Manny Pacquiao Has Given up Gambling, Drinking and Infidelity, How Will That Affect His Boxing?
In This Year’s Stanley Cup Finals, No Player Has Shown as Brightly as Kings Goaltender Jonathan Quick
The U.S. is in Position to Sweep the Decathlon for Just the Second Time in Olympic History
U.S. Soccer Coach Jurgen Klinsmann Is Transforming the Game in America
(NEW YORK – June 6, 2012) – Texas Rangers centerfielder Josh Hamilton is on pace to have one of the greatest seasons in major league history, but one night earlier this year could have altered everything. Hamilton’s battle with drug and alcohol addiction had wasted five years of his career and an alcohol relapse in a Dallas bar in late January gained national attention. His family, teammates, the Rangers organization and most important Hamilton have moved on from this worrisome moment, but the difficult journey Hamilton faces every day is the cover story for the June 11, 2012, issue of Sports Illustrated, on newsstands now. This is the second time Hamilton as appeared on the cover, the first was on June 2, 2008.
Rangers manager Ron Washington knows the cost of bad choices, as he tested positive for cocaine during the 2009 season. He and Hamilton talk frequently about temptation, the game, people and what it means to be a man. Washington says, “Sometimes he can’t sleep at night. This is when the demons start to come out of him, and he needs someone to talk to. Sometimes it takes 20 minutes up in here, and sometimes we take a half an hour. Then he leaves, and I’m cleansed and he’s cleansed.”
Senior writer S.L. Price spoke with Hamilton’s wife, Katie, about the battles and the two relapses Josh has had over the last four years. Katie, who like Josh is a born-again Christian, credits their faith for saving Josh’s life, their marriage, his body and talent for the moment when he could return to baseball. After all she has been through with Josh, it would be easy to write off what happened in January, but Katie says, “People that don’t know me probably think I have some kind of co-dependence issue, like I get my value in helping him. Absolutely not. I fully expect him to be the man and husband that God has called him to be. I should never have to assist him in this.”
As Hamilton continues to put up what could be historic numbers, through Sunday, he was hitting .354 and leading the majors in homers (21), RBIs (57), OPS (1.138), total bases (142) and slugging percentage (.728), for him, it will be his faith and hard work that keeps him going every day (page 36).
THE FIGHTER FINDS PEACE – CHRIS MANNIX (@ChrisMannixSI)
Manny Pacquiao was on top of the world. And as the face of his sport, a world champion and a congressman in his home country, the Philippines, he had every reason to be. But in life, Pacquiao was on a path to destruction. Gambling, drinking and infidelity almost derailed the boxer’s life. His gambling turned so bad that even though Pacquiao was earning $25 to $30 million per bout, he was still forced to go to his promoter, Bob Arum, for cash to pay his debts. Arum has to wired hundreds of thousands of dollars to casinos five or six times. Arum said, “[Manny] had one of the worst gambling habits of any athlete I’ve ever known. He was addicted to it.”
After his wife Jinkee told him she wanted a divorce, he knew it was time to change and nine months ago when he found God, he finally was able to turn his life around (page 58).
Now, with a bout against the undefeated Timothy Bradley scheduled for Saturday, Pacquiao, and those around hm, say he’s in a better place—that he is at peace. Trainer Freddie Roach says Pacquiao’s killer instinct is still there, saying, “His boxing is as consistent as it has ever been. He’s not the same fighter he was five years ago, but he is still better than everyone else.”
JONATHAN AND THE AMERICANS – MICHAEL FARBER (@MichaelFarber3)
When the Stanley Cup is won, commissioner Gary Bettman will hand the trophy to New Jersey’s Zach Parise (Minneapolis) or L.A.’s Dustin Brown (Ithaca, N.Y.). For the first time both finalists have U.S. natives as captains. In addition, this marks the first time that both general managers – the Kings’ Dean Lombardi (Ludlow, Mass.) and the Devils’ Lou Lamoriello (Providence) – are U.S. born. In Game 2 both teams dressed six American players in their 20- man lineup, ratios that far exceed the overall NHL percentage of American players (24.2%).
In a coast-to-coast series brimming with U.S. born stars, no one has shone as brightly as the Kings’ soft-spoken goaltender, Jonathan Quick. Hailing from Connecticut, Quick may prove to be a once-in-a-generation goalie. On the ice his low stance obscures the bottom of the net while his skill and reflexes safeguard the upper portion of the net (page 46).
L.A. defenseman Willie Mitchell said, “This is my second year here, and he’s one of the best goaltenders I’ve ever seen. He’s also one of the best teammates ever because he’s such a selfless guy.”
FASTER, HIGHER, STRONGER – TIM LAYDEN (@SITimLayden)
The winner of the Olympic decathlon receives the unofficial title of World’s Greatest Athlete. In London the U.S. has three men who could all vie for the gold. Ashton Eaton, 24, may be a little young but has been deemed the greatest decathlon runner ever. Bryan Clay is 32 and while he may be too old, he won the gold at Beijing and is the second-best thrower in event history. The last is Trey Hardee who at 28 is in the prime of his career and is the most consistent across all 10 events (page 62).
The U.S. has an opportunity to sweep the decathlon for just the second time in Olympic history. The other was in 1936. Said Chris Huffins, Olympic bronze medalist in the decathlon, “We have three very talented guys in stable training situations, and the European-combined-event factories—the Czech Republic, Germany, the former Soviet countries—do not have that one guy. This is our time.”
Eaton, who many feel is the favorite because of his superior running ability, is trying to stay grounded. He said, “It’s important to not make the gold medal bigger than it is. But nobody ever says that about things that aren’t big.”
NOW IS THE TIME IN SOCCER WHEN WE DANCE – GRANT WAHL (@GrantWahl)
World Cup qualifying has begun and U.S. soccer coach Jurgen Klinsmann hopes to transform the way the game is played in America. By using the latest medical technology and pushing his players out of their comfort zone, Klinsmann is shaping a new era of leadership in American soccer, both at the professional and youth level. As he looks to change the American soccer philosophy, he organizes team yoga sessions, pattern recoginition drills and consistent blood tests (page 52).
Klinsmann has his players participate in VO2 max screenings, which measure the body’s ability to transport oxygen during exercise to gauge overall fitness. Some players believe this is a good and interesting way to approach their training but some are a bit skeptical about the aspects of the blood tests, amount of blood drawn and the value of doing your own scouting report.
With a history of mixed results, Klinsmann is looking to other coaches like Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski for inspiration and is trying to develop his players as complete people. Klinsmann said, “If you have a choice of seeing the Panama Canal or playing Xbox for two hours, we make that choice of the Panama Canal for you.”
SCORECARD: BACK TO HIS FUTURE – MELISSA SEGURA (@MelissaSeguraSI)
Brian Banks, a former blue-chip middle linebacker at Long Beach (Calif.) Poly High, has lost a lot in his life. In 2002, Banks was accused of raping former classmate Wanetta Gibson in a school stairwell. Banks lost his football scholarship to USC, spent five years of his life in prison and another five years wearing an electronic monitoring device strapped to his ankle. Last year, Gibson admitted that she had lied, and with the help of the California Innocence Project, Banks cleared his name. Now the 26-year-old hopes to revive his football dream and make an NFL team. Banks’ first tryout with NFL teams will be on Thursday, when he travels to Seattle to work out for Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, the man who recruited Banks to USC a decade ago (page 13).
Banks said, “The main thing for me is to reinvent myself as a person. I want to be known for who I really am and not what this system has labeled me as being. That starts with football.”
POINT AFTER: NOT-SO-HARD KNOCKOFFS– PHIL TAYLOR (@SI_PhilTaylor)
HBO’s Hard Knocks has finally found a team for next season, the Miami Dolphins. But why should HBO stop there? There’s plenty of room for expansion in the Hard Knocks franchise all you need to do is look at the formula for other TV shows. Why not do a Hard Knocks Criminal Intent, focusing on the Roger Clemens trial? Or a Hard Rockers, following Ryan Seacrest, Randy Jackson and the gang as they judge the London Olympic Games? Says SI’s Phil Taylor, “A Hard Knocks appearance can either draw attention to a team that needs it or rehabilitate the image of one that’s getting the wrong pub. In fact HBO, ought to be considering building out the franchise, like Law & Order and CSI.” (page 72).
INSIDE THE WEEK IN SPORTS
- Golf (page 24): Open Questions – Sports Illustrated surveyed more than 50 Tour pros on everything from which major is the most fair to who beat Hogan in 1955. Survey questions include:
- Besides yourself, who would you like see win the U.S. Open – Phil Mickelson 22%
- Based on course setup, which major is the most difficult? – U.S. Open 87%
- What is your favorite U.S. Open course? – Pebble Beach 26%
- Your least favorite U.S. Open course? – Oakmont 15%
- MLB (page 32): Good As New – In the 8,020th game in Mets history, Johan Santana did what Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and every other hurler in the franchise’s history couldn’t: He threw a no-hitter. In just his 11th start after shoulder surgery cost him the entire 2011 season, Santana threw a career-high 134 pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals, striking out eight, walking five and creating a million memories for Mets fans. (@SI_BenReiter)
- NBA (page 28): These Kids Are Alright – No one in Oklahoma City’s core four is older than 23, hard to believe given the team is in its second straight Western Conference finals. The Thunder have showed that they have grown up since last year’s playoffs with their play this series. (@SI_LeeJenkins)
- NHL (page 33): Best Ever? – Nicklas Lidstrom combined extraordinary ability with superb durability. At 42 years old, he retired, capping off the greatest career of any defenseman. (@Rosenberg_Mike)
- Tennis (page 30): The Old World Order – Week 1 of the French Open, with so many European players playing through, proved that the center of the sport has moved to the Continent. The top eight seeds of the men’s draw were from Europe and 24 of the top 27 women’s seeds. (@Jon_Wertheim)
THIS WEEK’S FACES IN THE CROWD (page20)
- Summer Green (Milford, Mich./Brighton High) – Soccer
- Dom Kone (Bucksport, Maine/Colby College) – Track and Field
- Marie Kelleher (Glen Allen, Va./Virginia Senior Games) – Swimming
- Shawn Beam (Burleson, Texas/U.S. Bowling Congress) – Bowling
- Kate Baldoni (Newport Beach, Calif./Stanford) – Water Polo
- Christian Metzler (Woodbridge, Va./Pope John Paul the Great) – Track and Field, Soccer