Recalled to England's national team, the rejuvenated soccer god celebrated by leading Real Madrid to 3--1 win. Hollywood is waiting—Becks starts play for the L.A. Galaxy in July. Meanwhile, said p.r. guru Max Clifford, playing for England could net Beckham (above) $100 million in endorsements. Said Clifford, "He's the golden boy again."
Yep, you read that right. Talk of the Nats threatening baseball's worst-ever record has evaporated with team's 12 wins in 17 games. Helped by some sweet strokin' (six straight 10-hit games), they're even eyeing a move out of the NL East cellar. First-year manager Manny Acta: "Everything is clicking."
What's he been doing lately? The 31-year-old won a playoff at the Crowne Plaza Invitational (a $1.08 million payday), and two weeks after he said Tiger Woods is "more beatable than ever," the world's No. 16 player (left) has plans for next year: "To get to Number 1."
A streaking Mariner! The spray-hittin' outfielder had hit in 20 straight games through Sunday, lifting his average to .339. And the man knows how to make a milestone special: He played his 1,000th big league game last week—and homered in it.
Longtime U.S. goalkeeper and four-time World Cupper is now a bench warmer. Understudy Tim Howard was given the No. 1 job for the U.S. heading into next month's CONCACAF Gold Cup. Worse news abroad: Keller (above), who'd wanted to stay, was let go by his German team, Borussia Moenchengladbach, after it slipped to the second division.
Aren't they a contender? Not right now, they aren't. Eight straight losses had Stros falling toward the NL Central cellar. They'd been outscored by, brace yourself, 66--16 in that time, and even ace Roy Oswalt is getting pounded. Manager Phil Garner: "We've had an absolutely awful, rotten, no-good, lousy week."
What had the punter done for the Steelers lately? Not enough. The former Pro Bowler, who's never had a punt blocked in 16 years, averaged a league-low 41.3 yards per punt last year. That got him cut by Pittsburgh—a month after it drafted a punter.
A sinking Mariner. The 6'8" first baseman (left) was hitting .185 and had one homer in 16 games. And he really knows how to crash: He got knocked over at first by Royal Tony Pe√±a Jr., who was safe on the play. "I'm fine," Sexson swore afterward.
SI PLAYERS NBA POLL
Your pick: LeBron James or Dwyane Wade?
¬´ LeBron James, Cavs F 67%
Dwyane Wade, Heat, G 30% ¬ª
FAST FACTS: Poll taken before Wade missed six weeks with a separated left shoulder.... Three percent of voters said "both".... More than 57% of rookies picked Wade, while 71% of players with at least five NBA seasons chose James.... Wade, 25, had surgery on his shoulder and knee two weeks ago and may not play until November. He has led the Heat to a 33--21 playoff record—a mark that includes this year's four-game loss to Chicago—in four seasons and won the NBA title last year.... The 22-year-old James (page 57) has taken the Cavaliers to the playoffs twice in four years; through Monday, Cleveland trailed Detroit two games to one in the Eastern Conference finals.
[Based on a survey of 271 NBA players]
• For an expanded version of the poll, go to SI.com/players.
GREG NELSON (JAMES)
JOHN BIEVER (WADE)
DENIS DOYLE/GETTY IMAGES (BECKHAM)
CHRISTOF KOEPSEL/BONGARTS/GETTY IMAGES
JOHN PYLE/ICON SMI (GARDOCKI)
DAMIAN STROHMEYER (SEXSON)
FRED VUICH (SABBATINI)