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Summer of (Kevin) Love

Sept. 01, 2014
Sept. 01, 2014

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Sept. 1, 2014

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Summer of (Kevin) Love

Labor Day signals the unofficial end of summer—and of sports' supposed slow season. These five athletes each had a few months to remember, if not always for the sunniest of reasons

RORY MCILROY

This is an article from the Sept. 1, 2014 issue Original Layout

He broke off his engagement to another world-class star—tennis player Caroline Wozniacki—on May 21 but still had the summer of his life. Since that announcement, the world's No. 1--ranked golfer has won four events, including the British Open and the PGA Championship.

MIKE TROUT

He hasn't been superhuman—his batting average is down to .288—but he has been superb. He is second in the American League in WAR, he won the All-Star Game MVP, and Google briefly thought he'd already won the AL MVP. He's also helped the Angels (last postseason: 2009) get into playoff position.

LEBRON JAMES

Losing the NBA Finals was a bummer—and so was the Twitter beating he took for suffering the cramps heard 'round the world—but King James restored his mojo with his July 11 decision to take his talents back to Cleveland. Now, about that 50-year championship drought the city is stuck in....

JOHNNY MANZIEL

Johnny Football's defense of his robust social life raised eyebrows, and then his famous fingers got him in trouble when he flipped off the Redskins during a preseason game on Aug. 18, earning him a $12,000 fine. Oh, and he failed to win the starting quarterback job for the Browns.

PAUL GEORGE

The Pacers' swingman was poised to make this the Summer of George by becoming one of the breakout stars for Team USA at the FIBA World Cup. Instead the 24-year-old broke his leg in gruesome fashion during an intrasquad scrimmage on Aug. 1 and will likely miss all of next season.

SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE

The Packers are selling a 22-inch kielbasa smothered in beer cheese and sauerkraut called the Horse Collar at Lambeau Field this season.

PHOTOTHOMAS LOVELOCK FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (MCILROY)PHOTOROBER BECK/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (TROUT)PHOTOTY WRIGHT/GETTY IMAGES (JAMES)PHOTOAL TIELEMANS/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (MANZIEL)PHOTOANDREW D. BERNSTEIN/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (GEORGE)PHOTOCOURTESY DELAWARE NORTH (KIELBASA)FIVE ILLUSTRATIONS