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Tuesday, November 6, 2001
Pick Page 2's first MVP

Page 2 staff

Page 2 is normally anything but boastful, but as of today, we have accomplished something many "experts" claimed was unlikely, if not impossible -- we've survived for a full year.

To celebrate, we've decided to honor those who have made our existence not only possible but pleasurable -- Page 2's first slate of MVP candidates. These are the eight individuals and two golden couples from the world of sports with whom -- and at whose expense -- Page 2 has had the most fun.

Check out our 10 nominees and their credentials. Then vote in the poll at left to help us begin an annual tradition -- the crowning of the Page 2 MVP.


Danny Almonte
Lying. We love it at Page 2. So naturally we fell hard for Danny Almonte, the 12-to-80-year-old pitching star of a Bronx, N.Y., Little League team. First, Brian Murphy kvelled over Almonte's blazing heater; then Jim Caple provided, as a public service, a guide for determining the age of Little Leaguers. Finally, still confused ourselves, Page 2 asked you, the readers, to help us figure out how old Almonte really was.

Roger Clemens
Brain farts. Let's be honest, now, there's nothing better than a good brain fart. Which is why Roger Clemens is so frequently to be found on Page 2. During Year One, we brought you inside his head (scary but interesting), imagined him joining the Mets, wondered what would have happened if he and Pete Rose had run into each other in their primes, and saw Bill Simmons compare him to the anti-Christ (but favorably, Yankee fans, favorably).

Steffi Graf, Andre Agassi and child
Love matches. We are suckers for blatant sentimentality. So when it was first revealed that Steffi was in a family way, thanks to the image-conscious Agassi, our first impulse was to try to imagine what Baby Agassi would look like. (Unfortunately -- for him -- he turned out to be a dead ringer for Jason Alexander.) Our second impulse was to try to probe Andre's thoughts to see if he has trouble with commitment.

Jerry Jones
Starting over. Page 2 believes America is the land of opportunity, and even multi-millionaires should be allowed to reinvent themselves whenever they feel like it. This made Cowboys owner Jerry "New Look" Jones a prime candidate for some prime Page 2 territory -- the star of his own Meat Market, a Makin' It Better feature (the New Jerry vs. the Old Jerry), and what might be going on in that beautifully coiffed head of his.

Michael Jordan
Just come back, baby. Like everybody else in America, we at Page 2 often found ourselves wishing that Michael Jordan would just make up his mind -- are you coming or going? Boy, what hypocrites we are, because we couldn't make up our minds either, at least not about MJ. Our columnists couldn't agree, David Halberstam saying "no," Bill Simmons "yes." Jim Caple predicted some things for MJ's first season back (for the second time), Dan Shanoff predicted some other things. In fact, things got so confusing we were forced to go inside his head on two separate occasions, the only time that has happened in the short but happy history of Page 2.

Bob Knight
Danger. Girls love it, and Bobby Knight provides it, which means Page 2 couldn't get enough of the former Indiana teacher/coach/spiritual guide. We demanded a Coach Knight movie (and helped cast it, because we are not just pimples on the soft underbelly of American sports), helped him with his acceptance speech at Texas Tech, and had Nick Bakay compare him with another great but erratic cultural icon -- Tony Soprano.

Anna Kournikova
Athletic talent. That's important to Page 2, too, which is why we couldn't keep our hands off Anna Kournikova, metaphorically speaking. Not a week went by without our readers wondering why we hadn't had a picture of the Russian tennis star on the site recently. Not that we didn't try. With your help, we gave her 007 character a name, created a photo tribute to her "average" day, previewed her workout tape, analyzed her handwriting, suggested new and better Anna websites, and compared tennis tournaments with Anna to those without her. Imagine what we'd have done if she'd won a tourney.

Vince McMahon
Vision. Hey, who cares what America wants, Vince McMahon knew what America needed -- the XFL. Without it, how much duller would our collective lives have been? On Page 2, the answer is: a lot. The XFL provided us with our first investigative opportunity ("Who Crashed the XFL Blimp?") and our first reality game show ("XFL Survivor"), plus the chance to create a whole new set of rules for the game of "football." The XFL died, of course, but its spirit lives on Page 2.

Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant
Sibling rivalries. When Shaq and Kobe decided to fight it out over who would be Da Man for the Lake Show, frankly, we at Page 2 could not have been happier. Out of this intrafamilial cat fight arose many classic Page 2 features, including our Event of the Year -- the Shaq-Kobe decathlon. Nick Bakay found enough material for two Tales of the Tape -- Shaq vs. Kobe and Shaq vs. Wilt. Ralph Wiley set Kobe against MJ, Cap'n Jimmy was inspired by Shaq to create his first themed Fun Page, and we went on a long, strange trip inside both their heads. And when all was said and done, the Lakers had repeated as NBA champs. Hey, don't thank us. We're just doing our job.

Tiger Woods
Excellence. How good is Tiger Woods? Too damn good. Which is why Page 2 felt compelled to offer Brian Murphy's Eight Ways to Tame a Tiger, and Cap'n Jimmy's tips on Tigerizing Augusta. We also went into his head, analyzed his handwriting, and compared him to an equally dashing -- and unconquerable dude -- James Bond. Death by Walther PPK or 5-iron. Either way, as Clint Eastwood said (in "The Outlaw Josie Wales"), "Dying ain't much of a living, boy."