SI’s history of covering sports in the Motor CityPosted: October 6, 2011
This week’s Oct. 10 issue offers a celebration of sports in Detroit. The national cover featuring Calvin Johnson marks the first time in nearly nine years that the Lions have landed on the cover. In addition, senior writer Tom Verducci recognizes Tigers G.M. Dave Dombrowski for his role in the 2009 trade that has shaped this year’s postseason.
This is hardly the first time that Sports Illustrated has covered the sports pulse of the Motor City. Between January 2009 and March 2010, SI contributed six stories to Time Inc.’s Assignment Detroit Project—each of which drew a strong parallel to the struggles of the city and how sports offered both an analogy for those struggles and a sense of hope.
Click the links to read the following stories:
- “The Courage of Detroit” by Mitch Albom (Jan. 12, 2009) – The award-winning Detroit Free Press columnist beautifully captures the hope that Motown residents clung to amidst a crumbling local economy and the Lions’ historically bad 0–16 season. Albom’s guest feature was a finalist in the Essays category for the 2010 National Magazine Awards.
- “Tigertown” by Lee Jenkins (Sept. 28, 2009) – Jenkins’ story, touted with a dramatic cover shot of Comerica Park and downtown Detroit, details how Tigers owner Mike Ilitch responded to the city’s economic downturn by raising the team payroll and reinvesting dramatically in his franchise. Ilitch’s actions not only thrust the Tigers into playoff contention, they also lifted the spirits of the whole city.
- “Up Off the Canvas” by Jon Wertheim (Dec. 7, 2009) – When the classic Kronk Gym—the breeding ground for several former boxing champions—fell into disrepair, Emmanuel Steward opened up a new Kronk, one with slightly better amenities and a more diverse group of fighters. Wertheim saw a metaphor for rebuilding Detroit: “You either quit and rue what once was or you adjust and innovate.”
- “Having Fun Yet, Mr. Mayor?” by Michael Rosenberg (Jan. 18, 2010) – Rosenberg, an SI contributor and Detroit Free Press columnist, profiled Dave Bing—the NBA Hall of Fame guard turned millionaire entrepreneur who was elected as mayor of Detroit in a special election two months before.
- “Staring Down the End” by Michael Farber (March 15, 2010) – The Red Wings were beaten up, worn out and fighting to make the Stanley Cup playoffs—where they would still pose the threat of a formidable force.
- “The Remarkable Story of Tom Smallwood” by Michael Farber (March 15, 2010) – A real-life fairytale in which Tom Smallwood won the 2009 PBA World Championship just one year after being laid off from his auto plant job.