How does it feel to land on the cover of Sports Illustrated?

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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.”

Dustin Pedroia, a.k.a. “The Muddy Chicken,” Graces This Week’s Cover

Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia graces the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated — dated Aug. 15, 2010, and on newsstands Wednesday — with the billing “Heart of the Red Sox.” Pedroia is the first Red Sox player to appear on the cover since Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz on the 2008 Baseball Preview (March 31, 2008). The last member of the Red Sox to have the cover all to himself was Jonathan Papelbon (Nov. 5, 2007).

Since 1988, The Red Sox are the only major league team to feature players from all nine positions — plus a starting pitcher, closer and DH — on the cover of SI. The list includes:

  • C: Jason Varitek (Oct. 25, 1999)
  • 1B: Mo Vaughn (Oct. 2, 1995)
  • 2B: Pedroia, Mark Bellhorn (Nov. 1, 2004)
  • SS: Nomar Garciaparra (March 5, 2001)
  • 3B: Wade Boggs (April 14, 1986 and March 6, 1989)
  • LF: Manny Ramirez (July 5, 2004)
  • CF: Ellsbury, Johnny Damon (Nov. 8, 2004 and April 4, 2005)
  • RF: Dwight Evans (Sept. 26, 1988)
  • SP: Buchholz, Roger Clemens (May 12, 1986 and May 13, 1991); Pedro Martinez (April 20, 1998; May 27, 2000; Nov. 8, 2004); Curt Schilling (Sept. 13, 2004 and Nov. 8, 2004)
  • CL: Papelbon (Nov. 5, 2007 and Oct. 1, 2007)
  • DH: David Ortiz (Nov. 8, 2004 and June 19, 2006)

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