Was there ever a better female athlete than Gibson, who went to
college on a basketball scholarship, became a tennis champion
(infusing power into the women's game) and played on the LPGA
tour? Her legacy is as the figure who, with dignity and decorum,
broke tennis's color lines and won Wimbledon in '57.
Dazzlingly athletic during his 14-year career, he bequeathed his
power (332 home runs) and speed (461 stolen bases) to his
record-shattering son. Barry Bonds hit two 10th-inning homers the
week his father died and said afterward, "I just lost my coach."
Tiny (4'11", 95 pounds) and unflappable (he sat still as a statue
in the saddle), he won four Kentucky Derbys, the last in '86 on
an 18-1 shot at age 54. Shoe won about 22% of his starts--8,833
races (second alltime)--and no jockey used the reins more
She coached Loyola's women's lacrosse team to eight NCAA
tournaments since '94, all the while battling brain cancer. From
her wheelchair last spring she inspired the Greyhounds to the
semifinals. Said associate coach Kerri Johnson, "She was
December 29, 2003
As much as any championship team, the Knicks of 1970 and '73
played selflessly and relentlessly; DeBusschere--scorer,
rebounder, defender--was their heart and soul.
No one wrote more intelligently, or eloquently, about sports than
the groundbreaking journalist who took a turn as the Lions'
quarterback, boxed Archie Moore and gave birth to Sidd Finch.
He pioneered wide-open offenses with the AFL's Chargers in the
'60s, believing in the deep strike and the short one. The father
of modern passing coached for 40 years.
The 6'1" Russian raised the high jump mark to 7' 5 3/4", won gold
in '64 and was the world's best when a motorcycle crash derailed
him in '65. He could kick a basketball rim.
As the second black major leaguer, and the first in the AL, he
endured as much prejudice as Jackie Robinson. He was also one of
the game's best sluggers, a seven-time All-Star.
The Blackhawks' fearless enforcer took karate and boxing lessons
to hone his skills and helped Chicago claw into the '71 finals.
He played 11 years, then coached for two more.
The masterly negotiator created the field of sports marketing by
founding IMG, which represents more than 1,000 pros. SI called
him the most influential man in sports.
He cherished the pitcher-batter duel as the essence of baseball
and with his cerebral approach and chin-high kick won 363 games,
the most by a lefthander.
He built America's Team. The Cowboys' G.M. from '60 to '89, he
had 20 straight winning seasons, won two titles and introduced
scantily clad cheerleaders. Hall of Fame material.
He said he developed his big-windup bolo punch while cutting
sugar cane as a child in Cuba. With it he thrilled crowds, won
107 fights and became welterweight champion of the world.
In an era of racing champions, not one was more brilliant than
Bid. Between '78 and '80 the gray colt's heart and speed led to
26 wins in 30 starts. Put to stud, he turned a magnificent white
but sired no great ones. Jockey Bill Shoemaker once said, "He's
the best horse I ever sat on."
After she became the first woman to swim the English Channel in
'26--and the first person to do it by crawl--New York City gave
her a huge parade. Calvin Coolidge called her "America's best
girl," but she was really its first female sports pioneer.
"To be a catcher," the 13-year big leaguer once joked, "you have
to be big and you've got to be dumb, and I qualify on both
counts." At 6'1" the four-time All-Star was also one of the
grittiest players in the game and led the Twins to the '65 World
At one of Neilson's famous clinics, an NHL coach asked, "Why
give information to people who might beat you with it?" The
deeply religious Neilson was stunned; he never thought not to
share. He coached seven teams--but the game, and the Lord, were
Did he believe in miracles? No. He believed in hard work,
relentless honesty, creative hockey and America. The U.S.'s win
over the Soviet Union in the '80 Olympics made him famous, but
Brooks was a hockey visionary, the best America has produced.
He called himself the King of Men and his foes "pencil-neck
geeks." Professional wrestling's most alluring villain was still
ranting at ringside this year.
Snowboarding's first pro, and also its Michael Jordan, he was a
four-time freestyle world champ. He was buried by an avalanche in
his beloved backcountry.
The cheerful Englishman was an American soccer institution. He
coached the U.S. men to the Olympic semis and led Portland's
women to the NCAA title.
The promising IRL driver seemed destined for stardom when he
signed with Chip Ganassi--a dream job. Three weeks later he died
in a wreck in Indianapolis.