Sure, his Cavs lost to the Suns (who doesn't?), but the King (who scored at least 30 eight times in January) is living large: He got an NBA-high 2.5 million All-Star votes, he's starring in new Windows ads (Microsoft's first-ever NBA spokesmodel), and he planted a seed for a movie based on his "The LeBrons" Nike ads by saying, "That would be cool."
He got what? Righty Jeff Weaver (right) signed for $8.3 million with Seattle after going 8--14 with a 5.76 ERA. No wonder he turned down two years from St. Louis: He wants freedom again next year.
Even Alien would have a hard time versus these guys. With the NHL's best home record and best road record—"We have a good sense of confidence," coach Barry Trotz told The Tennessean—Nashville and goalie Chris Mason (left) are skating away in the Central. And the good get better: Defenseman Marek Zidlicky is due off IR this week.
Connecticut home of the polls and a new $52 million sports complex for hoops and hockey. Both men's teams christened the digs with wins, and the No. 20 pucksters have high hopes: Said captain Reid Cashman to The New York Times, "We'd like to be a national contender."
After missing a chance to beat Duke because of what the ACC called a "timing error"—a game-winning Blue Devils layup was actually scored after time had expired (page 76)—the Tigers and coach Oliver Purnell (above) blew an 11-point lead to underdog Virginia. Said Tigers forward James Mays after the Virginia loss, "Everybody's got their head down."
As former coach Tony Dungy takes the Colts to the Super Bowl, Buccaneers vice president Joel Glazer is facing a $300,000-plus suit for allegedly trashing a Palm Beach mansion he rented last year.
How rare is good news for the Central Division doormats? After snapping a 10-game losing streak, coach Denis Savard (right) teared up in gratitude. ("That's how I am. I care," he told the Chicago Sun Times.) And the poor get worse: The Hawks' injury woes continued when defenseman Jim Vandermeer broke his ankle—against those nasty Predators.
New York home of last season's NCAA-tournament-worthy Gaels and of the current team, 0--20 through Sunday. (Coach Jeff Ruland: "It's like Custer's last stand. Thousands and thousands, and I've got a cap gun.") No relief on ice: Iona's hockey program ended in 2003.
SI PLAYERS NFL POLL
Which current assistant coach should already be a head coach?
Monte Kiffin, Buccaneers 11%
Al Saunders, Redskins 9%
Gregg Williams, Redskins 7%
Rex Ryan, Ravens 5%
FAST FACTS: Poll taken before the season.... Kiffin, Williams and Ryan are defensive coordinators; Saunders is an offensive coordinator.... Three assistants got jobs as head coaches last month: new Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt (ninth in this poll, 2.2%), Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin (21st, 1.1%) and Miami's Cam Cameron (no votes).... Kiffin's son Lane was just named Raiders head coach.
[Based on survey of 361 NFL players] • For an expanded version of the poll go to SI.com/players
DAVID E. KLUTHO (JAMES)
CHUCK SOLOMON (WEAVER)
JOHN RUSSELL (HOCKEY MASK)
STREETER LECKA/GETTY IMAGES (PURNELL)
CHARLES REX ARBOGAST/AP (SAVARD)
SIMON BRUTY (SAUNDERS)
SCOTT A. MILLER/US PRESSWIRE (KIFFIN)