By Nikolai Valuev, 32, his WBA heavyweight belt, with a third-round knockout ofOwen Beck. The 7-foot, 321-pound Russian (44--0) floored the smaller Jamaican(Beck was giving up 101/2 inches and 80 pounds) with a right uppercut. "Myfamily wanted me to knock him out today; that's why I did it," said Valuev(above, and with promoter Don King in inset). Beck (25--3) was able to find asilver lining. "I wanted to go home with the WBA title, but at least I cameout still walking," he said. "I didn't go into the ambulance."
At age 30 of unknown causes, Brad Martin, a former BYU football captain.Martin, a linebacker, injured his neck in a car accident during his seniorseason. He used painkillers to continue playing, but after his career ended hebecame addicted to them. In 2004 he sued the school for providing thepainkillers and allowing him to play through his pain. (The suit was settledout of court.) An autopsy was inconclusive, and toxicology results are pending."We don't really know what happened," his father, Robert Martin, said."It just came so unexpectedly to us."
At age 55 after suffering a massive stroke, Eric Gregg, a former major leagueumpire. Gregg was one of baseball's most recognizable men in blue for twodecades. He fought a weight problem for much of his career, and his wide strikezone helped Florida's Livan Hernandez controversially strike out 15 Braves inthe 1997 NLCS. Gregg lost his job in 1999 when he and 21 other umpires resignedin a failed labor negotiation ploy, but he was still something of a celebrityin his hometown of Philadelphia. He owned a stake in a restaurant at CitizensBank Ballpark, where he poured beer--and often playfully ejectedcustomers--before Phillies games.
By Duke, its embattled men's lacrosse team. The school canceled the remainderof its season on March 28, two weeks after a stripper accused several playersof raping her at an off-campus party. (Three players have been indicted; allhave pleaded not guilty.) At the time, the Blue Devils, who went to the 2005NCAA finals, were ranked No. 1 in the nation. School president Richard D.Brodhead said the program would operate under scrutiny. "I am, I know,taking a risk in reinstating men's lacrosse," Brodhead said in a statement."The reinstatement is inevitably probationary."
By 13-year-old Kerry Close (above), the word ursprache to win the 79th ScrippsNational Spelling Bee. Kerry, an eighth-grader from Spring Lake, N.J., wasmaking her fifth straight appearance at the tournament. After runner-up FinolaHackett, a 14-year-old from Edmonton, stumbled on weltschmerz (which meanssentimental pessimism), Kerry correctly spelled kundalini (a yogic life force)and ursprache (a parent language). Kerry, who won $42,500 in cash and prizes,began competitive spelling in the fourth grade, when she won her class bee."My teacher gave me a list for the school spelling bee, and I won thattoo," she says. "I was like, Wow, I'm pretty good at this."
No contest to two misdemeanor charges of assault and battery, Sean Taylor. TheRedskins' linebacker was sentenced to 18 months' probation for his part in anincident last summer in which he allegedly waved a gun at a group of people hethought stole two ATVs from him in Miami. He had been charged with threefelonies and faced 46 years in prison before agreeing to the plea deal. LastThursday circuit judge Leonard Glick warned Taylor, "If you get caughtspitting on the sidewalk ... you violate your probation." (Taylor wasthrown out of a game in January for spitting on a Buccaneers player.) His pleacould lead to a fine or suspension from the NFL under the league's personalconduct policy.
For six games for going into the stands during a game, Mavericks center D.J.Mbenga. During Game 4 of the Western Conference finals in Phoenix, Mbenga, whowas on the bench in street clothes after being inactivated for the game,noticed Dallas coach Avery Johnson's wife arguing with some Suns fans. He triedto defuse the situation, which led to lenience from the league. "We endedup at six [games] because D.J. certainly went up there very calmly and therewas not an altercation of any kind," NBA VP Stu Jackson said.
By Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Uecker (below), a restraining order against awoman he says has been harassing him for years. Uecker, 71, the voice of theBrewers for 35 years, obtained an injunction against Ann E. Ladd, a 45-year-oldwoman from Prospect Heights, Ill., whom he accused of sending unsolicitedgifts, driving around his home and harassing him on the road. "Ladd'spattern of harassment has escalated in frequency and intensity and has resultedin repeated and serious invasions of my personal privacy," Uecker'sinjunction request said.
An effort by a Russian astronaut on the International Space Station to hit thelongest drive in history. Pavel Vinogradov planned to hit a ball into orbitduring a space walk last week as part of a promotion with a Canadian golfcompany to mark the 35th anniversary of Alan Shepard's lunar golfing foray. Butthe stunt, which would have seen a ball knocked into a three-year orbit, wascalled off, possibly over fears that the ball could damage the station. Thedrive is expected to be attempted on a later mission.
That it will convene a focus group to come up with a new mascot, George MasonUniversity. That's bad news for Gunston, the generic furry green beast whobecame a star during the Patriots' run to the Final Four. "We need todevelop a mascot with a strong image, more of an immediate connection withGeorge Mason, something our community would be proud to have," associate ADAndy Ruge told The Washington Post. "It would be nice if a freshman couldsee him and go, 'Hey, that's our mascot' instead of going, 'What's that?'"Gunston, who had been the mascot for 10 years, will still represent the school,primarily at youth events.
Consecutive games bowled by Dave Wilson, 40, of Mason, Ohio; his 102-hourmarathon for charity was two hours longer than the world record.
Amount given to David Beckham to write an autobiography--the 31-year-old'sthird in the last five years.
At bats between home runs for A's catcher Jason Kendall, who ended the majors'longest current dinger drought on May 31 with a shot off Joel Peralta of theRoyals.
Percentage of the NHL's revenue derived from its television contract.
Percentage of the NFL's revenue derived from its television contract.
IT TOOK appearing alongside Rodney Dangerfield forSteve Mizerak to finally get some respect. Mizerak, who died last week ofcomplications from gall bladder surgery at 61, was a masterly pool player whocontrolled the cue ball as if it had attended obedience school. For fourstraight years (1970--73) he won the U.S. Open in pocket billiards, all thewhile moonlighting as a New Jersey middle school teacher--so meager were thewages conferred on even the most skilled pool practitioners at the time. In thelate '70s The Miz successfully auditioned to appear alongside Dangerfield,Bubba Smith and other self-deprecating B-listers in a memorable series ofMiller Lite beer ads. After nearly 200 takes, Mizerak potted ayou-gotta-be-kidding-me trick shot and intoned, "It's easy to work up athirst even when you're just showin' off."
Mizerak often remarked that those 29 seconds accordedhim more notoriety than any tournament victory. In the Republic of Pool,however, Mizerak is recognized as one of the great ones, his reputation forshotmaking rivaled only by his reputation for honor. In the sport's richcompendium of bawdy stories, Mizerak's name is notably absent. "He was aresponsible guy, a family man, who wasn't interested in gambling or roadplaying," says Toupee Jay Helfert, a Mizerak contemporary. "But thetruth is, no hustlers would have messed with him anyway. That's how good hewas." --L.J.W.
In the face of criticisms and witticisms, Ricky Williams makes his CFLdebut
TORONTO ARGONAUTS running back John Avery does stand-upcomedy, and last week news about the CFL team gave him fresh material. During aset at Yuk Yuk's in Toronto, Avery lamented that the arrival of RickyWilliams--who was in the audience with several teammates--meant Avery wouldhave time on his hands. When he wondered, What am I going to do? a patronyelled, "Smoke pot!" which brought down the house.
Williams got a rousing ovation of his own last Friday,when he made his debut in a preseason loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Herushed for seven yards on four carries but still felt good about hisperformance, which came four days after his first practice. "The biggestthing was ... to see the speed of the game and get a feel of what's going to beexpected of me," Williams said.
Not everyone applauded Williams's signing, which cameon the heels of his one-year suspension for violating the NFL's substance-abusepolicy. Joe Theismann, who played for the Argonauts from 1971 to '73, blastedhis old team for the move, saying he was "embarrassed to have worn that Aon my helmet." The Argonauts apparently found that amusing. During Friday'sgame they flashed a picture of Theismann on the video screen at the RogersCentre, then had an animated eraser remove the A from his helmet. HAPPY NOW,JOE? the screen said.
RAINER JENSEN/EPA (2)
COURTESY OF NATIONAL BILLIARD NEWS (MIZERAK)
SHOWIN'OFF Mizerak (c. 1970) became pool's youngest Hall of Famer in 1980, when he was35.
JOHN ARONSON (MASCOT)
ADRIAN WYLD/CP/AP (WILLIAMS)
'NAUT BAD Williams (left) had only fourcarries--which was four too many for Theismann.
COURTESY OF TORONTO ARGONAUTS (THEISMANN)
MORRY GASH/AP (UECKER)
JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS (KERRY)