Sportswriters have called Phoenix Mercury rookie Brittney Griner “the greatest women’s basketball player of all time” on more than a few occasions – high praise indeed for someone who has yet to play a minute of professional basketball. But maybe superlatives are warranted when you’re a 6-foot-8, three-time All-American whose 18 career dunks at Baylor University were more than every other female player combined in the history of the NCAA.
Philanthropic Jewelry Mogul
Born into a family business that dates back to 1634, Alfredo J. Molina was destined to be a jeweler. After fleeing Cuba in 1967 on the heels of the Cuban Revolution, 7-year-old Alfredo and his family settled in Chicago. Following the path of his ancestors, the tyro gem merchant went to work on a jeweler’s bench to learn the trade from his grandfather.
Tony Duncan has been jumping through hoops for more than 20 years, but not quite like the rest of us.
The 27-year-old from Mesa won his first adult title at the 21st Annual Heard Museum Hoop Dance Championship Contest in Phoenix February 6. He previously won the teen title four times, but with the adult crown, he took home a grown-up prize of $3,500. “I’ve been dreaming of winning the hoop dance since I was about 5 years old,” Duncan says.
Phoenix Coyotes Puck-Stopper
Once upon a time, Coyotes goalie Mike Smith was a Walmart-priced replacement for departed free agent Ilya Bryzgalov. The highlights of his five-year career were getting traded by Dallas, getting injured often and getting waived by Tampa Bay.
Mixology Mad Scientist
It’s not like mixology wunderkind Richie Moe just woke up one day and said to himself, “Hey, wouldn’t it be neat to mix up a batch of cocktails, pour them into tiny oak barrels, and let them bake in the Arizona sun for a month? And all the while, spritz the barrels with sea salt like they were seal pups?”
Desert-Dwelling Rap Pioneer
Rap music was supposed to be a fad. Even Young MC – the one-off hip-hop sensation best remembered for his 1989 hit “Bust A Move” – once fretted over the genre’s staying-power. “When I came out, the big thing was, how long will rap last?” says the rapper, whose real name is Marvin Young. “No one thought it’d go on like this.”