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The 72-year-old former judge has a stoic courtroom demeanor, but it's hard for him not to smile: He earned almost $1.6 million in 2011; he led the movement for a college football playoff; and the SEC just won its seventh straight BCS title. With Bama favored to win number 8, and with a new TV deal (including an SEC Network) projected to reap more than $400 million, Slive may be grinning even more.
18 ADAM SILVER
NBA deputy commissioner
[LEAGUE GOVERNANCE][WORLD POWER][RISING][50 & UNDER]
He will become the NBA's next commish on Feb. 1, and acclimating should be easy. A former lawyer who's spent 21 years with the league (the past seven as Stern's deputy), Silver, 50, has done much more than read the names of second-round draft picks: He helped negotiate the last three CBAs and two TV deals, often joking that he had the second-best job in the world. Soon, by his reckoning, he'll have the best.
19 JERRY JONES