The guests (limit 25, no more) made the 2005 A-list because they've each got a certain velvet-rope mix of sports ability, celebrity, personality. Summer heat. Look at it this way: These people will think it's cool to be there with each other. Annika, meet Danica. What if Barry Bonds isn't invited? Hey (again), it's our party, he can cry if he wants to. We love our crowd. Call them A Midsummer Night's Dream Team. And you're invited, too. Welcome to SI's first annual Ultimate Summer Party.
POOL PARTY page 84
SPORTS TRIBES page 93
SUMMER ESSENTIALS page 108
LOST TREASURES page 114
AMAZING ANIMALS page 120
WHERE ARE THEY NOW? page 125
SI SUMMER PARTY 2005
The Guest List
Their presence is requested
WHY HE'S INVITED: There's a standing invitation for all six-time Tour de France winners. CONVERSATION STARTER: The cold beverage he's holding. After his retirement, the cyclist (above, right) has said, "I'm going to drink my fair share of beer." WATCH HIM MIX WITH: Matt Leinart. Longhorns fans (Armstrong lives in Austin) love guys who open a drum of whup-ass on Oklahoma like Leinart and USC did last January.
WHY HE'S INVITED: Led the Patriots to their third Super Bowl win in four seasons in February. Public hasn't swooned over a QB this much since Joe Namath. CONVERSATION STARTER: At the May White House correspondents' dinner, Brady hinted at running for public office some day. And there's always the topic of his girlfriend, actress Bridget Moynahan.
WHY SHE'S INVITED: The best of the most electric collection of kids in LPGA history. In May, at age 18, she became the youngest winner of an LPGA event since 1952. Five days later she graduated from high school. MOST LIKELY TO: Be confused with ex--Baywatch star Yasmine Bleeth, to whom a Bay Area columnist likened Creamer. That's high praise. For Bleeth.
WHY HE'S INVITED: Provided pitch-perfect performance in Cinderella Man as Depression-era heavyweight champ James J. Braddock. Though the flick got beat up at the box office, look for an Oscar nomination for Crowe. WATCH HIM MIX WITH: Fellow bad boys Wayne Rooney and Ozzie Guillen. MOST LIKELY TO: Start throwing guests in the pool.
WHY SHE'S INVITED: Blonde bombshell has brought heat to a sport once associated with balding, beer-swilling man-boys. Arizona alum led the U.S. to a softball gold medal at 2004 Summer Games and is the poster girl for new National Pro Fastpitch League. KEEP HER AWAY FROM: Derek Jeter. Finch once voted for Alex Rodriguez in a Hottest Male Athlete Internet poll.
WHY HE'S INVITED: Helped lead Argentina to a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics and the Spurs to '05 NBA title. WATCH HIM MIX WITH: Kasey Kahne and Danica Patrick, who'd admire Ginobili's fearlessness in traffic.
WHY HE'S INVITED: Pugnacious manager has led White Sox to a major-league-best 54--26 start. CONVERSATION STARTER: Anything. Has an opinion on everybody from antiwar protesters to his former players. "He's another Venezuelan [bleep]," he said of ex--White Sox star Magglio Ordo√±ez in April. "[Bleep] him. He thinks he's got an enemy? No, he's got a big one."
WHY HE'S INVITED: Joined the pantheon of first-name-only stars (Lance, Michael, Tiger) while he was in high school. CONVERSATION STARTER: The art of general managing. In June he said he'd like to have input into whom the Cavaliers sign in the off-season. MOST LIKELY TO: Tell Creamer she's not missing much by going from high school to the pros.
WHY HE'S INVITED: So the Yankees' shortstop hasn't won a ring in five years. He's the jock version of Jack Nicholson, who can go years without an Oscar and still be the coolest guy in any room. KEEP HIM AWAY FROM: Shaq and LeBron James, who might remind him of his less glorious basketball days. Jeter played against Chris Webber and Jalen Rose in AAU hoops games in eighth and ninth grade and recalls being overmatched.
WHY HE'S INVITED: He's 21st in the points, but the Nextel Cup's top rookie in '04 will be NASCAR's premier driver of the next decade. You heard it here first.WATCH HIM MIX WITH: Finch and Maria Sharapova. He can compare the perks of being one of PEOPLE'S 50 Hottest Bachelors (in '04) to those that come with being with one of the magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People.
WHY HE'S INVITED: His 96.2 winning percentage as a starting QB is second best in NCAA history. With two national titles and a huge female support system, he's the prebaccalaureate Brady. WATCH HIM MIX WITH: Crowe and Hilary Swank. Mr. Hollywood already runs with an A-list crowd that includes Jessica Simpson, Nick Lachey and Alyssa Milano.
WHY HE'S INVITED: In March, the hell-bent skier (above, left) became the first American in 22 years to win the World Cup. WATCH HIM MIX WITH: Annika Sorenstam, Tiger and Creamer. Who knew Miller was a golf nut?
WHY HE'S INVITED: Twenty-five years later, his Caddyshack remains the funniest sports movie ever. He's also the ultimate fan (co-owns four minor league teams). CONVERSATION STARTER: The speech he gave the Illinois basketball team during the NCAA tournament in March, in which he channeled his Carl Spackler character from Caddyshack. MOST LIKELY TO: Slap the 20th tipsy guest who slurs the "It's in the hole" line to him.
WHY HE'S INVITED: The modest 19-year-old Spanish hottie won the French Open as well as a legion of new tennis fans. He's already won five titles in '05 and done more to change the shape of tennis pants than anyone since Serena Williams. WATCH HIM MIX WITH: Rooney. Nadal's uncle and mentor, Miguel Angel Nadal, was a soccer star in Spain and nicknamed the Beast of Barcelona when he played for the famous Spanish League juggernaut. MOST LIKELY TO: Walk off with the digits of Sharapova.
WHY HE'S INVITED: Floppy-haired point guard led the Suns to 62 regular-season victories, a 33-game improvement over the previous year, and snatched the MVP award from Shaq. Turned explosive Suns into NBA's most watchable team. CONVERSATION STARTER: Goils. Most underrated stud at the party. Once dated actress Elizabeth Hurley. KEEP HIM AWAY FROM: Shaq, who may be madder than we think about the MVP.
WHY HE'S INVITED: How relevant has the Miami big man made the Magic, Lakers and Heat? Those teams improved their win total by an average of 13 in Shaq's first year with the clubs. CONVERSATION STARTER: Shaq recently was sworn in as a U.S. deputy marshal and got his MBA.WATCH HIM MIX WITH: The Hollywood crew. With six feature films to his credit, he's the party's fourth-most-accomplished actor.
WHY HE'S INVITED: Yeah, he's always got something to yak about--or cry about--on TV, but his Super Bowl performance (nine catches, 122 yards on one good leg) ranked with the best of all time. CONVERSATION STARTER: What else? His holdout over the seven-year, $49 million contract he signed last year. CONVERSATION ENDER: His inevitable cave-in. MOST LIKELY TO: Leave and not come back until he gets a better lawn chair.
WHY SHE'S INVITED: Indy-Go-Girl was the first woman to lead at the Brickyard, the first to finish in the top five and the first woman race car driver to make the cover of SI. CONVERSATION STARTER: Formula One CEO Bernie Eccelstone, who keeps saying women should get their buns out of the driver's seat and back in the kitchen. WATCH HER MIX WITH: Swank, who would be a decent choice to play Patrick in her inevitable biopic.
WHY HE'S INVITED: Forget Freddy Adu. Manchester United's temperamental 19-year-old superstar is the best teen soccer player in the world. And forget David Beckham, too. England's dream of its first World Cup since 1966 rests with Rooney's feet, not those of Mr. Spice, who's, like, so 2003. JUST DON'T BRING UP: Man U's failure to win a major trophy this year. MOST LIKELY TO: Go for a dip in the punch bowl.
WHY SHE'S INVITED: With 10 titles and a No. 2 world ranking, she's no Kourna-clone-a. Her total earnings in '04: $23 million. CONVERSATION STARTER: Her 18th-birthday party for 500 pals (including Lindsay Lohan) at a Manhattan nightclub in April, which featured a concert from Maroon 5.
WHY SHE'S INVITED: Few golfers have owned a tour like the 34-year-old Swede has in '05 (six wins, including two majors, in 10 starts). WATCH HER MIX WITH: Sharapova. Sorenstam rose as high as 12th among Sweden's tennis juniors. KEEP HER AWAY FROM: Vijay Singh, who dissed her entry in the 2003 Colonial. Whoops--Vijay didn't make our cut.
WHY SHE'S INVITED: Won Best Actress at this year's Oscars as boxer Maggie Fitzgerald in Million Dollar Baby. CONVERSATION STARTER: Is Baby director Clint Eastwood a better trainer than Pat Morita, Swank's guru in The Next Karate Kid? MOST LIKELY TO: Tell TO to stop whining about his contract. Because, you know, boys don't cry.
WHY HE'S INVITED: Won the gold medal in the 400 in Athens and was part of gold-medal-winning 4√ó400 relay. "He's four years ahead of schedule," says coach Clyde Hart, who once mentored Michael Johnson. JUST DON'T BRING UP: He's the first white gold medalist in the 400 in a nonboycotted Games in 40 years. "It's not about race," he told SI.
WHY HE'S INVITED: High-kicking Marlins lefty (p. 83) leads the majors in wins (13) and exuberance. WATCH HIM MIX WITH: Sharapova. His Ping-Pong jones is the perfect excuse to ask the tennis queen for help with his forehand. KEEP HIM AWAY FROM: Die-hard Cubs fan Murray. The Cubbies traded Willis to Florida in '02 in a lopsided six-player trade.
WHY HE'S INVITED: Golf's most towering figure won the Masters (his fourth) in April and finished second at the U.S. Open. CONVERSATION STARTER: His plans for his 30th birthday bash, on Dec. 30. This is the guy who laid out $1.5 million for his '04 wedding to Elin Nordegren.
SIX COLOR ILLUSTRATIONS
Illustrations by Barry Blitt
PETER READ MILLER