The cover of Sports Illustrated is where greatness is confirmed, arrivals are announced and achievements are celebrated. So what types of reactions do we get when our subjects find out that they’ve landed on the cover? In regards to this week’s Oct. 17 issue, Jimmie Johnson said: “It’s a great honor, a huge honor. I’m happy to see our sport getting the respect and awareness that it should among other sports.”
Johnson might also be one of the rare athletes not concerned with the SI jinx, even as he chases a sixth straight Sprint Cup title: “I guess it’s out there for some other sports teams—but in my heart of hearts, there is no way the photo on a cover of a magazine is going to change the luck of a race team. If we lose a championship, it’s because of what happened on the race track—not because of a photo that was on a magazine.”
Here’s what some other recent cover subjects had to say:
- Brad Pitt (Sept. 26, 2011): “I was just happy to do Sports Illustrated. To do something other than the fashion-y things, for something I respect, is much more fun.”
- Dustin Pedroia (Aug. 15, 2011): “It’s exciting. It’s the finest athletes in the world…. I’ll probably get mine blown up. That’ll be pretty cool.”
- Derrick Rose (April 18, 2011): “It’s definitely a big honor to be on the cover of that magazine. Everybody gets Sports Illustrated.”
- Vince Wilfork (Jan. 10, 2011): “It was a complete surprise for us to find out about the cover. As a nose tackle, you don’t expect to have any glamor. This has been a great experience for us. Who knows if it will ever happen again? We never thought it would happen once so we are very thankful. SI has always been the sports magazine, and we are glad to be a part of it.”
- Drew Brees (Feb. 15, 2011): “As a kid in athletics you have dreams about winning a championship, celebrating with your teammates and appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated. It was part of the idea of what winning meant when you were growing up, and to have appeared on the magazine’s cover is an honor and a memorable moment in my career. The cover from the Super Bowl issue was even more special for my family because I was able to share it with my son, Baylen.”
If you’re as excited for Moneyball as we are, you’ll like what the tablet edition of this week’s Sports Illustrated has in store. To whet your appetite between now and the movie’s release tomorrow, we have four clips from the movie: a clubhouse scene with Scott Hatteberg (Chris Pratt) and David Justice (Stephen Bishop), the first meeting of Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) and Peter Brand (Jonah Hill), Beane working the phones at the trade deadline and a confrontation between Beane and A’s manager Art Howe (Philip Seymour Hoffman).
On the gridiron, SI has you covered. In light of Cam Newton’s record-breaking start to his career, there are hot spots of six former QB stars detailing how each fared at the start of their careers. That is supplemented by senior writer Peter King’s (@SI_PeterKing) podcast interview with Ravens LB Terrell Suggs, his “Last Word” video and senior writer Jim Trotter’s (@SI_JimTrotter) predictions for Week 3. Our college coverage includes video highlights of Baylor’s do-everything quarterback, Robert Griffin III, along with photos from the best of last weekend’s games.
Brad Pitt, the star of the upcoming movie Moneyball, doffs an Oakland A’s hat and graces the cover of this week’s September 26, 2011, issue of Sports Illustrated, on newsstands Wednesday. Pitt joins an exclusive group of non-athletes and non-coaches to be so honored — a list that includes Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, Stephen Colbert, Bob Hope, Ed Sullivan, Steve McQueen and Arnold Schwarzenegger in addition to former presidents John F. Kennedy, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan (appearances on the 11/26/84 and 2/16/87 covers) and Bill Clinton.
Commenting on his photo shoot with SI photographer Simon Bruty, Pitt says: “I was just happy to do Sports Illustrated. To do something other than the fashion-y things, for something I respect, is much more fun.”
Senior writer Austin Murphy (@si_austinmurphy) spoke at great length with Pitt about getting Moneyball made. Among the topics they discussed:
- Pitt’s background (or lack thereof) in baseball: “It’s shameful how little I know about baseball…. I’m amazed they let me do this movie…. Baseball and I didn’t get along that well. I wrestled one year [in high school]. I dove one year. Everything but baseball.”
- How Pitt acquitted himself to his role as a baseball lifer: “I’m an Oklahoma-Missouri boy, so I’m no stranger to a bit of dip. We start early with that, so really, I was just revisiting my roots.”
- What Pitt was initially drawn to about the story: “I’m a sucker for the underdog story.”
- The end goal of the film: “What we were trying to do is tell an unconventional story in the Trojan horse of a conventional baseball movie.”
- The comparisons Pitt makes to the movie and three of his favorite ’70s films (The French Connection, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, All the President’s Men): “In scripts today, someone has a big epiphany, learns a lesson, then comes out the other side different. In these older films I’m talking about, the beast at the end of the movie was the same beast in the beginning of the movie. What changed was the world around them, by just a couple of degrees. Nothing monumental. I think that’s true about us. We fine‑tune ourselves, but big change is not real.”