11.02

Updated: July 10, 2012, 3:44 PM ET

CONTENTS 11.02

WINTER X GAMES 2008

62 THE GRETCHEN BLEILER SHOW

For four days, 200-plus athletes in 17 events will shock and awe. The most awesome: hometown halfpipe champ GRETCHEN BLEILER, who's more than ready for her close-up. BY ALYSSA ROENIGK

70 GUEST STARS

Winter X is an arena where a no-name day player can go from Joe Schmo to Joe Pro just by stealing the snow show. Just ask slopestyle champ Jamie Anderson and three other spotlight-grabbers. BY EDDIE MATZ

78 FLIGHT PLAN

Ever wonder how Xers pull off their aerial stunts? We asked snowboarder Torstein Horgmo to take us inside a frontside 1080.

82 7 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT WINTER X

The freeskier bites the hand that feeds him. BY SIMON DUMONT

36 THE BOOK OF LIFE

Forget the wife, teammates and coaches. The closest relationship an NFL player has is with his playbook. Equal parts instruction manual, motivational guide and diary, it's the key to unlocking a Super Bowl season. BY DAVID FLEMING

42 EVERYBODY LOVES ANDREW (EVEN KOBE)

Not too long ago, ANDREW BYNUM'S main value to his team was as trade bait. Just goes to show you what a bunch of double-doubles can do for a rep. BY CHRIS BROUSSARD

48 NOW YOU SEE HIM ...

He plays in obscurity, in a city that is no one's idea of hockey heaven, and he has a fraction of the YouTube cred of Crosby and Ovechkin. But the Thrashers' llya Kovalchuk is the greatest show on ice. BY EDDIE MATZ

52 IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

From predictable (Mike Modano's record-setter) to remarkable (Al Arbour's coaching comeback), the NHL's first half was a high- (and low-)light reel.

54 WHAT YOU GOTTA DO

When Tyler Smith transferred home to Tennessee, he had everything he'd ever wanted: to be close to his dad while he played for the team of his dreams. The only thing missing was time. BY TOM FRIEND

58 THIS WAY TO THE DRAFT

NFL prospects like Tigers QB MATT FLYNN are always being judged-and not just by future employers. BY LUKE CYPHERS, ALYSSA ROENIGK AND CARMEN RENEE THOMPSON

DEPARTMENTS

7 SPORTS GUY

On Sept. 18, 1996, ROGER CLEMENS struck out 20 Tigers and gave us a memory to cherish forever. Or at least until now.

BILL SIMMONS

10 OPEN LOOK

DAN LE BATARD

12 TWO WAY

STUART SCOTT

14 REPLY ALL

16 ZOOM

24 PAGE 2

90 OUTTAKES

KENNY MAYNE/CHASE BUDINGER

92 0:01 / IF IT WORKED FOR THE NHL ...

84 NBA

Nobody's hotter than the Blazers, and BRANDON ROY is one of five reasons why ... The beard-growing comp between Drew Gooden and DeShawn Stevenson gets hairy.

86 COLLEGE BASKETBALL

TODD BOZEMAN left hoops on an unhappy note. Now Morgan State is singing his praises ... DeVon Hardin tested the NBA waters. Now things are going swimmingly at Cal.

88 GOLF

Our 2008 PGA Calendar takes all the guesswork-like who will be the next John Daly (hint: BOO WEEKLEY)-out of the Tour... Natalie Gulbis on putting.

89 MLB

Five secret weapons ready to blow up in 2008? Buster Olney likes Twins lefty FRANCISCO LIRIANO ... Nats reliever Ray King wins the battle of the bulge.