Posted on August 9th to the Sports Illustrated site Monday Morning Quarterback was the personal essay "There Can Be Only One" by Chris Kluwe. The longtime NFL punter is known by many for his brilliant and profane takedown of a bigoted Maryland politician and in this piece for SI, Kluwe writes of his his competition with Marquette King for the Oakland Raiders punting job. It was a battle which Kluwe ultimately lost and the SI piece featured very cool writing from Kluwe about the responsibility he felt to (as he wrote) "be a human being" and act at times as a veteran mentor to the much younger King.
Two additional great pieces of Sports Illustrated writing to note here were from Chris Ballard a few months back. The July 22 issue bonus feature was "The Wizard Of Kabul" on Tom Gouttierre and from the Aug 12 issue was "Imagine Me And You..." on Wes Welker. The pieces were of course very different with Welker a pro-bowl NFL receiver and Gouttierre a university administrator who coached basketball in Afghanistan, but both really well done.
From SB Nation Longform was a really poignant work by Jeff Pearlman titled "Two Carries, Six Yards". Posted on Aug 20, it was about former Tampa Bay Bucs and then San Diego Chargers running back Ricky Bell and about the piece, Pearlman posted "Ricky Bell and the story I long wanted to write".
Finally, a short piece that I saw recently that struck me as remarkable was "The Death of Benny Paret" by Norman Mailer. Written in 1962, it's incredibly descriptive and shows why Mailer was such a renowned writer.