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stephen copeland features

The office in Steve Smith’s Charlotte, N.C., home could pass as a closet in the Sistine Chapel, the arched ceiling painted in a greenish hue, clouds bleeding onto the woodwork, angels appearing to descend from their universe, a biblical story in each corner. The front left corner is a painting of Eve leaning against Adam in the Garden of Eden, representing Smith’s renewed relationship with his wife, Angie. The back left corner is of the Good Samaritan, representing Smith’s heartbeat for Samaritan’s Feet, a ministry that provides shoes for millions around the world...

Texas A&M head coach Billy Kennedy and his assistant coach, Mitch Cole, are in the team film room. Kennedy sits in the middle of the room, its theatre-seating funneling toward the screen in front of them, tables running across each row, black-and-white A&M basketball photos and inspirational quotes plastered on the side walls. Kennedy’s plastic plate from lunch, littered with crumbs and a banana peel, is sitting on the table, as he casually leans back in his chair...

Dylan Thompson had strings. He moved the right way. He said the right things. He danced across the stage and nailed his lines. He was a shell of a man, a marionette that moved but had no life inside. One day, the strings broke, his body fell, and he lay all twisted up and lifeless on stage. The lights went down. And the curtains closed...

A reporter asks Derek McCartney if he has anything else to say. He pauses, and thinks. “I guess I just have one request,” he says. “Yeah,” says the reporter. “In the past, when people have done articles on my family, they have described me and T.C. as ‘half-brothers...’”

Mason Plumlee looks out over the floor at Duke University’s practice facility. It must be weird to be back—returning to campus, his home for the last four years; visiting Cameron Indoor, Duke’s 2010 national championship banner hanging in the rafters of its gymnasium that feels more like a cathedral, with its wooden steeple doors and castle-stone exterior; and sitting here in Duke’s practice facility where his new team, the Brooklyn Nets, are having training camp...

So much of life seems to be a search for life. Purpose and love and happiness seem to be buried somewhere in a far-off desert. Some find it. Some don’t. But all search...

Mason Plumlee looks out over the floor at Duke University’s practice facility. It must be weird to be back—returning to campus, his home for the last four years; visiting Cameron Indoor, Duke’s 2010 national championship banner hanging in the rafters of this gymnasium that feels more like a cathedral, with its wooden steeple doors and castle-stone exterior; and sitting here in Duke’s practice facility where his new team, the Brooklyn Nets, are having training camp...

The stars felt so close it’d be easy to think God Himself had come down from His throne. He knelt below them, his heart heavy, his mind swallowed by sorrow and sin. He stared up at the sky, the heavens his only comfort to his understanding. His skin bore a drop of blood. It slowly fell from his wound and swam down his cheek. He was dying, and he knew it...

Look past the call-girl cards that litter the street like confetti at Times Square on New Years, or the erotic billboards on the sides of trucks going down the neon-lit Strip, and you’ll see Las Vegas in its grace. You’ll see the fountains in front of the Bellagio dancing beneath the dry, Nevada sky, or the city calling your name as you look at it atop the Stratosphere, wooing you from below into an evening that never ends, where the casinos make promises and the liquor makes you believe them...

Duck Dynasty - How It Almost Never Happened

Phil sits in Willie’s office at the Duck Commander warehouse. He’s telling a story, like Phil usually does. Being with him in person is kind of surreal, like you’re having coffee with a cartoon. It looks like he came straight out of your television and sat in your living room—sunglasses resting on his head, camouflage bandana and pants, as if he’s been hunting all day, and a nest of a beard you could probably turn into a winter scarf...

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