Grant Wahl Dead, NBA News, LeBron James, Latest, Updates, Death, Sports Illustrated,

Grant Wahl Dead, NBA News, LeBron James, Latest, Updates, Death, Sports Illustrated,

American journalist Grant Wahl, who died suddenly in Qatar while covering the World Cup, was not a football guru, but also a brilliant basketball mind who played a key role in the career of some of the biggest names in the NBA.

Wahl spent more than two decades writing for Sports Illustrated since 1996, primarily about football but also regularly covering college ball. Sports Illustrated was by far the greatest American sports publication and had a monumental impact on shaping the nation’s opinions when it came to sports stars.

The list of players Wahl met and wrote about in college or high school is full of NBA champions and All-Stars: Steph Curry, John Wall, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Al Horford, James Harden, Brook Lopez.

But the story that probably had the biggest impact on the modern NBA came in 2002, when LeBron James, a high school junior, was splashed on the February 18 cover of Sports Illustrated with the bold headline: “The Chosen One”.

The story begins with this unforgettable line from Wahl: “Resplendent in a sleek navy suit, his burnished dome glinting in the light, Michael Jordan steps into the tunnel of Cleveland’s Gund Arena, flashes a million-watt smile and gives to LeBron James, the best. high school player in the country, a warm handshake from old friends.”

Jordan and LeBron. If calling a 17-year-old “the chosen one” wasn’t enough, here was Wahl forever entwining the two in one simple sentence.

“He told me he got death threats!” | 01:05

Wahl had spent more than a year with 17-year-old LeBron James and knew, as did everyone watching him in those early days, that he was something truly special.

But it also recalls the naivety and down-to-earth nature of the young gun.

Wahl once drove LeBron and some high school friends 45 minutes to Cleveland to watch Michael Jordan play for the Cavaliers.

“There are some really beautiful memories I have of the innocence I had at the time,” Wahl said in 2017. “One of them is taking her whole folder full of CDs in my rental car and playing them. And the The look on his face when I told him this might have a chance to be a cover story, it seemed to register with him that it could be something really cool.”

That cover of Sports Illustrated, a magazine that normally sold around 3.2 million copies a week, catapulted James into national consciousness and superstardom.

“All hell broke loose,” LeBron said in his 2009 book with Buzz Bissinger, LeBron’s Dream Team. “I didn’t really understand what it meant to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated. . . . The cover thrust me onto the national stage, whether I was ready or not.”

Sports Illustrated had been betting big on young high school prodigies before Wahl took his chance with LeBron. Some had flopped (Felipe Lopez and Shea Cotton come to mind), while some had starred, like Kevin Garnett in 1995. But a high school student on the cover? This was as risky as it gets.

And Wahl, who had a remarkable knack for unearthing the person behind stardom on the court, always worked with great empathy and care for the athletes he interviewed.

“I was worried,” Wahl said in 2017, “that we were ruining the kid’s life by putting him on the cover. It’s one thing to feature someone inside the magazine. But when you put a little kid on the cover and proclaim “The Chosen One,” maybe “ruining his life” is a bit strong, but he took things to such a level that I felt his life would not be the same after that. The pressure would increase a lot.”

The pressure turned into a fever storm, but the rest is history. James would go on to become the greatest high school player of all time before becoming an all-time NBA legend. For years, he carried the nickname that Wahl had enshrined in the national consciousness: The Chosen One.

Wahl would go on to cover college hoops before his attention turned fully to the growth of soccer in the United States, a project that saw him cover the rise of the U.S. men’s team, the all-conquering women’s team, the emergence of the MLS competition and writing. a best-selling book about David Beckham.

After his death, an emotional LeBron James said, “I’m a big fan of Grant and to have that cover shoot — me being a teenager and him covering it — it was a pretty cool thing. And it was always great to be on near

“He spent a lot of time in my hometown of Akron covering me over time before this cover story came out. And I’ve always watched it from a distance.

“Even when I moved up the ranks and turned pro and he went to a different sport and things of that nature over the years, whenever his name came up, he always thought of me as a teenager and had in Grant in our building a [St. Vincent’s].

“So it’s a tragic loss. It’s a shame to lose someone as great as him and I wish his family the best, like I said. And may he rest in heaven.”

LeBron will always carry a part of Wahl’s legacy, and tattooed on his back is the title of this iconic story: ‘Chosen 1’.

#Grant #Wahl #Dead #NBA #News #LeBron #James #Latest #Updates #Death #Sports #Illustrated

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button