Leading into the annual epic battle between New England and Indianapolis, the cover story by Peter King is "Manning At His Best" about the approach to the game by the Colts QB. It's an interesting piece in that it really shows the combination of things usually required for excellence (I guess in any endeavor)... natural ability, intelligence and desire to work.
Two other short articles I found interesting were the "update" piece on Russian billionaire Shabtai von Karlmanovic and last page commentary "Burning To Play Again" by Selena Roberts (she of the A-Rod's steroid use story).
The Karlmanovic piece is a follow up to the Dec 2008 SI story "To Russia with Love" which I linked to in this blog post. The original story profiled the impact of Russian billionaires on sports and was now updated with the news that Karlmanovic was gunned down while sitting in his car. Just a different life some people live...
The Roberts commentary is a solid look at heralded college hoops player Elena Delle Donne... who after first arriving as a freshman phenom at powerhouse UConn, decided that family and being around her cerebral palsy afflicted sister mattered more and returned home. It's not really that Delle Donne made absolutely the right as opposed to wrong move in general , but rather that she appears to have made the right move for her. Pretty compelling stuff.