In This Week’s SI: The Fall of Jim Tressel, Jason Kidd, Boston Bruins’ Stanley Cup Hopes, Braves Coach Luis Salazar’s Comeback and MorePosted: June 1, 2011
ON THE COVER: An Exclusive Investigation on the Fall of Jim Tressel
Jason Kidd: The Oldest Point Guard in Finals History Chases a Ring
Boston’s Quest to Recapture Its 1970’s Stanley Cup Glory
A Baseball Lifer’s Comeback From Losing His Left Eye
Candace Parker Is Finally Injury Free
A Sports Illustrated investigative report by senior writer George Dohrmann (@georgedohrmann) with staff writer David Epstein (@SIDavidEpstein) reveals a program rife with alleged NCAA rules violations. The new allegations are that the memorabilia-for-tattoos and cash violations stretch back to 2002, involve at least 28 players (22 more than had previously been reported) and that Buckeyes traded memorabilia for marijuana. Former OSU defensive end Robert Rose spoke on the record about his dealings and an anonymous source points to a much deeper relationship between Fine Line Ink and OSU players that involves tickets, cars and favors (page 40).
To read the full online version of The Fall of Jim Tressel, click here.
On the Tablets: A gallery of the 28 former and current players who Sports Illustrated has learned traded memorabilia, plus an audio podcast interview with George Dohrmann.
THE OLD MAN AND THE HEAT – LEE JENKINS (@SI_LeeJenkins)
At 38, Jason Kidd is the oldest starting point guard in NBA Finals history yet still leads all playoff participants in steals, ranks second in assists and is tied for third in three-pointers made. Most important, the pass-first Kidd is the key to the Mavericks ball movement, outside shooting and offensive unpredictability. Teammate Tyson Chandler says (page 50): “He’s the one who keeps us under control, who makes sure we keep our head. Sometimes Jason hits you in a place where you don’t think you can make a play but he knows you can.”
Dallas Mavericks President of Basketball Operations Donnie Nelson says: “We needed somebody to make Dirk’s job easier. That was Jason Kidd. He was the godsend for Dirk. He is the reason Dirk is fresher now.”
To read the full online version of The Old Man and the Heat, click here.
DEEP IN THE HEART OF THE CITY: LEIGH MONTVILLE
Four decades after the blue-collar Bruins stitched themselves into the fabric of Boston with Stanley Cup triumphs in 1970 and ’72, a new generation of players attempts to recapture that former glory. Simultaneously they’re finding out what it really means to be the home team. Recalling the Bruins’ Stanley Cup days in the early 1970’s, Derek Sanderson says (page 68): “You’d get everything for free. You’d go to a restaurant, eat for free. Go somewhere else, drink for free. Free clothes. You’d get gas. No problem. I never had a date the whole time I played in Boston. Not a date where you went to the girl’s house, picked her up. You just went to the bar. Come around midnight, you picked out who you wanted.”
To read the full online version of Deep in the Heart of the City, click here.
On the Tablets: A gallery of great moments from the Bruins’ Stanley Cup wins in 1970 and ’72.
LUIS SALAZAR: SIGHT TO BEHOLD – L. JON WERTHEIM (@jon_wertheim)
Nearly three months ago a foul ball struck Braves’ coach Luis Salazar in the face, costing him his left eye. He has returned to the dugout to manage the Braves Class A affiliate in the Carolina League while gaining a whole new perspective on the game. As he describes it (page 62): “In a way, I see more now than I did with two eyes. I see friends, teammates I haven’t spoken to in 25 years. I notice more around the ballpark. It’s maybe crazy to say, but in some ways it’s been a blessing.”
To read the full online version of Sight to Behold, click here.
CANDACE PARKER: SPARKS ARE GONNA FLY – ANDREW LAWRENCE (@SI_DrewLawrence)
Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker plays all five positions and can light it up and throw it down. Most important, she is finally injury free—a tantalizing storyline as the WNBA tips off its 15th season. After she shut herself down for 2010 while dealing with injuries and caring for her daughter Lailaa, the 25-year-old Parker regained a sense of fundamentals. As she recalls (page 56): “Before I could just jump over people to get a rebound or get a shot off by out-athleticizing people. But at that moment, I couldn’t do that. I actually had to box out. I actually had to use a jab step to set up my move. I had to be more effective and efficient and that’s helped my game.”
To read the full online version of Sparks Are Gonna Fly, click here.
SI PLAYERS MLB POLL (page 17)
Who is the most overrated player in baseball?
Alex Rodriguez, Yankees 3B….18%
Joba Chamberlain, Yankees RP….12%
Derek Jeter, Yankees SS….7%
Jayson Werth, Nationals OF….4%
Jonathan Papelbon, Red Sox RP….4%
[Based on 185 MLB players who responded to SI’s survey]
FAST FACTS: A-Rod and Chamberlain filled the top two slots in the same poll last year but in reverse order. . . . Yankees OF Nick Swisher also received 4% of the vote. . . . Of the top 14 active vote-getters, all but three play in Boston, Chicago or New York. . . . Combined, the five players above have made the All-Star Game in 57% of their seasons.
Facebook Fan Picks
David Ortiz, Red Sox DH….17%
SCORECARD ESSAY: BAND OF BROTHERS – MICHAEL FARBER
Facing cancer, senior hockey writer Michael Farber ponders the complete work of Lance Armstrong. Farber points out how Armstrong’s dedication towards raising money and awareness for cancer research sets him apart from Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and other star athletes who currently face doping allegations. In spite of his own controversies Armstrong remains an inspiration to millions of people fighting cancer—including one of Sports Illustrated’s own (page 16).
To read the full online version of Band of Brothers, click here.
POINT AFTER: MIXED MESSAGES – PHIL TAYLOR (@SI_PhilTaylor)
While many athletes have made statements against gay bashing, they cannot take away the chilling effect of a player—including recent examples Kobe Bryant and Joakim Noah—casually tossing out a single humiliating word. Austin Hendrix, a cross-country runner at Eastern Michigan who told his team two years ago that he was gay, says (page 76): “The problem is that words like those have become so intertwined with everyday vocabulary that it can be difficult to tell if they are being said out of hate or just out of habit.”
To read the full online version of Mixed Messages, click here.
SCORECARD/FROM THE ONION: PILOT BLIGHT
With news that the Mavs’ Shawn Marion is taping a reality show pilot, The Ladies of My Life, about his mom and three sisters, the TV experts at the Onion dug up six sporty reality pitches that (thankfully) will never make it to air (page 18):
- In his prank show, I Hurl’d, Bobby Hurley tricks unsuspecting people into talking with him about Duke basketball.
- Tim Duncan looks through every government work form in Duncan My Taxes and explains how to properly fill each one out on a state-by-state basis.
- Pete Sampras passes on his tennis knowledge in If You Hold Your Racket Even a Millimeter Off, It Will Affect Your Backhand Dramatically.
- How many food items can one man use to show the advantages of a good pulling guard to his grandkids? You’ll find out on It’s a Madden Madden Madden Madden World!
- I Am Juan Miranda sees the Diamondbacks’ first baseman go to great lengths in attempting to explain exactly who he is.
- In Animal Kingdom’s Kingdom, the Kentucky Derby winner gives a glimpse into his glamorous life of eating oats, running and sleeping standing up.
THIS WEEK’S FACES IN THE CROWD (page 27)
- Austin Ernst (Seneca, S.C.) – Golf
- Mac McGuire (Southlake, Texas) – Track and Field, Soccer, Football
- Alyssa Lombardo (Bethlehem, Pa.) – Track and Field, Softball
- Keegan Taylor (Greenland, N.H.) – Baseball
- Joyce Boone (Brooklyn) – Arm Wrestling
- Johnny Dee (Vista, Calif.) – Basketball
Follow Faces in the Crowd on Twitter @SI_Faces.
INSIDE THE WEEK IN SPORTS (page 28)
- Motor Sports: Crashing Defeat – Rookie J.R. Hildebrand’s gaffe cost him a win but gave the Indy 500 just what it needed: a race fans will talk about for years. (Lars Anderson, @LarsAndersonSI)
- Baseball: Diamond Max – The Rays have a crazy slew of picks, but history suggests Arizona’s draft will be the one you remember. (Joe Sheehan, @joe_sheehan)
- The NBA: Extending a Hand – Playoff struggles or not, the Thunder is sticking with Russell Westbrook, and that’ll be reflected in his contract talks. (Chris Mannix, @ChrisMannixSI)
- NASCAR: Rockin’ Along – His team is humming, and Carl Edwards is in a groove that has put him on top of the Sprint Cup charts. (Elizabeth McGarr, @emcgarr)
- Tennis: No. 1 Problem – Early exits from the French Open showed that the top-ranked women just aren’t what they used to be. (S.L. Price)
THIS WEEK ON THE TABLETS
- SI Digital Bonus: You Can’t Make These Guys Up – In this 1985 feature, Bruce Newman lauds the bold imagination it took to bring Hulk, Andrew and Superfly to the mainstream. But the cultural imprint that pro wrestling has left is very real and oh so mah-velous.