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Man in the Middle
Here's a story about the trials and tribulations of one man trying desperately to learn
Content Editor. He listens, he tries, he fails...miserably. But there's hope.
One day, with effort and patience, all will fall into placeEXERPT

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FROM THE TOP
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In his book, John Amaechi opens up about his homosexuality and the struggles he faced with Jerry Sloan and teammates. Excerpt
• Le Batard: Amaechi set free'Caught up in the whirldwind'
• Chat with Amaechi (Wed., 1 ET) | Watch: Exclusive interview
2007 Next Past NEXT Winners
Every year since the first issue in 1998, ESPN the Magazine has picked the "NEXT" generation in sports. NEXT … meaning the athletes you'll be talking about in the year to come and beyond.
• Past NEXT athletes:
2006 | '05 | '04 | '03 | '02 | '01 | '00 | '99 | '98
Dwight Howard Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
Shaq who? Dwight Howard is the NBA's leading rebounder -- and he just turned 21. His combination of strength, quickness and charisma has Howard on the verge of becoming the league's next dominant interior force.

Calvin Johnson Calvin Johnson, Georgia Tech
At 6-foot-5, 235 pounds, wide receiver Calvin Johnson is a handful for smaller defensive backs. The NFL draft hasn't seen a prospect like this -- with 4.3 speed and a knack for midair improvisation -- since Randy Moss.
Evgeni Malkin Evgeni Malkin, Pittsburgh Penguins
After cooling his heels in Russia for a year after being drafted behind Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin made a quick impression on Pens fans and the record book, tallying a goal in each of his first six games.
Juan Pablo Montoya Juan Pablo Montoya, NASCAR
How can an international superstar who already has won the Indianapolis 500, a CART championship and seven Formula One races be NEXT? Just wait until Colombia's Juan Pablo Montoya turns NASCAR on its ear.

Jose Reyes, New York Mets
Talk about pure joy. Jose Reyes' speed on the basepaths, success at the plate and energy both on and off the field helped lift the Mets to their first National League Championship Series since 2000. And he's just getting started.
Tom Brady All Wrapped Up
New England can cross AFC East title off its holiday wish list. The Patriots showed again that as long as they have Tom Brady at quarterback you can't count them out. Len Pasquarelli
Last Call: Presents from the NFL | Playoff picture | Studs | Duds
Pats clinch | Bengals fall to Broncos | Seahawks lose, but clinch
Peyton Manning What About Them?
The Raiders might be 2-12, but Warren Sapp is having a great season. He's just one of the players who was slighted in Tuesday's Pro Bowl voting, writes John Clayton. Story
Nine Chargers picked for Pro Bowl | Rosters: AFC | NFC
Chat wrap: Mort | Podcast | Who got snubbed? AFC | NFC

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PHOTO GALLERY


Just being great doesn't make you NEXT. We are looking for athletes who change the game (Dwight Howard), do it with style (Calvin Johnson) and make the impossible, well, possible. Their sport is what they do, but their character defines who they are.
View gallery
WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN NEXT?
Post your thoughts on our Message Board on who you think deserved to be ESPN The Magazine's NEXT athlete, and who you think should be NEXT in 2008.
Message Board
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
ESPN The Magazine will be hosting the NEXT Big Weekend in Detroit from Thursday, Feb. 2 through Sunday, Feb. 5. Included in the weekend is the ESPN The Magazine NEXT party on Friday to celebrate the NEXT issue as well as other events throughout the weekend still being finalized. Click here for more details.
SPORTSNATION MAILBAG: WHO OR WHAT IS NEXT?
Jan. 31 marks the day ESPN The Magazine will announce the "Next" big thing in sports, when the issue hits newsstands. In years past, Yao Ming and LeBron James (right) have been named NEXT athletes.

Before they put the issue to bed, The Magazine wants to hear your thoughts. Who or what do you think will be NEXT? Will it be a person or a place? A gadget or an event? Someone or some thing is going to hit it big in 2007. It's time for you to read into the future. Who or what is Next?
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