TREVOR EDWARDS, 40
Corporate Vice President of Global Brand Management, Nike
Think the latest Nike product is dope? You can thank Edwards, a top executive at Nike, who oversees a budget of close to $1 billion to develop and execute management strategy and communications. Born in London, Edwards, who has been at Nike for a decade, was instrumental in signing the World Cup-champ Brazilian soccer team.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL, 31
Center, Los Angeles Lakers
A 7'1", 325-pound giant on the court and an economic force off it, Shaq owns a record label and a clothing company, has released five rap CDs and has appeared in three movies. His gentle-giant image enables him to earn $14 million a year in endorsements from companies like Burger King, Nestl� Crunch, Radio Shack, Swatch and Starter.
ULICE PAYNE, 47
President, Milwaukee Brewers
The first African-American president of a major league team, Payne is responsible for all business aspects of the operation—from marketing to ticket pricing to ballpark amenities. After the Brewers' 10th straight losing season, Payne replaced Wendy Selig-Prieb (Bud's daughter) last September and has pledged to attract more black and Latino fans.
DON KING, 71
Though his influence has diminished because of boxing's misfortunes and his own longtime reliance on heavyweights, King is still a force in the sport. He's promoted more than 500 fights, including six of the 10 largest pay-per-view events. In what may be a last-ditch grasp at regaining power, he is trying to sign Lennox Lewis to a three-fight deal.
KENNY WILLIAMS, 39
General Manager, Chicago White Sox
He was just four years old when sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos took a defiant stand against racism in the United States by removing their shoes and raising their black-gloved fists on the podium during the medal ceremony at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Yet Williams's father, Jerry, who had run track with Smith and Carlos at San Jose State, made sure his young son knew the meaning behind the moment. Indeed, growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area among hippies and Black Panthers, Kenny was often privy to fiery political and social dialogues. "It was the sign of the times," says Williams. "Though I was young, it was pretty obvious, the passion behind those discussions."
In 2000 he became the third African-American general manager in baseball, and he remains one of two minority G.M.'s in the sport, along with Montreal's Omar Minaya (No. 17). A former wideout at Stanford, Williams was selected by the White Sox in the third round of the 1982 draft despite not having played college baseball. He retired in '91 and became a White Sox scout before moving up to special assistant to owner Jerry Reinsdorf three years later.
Williams has already made his mark in the front office. In January he helped engineer a three-team trade that resulted in the acquisition of Bartolo Colon from the Expos. "Kenny's one of the brightest minds in the game," says Oakland G.M. Billy Beane. "He's very self-assured, straightforward and honest."
In Williams and manager Jerry Manual the White Sox have the first minority G.M.-manager combination in baseball. And though Williams is proud of being a part of a franchise that encourages diversity, he believes the opportunity he has received will be meaningless if he doesn't win. "You've got to be prepared to succeed" says Williams. "It's just a footnote and not a real win if you fail."
OMAR MINAYA, 44
General Manager, Montreal Expos
In a feat of magic Minaya has kept the Expos competitive despite an anemic $40 million payroll. Baseball's first Latino G.M., he has hired more than 100 people—nearly a third of them minorities—since taking the job in 2002. He was an assistant G.M. with the Mets and, before that, a Rangers scout who was best known for signing Sammy Sosa.