Rick Reilly is a great writer. I’ve been enjoying his columns since I started reading Sports Illustrated ten years ago. The back page was often my first stop. Recently though, his TV duties at ESPN have caused his columns to lack the tone and emotion that made him such an enjoyable read.
Reilly was offered a boatload of money ($17 million over 5 years) to leave SI for ESPN so you would have done the same, even if you had written at SI for 20 years. Unfortunately at ESPN, he’s transitioning from a top columnist to a self-promoting sell out. His now infamous twitter scoop fiasco is still an entertaining watch. But every once and a while, Reilly publishes a column that reminds you why you liked him so much in the first place.
This week’s column about a high school basketball player’s generous act is the perfect example. It’s a great story that I would probably never have heard unless he wrote about it. These are the types of the columns that earned him all of those sportswriter of the year awards and made him a weekly must-read. Reilly has proven that he is capable of a good story every week… I just hope they come at the pace they used to and I’m willing to sacrifice seeing him on TV to accomplish that.