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. Neilly, a 17-year-old from Tampa, clinched his first international title with a 6--4, 7--5 defeat of Atlanta's Donald Young, 15, in Key Biscayne, Fla., on Sunday. The finals matchup--Young is also black--was the latest evidence that the trail blazed by Venus and Serena Williams is being followed by other talented young African-American players. Young is considered the best U.S. prospect since Andy Roddick. Neilly, who's known for a huge forehand, caught fire last month when he began working with Tarik Benhabiles, who coached Roddick to the 1999 Orange Bowl title. "Emotionally, Donald played a better match," Benhabiles said, "but Tim's power saved him."
Halted all ticket sales and promotional and marketing operations by the newly minted Washington Nationals, after the Washington, D.C., city council voted on Dec. 14 to require that half the funding for a new ballpark come from private sources. In September, Mayor Anthony Williams signed an agreement with Major League Baseball guaranteeing complete public financing for a stadium; last week commissioner Bud Selig said he won't extend a Dec. 31 deadline for D.C. politicians to make good on the deal. Meanwhile, the team is in limbo: As of Monday, MLB hadn't said whether the team would temporarily play in RFK Stadium, return to Montreal or move elsewhere. Said Williams, "I'm saddened that we can go so far in five years and step back so far in five minutes."
Slapped with a $25 million defamation lawsuit by Olympic gold medalist Marion Jones, BALCO founder Victor Conte. In a nationally televised interview earlier this month, Conte said he watched Jones inject herself with human growth hormone before the 2000 Games, which she denies. Last week her lawyers challenged Conte to take a lie-detector test and accused him of having a vendetta against Jones because she refused to endorse a diet supplement he manufactured. Conte called the lawsuit a "p.r. stunt by a desperate woman who has regularly used drugs throughout her career."
Resigned after four days on the job, would-be USC basketball coach Rick Majerus. On Dec. 14 Majerus, 56, stepped down from his job as an ESPN analyst and agreed to take over the Trojans on April 1. Last Saturday he backed out, saying he was "overwhelmed" and doesn't believe his health is strong enough to handle the long hours the job requires. Majerus retired last January as Utah's coach because of heart problems and his longtime battle with his weight.
December 27, 2004
Died after being shot near his home in a Chicago suburb in what his family believes was a holdup, Arthur Agee Sr., 52, whose son Arthur Jr. was one of the subjects of the 1994 documentary Hoop Dreams. Since then the elder Agee had kicked a cocaine habit, moved into a home his son bought with money made from the movie and became an ordained minister. Said Agee Jr., who played in the USBL and the IBA and plans to launch a sportswear line next year, "Hoop Dreams changed him and had an impact on his life."