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A Total Eclipse of the Sonny: The Night 'The Greatest' Was Born

This week marks the 40th anniversary of the Rumble in the Jungle. A lot has been written about that fight. Movies have been made about it. People have wept and torn their hair and rolled in the grass, beating their heels against the ground, because of that fight. It was a mighty fight. A remarkable moment. Rightly…

Where Are The Tight Satin Men's Basketball Shorts Of Yesteryear, Damn It?

So much has changed since the Long Island University Blackbirds were a force to be reckoned with in men's college hoops. But surely the gear — specifically, the oh-so-short shorts, the BDSM-ready knee pads, the grimy sneakers and such — worn by the lads is way up there among the many features of the sport that have…

For Some Stupid Reason, Everyone Was Shocked When Clay Beat Liston

Fifty years ago tomorrow, in Miami Beach, 22-year-old Cassius Clay beat the hell out of Sonny Liston and took the world heavyweight crown from the Big Bear. According to the great New York Times sportswriter Robert Lipsyte, "only three of 46 sportswriters covering the fight had picked Clay to win." And who can blame…

Tony Kubek Once Brought A Camera To Spring Training, Then Mantle Farted

In the 1960s, the likelihood of taking at least one photograph of Mickey Mantle ripping — or pretending to rip — a fart during spring training was, evidently, quite high. Perhaps LIFE magazine's editors weren't aware of this, because in February 1961 they handed 25-year-old shortstop Tony Kubek a professional-grade…

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This Old Chinese Figure Skater Has Smooth Moves, Awesome Facial Hair

In February 1946 readers of a popular weekly magazine were introduced to exactly the sort of scene Henry Luce likely had in mind when, a decade earlier, he and poet Archibald MacLeish crafted their famous prospectus for a publication initially called "The Show-Book of the World." The still-stirring opening lines of…