We continue our year-by-year look back at the decade with the year 2002, back when carrier pigeons were all the rage, back when Bill Clinton was just a humble hillbilly governor of Arkansas. Simple times.
The Euro debuts as an international currency. The Miami Hurricanes defeat the Nebraska Cornhuskers to win the mythical national championship. Argentina's national congress approves its fifth president in a fortnight. Tom Brady and the Patriots beat the Raiders in the snow, in the infamous Tuck Rule game. President Bush declares the "Axis Of Evil" in his State of the Union speech. Steven King announces he will retire from writing "after five more books." Guantanamo Bay opens. Fox News overtakes CNN in cable news ratings. Journalist Daniel Pearl disappears.
Queen Elizabeth celebrates her 50th year on the throne. High school junior LeBron James appears on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Daniel Pearl is beheaded in a video that circulates on the Internet. The New England Patriots shock the football world by defeating the St. Louis Rams in the Super Bowl. Donald Rumsfeld invents the term "unknown unknown." R. Kelly sex tape is leaked. At the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Long Island teenager Sarah Hughes pulls off an upset win in female figure skating, but the Games are marred by paid-off judges. John Walker Lindh, the "American Taliban," pleads guilty. "Family Guy" is canceled by FOX. Chuck Jones dies. The United States announces new guidelines on mammograms, advising women to undergo the procedure at the age of 40, rather than 50, as had previously been the norm.
Investigators officially close the Whitewater probe. Milton Berle, Billy Wilder and Dudley Moore die. Ariel Sharon proclaims Yassir Arafat the "enemy of the entire free world" and declares Israel to be at war. Denzel Washington and Halle Berry end racism by winning Oscars. The Connecticut women's basketball team finishes undefeated by winning the national championship. Hulk Hogan faces The Rock in the main event of WrestleMania X8. Alan Greenspan declares the recession "over."
Hugo Chavez resigns as president of Venezuela but returns to office two days later. Robert Blake shoots his wife. Tiger Woods wins his third Masters, his second in a row. U.S. Senate rejects Arctic drilling. The Maryland Terrapins beat the Indiana Hoosiers in a boring NCAA championship game. Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes is killed in an SUV accident. Bush adviser Karen Hughes quits. Michael Jordan and his Washington Wizards fail to make the NBA playoffs. Oprah Winfrey announces she is ending her book club.
The White House admits it received explicit warnings in August 2001 that Osama bin Laden planned on attacking "within" the United States, and FBI head Robert Mueller says a future Al Qaeda attack is "inevitable." Chandra Levy's bones are found. "The X-Files" goes off the air. Sam Snead dies. Spider-Man breaks the record for box office opening weekend. MIke PIazza holds a press conference to let everyone know he's not gay. A China Airline plane crashes, killing all 225 people on board. Tom Brokaw announces he will retire after the 2004 Presidential election.
Jack Buck and Darryl Kile die within a week of each other. "The Wire" premieres on HBO. The Justice Department arrests Jose Padilla in a "dirty bomb" plot. Brazil wins the World Cup. In the last NBA game on NBC, the Lakers complete a four-game sweep of the New Jersey Nets in the NBA Finals. Martha Stewart, under investigation for insider trading, tells CBS anchor Jane Clayson "I just want to focus on my salad." Lennox Lewis knocks out Mike Tyson. Tyco Dennis Kozolowski is indicted on tax evasion charges. Hamid Karzai is elected president of Afghanistan. Martha Burk and The New York Times begin their offensive against Hootie Johnson and The Augusta National Golf Club for not allowing women. "American Idol" debuts on FOX, with hosts Ryan Seacrest and Brian Dunkleman. Scotty Bowman leads the Detroit Red Wings to the Stanley Cup, then retires. Ken Caminiti confesses his steroid use to Tom Verducci at Sports Illustrated. WorldCom admits its falsified profit statements. Dee Dee Ramone dies.
Ted Williams dies. (Kind of.) Lance Armstrong wins his fourth consecutive Tour de France. Nine miners in Pennsylvania are trapped in a mine shaft for 77 hours, but are rescued. "20th Hijacker" Zacarias Moussaoui pleads guilty, then withdraws the plea a week later. The Senate holds hearings about a potential war with Iraq. The House votes to give airline pilots guns. The Baseball All-Star Game ends in a tie.
Lakers announcer Chick Hearn dies. US Air files for bankruptcy. CNN pays $34,000 for Al Qaeda training footage. Scientist Steven Hatfill denies responsibility for the anthrax attacks. Former Bush adviser Brent Scocroft warns in The Wall Street Journal that an invasion of Iraq would hurt the war on terrorism. Baseball owners and players agree to revenue sharing and a luxury tax, averting a strike. Four Arab men in Detroit are charged with running a sleeper cell. Lisa Leslie becomes the first WNBA player to dunk.
White Sox fan William Ligue and his son attack Kansas City Royals first base coach Tom Gamboa. President Bush argues his case for invading Iraq to the United Nations. Pete Sampras defeats Andre Agassi in the U.S. Open finals, his final Grand Slam championship. Johnny Unitas dies. The United States men's basketball team loses three times at the World Basketball Championships, finishing sixth in a 16-team field. Kelly Clarkson becomes the first "American Idol" winner. Dr. Phil premieres.
Shoe bomber Richard Reid pleads guilty, and John Walker Lindh is sentenced to 20-years-to-life in prison. Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota is killed in a plane crash. Jam Master Jay is shot and killed in Queens. Tim Montgomery sets the 100-meter record in 9.78 seconds. Warren Zevon is the lone guest on an episode of "Late Show With David Letterman," in which he discusses his fight with inoperable lung cancer. Snipers John Muhammad and John Malvo wreak havoc on the Washington DC area. The Anaheim Angels beat the San Francisco Giants in the World Series, thanks largely to a five-run comeback in Game 6. President Bush explains to the nation, in a live televised address, why he must invade Iraq.
Iraq allows UN inspectors to search their country for weapons of mass destruction. Emmitt Smith passes Walter Payton as the NFL's all-time leading rusher. Republicans re-take the Senate and increase their advantage in the House. "Around The Horn" debuts. The EPA relaxes the Clean Air Act. Tyrone Willingham goes 10-2 in his first season at Notre Dame. "Divine intervention at its best," says Notre Dame athletic director Kevin White "That's what this represents to me and, more important, to Notre Dame and Notre Dame football. Tyrone should have been here. Thank God he is here."
Al Gore announces he will not run for President in 2004. Tony and Carmelo Soprano separate. BET founder Robert Johnson becomes the first black owner of a professional sports franchise when he buys the expansion Charlotte basketball franchise for $300 million. Trent Lott says that if Strom Thurmond had been elected President, "we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years." He resigns as Senate Majority Leader two weeks later. Gawker.com launches.