Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Current Sports Illustrated Issue

A couple of comments on the current issue of Sports Illustrated, dated February 13, 2017, which arrived in the mail yesterday.

  • At least half of the issue, as should be expected, was devoted to the Super Bowl of last Sunday.  At least half of that story was devoted to a fawning deification of Tom Brady that read like a mid-1960's issue of Tiger Beat writing about Paul McCartney or Davy Jones.  Hey, five days ago in this blog I stated that Brady is the greatest QB of all time, and I maintain that position, but this syrupy story by Greg Bishop certainly contributes to why so much of America outside of the greater Boston area dislikes Tom Brady so much.
  • Quoted extensively in that article is Frank Edelman, the father of Julian Edelman.  Wow, wait 'til you read those quotes.  They make Mr. Edelman worthy of this citation:
(Photo courtesy of Dan Bonk Enterprises.)
  • The balance of the magazine is comprised of eleven stories that focus on Stories that will shape the 2017 sports year.  A good premise, but here are two of the stories that indicate the National Enquirer-ization of Sports Illustrated.
  1.  A story that focuses on the likelihood of O.J. Simpson getting paroled by the State of Nevada in 2017.  I know that Simpson was the subject of an acclaimed documentary and an award winning TV mini-series in 2016, but, still, a story like this in SI smacks of cheap exploitativeness.
  2. A story about a 15-year old high school freshman basketball player in Arizona named Nico Mannion.  It seems the SI wants to follow in its rich tradition of deifying (there's that word again) snotty nosed high school kids like Todd Marinovich, LeBron James, and Bryce Harper with this puff piece on this kid.  (To be fair, James turned out to be the Real Deal, and is seemingly a good guy to boot.  Marinovich flamed out big time.  Harper is a great baseball player and already an MVP, but that SI story about him when he was only 14 years old is in large part why Harper is so disliked by many people outside of the Washington Nationals fan base.)  Anyway, the story about this Mannion kid talks about what a "regular kid" he is.  He has to do chores at home, turn off his cell phone at 9:00 every night, has problems with acne, and is obsessed, yet still unsure, about girls.  Just like any 15 year old kid.  Oh, and he has over 15,000 Instagram followers, has over a dozen pairs of free shoes (that retail for $150 -$250) in his room, is being courted by Under Armour as a possible Steph Curry successor, has a dedicated cell phone for college recruiters only, and already has received a half dozen scholarship offers.  And he has a former NBA father who pushes him in this direction, but still treats him like a "normal kid".  Yeah, right.  I wasn't going to read this story, but like the traffic accident you see on the freeway, I had to take a look at it.  I'm about halfway through it, but I'm not sure I have the stomach to finish it.
As I have often said, a half dozen or so times every year, Sports Illustrated delivers a story that is so good and so well written, that it is worth the price of a subscription, but, on the whole, SI just ain't what it used to be.

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