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December 27, 2004 | Volume 101, Issue 25

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Shaquille O'Neal Cover - Sports Illustrated December 27, 2004

December 27, 2004 | Brian Cazeneuve
Maybe it's something in the air, the water or the surroundings. Whatever the case, many of the winningest pitchers and top home run hitters in the major leagues since 1920 were born in close...

December 27, 2004 | Brian Cazeneuve
On numbers alone California has produced the most current pros in each of the three major sports. But on a per capita basis, states in the South have a heavier concentration of NBA and NFL talent,...

December 27, 2004 | Brian Cazeneuve
Once upon a time there were the Philadelphia Athletics, Minneapolis Lakers, Baltimore Colts and Quebec Nordiques. Pro franchises have moved around so relentlessly, always in search of greener...

December 27, 2004 | Brian Cazeneuve
If you are what you play, sports is its own country

December 27, 2004 | Brian Cazeneuve
California, with 25 Division I schools, rises above the rest in the alltime accumulation of collegiate laurels. Texas, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania have been big-time players; Mississippi and South...

December 27, 2004 | Text by Brian Cazeneuve
Since 1896, the U.S. has sent more than 9,000 athletes to the Winter and Summer Games. As illustrated by this map, which breaks down where those competitors were born by county per capita, every...

December 27, 2004 | Brian Cazeneuve
With 15,827 golf courses in the U.S. there are plenty of places to play, most notably in Florida and California. Surprisingly, Michigan has the third-most courses (854) and the second most (109)...

December 27, 2004 | Brian Cazeneuve
In some places the dark purple shows up in globs: Connecticut is the only state entirely in that color, though Massachusetts, New Jersey and Maryland have plenty. More curious are the...

December 27, 2004 | Brian Cazeneuve
Fred McGriff

December 27, 2004 | Rick Reilly
It's that time of year again, when our thoughts turn to that lovable plus-sized elf with the ruddy red cheeks, the white hair and the belly of jelly, the one who never needs an airplane.

December 27, 2004
Sports fans have long heard that western Pennsylvania--birthplace of Joe Namath, Joe Montana and Dan Marino--is the cradle of quarterbacks, but is that really true? And if so, is there a similar...

December 27, 2004
Sox-ual Healing

December 27, 2004
My 95-year-old mom, Kathryn Stoddard, who was featured in Tom Verducci's Sportsmen of the Year essay on Red Sox fans, passed away peacefully this morning [Dec. 10], her Red Sox cap on the stand...

December 27, 2004
The annual SI Swimsuit Issue will be published in February. If you're a subscriber and would prefer not to receive it, call our customer service center toll-free at 18662281175 and let us know. If...

December 27, 2004
LETTERS

December 27, 2004 | Steve Rushin
... and O.J. and A.I. and everyone else who did things more absurd or outrageous in 2004 than I could possibly imagine

December 27, 2004
Legends, scandals and one very cold swimmer: SI's best books of 2004

December 27, 2004 | L. Jon Wertheim
Andy Roddick and the U.S. Davis Cup team used their downtime to rent a bus, drive around Middle America--and bring tennis to an unsuspecting public

December 27, 2004
Crowned As the boys' 18-and-under Orange Bowl International tennis champion, Timothy Neilly (left), the first African-American winner in the 58year history of the prestigious junior event....

December 27, 2004
11 Jaguars home games, out of 15, since the beginning of the 2003 season that have been blacked out on local TV because Alltel Stadium failed to sell out.

December 27, 2004
A bust a year ago, Glen Johnson is now looking like the fighter of the year

December 27, 2004 | Austin Murphy
Perfect conditions off Oahu meant one thing: A rarely held competition was on

December 27, 2004 | Richard Deitsch
The 51-year-old filmmaker's latest work is Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson (PBS, Jan. 17--18)

December 27, 2004 | Lisa Altobelli
Is she or isn't she? At Andy Roddick's annual charity event last week at the Polo Club in Boca Raton, Fla., Anna Kournikova reportedly told fans she is now Mrs. Enrique Iglesias, claiming to have...

December 27, 2004 | Lisa Altobelli
A writer and director are seeking backers for a Broadway musical based on the O.J. Simpson trial.

December 27, 2004 | Lisa Altobelli
Pacers 39year-old guard, after the team signed 36year-old Michael Curry: "Hallelujah. We can talk about things that happened in the '80s and stuff."

December 27, 2004 | Julia Morrill
What to watch and watch for

December 27, 2004 | Nancy Ramsey
Her daddy's dead, her brother's in prison, her sister's a welfare cheat and her mama weighs more than 300 pounds. Boxing, Maggie Fitzgerald tells trainer Frankie Dunn in Clint Eastwood's...

December 27, 2004
Shelby Pickering LEE, MAINE > Soccer

December 27, 2004 | DAUNTE CULPEPPER
Vikings Quarterback

December 27, 2004
WHO'S Hot

December 27, 2004
[Based on a survey of 354 players]

December 27, 2004 | Chris Mannix
Earl Boykins, Nuggets Point Guard

December 27, 2004
Two key defenders with very different tastes in inspirational tunes

December 27, 2004 | Fred Miller
Titans Tackle

December 27, 2004
The NCAA lets bowls give swag worth up to $350. What the players get--and how they like it

December 27, 2004
It's a magical time of year--and not just because the playoffs are approaching. Even the Raiders send tidings of good cheer

December 27, 2004
The Week in Sports

December 27, 2004
[This article consists of photographs--see below]

December 27, 2004 | Peter King
The Eagles will miss TO, but they're still in better shape for their run at the Super Bowl than they were a year ago

December 27, 2004 | Peter King
In a 31--24 win over the Bucs on Dec. 12, San Diego linebacker Donnie Edwards had perhaps the finest game by an NFL linebacker this season--16 tackles, two interceptions (one returned for the...

December 27, 2004 | Peter King
Through the gloom of the 49ers' worst season in a generation there has been one improbable bright spot: Eric Johnson, a seventh-round draft pick out of Yale in 2001, is having the best...

December 27, 2004 | Peter King
HOT TOPIC

December 27, 2004 | Paul Zimmerman
Here's the latest news from the ravaged NFC, where a desperate struggle is under way to see who will be the first team with a losing record to make the playoffs in a nonstrike year.

December 27, 2004 | Grant Wahl
Creighton's Tyler McKinney nearly lost the sight in his right eye. Now he's back hitting game-winning shots

December 27, 2004 | Seth Davis
1 Expect USC to find a new coach quickly. Trojans officials want to replace Rick Majerus before senior associate athletic director Daryl Gross leaves to become AD at Syracuse in late January....

December 27, 2004 | Seth Davis
PARTNERSHIP UNVEILED

December 27, 2004 | Albert Chen
While the A's were dealing away two top pitchers, the Braves and the Yankees were busy stacking their decks

December 27, 2004 | Albert Chen
A look at the projected 2005 rotations for five of last season's playoff contenders (new starters in red)

December 27, 2004 | Ian Thomsen
The Kings have gotten off to a solid start, but the chemistry between their two stars remains a work in progress

December 27, 2004 | Ian Thomsen
On the struggling Pistons (12--10 at week's end):

December 27, 2004 | Ian Thomsen
VINCE CARTER TRADE

December 27, 2004 | Ian Thomsen
MOVEMENT IN MEMPHIS

December 27, 2004 | Ian Thomsen
AROUND THE RIM

December 27, 2004 | Kelley King
Thanks to his perseverance and sterling right arm, junior QB Alex Smith of surprising Utah is SI's Player of the Year

December 27, 2004 | Austin Murphy
THE FRESHMEN Both offenses need big contributions from their goto rookies, but Oklahoma stands a better chance of containing wideout Dwayne Jarrett than USC does of bottling up running back Adrian...

December 27, 2004
Even as new stars were born in 2004--welcome Michael Phelps, Ben Roethlisberger, Maria Sharapova, Smarty Jones--others went dark. Each of the athletes, coaches and innovators who died left a mark:...

December 27, 2004
V.J. LOVERO 44

December 27, 2004 | JACK MCCALLUM
In the ultimate peer review SI polled more than 600 players from the Big Three pro sports to find out which athletes they admire most. Some of their choices--and their choice comments--were...

December 27, 2004 | JACK MCCALLUM
An analysis reveals that baseball players hold their stars in high esteem, football players don't think much of theirs, and Shaq would have won if more NFL players had voted.

December 27, 2004 | JACK MCCALLUM
Tiger Woods may have lost his No. 1 spot in the World Ranking in 2004, but that has not diminished him in the eyes of his peers. He was the athlete the pros would pay to see on 12% of the 625...

December 27, 2004 | Brian Cazeneuve
Which state produces the most linebackers? Which region is birthplace to the most great pitchers? Which state has the most golf courses? Which counties have produced the most Olympians? You can...

December 27, 2004 | Brian Cazeneuve
New York has produced the most greats in basketball and baseball, Texas is tops in pro football immortals, and, of course, Canada is hockey's cradle. Here's where the best of the best came from in...

December 27, 2004
The Great American Sports Atlas

December 27, 2004 | Jeffri Chadiha
Despite nagging injuries in his rookie season, Lions wideout Roy Williams has the makings of a superstar

December 27, 2004 | Jeffri Chadiha
Roy Williams isn't the only rookie who's wondering what could've been this season. Here are three other high draft picks who were hobbled early on:

December 27, 2004 | ALEXANDER WOLFF
Lombardi's invincible Eagles? Gordie Howe of the Rangers? Jack Nicklaus, filler of prescriptions? These things almost came to pass, as we found in exploring sports' most intriguing might have beens

December 27, 2004 | Julia Morrill and Kelley King
From the gridiron to the pool, from the cross-country course to the volleyball court, the season saw hard-fought finishes all around