He’s no longer Sid the Kid. Sidney Crosby turns 30 on Aug. 7, and as the Pittsburgh Penguins captain celebrates by welcoming the Stanley Cup to his native Nova Scotia for a third time, his place in the pantheon of the game’s greats is already assured.
A can’t-miss prospect since he was 5, Crosby has more than lived up to his billing and become the standard-bearer for his generation. There are those three Stanley Cups, two Olympic gold medals, a couple of Conn Smythe Trophies, World Cup of Hockey gold, an IIHF World Championship and multiple Hart, Ross and Ted Lindsay trophies. The list goes on and on and on.
And he’s not done yet. As he celebrates a milestone birthday, we limn Crosby’s remarkable career and life through the lens of 30 compelling photos — along with the words of those who know him best, including Sid himself.
Keeping it all in the family
His mother’s name is Trina, his father’s name is Troy, and so when Sidney Crosby’s baby sister was named Taylor, he wondered why his first name didn’t start with a T. “Because you’re special,” Trina told him.
There’s something about Shattuck-St. Mary’s
When he was 15, Crosby transferred from his local junior high in Cole Harbour to Shattuck-St. Mary’s in Faribault, Minnesota — aka the Hogwarts of Hockey. Crosby spent only one year at SSM, but he says it changed his life: “It was my first experience away from Nova Scotia, and I had to catch up academically. I struggled with it at first. But I loved the atmosphere. You can have friendships wherever you play, but at Shattuck, you lived together, went to class together, traveled and played together. You get to know each other — everyone — a lot faster and a lot better. Leaving Shattuck was the hardest decision I’ve had to make.”
Oh brother, where art thou?
Seeing her sibling leave home when she was only 8 was hard for Taylor, who would eventually follow in his footsteps and enroll at Shattuck-St. Mary’s. “I didn’t understand why he had to leave,” she says. “I think I’m really lucky because some people don’t get along with their brothers. He was actually really excited to have a sister. We’ve always been close — even when we lived far apart.”
Center of attention
In his year at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, Crosby had 72 goals and 162 points in 57 games, especially impressive since coach Tom Ward rolled four lines and didn’t give him extra shifts. “I think he liked the fact that he didn’t get special treatment,” Ward says. “He had to try out like everyone else. And I think at some level he knew this was going to be the last time he was just Sid from Halifax, not Sidney Crosby, Hockey Star.”
“He’s an older, protective brother, but he’s not Mom or Dad,” says Taylor of Sidney. “We’re close, so I can tell him things I can’t tell them. He will always be the person I turn to if I need help. He probably would still get angry at me if I did something wrong, but he’s gonna always have my back.”
The NHL lockout in 2005 helped Canada assemble the greatest world junior team of all time, including Crosby (center) and Corey Perry (24). They were two cogs in a callow Team Canada roster loaded with first-round draft picks that won a gold medal over Russia … and then celebrated with nonalcoholic champagne. “Sidney was 17, and I had such an admiration, so much respect for Sidney with the way he handled everything there,” Canada coach Brent Sutter said. “You could tell he was going to be a superstar, and you could tell he was going to be an elite player. You could tell he was going to be captain of a team someday.”
Great (One) expectations
As the hype around him built to a crescendo after the Penguins won the draft lottery and the right to pick the budding star, Crosby started doing media tours from his home in Cole Harbour — and the backlash began. The 17-year-old phenom couldn’t possibly live up to the expectations heaped on his slender shoulders, could he? “You wish him well,” one agent told ESPN.com in July 2005. “But he’s been built up into an icon before he’s scored an NHL goal.”
A ringing endorsement
The ring he won with the Canadian junior team in 2005 remains one of Crosby’s most prized possessions — and most satisfying triumphs. “We were so focused during the tournament, I don’t think we really realized how good we were,” Crosby told The Hockey News in 2014. “I remember every team being dangerous, goalies being able to steal one game. After it was all said and done, and you looked at each game and how we played and how we carried the play, it was pretty impressive. When I look back, I definitely think it was one the best teams I ever played on.”
A kid at heart
The Kid has always had a way with other kids. Before his NHL career officially began, he helped out with skating drills at a clinic following the 2005 draft. After winning the Art Ross Trophy in 2006-07, Crosby took his bonus money and donated it to his hometown’s youth hockey association. “As you get older, you realize the effect that you can have,” Crosby said in 2016. “When you’re younger, you don’t necessarily understand that quite as much.”
Lemieux’s influence looms large
Crosby still looks up to Mario Lemieux — the former Penguins star and current team co-owner and chairman who has been his boss, mentor and onetime landlord. The admiration is mutual. “What a great leader he’s been for us,” Lemieux told Linda Cohn in June. “He’s the main reason we went back-to-back. He just loves the game and he’s a great leader. All he wants to do is practice and play the game. He’s competitive. Anything he does, he wants to be the winner. He’s been our captain for 10, 11 years and he’s gonna be with the Penguins forever.”
Crosby took a shot at late-night television in August 2005, appearing on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” Crosby revealed that when he was a preteen, he would use the dryer in his family’s basement for target practice, leaving countless dents and black marks on the machine — much to his mom’s chagrin. “I hit it and then I’d hear upstairs, ‘What was that?'” said Crosby. “I didn’t say anything. … After a while, my mom] didn’t care. But it took a bad beating.”
Crosby’s first NHL goal came in his third career game. Late in the second period against the Boston Bruins on Oct. 8, 2005. Crosby’s initial pass was blocked, but he pounced on a rebound and beat Boston’s Hannu Toivonen, leading Penguins broadcaster Mike Lange to coin his patented Crosby goal call: “Slap me silly, Sidney.”
Best of frenemies
When asked in 2008 about the rivalry the media had created between him and Alex Ovechkin, Crosby responded: “We don’t hate each other. But we’re not best friends. It’s a pretty big rivalry to watch, because our games have gotten a lot of attention.” Through their careers, the two giants of their generation have continued to bring out the best in each other. “I don’t think they’re driven by the other guy’s success or whatever,” said Capitals coach Barry Trotz in April. “They’re just driven athletes. That’s why they’re in the top 100 in the history of this league. You can say that, in a lot of ways, they’ve saved our game since they first came into the league, from lockouts and what have you. They’re special athletes.”
Following in Sid’s skates
Taylor, now a junior goalie for St. Cloud State, isn’t afraid to poke fun at her brother — who shot on her for the first time when they were both home in Cole Harbour a few summers ago. “We had never done that before,” Sidney told ESPN.com in 2010. “She’s good, she’s really good. I wasn’t afraid to let a couple go and she stood in there pretty good.” Says Taylor now: “I stopped him a few times. It was pretty fun.”
What’s in a nickname?
Crosby was christened Sid the Kid and the Next One, but his true nickname was … Darryl? “Not too many guys know about it now, but when I was in junior, my first exhibition game I got eight points, and [Hall of Famer] Darryl Sittler got 10 in the NHL [in a game in 1976], so they just said ‘Darryl’ and it kind of stuck the last couple of years,” Crosby revealed in 2005. “That’s how nicknames come, in funny ways like that.”
Father knows best
Troy Crosby — who played for the Verdun Junior Canadiens in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and was a goaltender at the Montreal Canadiens‘ training camp in 1984 — was the first goalie Sidney faced, on the floor of their unfinished basement back in Cole Harbour. “From the time he was a little kid, [Sidney] picked up the stick and held it like he was going to shoot,” Troy recalled. “He would make blind passes, and pass behind his back, but I stopped being his goaltender when he was 7. He started shooting at my shins.”
A family affair
Taylor, Troy and Trina were by Crosby’s side when he and the Penguins won their first Stanley Cup in 2009, but the four are rarely in the same place, save for a couple of days during the holidays and a few weeks over the summer. “We see [Sidney] on the road, and we see him in different places, but everything just feels right when he’s home and we’re together — that’s the best place,” said Trina in 2016.
Crosby won three Stanley Cups with longtime teammate Marc-Andre Fleury and says the netminder — who was selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft in June — leaves an enduring legacy in Pittsburgh. “Playing with someone that long, going through what we did, it’s pretty special,” Crosby said. “We’ve got some great memories.” As a fellow netminder, Taylor Crosby considers Fleury her second-favorite NHL player. “He’s such a great person, on and off the ice,” she says. “He’s been a role model for starting goalies, and then role model for those who have to fill a backup role and aren’t playing, on how to be a great teammate and always be ready. He was always my role model, but even more so now.”
Making assists off the ice
The Penguins visit Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh every December, and Crosby leads the initiative to buy presents for the kids as the team captain. “He’s not doing it to leave a legacy,” said Terry Kalna, Penguins vice president of sales and broadcasting. “His numbers leave the legacy. He’s just a down-to-earth, good guy.”
The golden goal
Crosby’s winning goal against the U.S. in overtime of the gold-medal game at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics was a crowning achievement for him and his country. “People come up and say, ‘This is where I was,’ ‘I was on vacation in Dominican,’ ‘I was in this bar,'” he told ESPN.com in 2014. “That’s really cool. I remember as a kid where I watched Salt Lake. As a kid dreaming, I was like, ‘Gretzky to Yzerman’; we all did that playing outside, and to be able to do that is pretty cool.” Said no less an authority than Wayne Gretzky himself of Crosby’s shot: “That was phenomenal for the whole country. And it was also icing on the cake for the Olympic Games in Vancouver as a whole.”
Crosby’s family has helped him celebrate every one of his major achievements. But there are some stipulations — and superstitions. “He can’t talk to me or my mother on game days,” Taylor says. “It all started when he was playing junior. He talked to me before a game and then he separated his shoulder. He tried to break the curse once and called my mom. She was like, ‘Should we be talking?’ and he was like, ‘Yeah, it’s fine.’ Then, that game, he broke his foot. When he got to Pittsburgh, and I was staying with him, he ended up breaking his other foot. At the  Winter Classic, I made a point not to talk to him. But he saw me in the [hallway.] And he got a concussion in the game.”
Taking it to the street
Crosby has been known to surprise fans — and Penguins season-ticket holders — by stopping and playing some pickup street hockey. He began his second celebration with the Cup in in the parking lot St. John XXII church in Cole Harbour, the same place he honed his skills as a young player. “I used to play street hockey in that parking lot, and that’s where I walked on my way to school,” he said in 2016. “I don’t think I ever thought I would be starting off my Stanley Cup parade there.”
After clinching his second Stanley Cup championship with a 3-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks in Game 6 of the 2016 Final, Crosby was awarded both the Conn Smythe Trophy and the Penguins’ Warrior Helmet — given to the player of the game following a victory — thanks to his 19 points (six goals, 13 assists) in the playoffs.
The Kid’s comeback
When the Penguins stumbled out of the gate in 2015-16 — and some went as far as to suggest that Crosby was no longer a superstar — his father assured him he’d come out stronger because of it. “I told Sidney then that he would be a better player for getting through that adversity, and I think he is for it,” Troy Crosby told ESPN.com during the Stanley Cup Final in June 2016. “I’m proud of him, proud of how he fought through that.”
Writing his legacy
Although he’s a frequent target for opposing fans and often a lightning rod on the ice, Crosby is uncommonly approachable for a superstar and is a dedicated ambassador for his sport. Bill Morris, Halifax Regional Police staff sergeant and former president of the local minor hockey association, was in charge of security for Crosby when he brought the Stanley Cup to Cole Harbour for a parade in 2009. “I mentioned to Sid that my son couldn’t be there because he was working at Cleve’s, our local sporting goods store,” Morris told ESPN.com’s Steve Wulf in 2012. “So as we’re passing Cleve’s, Sid goes through the back door of the store and poses with the staff and the Cup.”
Back to school
Crosby learns the first and last names of every kid who attends his annual hockey school, a weeklong camp in Cole Harbour for 160 kids aged 9-12 from across the world — even as far away as Japan. Instead of making a few cameos, Crosby spends every afternoon on the ice. He also schedules time for every camper to get an autograph, a photo and a one-on-one pep talk, says Taylor, who helps out with the camp as a goalie instructor. “I think what Sidney wants most for the kids is to have a good time and experience what we did as kids — and to see that, away from the ice, it’s really important to have fun and make friends,” she says.
Drinking it all in
Has any athlete ever had a better two years than Crosby just did? After leading Canada to a World Cup of Hockey championship last September, he was named tournament MVP — a fitting honor given his electric play throughout the event.
Making his pitch
Crosby played JV baseball at Shattuck-St. Mary’s — where, as a stocky smack-talking sophomore, he was hit by a pitch and got into a dugout-clearing brawl along with teammate and future fellow first-round NHL draft pick Jack Johnson.
After the Penguins won the 2016 Stanley Cup in six games — their second consecutive title and third in eight years — the first stop on their victory tour was PNC Park, home of the Pirates. Crosby fired a wicked first pitch that looked like it had some break to it — though then-teammate Nick Bonino still wasn’t sure it was a strike.
The Kid will stay in the spotlight
Crosby finished the 2016-17 season with 1,027 career points. He is one of eight players in NHL history to record at least 1,000 points and win three Stanley Cups before his 30th birthday. Twelve of the 14 players to score 1,000 points before they turned 30 are in the Hockey Hall of Fame. The other two, Crosby and Jaromir Jagr, are locks to join them when they become eligible.