The primary challenge of Sports activities Illustrated hit newsstands on Aug. 12, 1954. Its cowl featured a photograph of future Corridor of Fame third baseman Eddie Mathews on the plate, mid-swing, in opposition to the mesmerizing backdrop of a packed Milwaukee County Stadium.
That inaugural version of the journal was the flashpoint that sparked many years of wealthy reporting and distinctive storytelling—the very issues which have come to outline SI. As we speak, virtually 70 years later, we hope to proceed that custom as we launch Sports activities Illustrated Weekly, our new flagship podcast. As your host, every Wednesday I’ll information you thru a spread of interviews, in-the-field reporting, options and evaluation from among the finest storytellers on the planet of sports activities—simply because the journal faithfully took me on a usually scheduled journey once I first began studying it, years in the past.
As a child, one of the best day of my week was at all times the day SI arrived in our mailbox. I didn’t simply learn the journal; I’d spend days savoring the deeply reported tales and breathtaking pictures. That neurotic teenage model of myself consumed it with a methodical strategy. Mine was a monklike dedication to finding out the gospel of SI. I’d begin with the entrance of the e-book—the place, alas, my associates and I by no means made the minimize for “Faces within the Crowd”—then I’d work my means by way of the remainder of the journal, at all times saving for final no matter story I figured is perhaps one of the best. After I was achieved, I’d deposit the difficulty with all of the others that got here earlier than it, forming a bed room archive of tons of of magazines that rose unsteadily in a number of stacks, from flooring to windowsill. Then I’d wait impatiently for the following version to reach.
For so long as I can keep in mind eager about any type of job, this sort of storytelling is all I’ve wished to do. SI has a protracted historical past of outstanding journalism, and its roster of writers through the years has been an outrageous meeting of expertise. That legacy is a giant cause I wished to work right here—and why I’m so excited to name on SI’s intensive steady of writers and reporters for Sports activities Illustrated Weekly.
For our premiere episode, I’m honored to be joined by senior writers Howard Beck and L. Jon Wertheim, and former All-Professional offensive lineman Joe Thomas. Beck is among the high basketball writers within the enterprise. I’m fortunate sufficient to have attended a number of NBA Finals in his firm, together with the 2019 collection the place we watched the Raptors have fun their first championship, on the Warriors’ residence flooring. That night time appeared to sign the tip for Golden State as a high-level contender. However in our first phase Beck helps reply a query that has puzzled and captivated basketball followers in equal measure this season: How have the Warriors managed to resurrect their championship hopes so rapidly, when it regarded like their dynasty was useless?
Our second story has one legend inspecting one other. Wertheim is among the finest and most prolific scribes to have his byline in SI, and he lately interviewed Tom Brady, our 2021 Sportsman of the Yr. This marks the second time Brady has gained the award; the primary got here 16 years earlier. And but, someway, the QB stays a grasp of his craft, regardless of being effectively past the standard NFL retirement age. What unfolds is a dialog about staying on high of a career at age 44, about how for much longer Brady can stay there and about how he grew to become some of the polarizing athletes of his or any technology.
Lastly, we’re thrilled to welcome Thomas. The previous Browns offensive sort out was a six-time All-Professional, and he performed essentially the most consecutive snaps in NFL historical past. However earlier than he was a future Corridor of Famer, and earlier than he grew to become an analyst for the NFL Community, he was a hyper-talented lineman at Wisconsin who, like loads of faculty linemen, was pretty free to stroll his personal campus with out many individuals bugging him for selfies or autographs—and even noticing him in any respect. Thomas joins the podcast to reply a query that we plan to ask extra athletes on future episodes: What was it like the primary time he was in SI? I’ve discovered that loads of gamers, like me, have a sure reverence and nostalgia for the journal, and this easy query results in some attention-grabbing reflection and introspection. (Lengthy earlier than he went to Wisconsin, again when the NFL was one thing he solely dreamed about, Thomas additionally used to search for his title in “Faces within the Crowd”. He by no means made the minimize, both.) For thus many athletes, their SI debut was a thrill that signified one thing particular was occurring of their careers. As a substitute of the acquainted The place are they now? conceit, we’ll discover Who have been they then?
I’ve been fortunate in my skilled life. I’ve been a each day newspaper columnist in my hometown of Philadelphia. I’ve hosted radio and TV exhibits. I’ve achieved numerous podcasts and written infinite journal tales. All of which I’m happy with. (O.Ok., most of which I’m happy with; while you use phrases for a residing, typically you need just a few again.) However this specific venture, for this specific media outlet, is particularly thrilling. It’s the continuation of a life-long love affair with SI. That feeling I had flipping by way of the journal as a child, marveling on the storytelling, is what we goal to ship to you every Wednesday with Sports activities Illustrated Weekly. We hope you get pleasure from listening as a lot as we get pleasure from creating it.
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