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December 25, 2006 | Volume 105, Issue 26

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LaDainian Tomlinson Cover - Sports Illustrated December 25, 2006

December 25, 2006 | Steve Rushin
Keeping track of all the miscreants in sports--from liquored-up trees to larcenous wideouts--is a dirty job, and nobody has to do it. But Steve Rushin did it anyway

December 25, 2006 | Steve Rushin
The Stanford tree mascot was suspended after police saw it drinking from a flask during the Cardinal's basketball game against Cal.

December 25, 2006 | Steve Rushin
Heat coach Pat Riley gave a Yogi Berra quotation to each of his players, including forward Udonis Haslem, who said, "He gave us a Yogi Bear quote. I can't remember what it was, but he said it was...

December 25, 2006 | Steve Rushin
Terrell Owens wrote a children's book, Little T Learns to Share.

December 25, 2006 | CHRIS BALLARD
It happened on a Friday night in Lepanto, Ark. There were record-setting individual performances, exhausting swings of emotion and an unexpected dose of national fame. Yet almost no one...

December 25, 2006 | MARK BECHTEL
In 2006, as in every year, the sports world lost some of its most beloved athletes and superlative characters, from golfing great Byron Nelson and Negro leagues legend Buck O'Neil to pioneering...

December 25, 2006
Cold Front It's not a stretch to say that Blue Jackets left wing Rick Nash would have gone to any length to keep the puck away from Stars right wing Antti Miettinen during their Dec. 12 game at...

December 25, 2006
The NBA Isiah Thomas and the Knicks are the big losers after the latest brawl • Yao Ming, a go-to guy at last • A star's trade doesn't always lead to a ring

December 25, 2006 | Jack McCallum
Hard Knocks

December 25, 2006 | Jack McCallum
On Rockets center Yao Ming (right), a leading MVP candidate who at week's end had scored more than 30 points in four of his last five games:

December 25, 2006 | Jack McCallum
MOVING ON UP?

December 25, 2006 | Nate Silver
Analyze This

December 25, 2006 | Nate Silver
It's ironic that the only thing Jeff Bagwell didn't do gracefully was hit. His squat, wide-legged stance was a running clubhouse joke (Astros teammates said he could practice his swing on the...

December 25, 2006 | Jeffri Chadiha
The Class of '06

December 25, 2006 | Peter King
If you'd checked the NFL stats on Sunday morning, you'd have seen the Saints' Drew Brees as the No. 1-rated passer, the Bengals' Chad Johnson atop the list for receiving yards, Jacksonville's...

December 25, 2006 | Paul Zimmerman
ON MONDAY NIGHT the Eagles play the Cowboys for the lead in the NFC East. And that, I'm afraid, is the only action for major stakes this weekend. Sure, there will be some elbowing to determine...

December 25, 2006 | Ted Keith
Flying Force

December 25, 2006 | Ted Keith
BOSTON COLLEGE forward Jared Dudley (right) could be the most underrated player in the country. The 6'7", 225-pound senior seamlessly replaced Craig Smith as the primary option in coach Al...

December 25, 2006 | Seth Davis
You won't see many performances more inspirational than Alabama senior forward Jermareo Davidson's 25-point, 11-rebound, nine-block effort in a 77--64 win over Southern Mississippi last Saturday....

December 25, 2006 | SETH DAVIS
BUCKEYE BOMBS ASTRAY

December 25, 2006 | Michael Farber
Defense Policy

December 25, 2006 | Michael Farber
The Penguins have something that all teams need: a solid energy line. Coach Michel Therrien was smart to put Maxime Talbot in between superpest Jarkko Ruutu and grinding Chris Thorburn. This line...

December 25, 2006 | Brian Cazeneuve
Vancouver's Rory Fitzpatrick is a 31-year-old journeyman who through Sunday had no points in 18 games this season. That's not far off his career pace: In 228 games over nine seasons, he has nine...

December 25, 2006 | Rick Reilly
CHRISTMAS LETTERS contain more whoppers than all the Burger Kings on the Eastern Seaboard combined. Sure, sure, your Timmy is teaching blind kids to see. How nice, your Samantha just split the...

December 25, 2006
The Master Jeff MacGregor's Huck Finn's Last Ride (Dec. 4) on the aging of Brett Favre did an excellent job of describing the relationship between Packers fans and the man they've cheered for the...

December 25, 2006 | Steve Rushin
TWO YEARS AGO, at 14, Tyler Kessler was attempting to stave off cancer and kidney failure with an unusual course of treatment. He and his dad, Bob, had set out to visit every NFL stadium and share...

December 25, 2006 | L. Jon Wertheim
Like a certain controversial Texas Tech coach, Philadelphia U's Herb Magee is about to set a wins record. That's about all the two have in common

December 25, 2006
Who's Hot Cornrows Big Ben Wallace's hair isn't so big any more, but there's reason to fear the 'row: He's averaging 20.7 boards in his last three games (including 27 against the Bucks),...

December 25, 2006
Offered To donate a kidney to former teammate Ron Springs, 50, ex--Cowboys cornerback Everson Walls, 46. Springs (inset, in 1983), who lost his right foot to diabetes, is confined to a wheelchair...

December 25, 2006
In a glam era of tennis, Lindsay Davenport produced victories—not drama

December 25, 2006
0 Times Tiger Woods finished lower than second in his last 11 stroke-play events of the year; he won eight titles and was runner-up three times.

December 25, 2006
After a season of learning, Steven Nyman wins his first World Cup downhill

December 25, 2006 | Richard Deitsch
The 25-year-old is the author of Still Kicking: My Journey As the First Woman to Play Division I College Football

December 25, 2006
At this point in the season, it's all about clock management. SI's annual two-minute drill

December 25, 2006 | Adam Duerson
ACTRESS Bridget Moynahan (Six Degrees) recently told Boston Common magazine that she planned to be married with kids within five years. Good thing she didn't specify who the husband would be. Last...

December 25, 2006 | Adam Duerson
The Tigers asked reliever Joel Zumaya to stop playing the video game Guitar Hero because it caused his forearm injury.

December 25, 2006 | Adam Duerson
'Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the Hub, nearly-nude creatures were running, even some who looked chub.... There are less embarrassing ways to work off that bowl full of jelly...

December 25, 2006 | Adam Duerson
JOEY PORTER, Steelers linebacker, apologizing for directing a homosexual slur at Cleveland's Kellen Winslow after a game: "I didn't mean to offend nobody but Kellen Winslow."

December 25, 2006 | Chris Mannix
What to watch and watch for

December 25, 2006
Daniel O'Keefe ABERDEEN, S.D. > Football Daniel, a senior quarterback and safety at Roncalli High, led the 12--0 Cavaliers to a second straight Class 11B championship. The two-time Joe Robbie MVP...

December 25, 2006
From the rushing heroics of LaDainian Tomlinson, NFL star, to the rushing heroics of Kendric Smith, Arkansas schoolboy ... and everything else that made 2006 special

December 25, 2006
Every week SI is filled with photography from major sports. These pages are different. From the shores of the Amazon to a frozen trail in Alaska to a dirt pitch in Sierra Leone, SI's selection of...

December 25, 2006 | Michael Silver
Of all the year's spectacular performers, no one had the finishing touch of Mr. Touchdown, LaDainian Tomlinson

December 25, 2006 | Tom Verducci
It was true on Sept. 18, when four consecutive ninth-inning dingers pulled L.A. into a tie with San Diego. Then came Nomar's game-winner

December 25, 2006 | Jack McCallum
Avery Johnson remade the Mavericks in his feisty image and took them to the Finals--where his performance won over thousands of fans

December 25, 2006 | PHIL TAYLOR
Sorry, Rutgers. The biggest surprise came from the Demon Deacons, who won their first ACC title since 1970 after being picked to finish last

December 25, 2006 | GRANT WAHL
A champion Florida team bursting with NBA-ready talent returned intact--thanks to a humble, hardworking Tennessee farmer

December 25, 2006 | L. JON WERTHEIM
After losing in the French Open, Roger Federer faced questions about his tactics--and his courage. No one's questioning him anymore

December 25, 2006 | ALAN SHIPNUCK
After Phil Mickelson reverted to his old ways on the 72nd hole at the U.S. Open, a heavyhearted Tiger Woods took charge of the season

December 25, 2006 | MICHAEL FARBER
Capitals wing Alexander Ovechkin conjured up a score that left even the Great One awestruck and lifted the league with his gung-ho spirit

December 25, 2006
From the World Cup to the Olympics, sports fans thrilled to a fateful headbutt, a refusal to fade away, a gracious response to adversity, a moving rescue and two courageous returns from injury

December 25, 2006 | Luke Winn
Towering Tanzanian Hasheem Thabeet quickly became a shot-blocking force and fan favorite at UConn

December 25, 2006 | Luke Winn
Along with UConn's Hasheem Thabeet, these four players can be counted among the nation's most prolific shot blockers.

December 25, 2006 | Lars Anderson
Versatile quarterback Cullen Finnerty led Grand Valley State to its second consecutive Division II title

December 25, 2006 | Lars Anderson
Grand Valley State's victory in the Division II title game made it a clean sweep for small-college programs that were trying to defend their NCAA championships last weekend.