Four years ago Hidalgo left for rival Telemundo, and he has since established the No. 2 Spanish-language network as the premier Spanish sports programmer. He has acquired the exclusive Spanish-language broadcast rights to matches of me U.S. and Mexican national soccer teams and to televise an NBA game each week (the first time a major American pro league has regularly aired games on a Hispanic network). When Hidalgo arrived, Telemundo had five sports properties; now it has 13. "I came in with a lot of ambition and was given a lot of freedom to turn this place around," he says.
That ambition has been evident since Hidalgo's youth. His parents could not afford to send him to college, so Hidalgo took a job as a cameraman at a Univision station. Now he aspires to lift Telemundo above his former employer in the ratings. "I wouldn't mind if Telemundo decided to open up an all-sports network in Spanish," Hidalgo says. "And, of course, I'd hope they'd put me in charge."
BILLY KING, 37
General Manager. Philadelphia 76ers
The NBAs youngest G.M.—and the buffer between All-Star Allen Iverson (No. 48) and coach Larry Brown—is fly enough to hang with players and savvy enough to hold his own with executives and agents. Players love his pedigree (King played at Duke); league types value his NBA cred (he was an assistant for four years under Brown with the Pacers).
JAMES HARRIS, 55
Vice President of Player Personnel, Jacksonville Jaguars
In 1969 Harris became the second black quarterback to play in the NFL, and five years later he was the first to start a playoff game. Those experiences groomed Harris as a leader. A terrific talent evaluator—as Baltimore's pro-player personnel director he helped build the 2001 Super Bowl champs. This year he drafted quarterback Byron Leftwich.
DUSTY BAKER, 53
Manager, Chicago Cubs
Never has a black manager been so hot. After taking the Giants to the World Series last season, the three-time manager of the year signed a four-year, $14 million contract with the Cubs. Players love Baker's cool and fans seem to embrace his homespun style. With Lou Piniella and Joe Torre, he may be one of baseball's most recognizable managers.
KIM NG, 34
Vice President and Assistant General Manager, Los Angeles Dodgers
Write it down: Ng may become baseball's first female G.M. She has impressed fellow big league execs, who describe her as tough and intelligent. Before moving to L.A. in 2001, she was an assistant G.M. with the Yankees. Known as a fierce negotiator, Ng has won several high-profile arbitration cases, including one involving Mariano Rivera.
AARON GOODWIN, 42
The man who orchestrated NBA All-Star Gary Payton's mid-year exit from Seattle might soon be the envy of his peers. Why? He's reportedly on the verge of signing LeBron James (No. 101). Goodwin says he's negotiated over $700 million in contracts for his clients, but an alliance with James could make that figure look like meal money.
VENUS WILLIAMS, 22
Not as dominant as she once was, Big Sis is still a force for woman athletes: Her $40 million Reebok contract and endorsement deals with the likes of McDonald's and Doublemint gum are testament to her broad appeal. And though she's lost ground to Little Sis Serena (No. 3), Venus remains a huge draw on the women's tour.
WAYNE COOPER, 46
Vice President of Basketball Operations, Sacramento Kings
A former journeyman center who played 14 seasons in the NBA, Cooper is a major reason the talented Kings have such an international flavor. He oversees day-to-day business, including all scouting. One key move: drafting little-known Serb Peja Stojakovic in 1996, which helped set off the NBA's current influx of foreign players.
BILL STRICKLAND, 54, AND MASON ASHE, 39
They've created one of the largest black-owned sports management agencies, with 30 to 40 clients in professional sports and entertainment including Rasheed Wallace, Allan Houston, Daunte Culpepper and Levon Kirkland. Before forming their company, both cut their teeth at IMG. Strickland was the first black president of the basketball division (he was also at ProServ for eight years) and Ashe was a VP for team sports, representing football and basketball players domestically and abroad. Among their latest projects: launching an ice tour featuring black skaters. Ashe has partnered with Robert Johnson (No. 1) away from the game. Ashe serves on a national subcommittee chaired by Johnson to solicit donations on behalf of the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock.