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News that NFL players Marquis Cooper and Corey Smith and their friend William Bleakley were killed in a fishing accident two weeks ago brought back memories of Cleveland Indians pitchers Tim Crews, Bobby Ojeda and Steve Olin, who were involved in a boating accident in Clermont, Fla., in 1993 in which Crews and Olin perished. SI writer Gary Smith described how their friends, relatives and teammates tried to come to terms with their grief.
THIS IS what you do with pain. You set up a locker for your dead best friend, with his nameplate and his glove and his uniform and his team jacket and his shoes and his framed photograph on a stool. Even when the team travels, you tape the nameplate over the locker next to you and set up the shrine, so no one ever forgets. You keep talking about him to the other players because they taught you in rehab never to repress your feelings. You keep walking around the clubhouse, even weeks later, with 5 × 7 photographs of Steve to send to the hundreds of well-wishers who have written, and offer them to players: "Thought you might like a picture of Oly." There was something almost heroic about it; [Kevin] Wickander's grief possessed him. Eyes started rolling in the Indian clubhouse. Guys were trying to forget. But then, wouldn't everyone in the world, whether he admitted it or not, want a Wick to keep him alive when he was gone?
NBA AND THE ECONOMY
As the country's economic downturn causes NBA teams to pull their belts ever tighter, can players such as Pistons guard Allen Iverson afford to test the free-agent market this summer? This week SI.com takes a look at how the weak economy is affecting NBA spending: Ian Thomsen explains how the league's financial pinch will influence the 2009 free-agent class and why a few teams, such as the Trailblazers, are raising their ticket prices; and Steve Aschburner explores how the Timberwolves are able to slash prices and offer refunds to fans who lose their jobs.