ON THIS DAY: First ever Sports Illustrated issue is published in 1954

Ranging from the world of College Football to the diamonds of Major League Baseball, Sports Illustrated has become an extremely iconic ‘sports based’ magazine. SI has its usual segments that are seen in every issue published, such as ‘Who’s Hot, Who’s Not’, which covers athletes who are going strong in their respective sports and athletes who are in a slump and ‘Face in the Crowd’, which honors top amateur athletes around the country and the accomplishments met in the sport they play.

Since its inception, Sports Illustrated has had a ‘Sportsperson of the Year’, which recognizes ‘the athlete or team whose performance that year most embodies the spirit of sportsmanship and achievement.’ In 2000, ‘All-Decade’ honors were put into effect by SI, everything from ‘All-Decade Teams’ (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, College Basketball and College Football) to the ‘Top 25 Franchises of the Decade.’

The very first issue of Sports Illustrated featured at the time, Milwaukee Braves’ (now Atlanta Braves) Eddie Matthews at the plate with New York Giants’ (now San Francisco Giants) Wes Westrum catching and the crowd at Milwaukee County Stadium in the background.

First SI Cover

Since that time many different teams, athletes and celebrities have been featured on the cover of the magazine. Some of our very own Detroit sports athletes have been featured on the cover. Here are a few SI covers that have seen a little bit of ‘Motown’ soul graced on them.

Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers was featured back in 2011, a season that saw JV take home AL MVP and AL Cy Young Award honors.

Detroit Lions select LB James Houston in 6th round of 2022 NFL Draft


Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson both graced the cover of a 2012 NFL Preview issue representing the Detroit Lions. Johnson went onto break Jerry Rice‘s single season receiving yards record that same season.

Stafford Megatron SI Cover

Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay were another pairing featured on the cover back in 1957. Two of the most legendary names in Detroit Red Wings history.

Lindsay Howe SI Cover

Joe Dumars of the Detroit Pistons was featured along with Chicago Bulls icon Michael Jordan on the cover of a 1989 NBA Preview issue. The Pistons went onto defeat the Bulls in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals, sending them to the NBA Finals against the Portland Trailblazers, whom they defeated in five games. It was the first championship in Pistons history.

Joe D MJ SI Cover

Although, ‘Sports’ is in the title, surprising something completely different from the world of sports is Sports Illustrated’s most popular installment. In 1964, SI released their first ‘swimsuit’ issue and it remains their most popular issue that’s published annually. You have the option of subscribing to the iconic magazine on either a six-month or yearly basis, or you can just head to any location where sporting magazines are sold and pick up an issue there. Sports Illustrated is one of, if not the most popular, magazines that covers the world of sports in the entire world.

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