December 04, 2014

Here is a roundup of's 25 most popular stories of the year.

Walter Iooss Jr./SI

Four years after taking his talents to South Beach, LeBron James announced in an essay that he was returning to Cleveland, the place where it all started.

Robert Beck/SI

Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman gave one of the most memorable postgame interviews when he trashed 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree after Seattle’s NFC Championship win. The next day, Sherman wrote a column for The MMQB where he explained the explosive outburst and backlash he faced.

Courtesy of Ryan Anderson

Every suicide leaves behind about six survivors in a state of grief. Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson became one of them when his girlfriend, Gia Allemand, took her life. More than a year later, Anderson reflects on how he’s finally learning to move forward. By Chris Ballard.


One minute, Devon Still was preparing for his 4-year-old daughter’s dance recital. The next, the Bengals defensive tackle was at a hospital, learning she had cancer. Here is their story and how others are rallying to help. By Peter King.

Bill Serne/Tampa Bay Times

In the first round of the 1982 draft, the Buccaneers selected Booker Reese - and then heard the commissioner announce another name on TV. How some faulty speaker phones and a series of other blunders resulted in a failed NFL career for Reese and years of disappointment for Tampa BayBy Don Banks. 

Courtesy of Humans of New York
The blog Humans of New York posted a photo of a construction worker with the caption, “I was Defensive Player of the Year.” With only that to go by, a writer set out to find the man in the picture. By Greg Bishop

Barcroft Media/Landov

Shirley Dygert had never been skydiving. Dave Hartsock had made hundreds of jumps. Five years ago, they leaped out of a plane together 13,500 feet above the ground. Then something went desperately wrong. By Chris Ballard.

Rob Tringali

In a series of revealing interviews, Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter - the most familiar ballplayer ever - reflects on what has changed in the game (lots) and in himself (little) over two decades in the New York glare. By Tom Verducci.

Winslow Townson/SI

For the three-time Super Bowl winner, still humming at 37, there's not much difference between 28 (when he was Sportsman of the Year) and 45 (when he plans to still be picking apart NFL defenses). Brady isn't showing signs of slowing down -- in fact, he might be getting better. By Greg Bishop.

John Marshall Mantel/SI

The Sayreville community has always taken pride in their high school football team. But now the rest of the season has been canceled amid hazing allegations. By Emily Kaplan & Greg Hanlon.

Tony Triolo/Sports Illustrated

The Boston Bruins were minutes away from the 1979 Stanley Cup Finals when they were penalized for too many men, allowing the Montreal Canadiens to tie the game on a power play and win in overtime. The story behind the defining moment of hockey’s greatest rivalry. By Michael Farber. 

Jeffery A. Salter for Sports Illustrated

From college football fields to the Jamaican hillside, Rohan and Nico Marley - son and grandson of iconic singer Bob Marley - have fought to clear their own paths to success. By Michael McKnight.

Lalo de Almeida/SI

As the Brazilian government prepared to host the World Cup, more than one million people throughout the nation protested its actions. The truth of a country divided during a time meant to uniteBy Grant Wahl.

Rod Mar/SI

Step inside Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson's inner circle, which sounds an awful lot like the hit HBO show Entourage. By Greg Bishop.

Robert Beck/SI

For even the most competitive athlete, the transition game is never easy. So what drives Kobe Bryant at age 36, as he comes off serious injury and prepares for his 19th NBA season - and all that lies beyond? By Chris Ballard.

David E. Klutho/SI

Amid the turmoil tearing through the Missouri town, a high school coach helps his players make sense of the madness around them. By Robert Klemko.

San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner had one of the greatest performances in MLB postseason history as he helped his team win its third World Series in five years. But Bumgarner's magic on the mound starts with a close connection to home. By Tom Verducci.

Brian Garfinkel/AP

A late-bloomer who seemed too good to be true, a first-round bust who helped get a coach run out of town, and to some, a hero. The bizarre football life of Danny Watkins, a man built for football but born for something else. By Emily Kaplan.

Elsa/Getty Images
Four months into his tenure as NBA commissioner, Adam Silver was faced with a major scandal after audio leaked of Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racist comments. Silver’s lifetime ban of Sterling sent a bold message that the new commissioner was more than just a replacementBy Lee Jenkins. 

Andrew Weber/USA Today Sports

When big-time college football kicks off each year, it marks a return to the chaos that coaches, players and fans look forward to every fall. It also marks the time of year when football wives across the country kiss their husbands goodbye and jokingly say they’ll see them in six months. Lindsay Schnell.

Richard Mackson for Sports Illustrated

Twenty-five years after Donnie Moore's death, it's time to dispel the myth that the pitcher killed himself because of a playoff home run. The truth is both darker and more relatable. By Michael McKnight.

Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

The former Titans kicker wished his wife good night and slipped out of the house unnoticed before dying in a single-vehicle crash less than a mile from home. In between, two incidents of alleged road rage have left friends and family wondering what happened to the upbeat man they always knew. By Robert Klemko.


The greatest fight in WWE history did not take place on pay-per-view. Bret Hart defeated Vince McMahon in under a minute, knocking out the WWE’s chairman and CEO with a vicious uppercut. Here, Hart opens up about the infamous incident. By Justin Barrasso.

Jeff Roberson/AP

Eight years playing and 37 years coaching. That’s how long the game has been a part of Ken Flajole’s life. But what do his days look like now in his first season without football? By Greg A. Bedard.

Tim Clayton/SI

Max Lenox was born to a crack-addicted mother, given up for adoption and raised by two gay dads. The love and struggles of his family life - along with the ups and downs of his basketball career - have shaped him into a respected leader as captain of the Army basketball team. By S.L. Price.

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