By Jermain Taylor (26-0-1), his undisputed middleweight title with a decision over Kassim Ouma (25-3-1). Fighting in his home state of Arkansas for the first time since becoming champ last summer, an overaggressive Taylor (above, left) was nearly his own worst enemy. "I came out tonight and wanted a knockout really bad," Taylor said. "I am in great shape, but I had to take out a loan in those last two rounds." Taylor, who was cut above the left eye in the fifth round, held off the challenger, winning on all three cards.
To play, by the Polk County school board, Lakeland (Fla.) High's star running back, Chris Rainey. Rainey, who has committed to Florida, told The Miami Herald last week that he was given jerseys, jewelry and money by adoring fans. "When I walk around, people are buying me food, giving me money," Rainey said in a recorded interview. "I'm like, damn, I'm glad I'm Chris Rainey. It's real nice to be me." Rainey's lawyer said that Rainey was joking. The board said there was "no credible evidence" that Rainey accepted gifts. Last Friday, the day after he was cleared, Rainey rushed for 276 yards as Lakeland won its third straight state championship.
For five games for violating terms of the NBA's antidrug program for a third time, Maurice Taylor. The Sacramento Kings' forward served substance-abuse suspensions during the 2002--03 and 2003--04 seasons. The substance involved was not disclosed, but the NBA collective bargaining agreement mandates a five-game suspension for a third positive test for marijuana.
For four games for testing positive for the steroid clenbuterol, Saints defensive tackle Hollis Thomas. His agents have contended that the test is a false positive set off by a mix of asthma medications. NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, however, said that "there's no asthma medication on our banned-substance list." He added that players are free to apply for a medical exemption if they legitimately need to take a banned drug. Thomas will miss the remainder of the regular season.
As interim coach of the U.S. men's soccer team, Bob Bradley. The veteran MLS coach‚Äîhe led the Chicago Fire to the league title in 1998‚Äîgot the job after talks broke down with Juergen Klinsmann, who coached Germany to a third-place finish at the 2006 World Cup. Klinsmann, who lives in California, reportedly could not agree with U.S. Soccer over how much control he would have. Bradley's first match is a friendly against Denmark on Jan. 20.
That she will miss the 2007 WNBA season because she is pregnant, Lisa Leslie, 34. The Los Angeles Sparks center, who averaged 20 points and 9.5 rebounds last year, has been the league MVP three times and has won three Olympic gold medals. In 2002 Leslie (above), who married pilot Michael Lockwood in 2005, became the first WNBA player to dunk in a game. The baby is due in June, and Leslie says she plans to be ready to play in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. For now, though, "I will be cheering my teammates on," she says.
At sea, Laura Gainey, daughter of Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey. The 25 year-old was working on the Caribbean-bound Picton Castle‚Äîa 180-foot, three-mast ship that takes tourists on holidays‚Äîwhen a wave washed her overboard into the Atlantic during a storm last Friday. She was not wearing a life jacket. On Monday the Coast Guard called off its search; but the Picton Castle was still looking. Bob Gainey, a Hall of Famer who played 16 seasons for the Canadiens, has temporarily turned over his duties to assistant G.M. Pierre Gauthier.
When he fell out of a golf cart, the left wrist of Nextel Cup champion Jimmie Johnson. The 31-year-old, who has walked away uninjured from every crash in six years at NASCAR's highest level, was horsing around when he fell off of the top of the cart. Johnson (right) will miss the Nations Cup, an All Star race in Paris next week, but he expects to be ready for Nextel Cup testing at Daytona in January.
By Titans cornerback Pacman Jones for $48,500 in an online police auction, a candy-apple red, 2004 Cadillac XLR Roadster. The car had his name on it‚Äîliterally: PAC-MAN is embroidered on the leather seats. The car was seized in an April cocaine bust of rapper Darryl Jerome Moore and is legally registered to him, but Jones said the car was his and that he loaned it to Moore for a video shoot. "I have 12 cars," Jones said in May, "so that is not the first time I let somebody use one of my cars."
At age 47, former Nebraska running back Andra Franklin. The bruising fullback rushed for 1,738 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Huskers and was taken in the second round of the 1981 draft by the Dolphins. Franklin played four seasons in the NFL. He made the Pro Bowl in 1982, when he was third in the NFL in rushing with 701 yards in a nine-game strike-shortened season. He was forced to retire at age 26 due to chronic knee injuries and reportedly had heart problems in recent years.
In a car crash in the Dominican Republic, former Giants shortstop Jose Uribe, 47. Police said Uribe was driving an SUV on the highway toward his hometown of Juan Baron, where he lost a run for mayor earlier this year. The cause of the crash is under investigation. Uribe played 10 seasons, from 1984 through '93, mostly with the Giants, and had a lifetime .241 average.
By the Bengals after his arrest for drunken driving, cornerback Deltha O'Neal. He was inactive for Sunday's win over the Raiders. The Pro Bowler was pulled over early on Saturday morning; he is the eighth Bengal to be arrested this year.
By Lance Armstrong in his first marathon, his right shin. The seven-time Tour de France champ and cancer survivor called the 2006 New York City Marathon the "hardest physical thing I've ever done." Ten days after he finished, tests showed that the three-hour barrier (he ran 2:59:36) was not the only thing he broke. "I knew I had shin splints," Armstrong said, "but I certainly didn't think there was anything broken, and I just attributed the pain to the amount of effort it takes to complete a marathon." Armstrong said that he will return for the New York marathon next year.
Cleaned Up Hitter
Off drugs for a year, a former top draft pick gets a second chance with Cincinnati
TEN YEARS ago Reds manager Jerry Narron was watching an amateur team coached by his brother when 15-year-old Josh Hamilton caught his eye. Three years later Hamilton would become the first high schooler taken first overall in the major league draft since Alex Rodriguez in 1993. Three years later Hamilton was out of baseball, suspended for repeated violations of MLB's substance-abuse policy (SI, April 12, 2004).
Hamilton has now been clean for more than a year, and Narron still likes the kid's game. Last week the Reds made a deal to acquire the 25-year-old from from the Devil Rays in the Rule V draft. "I felt all along if anyone could help the kid, it was me because of the relationship I've had with him," Narron told The Cincinnati Enquirer. The raw talent is certainly there. After getting a deal that included a $3.96 million signing bonus, the 6'4", 205-pound centerfielder hit .307 in his first two years in the pros, in rookie ball and Class A. But in 2001 he was in a serious car accident, and soon afterward his cocaine use began. Hamilton, who is tested three times a week, was finally reinstated last summer and played with Class A Hudson Valley. Says Reds G.M. Wayne Krivsky, "I think everyone in the game is rooting for him."
2 NBA coaches with 1,200 career wins: Lenny Wilkens (1,332) and Don Nelson, who joined the club when the Warriors beat the Hornets last Saturday.
34 Lead changes in the Suns' 161--157 double-OT win over the Nets last Thursday, the fourth-highest-scoring game in NBA history.
29 Touchdowns by the Chargers' LaDainian Tomlinson this season, an NFL record.
17 NFL teams that have scored fewer than 29 touchdowns this season.
78 Passing yards by Tom Brady against the Dolphins on Sunday, his fourth career sub-100-yard start; all four have come against Miami.
The Cagey Bird Flies
One of the NHL's most wily players‚Äîand top scorers‚Äîretires after 20 seasons
THEO FLEURY, who played with Joe Nieuwendyk for seven seasons with the Calgary Flames, once observed, "If you shot [the puck] at the net and Joe was there, he'd get a piece of it." Nieuwendyk, who last week retired from the Florida Panthers because of chronic back injuries after 20 NHL seasons, was one of the best players in the league at deflecting shots past goaltenders. Since he was an altogether average physical specimen, Nieuwendyk took it upon himself to master the little things; he was also one of the top face-off men around.
Players who rely on wile don't generally attract much attention from scouts, so when the Flames took him with a second-round pick in 1985, one paper ran the headline JOE WHO? He answered his critics quickly. Between the deflections and a wrist shot that wasn't strong but was deadly accurate, he scored 51 goals in each of his first two seasons. (Nieuwendyk, Wayne Gretzky and Mike Bossy are the only players to start their NHL careers with consecutive 50-goal seasons.) In his second season Calgary won its only Stanley Cup. Nieuwendyk, who went on to play for four other teams and hoist the Cup twice more, finished with 564 goals, 19th best of all time. Along the way, countless kids who might not have been the most physically blessed took notice. "If you don't learn anything from being around him," said Panthers center Stephen Weiss, "then you're in trouble."