As part of SI.com's decade project, several Sports Illustrated photographers have selected a handful of their favorite shots from the 2000s and described what makes these pictures special.
"This shot of Dolphins tight end Randy McMichael diving over Saints defenders for a touchdown was made during a preseason game in Miami. I had seen McMichael do something slightly similar the previous week in Tampa, which I was not prepared for. So I anticipated his movement this time, and having the right lens and camera combination allowed me to make this picture. I never imagined his leap would be this spectacular."
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Bob Rosato, 2003
"This picture is one of the favorite moments in my career. It was Game 5 of the NLDS, and the Giants' J.T. Snow tried to score in the ninth inning to tie the game against the Marlins. I stayed on Snow as he came down the line and crashed into Ivan Rodriguez. I remember the amazing feeling I had when I realized I had a special moment. Rodriguez held on to the ball for the out and the Marlins advanced. These types of defining moments are what drive every sports photojournalist. I know is does for me!"
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Bob Rosato, 2007
"This shot of the North Carolina-Duke women playing at Carmichael Arena was made from a low-angle remote. I placed one of my remote cameras next to the goal to illustrate the graphical look of the ceiling. Anytime you can create a graphic picture and at the same time the peak action, it offers something special. In this case, the rivalry, action and the graphic nature of the venue all come together."
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Bob Martin, 2004
"This photo of Paraolympian Xavier Torres of Spain starting his race in Athens won a World Press Award in 2005 and is possibly the best picture I have ever taken."
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Bob Martin, 2007
"This image from the Tough Guy Competition is my personal favorite. I just love the way the water and mud is moving around his face as he emerges from the muddy waters."
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Bob Martin, 2008
"For me, Usain Bolt, winning his second gold medal in a second world record time at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing was the sporting moment of the decade!"
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Al Tielemans, 2005
''When Tiger lined up his final putt of the 2005 Masters, his back was to me. The chances of his celebrating his victory in my direction were slim. Just moments before the putt, after putting toward me, he missed what would have been the clinching shot at the same hole. It was a humbling reminder of the role that luck plays in this business. Anyway, on this putt, when the ball rolled into the cup, an amazing thing happened: Tiger turned right toward me and celebrated as only he can. The fickleness of luck cuts both ways.''
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Al Tielemans, 2006
''The challenge of the halfpipe is that you don't know where the jumps will be. I'd seen Shaun White practice and make two runs, so I picked a spot where I thought I could shoot two jumps coming at me, then one behind me with a wide lens showing the crowd below. As he approached the third jump, it was clear he was way too close to me. He soared right over me and I blindly framed my camera to get what I could. This wound up on the cover of SI.''
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Al Tielemans, 2006
''It was Father's Day in 2006 and Phil Mickelson had the U.S. Open sewn up going to the last hole. But it fell apart in a hurry. He was all over the 18th hole, and when the reality of his collapse began to sink in, he brought his hands to his head. It was devastating to watch, but it really drove home exactly how difficult it is to win one of golf's majors.''
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Al Tielemans, 2008
"Working a Super Bowl, you just hope to get a chance to shoot the key moment of the game. Sometimes the play goes away from you and you have no chance. Other times it lands right in your lap. This was one of those times."
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Heinz Kluetmeier, 2002
"During the long program, it's always a debate whether to shoot high for a pristine ice background, or low, which offers a more dramatic visual but a cluttered background. Here's a counterpoint to my remote shot from overhead, with Sasha Cohen during her long program coming right at the camera."
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Heinz Kluetmeier, 2006
"This snowboarding event was run after dark on a poorly lit mountain slope in Killington, Vt. Normally, this light would be the kiss of death for taking pictures, but I was saved by the wonderful ball of fire that set off each time a snowboarder went over the jump. The hard part was figuring out which way the skier would go. A bit of luck helped. This one took a line straight in front of the fire, which showed him to be a snowboarder in mid-flight."
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Heinz Kluetmeier, 2007
"The grace of movement of the hurdles, and the Penn Relays presented a wonderful place to use a special strip camera, and to show the grace and beauty of the hurdles competition. It's a difficult moment to get just right, and the hurdlers made it perfect by crossing in unison."
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Heinz Kluetmeier, 2008
"Underwater shots during competition are difficult and unpredictable, both in terms of where the best graphics will occur and, occasionally, in terms of where the swimmers are seeded. Michael Phelps brought his hands down through the water and touched the wall .01 seconds before Miorad Cavic finished his glide to the wall, swiping the gold medal and tying Mark Spitz's record of seven golds at one Olympics."
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Heinz Kluetmeier, 2008
"I was struck by the wonderful sense of humor in the moment during this Tennessee-Florida game."
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Walter Iooss Jr., 2002
"The first time I followed Tiger Woods, I wanted to recreate a picture Hy Peskin once took of Ben Hogan. I wanted to do it with an old-fashioned 4-by-5 Crown Graphic camera, which meant I had to get close. And getting close to Tiger is a problem. I was really on the edge of the rules. At one point his caddie, Steve Williams, came over and said, 'Excuse me, mate, have you ever covered a golf tournament before?' I'd covered about 15 majors, but I just said, 'Yes, sir.' From that point on, he and Tiger kept looking at me because I was still too close. About six months later, I shot Tiger for the cover of SI and finally met him. I mentioned how I'd covered him that day and said, 'Did you notice me?' He said, 'Every hole.' "
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Walter Iooss Jr., 2003
"It was easier to get Muhammad Ali to pose than Joe Frazier. Joe still resented all the torment Ali had caused him over the years, and Ali had made all the money, too. Joe finally agreed to pose when we offered to go to his gym in Philadelphia. I knew it would be a difficult shoot because Ali had Parkinson's and I learned that day that Frazier had diabetes. Ali walked in, and I set a stool in the ring for him to sit on. Joe said, 'What about me? Man, I can barely walk. My legs are killing me.' But they were happy, joking around and hamming it up in every shot. Near the end I switched from color to sepia film. I said, 'Look, guys, just stare at the camera. No smiles, no gags.' I did one frame, then a second, and there it was, the picture I was looking for: two battered warriors who'd left their lives in the ring."
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Walter Iooss Jr., 2005
"Serena had wanted to pose -- a lot of times female athletes will query SI about posing for the swimsuit issue. Serena's really a terrific person, and she loves fashion, but she's not the easiest person to shoot. Her body is not like a model's. She is a high-performance athlete. She is big in a lot of areas in her body -- her chest, her back, her legs. She's a specimen. So I put her in heels and put a wide-angle lens on her. We make her look powerful. We can't turn her into a supermodel. But we can turn her into someone who's a great athlete and looks sexy, and that's what we try to do with athletes in the Swimsuit Issue."
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Walter Iooss Jr., 2005
"Over and over again through the years, I'd seen a boxer walking to the ring with his entourage. It's that intense drama preceding a big fight. It's almost like walking to your execution. So I recreated this. I got all of Bernard Hopkins' handlers in there and all his belts, and we had a casting at his gym. I created a black tunnel with this black cloth, with two lights above, smoke machine and green gels to give it this eerie glow. What makes this picture so terrific are the eyes. This was my first good digital picture, too, so that day was a big transition for me."
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Simon Bruty, 2002
"This Sarah Hughes photo wound up being a cover shot during the Salt Lake City Olympics. It was taken with film. I was sitting at ice level, shooting with a number of other photographers. I noticed that I was changing film when the rest of the photographers were shooting digital. Since I was the only one changing film, it meant I was missing parts of the long program. And that hastened SI Photo's move to digital soon after the Olympics. When shooting events, it is not always possible to sense what is happening because you are so isolated looking through a long lens. But this is one of the rare occasions when you did realize something special was happening."
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Simon Bruty, 2005
"I was courtside at the ladies' Wimbledon final in 2005. No one had expected Venus Williams to get to the final, let alone to win it. [She beat Lindsay Davenport in three sets.] Raw emotion is what you're looking for at these big finals, and Venus' reaction typified what you're after."
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Simon Bruty, 2005
"It's great to photograph Bode Miller skiing because you don't know what will happen when he gets to your spot -- or if he'll get to your spot. Skiing is tough because you have to physically get to a position, which means you have to ski the course. You then have to find a spot and visualize what the action picture is going to look like before the skier comes down. You get one shot at these guys, and they're skiing at 90 mph. If you don't get the winner, you've kind of wasted your day."
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Simon Bruty, 2006
"I've been to a lot of World Cups, and shot a lot of games, and I have taken remote cameras to almost every game I've shot. This is probably the first decent remote photograph I have gotten from a soccer game. I tell people that remote cameras are great when they work, but you pour so much into getting them to work, you tend to forget about the camera that you have in your hands. You keep thinking that the remote's going to be the one, but it's actually the one in your hands that you control. There's a good photographic lesson there."
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Bill Frakes, 2000
"This is Marion Jones wining the 100 meter final in Sydney. After months of working to perfect the technique and planning, everything came together exactly when Marion pulled away from the field. It allowed [fellow photographer] David Callow and me to create a unique and powerful image."
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Bill Frakes, 2003
"I had gotten stranded after a game and had to drive all night from Oxford, Miss., to get to Charlotte. I got there in time to see Titans wide receiver Justin McCareins get sandwiched on a hit by Mike Caldwell (59) and Jarrod Cooper (40). My head was pounding from too much caffeine and no sleep, but I don't believe I'd want to trade places with Justin. That just had to hurt."
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Bill Frakes, 2005
"The University of Tennessee's Candace Parker soars against the Knoxville sky. It shows her power, grace, style and beauty. She's one of the greatest athletes I've worked with, and I've worked with many."
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Bill Frakes, 2008
"Here's President Obama in a small gym in rural Iowa. A nice moment with a great man."
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David Bergman, 2002
"This was a huge game in the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry since the Buckeyes were ranked second in the nation. Quarterback Craig Krenzel led a touchdown drive in the fourth quarter and the defense shut down the Wolverines to send the Buckeyes to the BCS national championship game. I was shooting from overhead and, as the fans swarmed the field, I was able to get this shot of Krenzel being picked up."
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David Bergman, 2005
"I took this photo of UConn freshman Rudy Gay's final attempt in the slam dunk contest during 'Midnight Madness' in Storrs. He was the team's top recruit and won over the fans with this dunk called 'The Michael Kick.' They shot off indoor fireworks earlier in the evening, and it gives this image an etheral quality that you normally wouldn't see."
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David Bergman, 2007
"I was assigned to cover the first Duke lacrosse match after prosecutors dropped all charges against three former players accused of sexual assault the year before. The Blue Devils rallied to beat Virginia 7-6 in overtime. My photo of Max Quinzani taking a wraparound shot was my favorite from the match."
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John Biever, 2002
"My favorite assignment each year is the Masters, which is also the most difficult to cover. It's the only tournament where photographers aren't allowed inside the ropes. We are at the mercy of the masses, I mean patrons, and you have to bob and weave among their heads. Tall photographers have a real advantage and I'm not one of them! Anyway, this is Arnold Palmer walking across the Sarazen Bridge in his last round ever at the Masters, with the scene reflected in the pond in front of the green. It made for an interesting picture."
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John Biever, 2005
"This was at the end of a NCAA regional softball game in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Michigan player had just hit a walk-off homer, and the rest of the team was there to celebrate. I just like the joyful expressions. It seems the higher you go in sports, the less happiness shows through on a regular basis. These Michigan women were playing for all the right reasons."
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John Biever, 2006
"This picture has a lot of meaning to me. I've been fortunate enough to photograph Brett Favre from the beginning in Green Bay, and living in Wisconsin, I've watched this amazing athlete close up. In my mind, he's up there with Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods as the most remarkable athletes I have photographed. They all share the same common trait -- they just HATE to lose."
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Darren Carroll, 2001
"At the National Finals Rodeo, Rob Bell got 'hung up,' meaning his wrist became caught in his rope on Real Deal, a particularly unhappy bull, about three seconds into his ride. Unable to let go, the bull spent a couple of seconds spinning Bell around before their heads collided, knocking Bell unconscious and out of the remainder of the event. This is probably my favorite action picture that I've taken, period, let alone of the decade, because of the timing involved (it was strobed so it was a single frame), the moment of impact, the general composition and the unexpected accent of the, um, airborne discharge from the bull's nose."
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Darren Carroll, 2006
"We shot this as part of a golf portrait package on U.S. Ryder Cup captains. Byron Nelson always epitomized what I felt to be the classic (and classy) sports hero from a long-gone age. This is, as far as I know, the last formal portrait (and very possibly the last set of photographs) ever taken of him; he diedtwo weeks later. I love the subtle expression on his face. For months afterward I kept trying to figure out what had brought on the sideways glance and slight curl of his lips into a barely perceptible smile that set this particular frame apart from the others I shot that day. It was only after my assistant sent me a few snapshots from the shoot that I realized that at an instant before I took the picture, his wife, Peggy, had quietly walked into the room."
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Darren Carroll, 2008
"The magazine sent me down to Monterrey, Mexico, to document practice and then make the 15-hour bus ride with Prepa Tec of Monterrey as it headed just north of Dallas to play the Allen Eagles. Unquestionably, the Borregos were the best high school 'futbol Americano' team in Mexico. The Borregos needed to travel to the States at least once a year to see how they truly measured up. On this occasion, it wasn't pretty. This is my favorite moment from the game: Quarterback Jorge Alberto Santos is consoled with a sympathetic pat on the cheek by an assistant coach as he watches the first half wind down."
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David E. Klutho, 2004
"I love the giant hands. With this angle, he's coming right at the camera. I also love Ben Wallace's hair, which is so big that the defender is reaching through it for the ball."
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David E. Klutho, 2005
"The dejected Arizona player wound up right in front of us [after an NCAA tournament game], with the victorious Illinois players lined up behind him from where I was sitting. It all happened in just seconds, so I had to act quickly to capture the feeling of the moment."
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David E. Klutho, 2006
"This was at the Stanley Cup finals in 2006 and there's a lot going on. You don't see many images where the spray of the ice is all over the frame. It's like a curtain of ice hanging in the air, frozen by the strobes, and you're watching the action through it."
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John W. McDonough, 2006
"I love this photo. I took it with a telephoto lens. Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson came around the corner, and he has such explosive upper-body power. He used a straight-arm to shed his defender and literally knocked the guy's helmet off."
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John W. McDonough, 2007
"This shot of the Cavaliers and Suns was taken from the catwalk. In basketball, any battle for the ball presents great faces and compositions. We decided that instead of doing the usual point of focus -- the circle and the basket -- we'd do a longer horizontal view to get the entire lane. It just gives a little different look, a nice look for basketball."
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John W. McDonough, 2007
"Here's a look at UCLA and Kansas in the NCAA tournament. I love the low perspective and UCLA's Arron Afflalo coming up. He really took control and was the star of the game. Every player is looking at him coming in, and you can get the sense of the arena, the feel of the scene. For this low remote, we wrap the camera in foam and a cloth wrap, because in a number of instances it ends up getting kicked. Of course, we want to protect the players too. This one has taken a beating and kept ticking."
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Peter Read Miller, 2000
"This picture sort of speaks for itself. Moments like this in wrestling are so fleeting, so to catch something like this is really surprising. The blood and the teeth really add to the whole thing. The mat they're wrestling on is actually four feet off the ground and I'm sitting down with the other photographers so that people can see over us."
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Peter Read Miller, 2003
"We built a 30-foot ramp, painted a sunset sky background and had some foam pads for Allyson Felix to crash into as the future Olympian did a series of runs and jumps in advance of her first major story in SI."
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Peter Read Miller, 2007
"This is a low-angle shot so Cedric Benson has more of a heroic look as he jumps over the Saints to score during last season's NFC Championship Game. And the snow certainly adds to the picture. This was a fun shoot for me because I grew up in Chicago and the Bears were always my favorite team."
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Damian Strohmeyer, 2000
"The College World Series is probably my favorite event to cover. The atmosphere is always charged with enthusiasm, plus the opportunity to make unique pictures at the event is a photographer's dream. In 2000, LSU won the championship over Stanford on the final play of the game. My overhead remote camera captured the thrill of the Tigers' victory."
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Damian Strohmeyer, 2008
What I remember the most about David Tyree's miraculous catch for the Giants against the Patriots in the Super Bowl was that an Arizona security guard supervisor walked in front of the whole line of photographers in the end zone while the play was going on. Fortunately, the best frame from the sequence wasn't blocked by the yellow-jacketed security person."
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Damian Strohmeyer, 2009
"This photogragh of Derrick Mason is taken literally just 10 or 12 feet away from me in the corner of the end zone. I always try to be ready for plays in the end zone with a short lens around my neck. An earlier collision as he was catching the pass ended up sending him head over heels. It broke right in front of me. Right place, right time."
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Brad Mangin, 2005
"Spring training is my favorite time of the year, and every February I head down to Arizona to photograph ballplayers getting ready for the regular season. This picture was shot in late February before the games started as the Oakland Athletics were training at their gorgeous training facility, Papago Park, in Phoenix. They have wonderful clouds in Arizona after a rainstorm, and when young pitcher Rich Harden threw a bullpen session, everything lined up for me early one morning."
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Brad Mangin, 2007
"Besides photographing Barry Bonds from the outfield as he hit career home run 756 to break Hank Aaron's record, I wanted a special image from behind home plate that would show the entire stadium and the scoreboard with the ball soaring through the night sky. A picture like this tells a story and gives a historical perspective showing off the ballpark where the record was broken. In order to get a picture like this, I had to get the the ballpark six hours early to set up this remote camera. Thanks to our great assistant Kojo Kinno, my remote fired and I got the picture I wanted. This photograph, combined with the picture I shot with my handheld camera from the outfield, tells the story of this historical night."
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Brad Mangin, 2007
"I spent the better part of the last 10 years documenting history and photographing everything Barry Bonds did on the baseball field, including hitting numerous milestone home runs. My challenge in 2007 was to find a different angle to shoot the most important meeting of ball and bat that would happen in front of my cameras during my lifetime. I decided that to make my perfect image, I would need to shoot the swing from outside the ballpark, through a chain-link fence in right-center field, with my camera on the ground. I wanted the perfect picture of Bonds setting the record. I wanted a picture that no one else would have. I had a clean look at the swing with nothing but fans in the background from ground level. I was thrilled that I got the picture I wanted but very sad that night as I drove home because the chase was over."
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