Many of you may not be aware of it, but there is such a thing as The Sports Illustrated Cover Jinx. It’s not an urban legend. It’s a fact that several high profile athletes have had bad luck occur to them once they’ve been given the cover treatment. Consider some of the eerie things that occurred after athletes were featured on an SI cover, with publication dates included:
- January 31, 1955 – skier Jill Kinmont was paralyzed from the chest down after a near-fatal accident that occurred the same week she appeared on the cover.
- February 13, 1961 – figure skater Laurence Owen, as well as the rest of the U.S. Figure Skating Team, perished in a plane crash near Brussels, Belgium two days later.
- June 7, 1971 – racers Al Unser and Peter Revson were both featured on the SI cover. Unser was hampered by retirements during subsequent races that season. Revson was killed while practicing for the 1974 South African Grand Prix.
- July 30, 1984 – Steelers linebacker Jack Lambert suffered a turf toe injury that ended his career.
- June 20, 1988 – boxer Michael Spinks appeared on the cover with the caption “Don’t Count Me Out”. Thanks to a Mike Tyson punch, the referee did exactly that in ninety-one seconds after the opening bell of their fight. Spinks never fought again.
- December 6, 2000 – racers Dale Earnhardt and his son Dale Earnhardt Jr. shared the cover. Dale was killed two months later on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500.
- September 2008 – Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was on the cover of the NFL Season Preview issue. During the team’s season opener, Brady was lost for the season with a serious knee injury.
- October 15, 2011 – NASCAR racer Jimmie Johnson had an accident at Charlotte Motor Speedway later that month that ultimately stopped his championship winning streak at five years in a row.
- February 17, 2012 – Knicks guard Jeremy Lin’s team had their six-game winning streak snapped by the New Orleans Hornets, at the time the second-worst team in the NBA.
- February 23, 2012 – Lin, after making his second straight cover appearance, went 1 for 11 in a loss against the Miami Heat. The next month he tore the meniscus in his left knee and underwent season ending surgery.
- May 15, 2013 – Grizzlies guard Mike Conley Jr. and his team were swept by the San Antonio Spurs 4-0 in the Western Conference Finals.
- June 10, 2013 – The Spurs “Big 3” of Manu Ginobili, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker appear on this week’s cover.
I know HESPN (that H is for the 30 minutes of coverage ESPN devotes to the Miami Heat during SportsCenter every night) wants the Spurs to lose, but SI has to give my team another obstacle to overcome? I know everyone hates the Spurs, but this is ridiculous.
I’m crossing my fingers Michael Jordan and his 49 SI cover appearances weren’t an aberration.
PREDICTION: Spurs win their fifth NBA championship in six games.