There's been a few different stories from Sports Illustrated in recent months that have struck me as particularly outstanding, with one from Lee Jenkins on a high school baseball phenom and two basketball-related pieces from Chris Ballard.
The Jenkins feature was "Hunter Greene is the star baseball needs" on the Sherman Oaks, CA pitcher / shortstop and a cover story, with the most recent previous SI high school athlete cover subjects Jabari Parker, Sebastian Telfair, Bryce Harper, and LeBron James. I'm often captivated by writing about potential future stars and recall the Harper piece by Tom Verducci back in 2009.
The older of the two Ballard stories to note here was "'You Can't Give In': Monty Williams On Life After Tragedy" about the NBA coach whose wife died unexpectedly. The story of how Williams and their five kids dealt with the grief and have carried on with their lives in honor of Ingrid is a great one well told by Ballard.
The final piece to note here was the cover story from the latest SI issue, with Ballard writing "Steve Kerr's Absence: The True Test Of A Leader" about the Warriors' head coach. It's great stuff on Kerr, including him being a grinder, over-communicator, someone who works with people based on how they are and what they'll respond to, doesn't take himself too seriously, and is joyful and just plain likable. Ballard wrote a really compelling story and also interesting from it was mention of how Kerr last season brought into a pair of practices Dacher Keltner, a social psychologist from Cal who studies verbal cues and the dynamics of compassion, and Ballard notes as having played a role in how the filmmakers of Pixar's Inside Out looked at emotion.