From the Archives — The Little Guard That Could

Reading the children’s classic The Little Engine That Could might be the easiest way to understand what Avery Johnson has gone through to make it in the NBA.

Like the little blue engine from Watty Piper’s story, Johnson is an inspiration. Like the little blue engine, Johnson is much smaller than his counterparts. Like the little blue engine, Johnson has had to persevere. And like the little blue engine, Johnson’s goal is to climb a mountain.

I think I can – I think I can – I think I can – I think I can.

Click here to read the rest of our story on Avery Johnson from our November 1993 issueContinue reading

From the Archives — Chronicling the Spiritual Journey of 1999 U.S. Open Champion Payne Stewart

The putt only covered 15 feet, but it seemed more like 100 to the gallery gathered at the eighteenth hole at Pinehurst No. 2 on that early Sunday evening in June 1999. It traveled uphill, broke ever so slightly to the right…and slipped gently into the cup.

Payne Stewart, wearing his trademark knickers and argyle socks, hoisted the ball up to the heavens. The crowd roared. And for the second time in his career, Stewart was crowned champion of the U.S. Open–the most prestigious event for American golfers. The victory would be his last on the PGA Tour.

Four months later, on October 25, 1999, Payne Stewart entered the gates of heaven after his private jet plowed into a dirt field in Minot, South Dakota, taking the lives of Stewart and three business associates. His death at only 42 years old shook the golf world and the entire nation… Continue reading

From the Archives — Just Getting Started

The thing I’ll remember most about my career is how much I grew up as both an athlete and a man, not to mention how much I learned about what it takes trying to be the best.

I really started to learn that mentality and that attitude at the 1992 Olympics, being on the original Dream Team with guys like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird. I learned by seeing how intense they were about their sport, about their training, and about their commitment to what they do.

Up until that time, I always enjoyed basketball, but I always looked at it as a sport. You come out and you play basketball. You know, it’s fun, but that was it. But those guys took it to another whole level for me. It wasn’t just learning how to be intense and having commitment, it was also seeing the responsibility you have for your teammates… Continue reading

From the Archives — Not Done Yet

Joe Torre finishes huddling with reporters in the dugout shortly before the first pitch of a spring training game. One writer lingers to ask a quick question.

The Los Angeles Dodgers manager prefers not to offer quick answers regarding Mariano Rivera, the celebrated Yankees reliever who helped Torre collect four World Series rings in the first five years of his tenure on the New York bench… Continue reading

The Art of Letting Go

Look past the call-girl cards that litter the street like confetti at Times Square on New Years, or the erotic billboards on the sides of trucks going down the neon-lit Strip, and you’ll see Las Vegas in its grace.

You’ll see the fountains in front of the Bellagio dancing beneath the dry, Nevada sky, or the city calling your name as you look at it atop the Stratosphere, wooing you from below into an evening that never ends, where the casinos make promises and the liquor makes you believe them… Continue reading

Using the Force

Watching Frankie “The Freight Train” Filippone fighting in the ring or protecting the streets of Virginia Beach can be an intimidating sight. Those who know the real Frank Filippone Jr., know that under his tough exterior is a heart of gold. He never misses a chance to use both his boxing and his badge for all the good he can. The 33-year-old Chesapeake, Va., resident has been a police officer for 10 years and boxing professionally for five. He lives his life by two constants. “My motto as a boxer is ‘keep punching,’” he says. “No matter what, I keep fighting. And my motto as a police officer is ‘Try to save a life before you take a life.’” Filippone is all about saving lives. He wants to make a difference in the lives of the teenagers who find themselves in the back of his police car. He wants to Read More

From the Archives — The Mize Guys: Chipping In From the Rough

Imagine having a job in which you get paid only if you do better than most of your fellow workers. And some weeks when you show up for work, your superiors make you try out just to see if you can even work that week. That’s something like the high-pressure world of the professional golfers tour, where nothing is given to you free and the rewards are there only for those who can persevere. Kyle Rote Jr. Talks with PGA golfer Larry Mize to find out how he survives on tour…

Mize won the Masters in 1987, when he chipped in from off the green at the 11th hole at Augusta in a playoff to win his only major title. Click here to read Sports Spectrum’s interview with Mize from its January-February 1991 issue. Continue reading

Peyton Siva lives by slogan, ‘It’s All Jesus’

The scene would have been familiar to basketball fans of the University of Louisville: Peyton Siva going end-to-end to dunk a game-winner over a 7-footer as time expired. It didn’t matter that the game was the last of a series of exhibitions on a Far East mission trip against a Russian team. It was time for someone to step up and take responsibility for the game’s outcome… Continue reading

Duck Dynasty, How It Almost Never Happened

Phil sits in Willie’s office at the Duck Commander warehouse. He’s telling a story, like Phil usually does.

Being with him in person is kind of surreal, like you’re having coffee with a cartoon. It looks like he came straight out of your television and sat in your living room—sunglasses resting on his head, camouflage bandana and pants, as if he’s been hunting all day, and a nest of a beard you could probably turn into a winter scarf… Continue reading

Invisible No More

If you could have stood in the locker room before the fight, you would have thought an army was about to charge into battle. The energy gave you chills. The noise made your head throb.

As Robert Guerrero’s team, family and friends gathered around him, howling and chanting, Bob Santos stood quietly, questioning their naivety, nervously wondering if this would go down as the biggest mistake of Robert Guerrero’s career… Continue reading

Uncommon Challenge