for Hitch, Girl Next Door, and Daredevil. Right now, he’s in the studio focusing on his wildly anticipated solo album, In My Mind, scheduled for a November release. Widely considered a major influence of what new, innovative music sounds like, William’s rock credentials were further bolstered by his appearance at the 2004 Grammy Awards, performing The Beatles I Saw Her Standing There on drums along with Sting, Dave Matthews, and Vince Gill. AGE: 32
JAMES L. TANNER JR. Lawyer, Agent, WILLIAMS & CONNOLLY L.L.P.
Why he’s hot: A partner at one of the premier litigation firms in the country, James Tanner brokers contracts and endorsement deals for players in the NBA, WNBA, and the NFL. In 2004, Tanner helped negotiate more than $150 million in NBA contracts alone. This one-time senior adviser in the 1996 Clinton/Gore presidential campaign joined Williams & Connolly in 1997, charged with helping build up the firm’s sports practice. Through his efforts, the roster has grown from seven to more than 30 clients, with Tanner representing blue-chip athletes such as Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs, Grant Hill of the Orlando Magic, and Marvin Williams, the No. 2 pick in the 2005 NBA draft who will play for the Atlanta Hawks. AGE: 36
Producer, Hip-hop Artist, ROC-A-FELLA RECORDS
Why he’s hot: After making hits behind the scenes for other hip-hop and R&B artists, Kanye West made his debut in front of the mic in 2004 with College Dropout, which sold nearly 3 million copies. At the 2005 Grammy Awards, West received 10 nominations and went home with three Awards. His follow-up recording, Late Registration, which was released late this summer, has already gone platinum. If you think there’s no more originality in hip-hop, you haven’t listened to West. His use of accelerated lyrics from classic rock and R&B songs, stringed instruments, and live choirs is a creative signature of his music. And then there are his lyrics. Instead of rhyming about slingin’ and blingin’ on the streets, West rhymes about the imperfect human condition, the state of nations, the grace of Jesus, and his own struggles and misgivings. Creative and driven, West is not afraid to express his views on anything. Not even the president. AGE: 28
PAMELA M. WHEELER, Director of Operations WOMEN’S NATIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYERS ASSOCIATION
Why she’s hot: Pamela Wheeler is in charge and on top of her game. Wheeler manages the day-to-day operations and coordinates all business affairs for the WNBPA, which serves as a labor union for the players. When she was appointed in April 1999, her initial charge was to coordinate negotiations between the nascent WNBPA and the struggling WNBA, which culminated in the first collective bargaining agreement in women’s professional sports in June of that year. In 2003, she renegotiated that collective agreement to include a provision for free agency. AGE: 38
ELDRICK “TIGER” WOODS, Professional Golf Player
Why he’s hot: He’s seen his share of bogeys this year, but Tiger Woods continues to dazzle the world since launching his professional career in 1996.