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.
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.”
PAYTON CURRY - CHEF
Payton Curry has made a name for himself in the Valley food scene – at times as much for his brash and bratty personality as for his formidable talent in the kitchen. Valley foodies will remember Curry airing the messy details of his divorce from Caffe Boa a year ago. But the former bad boy chef, whose Valley resume includes notable restaurants like Caffe Boa, Digestif, and Downtown pop-up micro-eatery Welcome Diner, says he’s cleaned up his act both personally and professionally. Curry’s rebellious tendencies are now strictly kitchen-centered, with his biggest vice being a twice-a-week farmers’ market habit.
In eight short years, Matt and Erenia “Ernie” Pool have achieved total domination of the foodie circadian rhythm. First, they captivated early birds with the instantly iconic Matt’s Big Breakfast. Then they snared night owls with The Roosevelt. For the coup de grâce, they opened Giant Coffee: a gilded cage for cuckoo caffeine lovers. Along the way, the couple has been profiled on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and earned spots on countless Phoenix “Best Of” lists, from PHOENIX magazine to CNN. We caught up with the sweet, humble Pools over lattes and macchiatos at Giant Coffee, where they reflected on their burgeoning empire.
CEILING-SMASHING ROUNDBALL LEGEND Ann Meyers Drysdale moves a little slower nowadays, her knees stiffened by a lifetime of trips up and down the basketball court. But her steely blue eyes still reflect the intensity that made her the best women’s player on the planet in the late 1970s: a four-time All-American at UCLA, the first player drafted by the Women’s Professional Basketball League, and the only woman ever to sign an NBA contract (she got a tryout with the Indiana Pacers in 1980).
A year ago, Ian Kennedy was largely unknown to rank-and-file Arizona Diamondbacks fans. The D-backs were coming off two straight last-place finishes in the National League West, and few players were generating breakout buzz.
Things couldn’t be more different this year. As the team kicks off its 2012 season, Kennedy takes the hill as one of the best starting pitchers in the National League, and expectations for both him and the Diamondbacks are the highest in years.
Sports show host
In a medium that typically features men yelling at other men about men, Karen Frye stands out. She’s the creator and host of Girlfriends Talk Sports with KFrye, an online sports-talk show in which she and two lady co-hosts dish about everything from college booster payola to players’ tattoos to UFC. Her qualifications? She’s spent 28 years raising Suns center and power forward Channing Frye.
When people think of today’s boxing elite, images of Floyd “Money” Mayweather burning $100 bills, or Manny Pacquiao and his bustling 200-person entourage, can’t help but come to mind.
Life is a little different for 19-year-old Jose Benavidez Jr. The reigning prince of Arizona boxing is rousted from his modest west Phoenix apartment every day at 4 a.m. by his father-trainer, Jose Sr. They run up South Mountain, then head to the iconic Central Boxing Gym for a grueling workout.
WWE Diva Scottsdale native Brianna "Brie" Garcia-Colace has dropkicked, kneed and clotheslined her way into the upper echelon of World Wrestling Entertainment. ...
Broadcast journalist Brandon Lee has delivered the news in eight different cities over the past decade ...
99.9 KEZ-FM Host and Semi-Pro Wine Steward. The term “radio personality” is a bit of a misnomer with Beth McDonald. ...
Stand Up Scottsdale! Funnyman Comedy is rooted in pain, they say, so little wonder Howard Hughes does it for a living. ...
Billie Jo Herberger
Socialite. Fitness pioneer. Fashion-forward philanthropist. Up close and personal with the incomparable Billie Jo. ...