Publish date:

January 23, 2012 Table Of Contents

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LEADING OFF

LEADING OFF

EDITOR'S LETTER

JOE AND NEIL ... AND MUHAMMAD

By Terry McDonell

Inside: THE WEEK IN SPORTS

SMALL PROBLEMS

Missouri's four-guard lineup might be the shortest in the Big 12, but it's wreaking havoc in the conference by

By Dan Greene

SETH DAVIS'S THREE-POINTER

By Seth Davis

PIERRE McGUIRE'S IN THE CREASE

By Pierre McGuire

PLEASED TO MEET YOU

The remade Panthers are still getting to know each other, but that hasn't slowed their rise into the ranks of playoff contenders

By Brian Cazeneuve

DIRK IN PROGRESS

The Mavericks allowed free agents to depart with an eye toward reshaping their roster to give their franchise player another title run. Whom might they pursue?

By Chris Mannix

RUNNING MATES

The trials in Houston produced the U.S.'s deepest team in decades—and one that will be ready for anything at the Games

By David Epstein

SHIFT TO THE CENTER

As the U.S. women look to London, Lauren Cheney takes on the playmaker's role

By Grant Wahl

BOXING

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CHAMP

Five decades after his first mention in SI, the man with a total of 38 cover appearances still inspires us, especially remembering the long road he traveled from denounced rebel to beloved icon

By Richard O'Brien

NFL PLAYOFFS

ALEX SMITH. REALLY? REALLY

Beleaguered, battered and booed for much of his career, the former No. 1 pick did the unthinkable, outdueling Drew Brees in a postseason epic to lead San Francisco to within one game of the Super Bowl

By Jim Trotter

ELI, AS IN ELITE

Quarterback Eli Manning has put to rest all questions of his leadership and clutch ability, outgunning the Packers' Aaron Rodgers to lead the Giants to their second NFC title game appearance in five seasons

By Damon Hack

A TIGHT END ONE-TWO PUNCH

Bill Belichick's most brilliant innovation yet: turning the tag team of Rob Gronkowksi and Aaron Hernandez into his most dangerous—and versatile—weapon

By Peter King

THE HOUR GROWS LATE

The Ravens' D is the team's heart and soul. But this might be the last, best shot at a Super Bowl for a unit that is aging—and maybe slipping

By Ben Reiter

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

DRIVING FOR HOME

A hoops prodigy who had her choice of powerhouse programs, Elena Delle Donne once quit the sport. Now she's the nation's top scorer at upstart Delaware—and couldn't be happier

By L. Jon Wertheim

PRO HOCKEY

THE PUCK STOPS WHERE?

Nashville's Pekka Rinne may be great. But with goalies, nobody knows anything

By Michael Farber

RICKY RUBIO

¬°Olé!

For two years Ricky Rubio was an NBA draft pick stewing in his native Spain. Now he is spreading joy in Minnesota with his artful passes and spirited play

By Lee Jenkins

POINT AFTER

THE BOOK OF TIM

By Phil Taylor

Departments

Masthead

LETTERS

A SMART WAY TO SHARE

What if a little of the money in college sports went back to the community?

By Alexander Wolff

HOT | NOT

FOR THE RECORD

Strange Turn in a Sad Story

After MJ's high school coach lands in jail, one wonders: Where will this tale end?

By Thomas Lake

The Fight of His Life

A documentary series opens up the taut world of boxing trainer Freddie Roach

By Bryan Armen Graham

Game of The Weak

In fixing postseason play, remember: Timing is everything

By Dick Friedman

FACES IN THE CROWD

Edited by Alexandra Fenwick

Run for The Money

A new company has found philanthropy in sports gambling

By Dan Greene

JUST MY TYPE

By Dan Patrick