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C O V E R
76 Billy Bob’s Excellent Adventure
From humble beginnings in Arkansas, Billy Bob Thornton headed to Tinsel-town with big dreams and small-town sensibilities. His intense, award-winning performance in Sling Blade established him as a force to be reckoned with. Now making his latest directorial effort in All the Pretty Horses, and enjoying newlywed bliss with Angelina Jolie, Thornton is living proof that you can take the boy out of the South, but you can’t take the South out of the boy. Rick Shaw gets the full story, uhh-huhh. Photos by Jeff Katz.
F E A T U R E S

58 Grading the Gridiron Gods
Last year, the St. Louis Rams became the NFL’S rousing, come-from-behind success story, winning the Super Bowl behind their grocery clerk-turned-quarterback, Kurt Warner. This year, teams like Deion Sanders’ Redskins, Keyshawn Johnson’s Buccaneers, and Peyton Manning’s Colts are hoping to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in Tampa. Paul Gutierrez examines the changing face of the league, and picks the post-season’s winners and losers.
64 A Cold Warrior in Repose
Back in the days when Muhammad Ali was synonymous with boxing, there was another heavyweight champion who many believed could’ve even beaten The Greatest. Cuba’s Teofilo Stevenson sacrificed the fame and fortune of a professional career to his undying belief in Cuba’s socialist system. F Daniel Somrack visits with the Olympic legend to talk about Castro, Ali, and the state of Cuban athletics today.
70 New Dawn in Nicaragua
With such well-regarded brands as Padron, Cupido, Plasencia, and the ever-growing Perdomo line, Nicaragua has carved out a niche for itself as a prime area for producing robust, medium- to full-bodied cigars. Now, in the wake of the depredations brought to the tobacco crop by Hurricane Mitch, the cigar-makers of Nicaragua’s Jalapa Valley forge ahead into a challenging future. SMOKE’s Mike lessee reports from the jungle.

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