How one fight changed two lives
The Last Great Fight author Joe Layden describes the 1994 night when former heavyweight champ Buster Douglas fell into a diabetic coma and nearly died. Yet the years after Douglas's 1990 title win were harsher to the man he beat. In prose that's as sharp as an uppercut, Layden revisits the day Douglas handed Mike Tyson his first loss. A generation of young fans knows Tyson as a novelty act and boxing as a niche sport. Layden traces both declines to that night in Tokyo.
his life Maravich described his youthful self as a "basketball android," seemingly engineered to play the game. In the well-researched Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich, Mark Kriegel peels back the legend, revealing the complex man behind the floppy-haired LSU star. The Maravich "android" was created by Pete's dad and coach, Press; Kriegel tells his story as well, revealing him to be a driven but loving father who was an inspiration and a burden. The result is the best sports biography of the year.
were published by SI Books or written by SI writers this year. SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's The Basketball Book is a hoops celebration in words and pictures. The Hammer is an ode to Hank Aaron from the pages of the magazine, In the Paint collects Swimsuit Issue body-paint art, and Hate Mail from Cheerleaders features the best of Rick Reilly's columns. S.L. Price's Far Afield is a meditation on sports and life written during a year spent abroad. L. Jon Wertheim's Running the Table tells the story of Kid Delicious, the Last Great Pool Hustler. In Jackpot Nation, Richard Hoffer examines why Americans love to gamble. Austin Murphy argues for college football over the NFL in Saturday Rules; Stewart Mandel takes stock of the college game in Bowls, Polls and Tattered Souls. Senior editor Jim Gorant wrote Fanatic: 10 Things All Sports Fans Should Do Before They Die. And senior contributing writer Frank Deford spins the story of a ballplayer accused of a crime in the novel The Entitled.