‘O Unlucky Man: Fortune never smiled on Sonny Liston’ Analysis


William Nack’s “O Unlucky Man” piece on one-time heavyweight champion Sonny Liston is one of the greatest stories to ever grace the pages of Sports Illustrated for many reasons.

For starters, it’s a big project, going back in time about a man who many might agree had been lost in history. It has a lede so captivating that the reader is on the edge of their seats by the time they finish the first paragraph. And it elicits an emotional response, where, by the end of it, the reader is left reflecting on life after enduring a mix of feelings including sorrow, anger and doubt.

Who was Sonny Liston? Nack takes a long, hard look to find out.

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‘Inside the mind of John Elway’ Analysis

Here’s the thing about John Elway: you already know everything there is to say about him as the superstar quarterback. The well went dry on anecdotes and tidbits from his playing days a long time ago, because of his stature.

Everyone knows about his story as that guy who couldn’t win a Super Bowl for so long before finally getting his fairytale moment with back-to-back titles to end his career. Who doesn’t? Even people like me who weren’t old enough to actually remember those last two Super Bowl runs could give you the summary of his playing career. (The fact that I had a 1998 Super Bowl XXXII pennant hanging on my bedroom wall growing up for some reason probably helped, even though I was never a Denver Broncos fan.)

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‘In Giannis We Trust’ and Matt Finkes Analysis

One of my biggest pet peeves of sports journalism is, what I like to call, a lazy profile. Every now and again, I come across an 1,000-word piece or so about an athlete, giving me nothing more than information found on Wikipedia, complemented by uninteresting block quotes. I don’t mean to sound condescending, but I know I like to see some real on-the-ground reporting, touched up with a unique and obvious style in the final product, especially in featured profiles.

A good example of the latter is Amos Barshad’s story on Giannis Antetokounmpo, also known as the “Greek Freak.” Antetokounmpo is from Greece, he’s insanely athletic and he’s a pretty good young basketball player on the rise – that we know.

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‘Up From Leeds’ and ‘Charissa Thompson on her career path, women working in sports media’ Analysis

Charles Barkley and Charissa Thompson are both sport broadcasters. They’re both very popular among viewers. They’re both also misunderstood.

Barkley is an African-American man born and raised in Leeds, Alabama – the Deep South – at the peak of the Civil Rights Movement. With that background alone, you think you might have him figured out.

Thompson is a blonde West Coast girl from Seattle who made her name in Los Angeles. At least on the surface, she sounds a lot like someone entering a particular entertainment industry.

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‘The One And Only’ and ‘Career Arc: Tony Gonzalez’ Analysis

When I first clicked on the links to Greg Bishop and Robert Mays’ pieces in an email sent to us for class, I did not know what to expect. All the email said was the name of the writer and the publication of the nameless story, nothing more of major significance.

With that being said, it might come as a surprise to say that I knew almost immediately what each story was most likely about without reading a single word. Unlike in the email, a relatively small detail was all I needed. I looked at the headline photos in each – Dan Marino in Bishop’s Sports Illustrated story and Tony Gonzalez in Mays’ Grantland article – and thought what everyone with prior knowledge of the two players thinks of them:

Zero Super Bowls.

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