Brandon Sneed

stories / journalism

I’m a writer-at-large for B/R Mag at Bleacher Report.

I’ve also written in-depth features, profiles, and essays for Outside, CNN, Bleacher Report, ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com, GQ, SB Nation Longform, SLAM, Our State, and more. 

My story “I’m Not the Lone Wolf” was a 2017 Livingston Award finalist, and my stories have been recognized multiple times by Best American Sports Writing. 

Some Stories

The king of the fight game walked away a UFC champ. Then his mind got to racing. But Georges St-Pierre needed to become imperfect before returning to the Octagon.

For 28 years, Kay Grayson lived side-by-side with wild black bears in North Carolina’s swampy coastal forests, hand-feeding them, defending them against poachers, and letting them in her home. When she went missing last year, the only thing the investigators could find were her clean-picked bones. And that’s just the start of the mystery.

Chasing Ambien with beer to sleep. Forty-pound weight loss. Chest pains. To stay in football, Urban Meyer had to address his mental health. Now, to help America tackle the issue, Ohio State’s head coach opens up in this B/R Mag exclusive.

The MMA champ looks the look and talks the talk. Neither bully nor saint, he fights, he forgives and he definitely cries. This is how a boy from Dreamsville got all he ever wanted.

At 34, Oklahoma’s Lincoln Riley is the undisputed wunderkind of football. Smiling, laughing, go go go—are you ready for what tomorrow feels like?

What if a 29-year-old former quarterback was good enough to play pro baseball, too? What if we all tried the things that people told us we could not do? Inside the final comeback of a born-again star.

A new B/R Mag ‘investigation’ reveals the REAL reason basketball bosses still rock suits on the sideline—plus an EXCLUSIVE look at the Bill Belichick of the NBA. Just a ridiculous, fun story.

Kids are becoming more famous, having more fun and feeling more hate than ever. Welcome to Little League baseball in the social media age, where going viral can change your life.

“Without us,” Kyle Johnson says, “there is no baseball.” Then why are so many minor leaguers like him getting paid below the poverty line?

Napoleon Harris may not be Bruce Wayne—he was in the NFL and politics, and he’s real—but for at least one night, to one community on Chicago’s South Side, he was as close to Batman as this world has to offer

Leading into his then-historic fight with Manny Pacquiao, I went deep on the reality behind the legend. “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be.” — Kurt Vonnegut

Destined to be scrapped, the Battleship North Carolina got its reprieve in 1958, thanks to a statewide effort that brought the ship home.

Think you’re wild about March Madness? You’ve got nothing on this guy. Meet Greg Cauley, the most dedicated—or, depending on who you ask, the craziest—college sports fan in America

After his unit was hit by mortar rounds in Iraq, Capt. Ivan Castro lost his eyes—and should have died. Here’s the story of how he clings to life after near-death on the marathon circuit … no matter the cost. 

Dreams, bullets, resurrection, and a story of heartbreak and unlikely hope in ESPN The Magazine’s famed Body Issue.

More Stories

 A semi-complete archive of my published work. 

  • Time to Cash In: A Little League Viral Star and His Team Chase Hollywood Ending” — A heart-wrenching and hopeful story from the Greenville, North Carolina team at the Little League World Series. (Bleacher Report | 08.25.2017 | 2,500 words)
  • After Crash That Almost Killed Him, UFCer Darrell Horcher Makes Return to the Cage” (Bleacher Report | 06.24.2017 | 3,000 words)
  • The Key to Being Killer in the Clutch Like Kyrie and King James” —Whether it’s LeBron hunting down a fast-break layup or Manu stuffing James Harden at the buzzer—how and why clutch does (and doesn’t) happen. (B/R Mag | 05.30.2017 | 2,500 words)
  • Inside a Conspiracy of Comfort: Why It’s Time to Rethink What Coaches Wear— A new B/R Mag ‘investigation’ reveals the REAL reason basketball bosses still rock suits on the sideline—plus an EXCLUSIVE look at the Bill Belichick of the NBA. (B/R Mag | 05.24.2017 | 3,000 words)
  • NBA Rookies Don’t Love Lonzo’s Shoes, but they Love the Idea Behind Them” — You might have heard that Lonzo Ball has a signature shoe. Here’s what fellow rookies think about that. (Bleacher Report | 05.16.2017 | 2,000 words)
  • MLB Prospect Casey Thomas’ Gym Rat Heart, Cool West Coast Vibe Lost at Just 24 — When B/R Mag asked if anyone wanted to take a swing at reporting and writing a quick look at the sudden, tragic death of Oakland A’s rookie prospect Casey Thomas within a couple of days, something in me made me say yes. I hate what happened; I’m glad I got to know Casey. (Bleacher Report | 05.08.2017 | 2,500 words)
  • Not Quite Like Mike — Confetti, cracked dreams and crying in front of Jordan: what it feels like one year later for UNC’s Marcus Paige, whose one shining moment got erased by the ultimate March Madness buzzer-beater. (B/R Mag | 2,500 words)
  • The Forever Comeback – The embattled Robert Griffin III deals with yet another injury as he tries to recapture the glory of his rookie season in Washington. (B/R Mag at Bleacher Report | 4,000 words)
  • From MDMA to the NFL: Noah Spence’s Journey Isn’t Over – Noah Spence was one of the best defensive lineman in all of college football before getting kicked off of the Ohio State team and banned from their conference for repeatedly failing drug tests for use of the party drug Molly. Now one of the top prospects in this year’s NFL draft, he’s still navigating his past while trying to reach the future he’s always dreamed of. (Bleacher Report | 4,000 words) 
  • Before the Hoodie: Bill Belichick’s Origin Story — An exploration of legendary New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick’s rise to greatness, and how we almost never knew the splendor of The Hoodie. (Bleacher Report/CNN | 5,000 words)
  • How ‘Little Floyd’ Became ‘Money Mayweather’ — A profile of boxing sensation and controversial human Floyd Mayweather. (Bleacher Report/CNN | 6,600 words)
  • The Remaking of Coss Marte — A former drug kingpin turned fitness guru learns what it means to be human. (SB Nation Longform | 7,800 words)
  • How To Fall Down A Mountain — An essay that Sports Illustrated’s The Cauldron commissioned me to write about my first experience snowboarding, which turned into the most personal thing I’ve ever written — an essay about fear, clinical anxiety, and the mountains we all face in our lives.
  • Off the Mat — How UFC featherweight Nik Lentz fought to save his father while reinventing himself. (SB Nation Longform | 5,000 words) 
  • Andre Dawkins Has a Story — And the Duke guard would rather not talk about it. (SB Nation Longform | 6,000 words)
  • Death of a Ballplayer — The incredible story of Billy Dillon, who somehow survived 27 years in maximum security prison for a murder he didn’t commit. (SB Nation Longform | 8,000 words) 
  • East Side Story — Far from the glitz of downtown Toronto, there’s the East Side Hotel, where hope goes to die. Anthony and Chris Stewart called it home—until they found a remarkably unorthodox way out. (ESPN.com/Outside The Lines | 6,000 words)
  • The Prospect — Montaous Walton just wanted to play baseball, so he made up a fake online persona, fooled the media, signed with an agent, and ended up in handcuffs.  (SB Nation Longform | 6,500 words) 
  • Prescription: Music — When nothing else works, music has been proven to be the most effective medicine. (Charlotte magazine | 3,000 words)
  • The Good Hurt — Ray King has leukemia and plays Division I basketball, AND he just helped NC Central to its best DI season ever. (SB Nation Longform | 6,000 words) Featured by The Byliner and more.
  • Blind Ambition — Capt. Ivan Castro should’ve died in a fight in Iraq. Now he’s the only blind active duty officer in the Special Forces, and in 2012, he ran 12 marathons. (ESPN The Magazine | 5,000 words)
  • Nobody Walks Alone — After bullets put former NBA star Mike Williams in a wheelchair, an old teammate helped him rise again. (ESPN The Magazine | 3,000 words)
  • Saving the Battleship North Carolina — Destined to be scrapped, the Battleship North Carolina got its reprieve in 1958 thanks to a statewide effort that brought the ship home. (Our State | 3,000 words)
  • Tarboro Tradition — Coolmore Plantation is both a mansion and a museum. But to Joe Spiers, who lives here with his wife, Janet, it is both a connection to his family’s history and a structure that symbolizes his own endurance and strength. (Our State | 3,000 words)
  • Mad For Carolina — Think you’re wild about March Madness? You’ve got nothing on this guy. Meet Greg Cauley, the most dedicated—or, depending on who you ask, the craziest—college sports fan in America. (GQ | 4,000 words)
  • The Muse: True Inspiration or Total Nonsense? (Pacific Standard | 1,200 words)
  • Golfer Swallowed By Golf Course  (Outside | 1,200 words)
  • How A Tiny Southern Town Handles a Turkey Vulture Invasion“ (Outside | 1,200 words)
  • What God Wanted Todd To Know (RELEVANT | 1,000 words)