Sports Illustrated has been a part of past generations and certainly hasn’t slowed down as we have progressed into this futuristic online sports blogging world. It’s nearly impossible to really pick the best articles out seeing that there is hundreds of thousands of SI covers throughout the years. The best Sports Illustrated covers in most people’s minds are the ones that stick out long after the news has broken. Legendary SI covers have hit the shelves over the past decades but only a few remain perpetual in minds. Here are the ten best Sports Illustrated covers of all-time.
Tiger Woods “The Masterpiece”
Dale Earnhardt “Death Of A Champion”
Johnny Unitas “The Old Master and his Art”
Tony Mandarich “Best Lineman Prospect Ever”
Art Model “Sucker Punch the Browns”
David Tyree “Helmet Catch”
Michael Jordan “Last Stand” and “I’m Back”
Len Bias “Death of a Dream”
Jack Lambert “Man of Steel”
10.) Mark Mcgwire and Sammy Sosa: “Sportsmen of the Year”
Well little did we know at the time, these “Sportsmen of the Year” recipients were anything but sportsmen of the year. Regardless they are said to have brought baseball back with their epic pursuit of 61 home runs. Both would break the record, but in the following years everything would become tarnished with the scandal of steroids that put a black eye on the game of baseball. I still remember the 90’s with the home runs flying out of every park and the only thing analysts would say is “Is the baseball juiced?” Well we now know the baseball wasn’t juiced “analysts,” the players were.
9.) Michael Jordan’s Last Shot
This photo remains ingrained in my memory of how Jordan really went out. None of that Washington Wizards crap. The most dominant player I’ve ever seen in my lifetime, this cover represents everything Jordan was; a ruthless, cold-blooded killer who would sink the hopes of any team that thought they may have had a chance to beat the greatest ever. Sorry for all you 65 year olds who are saying, “Hey what about Wilt Chamberlain.”
8.) NBA Dream Team
The glory days of the NBA; possibly the best era ever in which the stars of the 80’s spilled over to the 90’s to assemble the most dominant team ever. That’s right I’m making that proclamation. I challenge anyone to find a more dominant team ever in sports. Look at those young faces that have since became old and in most cases packed on the pounds. This team would drop teams by 40-50 points in most of their games. Ahh, the nostalgia.
7.) 9/11 “The Week That Sports Stood Still”
I can’t believe it’s already been over 10 years since 9/11. We will never forget and this cover could also be higher on this list. What many people forget as well is how great unity was at this time across the board in sports. Red Sox fans were seen cheering for the Yanks in the World Series, improbable comebacks for the Yanks as well during their last at bat in consecutive home games against the Arizona Diamondbacks. Sometimes we need to slow down in sports and remember these times of unity.
6.) Brandi Chastain “YES”
I’m not sure what’s more inspiring to watch, Brianna Scurry stopping the goal and seeing a stadium over 100,000 fans going bedlam or the winning goal kicked by Brandi Chastain. Wow for everything on the line, the women’s World Cup hanging in the balance, just incredible amounts of pressure on both women’s shoulders and to come through is amazing.
5.) Dwight Clark: “The Super Catch”
Joe Montana to Dwight Clark in the back of the end zone is one of the most iconic plays and pictures in sports history. I remember watching this on highlights and seeing Chris Berman get bumped by some crazy fans. Just another reason the 49ers vs. the Cowboys is one of the most enjoyable sports rivalries to watch. With 58 seconds left, Montana rolls out and tosses a touchdown pass that propels the 49ers into the Super Bowl. What a narrative.
4.) Walter Payton “Goodbye, Sweetness”
Possibly the best running back ever lace ’em up dying at such a young age. Sweetness among other is a big part of the NFL’s new safety precautions. NFL purists may not like the new rules, but we don’t need our legends dying in their 40’s. I remember this happening and the whole sports world being thrown a curve ball. Our hero dying. Jeff Pearlman has recently written a biography of Payton, which has tarnished some of our great memories of the man, but I personally will never forget the day he left us.
3.) The Century’s Greatest Sports Photos
This one may top them all. Muhammad Ali first knockout of Sonny Liston. This article shows the century’s greatest sports photos and is a real delight to read and look at for any sports fan wanting to experience some nostalgia. This cover came out in 1999, so many sports fans never saw this fight take place, and apparently there was confusion of when the fight took place and it being on the cover. Anyway this may be the most well-known photo available.
2.) Eddie Mathews
You can’t see it but the bottom right hand corner says “25 cents.” Wow those days are far behind us. This picture is priceless as time appears to be frozen. The umpire in a blazer also brings back some memories. A true classic this cover was. Eddy Mathews wasn’t to shabby either. Man I miss the old days when baseball parks were really parks and not filled with 20,000 fans texting and talking on cell phones. Just passionate fans and sports writers filling up the press boxes. So long to those days.
1.) Miracle On Ice
I know, huge surprise right? The memorable Al Michael’s yelling “Do you believe in miracles” is timeless as well. Even a movie has been made. A team filled with young kids going up against the Soviet Union who was favored heavily is possibly the best sports story ever. Toss in the Cold War and it being the Olympics and voila you get the greatest Sports Illustrated cover ever. So much meaning and a great message of never giving up no matter how much the odds are stacked against you.