You can think of a photo as a collection of atoms, countless tiny, varied pixels moving at frenzied speeds before bonding to produce power and energy supercharged beyond the sum of those parts. Take this photo, perhaps the most ambitious in SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's 60 years, shot on April 12, 2014, at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, where a year earlier two bombs had exploded, murdering three and injuring 264 more. In the crowd, more than 3,000 Boston Strong, there is a complex, furious swirl of emotion—heartbreak, joy, remembrance and triumph all colliding at once and bonded by the lens of photographer Gregory Heisler into a single, indelible image. It is a metaphor, writ large, for the entire Year in Sports.
PHOTOGregory HeislerPHOTOPhotograph by GREG NELSON FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED1 June 12, Miami The Spurs—with big help from Kawhi Leonard (2)—rise again. The Heat begin their descent into an uncertain future.PHOTOPhotograph by JOHN S. PETERSON ICON SMI2 June 25, Omaha Vanderbilt piles it on after winning its first College World Series title.PHOTOPhotograph by DAMIAN STROHMEYER FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED3 April 21, Boston Meb Keflezighi is the first American male to win the Boston Marathon in 31 years.PHOTOPhotograph by BRUCE BENNETT GETTY IMAGESApril 1, Uniondale, N.Y. Ice shave and a beauty by the Panthers' Nick Bjugstad on the Islanders' Travis Hamonic.PHOTOPhotograph by 1. JASON PARKHURST FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATEDSelfie Nation, Every Day 1. From left: Garrald McDowell, Victor Evans and DeVante Kincade, Oxford, Miss., Oct. 4PHOTOPhotograph by 2. CARLOS OSORIO/AP2. Justin Verlander, Detroit, June 8PHOTOPhotograph by 3. DAVID J. PHILLIP/AP3. J.J. Watt, Houston, July 26PHOTOPhotograph by 4. PATRICK SEMANSKY/AP4. Adam Jones, Baltimore, Sept. 16PHOTOPhotograph by 5. ROBERT BECK/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED5. Lee Westwood, Ryder Cup, Sept. 28PHOTOPhotograph by 6. ROB CARR/GETTY IMAGES6. Adam Silver, Washington, D.C., Nov. 21PHOTOPhotograph by 7. BRUNO MAGALHAES/AP7. Ronaldinho, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, July 24PHOTOPhotograph by 8. TOBY MELVILLE/REUTERS8. From left: Roger Federer, Stan Wawrinka, Novak Djokovic, Kei Nishikori, Andy Murray, Milos Raonic, Marin Cilic and Tomas Berdych, London, Nov. 7PHOTOPhotograph by 9. KEVIN JAIRAJ/USA TODAY SPORTS9. Didier Drogba and Ivory Coast teammates, Dallas, May 31PHOTOPhotograph by 10. AL TIELEMANS/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED10. Damion Square and Vinny Curry, Philadelphia, Aug. 21PHOTOPhotograph by 11. JOHN W. MCDONOUGH/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED11. From left: Bu Willingham, Ray Allen, Kevin Ollie and Richard Hamilton, Arlington, Texas, April 7PHOTOPhotograph by 12. ZOU ZHENG/XINHUA/ZUMAPRESS.COM12. Mike Conway (in white), Will Power (black) and Tony Kanaan (red), Toronto, July 21PHOTOPhotograph by 13. IMAGO/ZUMAPRESS.COM13. Mario Balotelli, with AC Milan fans, Pittsburgh, July 27PHOTOPhotograph by 14. MARK J. REBILAS/USA TODAY SPORTS14. Jon Dorenbos, Glendale, Ariz., Oct. 26PHOTOPhotograph by 15. DAVID E. KLUTHO/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED15. From left: Paul Rudd, Jayson Nix and Scott Downs, Kansas City, Oct. 15PHOTOPhotograph by 16. ANDRE RINGUETTE/NHLI/GETTY IMAGES16. Phil Kessel and a resourceful fan, Ottawa, Nov. 9PHOTOPhotograph by 17. VLADIMIR SMIRNOV/ITAR-TASS/LANDOV17. Chloé Dufour-Lapointe and sister Justine, Sochi, Feb. 9PHOTOPhotograph by 18. ETHAN HYMAN/RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER/MCT/LANDOV18. Jay Bilas, Durham, N.C., Feb. 22PHOTOPhotograph by 19. JULIAN FINNEY/GETTY IMAGES19. Billie Jean King and Serena Williams, Singapore, Oct. 26PHOTOPhotograph by 20. AP20. RGIII, Richmond, July 25PHOTOPhotograph by 21. DAVID CANNON/R&A/GETTY IMAGES21. Rory McIlroy, British Open, July 20PHOTOPhotograph by AL BELLO GETTY IMAGESNov. 23, East Rutherford, N.J. Odell Beckham Jr. suspends belief with The Greatest Catch Ever‚Ñ¢, against the Cowboys.PHOTOPhotograph by JARED WICKERHAM GETTY IMAGES1 March 20, Buffalo Aaron Craft ponders his last-second miss in Ohio State's round-of-64 upset at the hands of Dayton.PHOTOPhotograph by THOMAS LOVELOCK FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED2 Sept. 28, Gleneagles, Scotland Why are these men not smiling? Team USA reflects on its loss in the Ryder Cup.PHOTOPhotograph by JULIAN FINNEY GETTY IMAGES3 July 13, Rio de Janeiro The German national team walks the path of champions after defeating Argentina 1--0 in the World Cup final.PHOTOPhotograph by DARREN MCCOLLESTER GETTY IMAGES1 Sept. 21, Foxborough, Mass. The then winless Raiders turned the Patriots' Julian Edelman, and nearly football, upside down in a 16--9 nailbiter of a loss.PHOTOPhotograph by CHARLES KRUPA AP2 Feb. 12, Krasnaya Polyana Marie Marchand-Arvier of France goes headlong in the women's downhill at the Winter Games.PHOTOPhotograph by DONALD MIRALLE FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED3 July 31, Huntington Beach, Calif. A camera on the Goodyear blimp catches Josh Kerr letting it rip at the U.S. Open of Surfing.PHOTOPhotograph by TONY GENTILE REUTERS/LANDOV4 June 24, Natal, Brazil Uruguay's Luis Suarez (in white) doth protest too much after his bite marked 'round the world against Italy and Giorgio Chiellini in the World Cup.