spice, not to be confused with a pubic wig of a similar name. There’s no telling where you’ll be forced to eat on the road — you might need to add a smoky, chipotle-like crescendo to your bland meal at uninspired establishments.
Joe BuckFox Sports play-by-play announcerI’m never without my Swiss Army backpack. I have every compartment perfectly packed. It’s got a cheat sheet for that week’s game, a multicolored pen that I use to prioritize what I’ll say on the air, my iPad, and makeup, which I often need to apply in stadium public bathrooms. Hey, you gotta be tough. 
Anthony BourdainHost of Travel Channel’s No ReservationsI wouldn’t want to be without some good old beat-up cowboy boots. I have a pair of ordinary-looking but nicely broken-in Billy Martins. They have no frills, no decorations, and they’re faded and much stained. But they’re lethally pointy and comfortable, like old friends.
Tony StewartNASCAR Sprint Cup ChampionI couldn’t live without my 1956 Chevy step-side pickup truck. It’s restored but not to show standards, so I can use it and not worry about scratching the bed. If I need to haul a boat or pick up parts and take them to the shop, no problem. I like that it’s simple. When life gets complicated, it’s nice to have something simple.

We asked four of our favorite guys what gear they never leave behind. Here’s what they had to say. Clockwise from top left:

Travis Rice
Professional Freeride Snowboarder

I never travel without Merken spice. It’s a Chilean hot chili–based spice, not to be confused with a pubic wig of a similar name. There’s no telling where you’ll be forced to eat on the road — you might need to add a smoky, chipotle-like crescendo to your bland meal at uninspired establishments.

Joe Buck
Fox Sports play-by-play announcer

I’m never without my Swiss Army backpack. I have every compartment perfectly packed. It’s got a cheat sheet for that week’s game, a multicolored pen that I use to prioritize what I’ll say on the air, my iPad, and makeup, which I often need to apply in stadium public bathrooms. Hey, you gotta be tough.

Anthony Bourdain
Host of Travel Channel’s No Reservations

I wouldn’t want to be without some good old beat-up cowboy boots. I have a pair of ordinary-looking but nicely broken-in Billy Martins. They have no frills, no decorations, and they’re faded and much stained. But they’re lethally pointy and comfortable, like old friends.

Tony Stewart
NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion

I couldn’t live without my 1956 Chevy step-side pickup truck. It’s restored but not to show standards, so I can use it and not worry about scratching the bed. If I need to haul a boat or pick up parts and take them to the shop, no problem. I like that it’s simple. When life gets complicated, it’s nice to have something simple.

Marty Reisman's table-tennis career may have peaked 60 years ago, but as Mark Adams learned in our April 2012 issue, that hasn’t stopped him from traveling the globe, chasing women, and hobnobbing with celebrities. You can read all about Reisman when the issue arrives March 9.

Marty Reisman's table-tennis career may have peaked 60 years ago, but as Mark Adams learned in our April 2012 issue, that hasn’t stopped him from traveling the globe, chasing women, and hobnobbing with celebrities. You can read all about Reisman when the issue arrives March 9.