TIGER WOODS, 27
Woods, a billionaire in the making, has single-handedly lifted
his sport's ratings, attendance and prize money to new heights.
He's a global icon who will continue to alter the landscape of
sports and sports business. His foundation, which is funded in
part by two big tournaments (both are Tour events), could become
the richest charity run by an athlete.
SERENA WILLIAMS, 21
Credibility. Marketability. Visibility. Dominance. Serena has
them all. The top female athlete in the world, she has held
tennis's No. 1 ranking since July 2002 and won four straight
Grand Slam events. Off the court, Nike and Puma are bidding for
her services. She could soon become the first female athlete to
garner a $50 million endorsement deal.
MICHAEL JORDAN, 40
Future NBA Hall of Famer
Capitalism in hightops. Jordan's global economic impact was
recently estimated at $13 billion and counting, no matter that he
says he'll no longer be playing. At least two NBA teams are
waiting for him to decide which front office he'll run. He has
the power to reshape a franchise and perhaps even the league.
Dare we say Commissioner Jordan?
ARTURO MORENO, 56
Owner, Anaheim Angels
Out of nowhere, the Phoenix businessman jumped nearly to the top
of our list last month by purchasing the world champion Angels
for $180 million, making him the first Latino majority owner in
sports. Moreno, who made billions in the outdoor-advertising
business, was partially attracted by Anaheim's potentially
lucrative Latino fan base.
TYRONE WILLINGHAM, 49
Football Coach, Notre Dame
Clout comes with winning, especially on the grandest stages. No
one exemplifies this better than Willingham, who in just one
season restored the glory to perhaps the most prestigious program
in college football. His success as Notre Dame's first
African-American coach could embolden other schools to hire a
black football coach.
YAO MING, 22
Center, Houston Rockets
Yao, the 7'5" Chinese import, had the greatest economic impact of
any NBA rookie since Michael Jordan. Houston's home attendance
rose 17%, and for the first time in years the Rockets were a draw
on the road. The NBA is now aired on six Chinese TV networks.
With his engaging smile, Yao already has deals with Apple and
GENE UPSHAW, 58
Executive Director, NFL Players Assn.
No union leader has a better rapport with his league's
commissioner. (Upshaw and Paul Tagliabue talk three times a
week.) Though most NFL contracts are not guaranteed, Upshaw has
secured other critical gains for players, including free agency
and 65% of gross revenue. More important, there hasn't been a
player walkout since '87.
JIMMIE LEE SOLOMON, 46
Senior Vice President of Baseball Operations, Major League
Few executives influence more facets of the game than this
Harvard Law graduate. Solomon, who's worked in baseball since
1991, oversees MLB's U.S. and international operations, the
Scouting Bureau and the Arizona Fall League. He conceived the
All-Star Futures Game and has been instrumental in establishing
MLB's Youth Baseball Academy.
HAROLD HENDERSON, 60
Executive VP for Labor Relations and Chairman of Management
Sitting across the table from Gene Upshaw (No. 8) is Henderson,
who is in charge of the league's labor efforts. He's the NFL's
chief negotiator and the league's highest-ranking
African-American. Henderson and his staff oversee matters
regarding the salary cap ($71.1 million in 2002) and have final
approval on all player contracts.
JONATHAN MARINER, 48
CFO, Major League Baseball
He is the game's Alan Greenspan, a trusted voice in a parlous
economic environment. Among his various duties, Mariner meets
regularly with team executives to monitor their finances and
prevent surprise fiscal woes. When teams seek to borrow from the
league's loan pool, they've got to get through Mariner first.
TREVOR EDWARDS, 40
Corporate Vice President of Global Brand Management, Nike
Think the latest Nike product is dope? You can thank Edwards, a
top executive at Nike, who oversees a budget of close to $1
billion to develop and execute management strategy and
communications. Born in London, Edwards, who has been at Nike for
a decade, was instrumental in signing the World Cup-champ
Brazilian soccer team.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL, 31
Center, Los Angeles Lakers
A 7'1", 325-pound giant on the court and an economic force off
it, Shaq owns a record label and a clothing company, has released
five rap CDs and has appeared in three movies. His gentle-giant
image enables him to earn $14 million a year in endorsements from
companies like Burger King, Nestle Crunch, Radio Shack, Swatch
ULICE PAYNE, 47
President, Milwaukee Brewers
The first African-American president of a major league team,
Payne is responsible for all business aspects of the
operation--from marketing to ticket pricing to ballpark
amenities. After the Brewers' 10th straight losing season, Payne
replaced Wendy Selig-Prieb (Bud's daughter) last September and
has pledged to attract more black and Latino fans.
DON KING, 71
Though his influence has diminished because of boxing's
misfortunes and his own longtime reliance on heavyweights, King
is still a force in the sport. He's promoted more than 500
fights, including six of the 10 largest pay-per-view events. In
what may be a last-ditch grasp at regaining power, he is trying
to sign Lennox Lewis to a three-fight deal.
KENNY WILLIAMS, 39
General Manager, Chicago White Sox
He was just four years old when sprinters Tommie Smith and John
Carlos took a defiant stand against racism in the United States
by removing their shoes and raising their black-gloved fists on
the podium during the medal ceremony at the 1968 Olympics in
Mexico City. Yet Williams's father, Jerry, who had run track with
Smith and Carlos at San Jose State, made sure his young son knew
the meaning behind the moment. Indeed, growing up in the San
Francisco Bay Area among hippies and Black Panthers, Kenny was
often privy to fiery political and social dialogues. "It was the
sign of the times," says Williams. "Though I was young, it was
pretty obvious, the passion behind those discussions."
In 2000 he became the third African-American general manager in
baseball, and he remains one of two minority G.M.'s in the sport,
along with Montreal's Omar Minaya (No. 17). A former wideout at
Stanford, Williams was selected by the White Sox in the third
round of the 1982 draft despite not having played college
baseball. He retired in '91 and became a White Sox scout before
moving up to special assistant to owner Jerry Reinsdorf three
Williams has already made his mark in the front office. In
January he helped engineer a three-team trade that resulted in
the acquisition of Bartolo Colon from the Expos. "Kenny's one of
the brightest minds in the game," says Oakland G.M. Billy Beane.
"He's very self-assured, straightforward and honest."
In Williams and manager Jerry Manual the White Sox have the first
minority G.M.-manager combination in baseball. And though
Williams is proud of being a part of a franchise that encourages
diversity, he believes the opportunity he has received will be
meaningless if he doesn't win. "You've got to be prepared to
succeed," says Williams. "It's just a footnote and not a real win
if you fail." --Andrea Woo
OMAR MINAYA, 44
General Manager, Montreal Expos
In a feat of magic Minaya has kept the Expos competitive despite
an anemic $40 million payroll. Baseball's first Latino G.M., he
has hired more than 100 people--nearly a third of them
minorities--since taking the job in 2002. He was an assistant
G.M. with the Mets and, before that, a Rangers scout who was best
known for signing Sammy Sosa.
KOBE BRYANT, 24
Guard, Los Angeles Lakers
With three NBA championships, five All-Star appearances and
endorsement deals with Sprite, Spalding and McDonald's, Bryant is
a new-generation Jordan. He ranks 31st among Forbes's Top 100
Most Powerful Celebrities, and his next shoe contract (he's a
free agent since parting ways with Adidas) should be worth at
least $25 million.
ANITA DEFRANTZ, 50
An IOC member since 1986, DeFrantz, a '76 bronze medalist in
rowing, is the senior and most influential U.S. representative in
the often fractious organization. In '97 she was elected IOC vice
president, becoming the first woman to hold the position. An
advocate for women's sports, she helped get women's soccer and
softball added to the Games.
BILL DUFFY, 43
One of the first agents to go global, Duffy became the hottest
rep in basketball after landing three of the top four picks in
the 2002 NBA draft, including Yao Ming (No. 7). Other clients are
Canada's Steve Nash and 20 Europeans. Duffy's got game too: The
former Santa Clara guard sealed the deal to rep Jay Williams last
year by winning a game of H-O-R-S-E.
TERDEMA USSERY, 44
President and CEO, Dallas Mavericks
Steve Nash is not Mavs owner Mark Cuban's most vital point man.
It's Ussery, a former Nike executive and an ex-CBA commissioner.
In a key maneuver to improve the team's financial situation, he
helped secure funds for a new arena through a $125 million bond
that was approved by Texas voters. He also hangs with Roy Jones
Jr. (No. 70).
OZZIE NEWSOME, 47
Senior VP for Football Operations, Baltimore Ravens
If players want a blueprint for becoming an NFL executive, they'd
be wise to study the path of this Hall of Famer. The former
Browns tight end was a player personnel director and in 2002 was
named the NFL's first black G.M. Since Newsome, the league's 2001
exec of the year, two other NFL teams now have African-American
KEITH TRIBBLE, 47
Executive Director, Orange Bowl
Not all bowl presidents are white guys who wear ugly blazers.
Under Tribble's direction, the Orange Bowl has seen an increase
in sponsorship from $300,000 to more than $2 million annually. In
1997 Tribble helped form the Super Alliance, which ultimately
became the blueprint for the BCS. So you can thank (or blame) him
for the BCS.
KERY DAVIS, 45
Senior VP Sports Programming, HBO
The man picks fights all day. Two years ago Davis became the
network's boxing czar, making him one of the most powerful
figures in the sport, which relies on HBO for much-needed
exposure. His network's fight stable includes Vernon Forrest,
Oscar De La Hoya (No. 63), Sugar Shane Mosely and, most
important, Roy Jones Jr. (No. 70).
BILLY HUNTER, 60
Executive Director, National Basketball Players Association
The former U.S. attorney presides over the highest-paid union
membership in sports. During Hunter's seven-year tenure, the
average NBA salary has grown from $2.3 million to $4.6 million.
Hunter held the players together during the 1998-99 lockout, but
he'll soon be tested again. The current collective bargaining
pact expires after next season.
DON NOMURA, 45
Nomura grew up watching, studying and playing baseball in Japan.
His stepfather was one of that country's alltime greats, Nankai
Hawks catcher Katsuya (Moose) Nomura, the 1965 Triple Crown
winner. Don played infield in the Japanese minor leagues for four
seasons until 1981 but never conformed to the Japanese game's
tradition of sacrificing individuality in favor of team harmony.
(He was once benched for two weeks for asking why he wasn't in
the starting lineup.) Nomura moved to the U.S. in 1981 in hopes
of breaking into baseball as a coach or team executive but
instead ended up becoming an agent, primarily for Japanese
players and for Americans and Latinos who spent a season or two
It was as an agent that Nomura again challenged Japanese
tradition. In 1995 he found a loophole in the agreement between
the major leagues in Japan and the U.S. that allowed Hideo Nomo,
a top pitcher in Japan, to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
That move all but destroyed the wall that had prevented Japanese
players from jumping to the major leagues.
Today Japanese players are no longer novelties in the U.S., and
stars like 2001 American League MVP and Rookie of the Year Ichiro
Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners (No. 54 on SI's list) and New York
Yankees outfielder Hideki (Godzilla) Matsui are among the sport's
most popular players. This season there were eight Japanese
players on Opening Day rosters. Not surprisingly, Nomura feels
that's not enough. "[Japan] wants to hang on to its players, but
baseball players are artists," he says. "If their soul, feelings
and heart are not in that place, it's hard for them to perform.
They need a system that allows them to move on to a higher
JOE DUMARS, 39
President Basketball Operations, Detroit Pistons
He put a clamp on Michael Jordan as a defensive stopper in the
late '80s for the two-time champion Pistons. Now he's trying to
win a title from the front office. Just three years after Dumars
took over, Detroit had the best record in the East this
season--in part because Joe bested MJ again, in a key six-player
trade with the Wizards before the season.
DAN GUERRERO, 51
Athletic Director, UCLA
How do you let everyone know there's a new sheriff in town? Hire
a black football coach after less than eight months on the job.
One of only four Latino ADs in Division I-A, Guerrero fired Bob
Toledo and hired Karl Dorrell, the Broncos receivers coach, who
became only the fourth African-American head coach in Division
GENE WASHINGTON, 56
Director of Football Operations, NFL
Washington, a receiver with the 49ers and Lions from 1969 to '79,
is judge and jury for NFL players who get too physical on the
field. He levies fines and suspensions to discourage excessive
and gratuitous hits. Yet Washington's true influence stems from
the respect he commands from both management and players alike.
CHARLES WANG, 58,
AND SANJAY KUMAR, 41
Co-owners, New York Islanders
The Islanders were floundering after having had three different
owners in four years before the Shanghai-born and Queens-bred
Wang and Kumar, a Sri Lankan who immigrated to the U.S. when he
was 14 in 1976, purchased the team for $190 million in 2000. The
duo procured big-name talent (Alexei Yashin, Michael Peca) and
raised the team's payroll to $41 million, helping the Isles make
the playoffs in back-to-back seasons. Wang, a huge basketball fan
and a founder of software giant Computer Associates, considered
buying the Grizzlies and the Hornets, and many believe he has his
eyes on the Nets should the YankeeNets group put the team up for
sale. Landing the Nets could entice Nassau County lawmakers to
build a revenue-generating new arena in Long Island.
STEVE MILLS, 43
President of Sports Team Operations, Madison Square Garden
Mills manages some $700 million in assets--the combined value of
the Rangers, the Knicks and the Liberty, the three teams that
occupy the World's Most Famous Arena. He's also got juice a few
blocks away at the NBA office, where he spent 16 years, rising to
senior vice president. There he helped form and develop the
original Dream Team.
ROD GRAVES, 44
Vice President of Football Operations, Arizona Cardinals
After working his way through the Bears and Cardinals
organizations, Graves, a former scout, in January became the
second of three African-American G.M.'s in the NFL. His charge:
turn around a listing franchise with a modest budget. So far he
has generated buzz by signing Emmitt Smith, the league's alltime
JORGE HIDALGO, 39
Executive Vice President of Sports, Telemundo
Chances are you got your first taste of Spanish-language
television during the 1994 World Cup with Univision announcer
Andres Cantor's breathless call: "Goooooooooal!" Cantor may have
broadened the exposure of Univision, but it was Hidalgo, the
executive in charge of the network's World Cup coverage, wholed
Univision to the top of the Spanish-language sports market in the
Four years ago Hidalgo left for rival Telemundo, and he has since
established the No. 2 Spanish-language network as the premier
Spanish sports programmer. He has acquired the exclusive
Spanish-language broadcast rights to matches of the U.S. and
Mexican national soccer teams and to televise an NBA game each
week (the first time a major American pro league has regularly
aired games on a Hispanic network). When Hidalgo arrived,
Telemundo had five sports properties; now it has 13. "I came in
with a lot of ambition and was given a lot of freedom to turn
this place around," he says.
That ambition has been evident since Hidalgo's youth. His parents
could not afford to send him to college, so Hidalgo took a job as
a cameraman at a Univision station. Now he aspires to lift
Telemundo above his former employer in the ratings. "I wouldn't
mind if Telemundo decided to open up an all-sports network in
Spanish," Hidalgo says. "And, of course, I'd hope they'd put me
in charge." --Gene Menez
BILLY KING, 37
General Manager, Philadelphia 76ers
The NBA's youngest G.M.--and the buffer between All-Star Allen
Iverson (No. 48) and coach Larry Brown--is fly enough to hang
with players and savvy enough to hold his own with executives and
agents. Players love his pedigree (King played at Duke); league
types value his NBA cred (he was an assistant for four years
under Brown with the Pacers).
JAMES HARRIS, 55
Vice President of Player Personnel, Jacksonville Jaguars
In 1969 Harris became the second black quarterback to play in the
NFL, and five years later he was the first to start a playoff
game. Those experiences groomed Harris as a leader. A terrific
talent evaluator--as Baltimore's pro-player personnel director he
helped build the 2001 Super Bowl champs. This year he drafted
quarterback Byron Leftwich.
DUSTY BAKER, 53
Manager, Chicago Cubs
Never has a black manager been so hot. After taking the Giants to
the World Series last season, the three-time manager of the year
signed a four-year, $14 million contract with the Cubs. Players
love Baker's cool and fans seem to embrace his homespun style.
With Lou Piniella and Joe Torre, he may be one of baseball's most
KIM NG, 34
Vice President and Assistant General Manager, Los Angeles Dodgers
Write it down: Ng may become baseball's first female G.M. She has
impressed fellow big league execs, who describe her as tough and
intelligent. Before moving to L.A. in 2001, she was an assistant
G.M. with the Yankees. Known as a fierce negotiator, Ng has won
several high-profile arbitration cases, including one involving
AARON GOODWIN, 42
The man who orchestrated NBA All-Star Gary Payton's mid-year exit
from Seattle might soon be the envy of his peers. Why? He's
reportedly on the verge of signing LeBron James (No. 101).
Goodwin says he's negotiated over $700 million in contracts for
his clients, but an alliance with James could make that figure
look like meal money.
VENUS WILLIAMS, 22
Not as dominant as she once was, Big Sis is still a force for
woman athletes: Her $40 million Reebok contract and endorsement
deals with the likes of McDonald's and Doublemint gum are
testament to her broad appeal. And though she's lost ground to
Little Sis Serena (No. 3), Venus remains a huge draw on the
WAYNE COOPER, 46
Vice President of Basketball Operations, Sacramento Kings
A former journeyman center who played 14 seasons in the NBA,
Cooper is a major reason the talented Kings have such an
international flavor. He oversees day-to-day business, including
all scouting. One key move: drafting little-known Serb Peja
Stojakovic in 1996, which helped set off the NBA's current influx
of foreign players.
BILL STRICKLAND, 54, AND MASON ASHE, 39
They've created one of the largest black-owned sports management
agencies, with 30 to 40 clients in professional sports and
entertainment including Rasheed Wallace, Allan Houston, Daunte
Culpepper and Levon Kirkland. Before forming their company, both
cut their teeth at IMG. Strickland was the first black president
of the basketball division (he was also at ProServ for eight
years) and Ashe was a VP for team sports, representing football
and basketball players domestically and abroad. Among their
latest projects: launching an ice tour featuring black skaters.
Ashe has partnered with Robert Johnson (No. 1) away from the
game. Ashe serves on a national subcommittee chaired by Johnson
to solicit donations on behalf of the William Jefferson Clinton
Presidential Library in Little Rock.
MAGIC JOHNSON, 43
Founder and CEO, Magic Johnson Enterprises; VP, Los Angeles
Forget the five championships and three MVP awards. Johnson, a
vice president with the Lakers, has been just as successful in
his postbasketball life, bringing several businesses to 65 sites
in primarily lower-income areas. Magic, who owns 5% of the
Lakers, aspires to buy his own team and raise $1 billion for
EUGENE PARKER, 47
While most top agents are based in a major city--generally on one
coast or the other--Parker works out of tiny Roanoke, Ind. He
specializes in NFL players and has more than 40 clients,
including Emmitt Smith, Ray Lewis, Curtis Martin and Rod Woodson.
According to Woodson, players trust the deeply religious Parker
because of his values.
CRAIG LITTLEPAGE, 51
Athletic Director, Virginia
Hanging on the wall opposite Littlepage's desk is a lithograph
depicting a person with an elongated arm stretching to dunk a
basketball into a peach basket atop a pole. The painting, by
former NFL offensive lineman Ernie Barnes, is titled High
Aspirations, which aptly describes Littlepage's approach to life.
Littlepage became the first African-American athletic director in
Atlantic Coast Conference history in August 2001 and quickly
established himself as a prominent and respected figure in
college athletics. Most significantly, he was named in March 2002
to the NCAA's prestigious men's basketball committee, on which he
will serve for five years.
At Virginia, Littlepage oversees a $32 million budget and has
implemented an ambitious five-year plan to consolidate the
department's fund-raising efforts and increase donations by $13
million, substantially higher than current levels. He has also
created a lofty mission statement for the department, including
graduating 100% of all student-athletes. (According to the latest
NCAA figures, Virginia has graduated 44% of its men's basketball
players and 88% of its football players over a six-year period.)
"It would have been very easy to have moved forward while
maintaining the status quo," Littlepage says. "But I want to do
In a sense he already has. Littlepage was born and raised near
Philadelphia in the predominantly black town of LaMott, which was
a stop on the Underground Railroad before the abolition of
slavery. He played basketball at Penn, and after serving as an
assistant coach at three schools, he returned to his alma mater
as head coach in 1982. After guiding the Quakers to the NCAA
tournament in '85, he moved to Rutgers, where he went 23-63 in
three seasons. In '88 he went to Virginia as an assistant coach
and two years later became an assistant athletic director.
Just like the elongated figure in Barnes's painting, Littlepage
has at times stretched himself thin. Before the Virginia-Florida
State football game last August in Tallahassee, Littlepage, who
had gotten little sleep in the previous 72 hours due to a hectic
business travel schedule, collapsed outside Doak Campbell
Stadium. In five minutes he regained consciousness, and doctors
later determined that he had not suffered a heart attack or a
stroke. The diagnosis? Fatigue and dehydration. "I had nothing
wrong with me," he says, "except I was trying to do too much."
STU JACKSON, 47
Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations, NBA
Call him the NBA's Dean of Discipline, though some
lighter-in-the-wallet players and coaches surely have their own
pet names for this former coach and G.M. He has significant
influence within David Stern's cozy inner circle and chairs the
league's competition committee, which recommends rule changes to
the Board of Governors.
ALLEN IVERSON, 27
Guard, Philadelphia 76ers
Revered for staying true to his roots--and for playing bigger
than his 6-foot frame--Iverson may have more street cred than any
other professional athlete, and that translates into big bucks.
The 2000-01 MVP, Iverson has a lifetime contract with Reebok,
which produces a top-selling Answer 6 sneaker, worth more than $7
million a year.
MIKE GARRETT, 59
Athletic Director, USC
One of the most prominent minority ADs in Division I athletics,
the 1965 Heisman Trophy winner oversees a department with a $34
million budget at the school where he ran for glory as a
tailback. In 10 years at USC, Garrett has added 42 women's
scholarships and boosted athletic fund-raising to record levels.
C. LAMONT SMITH, 45
In the mid-1980s Smith was one of the first black sports agents
to achieve a modicum of success in the NFL. Now, with more than
50 clients, he's one of the most respected agents. In 2000 he
negotiated the deal that made Eddie George the highest-paid
running back, and a year later, he helped make Trevor Pryce the
highest-paid defensive player.
TUBBY SMITH, 51
Basketball Coach, Kentucky
Since taking over a storied program that didn't take a black
player until 1969, Smith has gone 164-47 and won an NCAA title. A
mentor for young African-American coaches, he recently signed an
eight-year, $20.25 million extension.
ISIAH THOMAS, 42
Coach, Indiana Pacers
Whether or not you doubt this Thomas, he's a dynamo who has
worked in nearly every facet of the business. Now, the former
All-Star and world champion is trying to lead the Pacers to their
first title since a '73 ABA crown.
BOB WATSON, 57
Vice President, Major League Baseball
Although he's no longer in the limelight--he was the Yankees'
G.M. from October 1995 to February '98, a tenure that included
one world championship--Watson maintains a vital presence as
baseball's discipline czar.
ICHIRO SUZUKI, 29
Outfielder, Seattle Mariners
This Japanese star became the face of globalization in 2001, when
he won the AL MVP. He dispelled the long-held notion that only
pitchers, not position players, could make the jump from Japan to
the major leagues.
FELIPE ALOU, 67
Manager, San Francisco Giants
Alou has been a mentor for Latinos since becoming a skipper in
'92. He says he hasn't retired because he believes his departure
would hinder the progress of other Latinos seeking to become
ED TAPSCOTT, 49
Executive Vice President and COO, Charlotte NBA franchise
The architect of Charlotte's new team, Tapscott will hire the
coach and G.M. and even pick the team's name. With owner Robert
Johnson's aim to nurture minorities, Tapscott will have the
chance to make a significant impact.
GENE SMITH, 47
Athletic Director, Arizona State
After a solid seven-year run as Iowa State AD, Smith didn't waste
any time upon arriving in Tempe in 2000. He replaced the football
coach and reduced the athletic department's deficit from $3.6
million to $1 million.
RAY ANDERSON, 49
Executive VP and Chief Administrative Officer, Atlanta Falcons
When Anderson joined the Falcons' front office in 2002, the
Stanford and Harvard Law graduate had already made a name for
himself as a no-nonsense negotiator on the other side of the
bargaining table. During his 23-year career as a sports agent and
legal adviser, Anderson was known for his tirelessness and
outspoken advocacy of his clients' interests. Now he stares down
some of his former clients as the Falcons' lead negotiator. "The
part I've enjoyed most," he says, "has been working with former
colleagues and competitors. I say, 'I know you, you know me, so
let's get right to it and deal.'"
As an agent Anderson had more than 45 clients, including current
NFL coaches Herman Edwards and Marvin Lewis and Notre Dame coach
Tyrone Willingham. When he felt his African-American coaching
clients weren't getting a fair deal, Anderson wasn't afraid to
speak out publicly. "I established myself as an advocate [for
minority coaches] early on because I was always polished and
because I had [better credentials] than most agents," he says.
A former labor lawyer, Anderson entered the sports arena in 1980
when he launched the West Coast office for the now-defunct Sports
Advisers Group. At first some potential clients and team
negotiators didn't want to deal with Anderson. He pressed on,
acquiring clients, and in 1987 he formed his own agency, AR
Sports. Fourteen years later Anderson sold his lucrative business
to Octagon, where he stayed as director of the company's coaches
division until last June, when Arthur Blank, the Falcons' new
owner, came calling. Says Anderson, "I was excited about the
opportunity to put together a winning team." --Elizabeth Newman
HERMAN FRAZIER, 48
Athletic Director, Hawaii
In addition to overseeing a $16 million budget at Hawaii,
Frazier, an Olympic track gold medalist in '76, was recently
named chef de mission for the 2004 Summer Games in Athens. He'll
oversee logistical details for the U.S. team.
HERMAN EDWARDS, 49
Coach, New York Jets
With his impassioned intensity and back-to-back playoff
appearances, he has won over Jets fans and the media. In 2001
Edwards became the first alumnus of the NFL's Minority Coaching
Fellowship program to land a top job.
KELVIN SAMPSON, 47
Basketball Coach, Oklahoma
In nine seasons in Norman, Sampson has returned hoops to
prominence at this football power. A Lumbee Indian, he has a
390-229 record and has made 10 straight NCAA tournaments,
reaching the Final Four in 2002.
ALEX RODRIGUEZ, 27
Shortstop, Texas Rangers
He changed baseball's salary structure when he signed a $252
million contract in 2000. The youngest player to reach 300
homers, A-Rod pledged $3.9 million over six years last October to
the University of Miami.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA, 30
A world champion in five weight classes, De La Hoya has become
the most marketable nonheavyweight in boxing. He's also the first
Hispanic to own a national boxing promotional firm, which markets
other Latino fighters.
DEANA GARNER, 37
Associate Director of Agent, Gambling, and Amateurism Activities,
Your luck is usually up if Garner starts scrutinizing you. A
prosecutor in Indianapolis for more than seven years, she is one
of the NCAA's leading investigators, coordinating 75 to 80
investigations at any one time.
LARRY MILLER, 53
President, Jordan Brand
How do you extend Michael Jordan's influence into the 21st
century? That's the job of Miller, who runs Nike's $320 million
Jordan division, which debuted in 1997 and features footwear,
apparel and accessories.
TONY DUNGY, 47
Coach, Indianapolis Colts
One of three black head coaches in the NFL, Dungy heads the Colts
after leading Tampa Bay to respectability. As a Chiefs' coach in
1990 he gave Herman Edwards (No. 60) his first NFL job, as a
scout, then as an assistant.
JOHNNIE COCHRAN, 65
Last September he and fellow lawyer Cyrus Mehri called out the
NFL, criticizing the league's head-coach hiring practices. As a
result most teams are interviewing at least one minority
candidate for every opening.
JOHN CHANEY, 71
Basketball Coach, Temple
Chaney has long instilled in his players invaluable life lessons
and fought NCAA rules that he felt hurt minority athletes. He has
won a few games too; in 31 seasons he's 693-269, with 17 NCAA
LENNOX LEWIS, 37
He who controls the heavyweight division controls boxing, and the
6'5" Brit is alone at the top of the sport. If Lewis ever fought
Roy Jones Jr., it would most likely be the most lucrative fight
in the history of boxing.
ROY JONES JR., 34
Pound for pound he's the world's best fighter. He's also the
sport's biggest wild card. With talk of a Lewis fight, does he
fight Evander Holyfield for $10 million? Or go for bigger bucks
($100 million, perhaps) against Mike Tyson?
PETER WESTBROOK, 51
A bronze medalist at the 1984 Olympics, Westbrook was the first
African-American fencer to win an Olympic medal. Now his
foundation supplies the U.S. with fresh talent. Three of nine
2000 Olympians were Westbrook-trained.
DOC RIVERS, 41
Coach, Orlando Magic
A cerebral point guard during his 13-year NBA career, Rivers is
one of the league's brightest young coaches, having led the Magic
to three straight playoff appearances. Coveted by other teams, he
is a future general manager.
MARVIN LEWIS, 44
Coach, Cincinnati Bengals
Can he save the woebegone Bengals? Drafting Carson Palmer No. 1
is a good start. Lewis, who built the defense that made the
Ravens the 2001 Super Bowl champions, has more power than any
recent Cincinnati coach.
MICHAEL WILBON, 44
Cohost, Pardon the Interruption; Columnist, The Washington Post
Amid the cacophony of 24-hour sports talk, Wilbon (with fellow
scribe Tony Kornheiser) gives fans the smartest take to be found
on TV. His columns are also insightful and reach a powerful
audience in the nation's capital.
CHARLES BARKLEY, 40
He speaks. People listen. No other jock-turned-pundit opines so
entertainingly on topics from Martha Burk to the T-Wolves' mental
block about the Lakers. ("The only people who think they can win
are their wives and girlfriends.")
FRANK ROBINSON, 67
Manager, Montreal Expos
Robinson remains one of the most respected figures in baseball.
He was sport's first African-American manager, with Cleveland in
1975, and is now a member of the Hall of Fame's board of
MICHAEL VICK, 22
Quarterback, Atlanta Falcons
Vick is a thrill to watch--and the Falcons have the attendance
figures to prove it. Last year they sold out every home game for
the first time since 1992. Vick is one of the NFL's rising stars;
his jersey is the league's No. 3 seller.
JAMES TANNER JR., 34
Tanner handles contract negotiations and general business matters
for Tim Duncan, Grant Hill, Chamique Holdsclaw and Shane Battier,
among others. He was a senior adviser for the 1996 Clinton-Gore
WARRICK DUNN, 28
Running Back, Atlanta Falcons
Dunn is the Falcons' top rusher, but his impact is even greater
off the field. Since 1997 his Homes for the Holidays program has
helped 37 single mothers buy houses by providing them with the
down payment and the furnishings.
BRYANT GUMBEL, 54
In a sports television universe that values sound bites, Gumbel
is an anomaly. His monthly show, Real Sports, produces the best
sports journalism on TV, and Gumbel is heavily involved in story
selection, writing and editing.
STUART SCOTT, 37
Say what you want about his style, but Scott has changed the way
we talk by infusing an urban flavor and his signature phrases
("Boo-yah") into the sports vernacular. He's arguably the most
popular anchor on SportsCenter.
PAMELA WHEELER, 36
Director of Operations, WNBA Players Association
With the WNBA season in jeopardy, Wheeler faced off with David
Stern and came away with the league's second collective
bargaining agreement. The deal created free agency and
forestalled some of the cutbacks Stern sought.
JOE LOUIS BARROW, 55
Executive Director, The First Tee
Tiger Woods isn't the only one bringing golf to the masses.
Barrow (Joe Louis's son) has helped raise $150 million for junior
golf. He oversees a $29 million budget and manages 12,000
volunteers and 1,000 full-time workers.
PETER BYNOE, 52
Bynoe, a former Nuggets co-owner, has negotiated stadium deals
for the Reds, Bengals, Brewers, Redskins and 49ers, and assisted
in the '94 redevelopment of Soldier Field. Among his clients:
Michael Jordan and Donovan McNabb.
DOUG WILLIAMS, 47
Football Coach, Grambling State
Could a black quarterback ever win the Super Bowl? Williams put
the question to rest. Perhaps the best-known coach in black
college sports, Williams is proving to be a worthy successor to
the legendary Eddie Robinson.
LEAH WILCOX, 44
Vice President of Player and Talent Relations, NBA Entertainment
Mention Wilcox's name to anyone in the NBA fraternity and you're
likely to get the same reaction: a smile and a nod of approval.
She may have the most influence over players and executives of
anyone in the league. "Leah has a way about her that just entices
the guys to listen to her," says Toronto Raptors center Antonio
Known for her personable demeanor and omnipresent BlackBerry,
Wilcox has the job of lining up players to make appearances. She
has also helped several players, including New Orleans Hornets
forward Jamal Mashburn, jump-start business ventures. In 1996
Wilcox helped create Mothers of Professional Basketball Players,
a support organization for women with sons or daughters in the
NBA or the WNBA.
Players refer to Wilcox as Big Sis and are impressed with her
celebrity connections. NBA executives love her ability to relate
to the players. "I try to be the liaison between players and the
league," she says. "I let them know, whatever they need me to do
to help them get started, I am here." --E.N.
KEVEN DAVIS, 45
Davis has represented the Williams family for more than a decade
and advises Venus and Serena on major deals. In 2000 he
negotiated Venus's $40 million Reebok deal, the biggest
endorsement contract ever for a female athlete.
REGGIE WILLIAMS, 48
Vice President, Disney Sports Attractions
When you wish upon a star, the former Bengals star linebacker can
get you there. With a staff of 2,000, Williams handles marketing,
sales and sponsorship for Disney's Wide World of Sports, which
hosts 180 athletic events a year.
ROB EVANS, 56
Basketball Coach, Arizona State
The highly respected Evans came to Tempe in '98 after building
Ole Miss into a power. He's boosted ASU's graduation rate,
improved recruiting and given a tarnished program a new image.
He's also active in several charities.
HANK AARON, 69
Senior Vice President, Atlanta Braves
The alltime home run king continues to go to bat for minorities,
calling for more blacks in baseball front offices. In addition to
working in the Braves' front office, he owns 18 restaurants and a
TERESA PHILLIPS, 44
Athletic Director, Tennessee State
One of only 24 female ADs in Division I, she's cleaning up a
troubled department. She raised her profile this year by stepping
in as men's hoops coach after suspending the coach for the team's
involvement in a bench-clearing brawl.
JAROME IGINLA, 25
Right Wing, Calgary Flames
The first black player to win NHL goal and scoring titles is an
asset to the league's effort to attract minority youth. Can he do
for hockey what Tiger has done for golf? "I'd love to be a role
model for [young minorities]," he says.
SE RI PAK, 25
Known in Asia as the female Tiger Woods, Pak, the LPGA's No. 2
player, has won 20 titles. She's also partly responsible for a
wave of Asian talent to hit the tour; three of the top six
players on the 2002 money list were Korean.
RUDY DAVALOS, 63
Athletic Director, New Mexico
Davalos, the AD at Houston in the late 1980s, oversees 21 sports
and a $20 million budget. He's known as a fund-raising ace whose
marketing and promotions programs bring in more than $6 million
MORRIS DAVENPORT, 46
Senior Coordinating Producer, ESPN
When college coaches and players want to go into broadcasting
they call this man. The force behind College GameDay, Davenport,
a former Western Michigan defensive back, oversees ESPN's college
football and golf production.
SONNY HILL, 66
Philadelphia basketball guru
Think Allen Iverson is the king of Philly hoops? Guess again. All
bow to Hill, whose 35-year-old summer leagues are legend. An
adviser to the 76ers, Hill also runs tutoring and counseling
LISA LESLIE, 30
Center, Los Angeles Sparks
The face of the WNBA is a glamourous one. Leslie has won two
Olympic gold medals and two league titles, and has contracts with
Nike, Gatorade and a modeling agency. Until another star emerges,
the WNBA needs Leslie.
C. VIVIAN STRINGER, 55
Women's Basketball Coach, Rutgers
A women's hoops legend, Stringer is the only coach--male or
female--to have taken three schools (Cheyney, Iowa and Rutgers)
to the Final Four. She is one of the highest-paid ($410,000)
coaches in women's sports.
SATISH SANAN, 55
Owner, Padua Stables
In the sport of kings Sanan, who was born in India, has a kingdom
like few others. Since he entered the business in 1997, his
Florida stable has grown to nearly 250 horses and has produced
two Breeders' Cup champions.
DAMON EVANS, 33
Senior Associate Athletic Director, Georgia
A former Dawgs wide receiver, Evans has fast-tracked his way to
the No. 2 spot behind Vince Dooley in Athens. He had a
significant voice in the recent hiring of basketball coach Dennis
Felton, an African-American.
LEBRON JAMES, 18
The Chosen One? Who's to argue? Pick James or Carmelo Anthony at
No. 1? Please. James will put fannies in the seats throughout the
NBA. Indeed, the next time SI compiles this list, say, in a
decade, he just might be near the top.