NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Former sports star Deion Sanders is back on the cover of Sports Illustrated for the first time in 25 years. The Hall of Famer cornerback known as “Prime Time” is now “Coach Prime,” and he’s disrupting the college football landscape by revitalizing the program at Jackson State University. Jean Jacques Taylor describes how Sanders rebuilt the state of Jackson in less than two years and why Sanders has a higher goal in mind: ushering in a new era of success for HBCU (historically black colleges and universities) sports. Also in this issue, Los Angeles Angels players and coaches talk to Stephanie Apstein about Shohei Ohtani’s goofball team; Kelly Slater Explains Why 50th Birthday Didn’t Cool His Competitive Fire; Children of some of the icons of baseball’s golden age connect through their unique upbringing around the game and more. The issue is available on newsstands June 16 or subscribe to Sports Illustrated today.
On the cover
A lot has changed since Sander last appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated on May 26, 1997. As he prepares for his second full season with Jackson State University’s revived program, Deion Sanders will cover the magazine for the sixth time, alongside his son Shedeur (Jackson). State’s QB) and five-star recruit Travis Hunter.
Features of the July issue
- Prime time: Two years ago, Deion Sanders uprooted his life in the Hall of Fame to revive the dying Jackson State program. Last year, the Tigers dominated, Coach Sanders landed the school’s first five-star recruit — and now he’s thinking of more than just a Jackson State renaissance. Corresponding Jean Jacques TaylorCoach Prime wants to usher in a new era for all HBCUs and future generations of athletes.
- Chet Engine: Chet Holmgren is six feet tall, weighs less than 200 pounds and played for Gonzaga for a full year. But he’ll be one of the top picks in this year’s NBA draft, and senior author Greg Bishop believes whoever handles the ball, leeches the knight and blocks the shot may be designing the future of basketball.
- Funny ball: Everyone knows that Shohei Ohtani is the most talented baseball player in the world. As he becomes more comfortable in the big leagues, another strength is beginning to shine through: his sense of humor, by Stephanie Apstein.
- The children are alright: Killebrew. Hodges. Martin. dry valley. They’re among the biggest names in baseball in the ’20sth Century and decades later, their children share a unique bond as descendants of MLB kings. Today, Boys of Summer boys and girls meet in person and online to share their stories of growing up in baseball, reports Steve Rushin.
- Slater Boi: Kelly Slater just turned 50, but the surfing icon has no intention of slowing down. And why should he? In February, he beat an opponent half his age and won a record 8th pipeline title. Brandon Sneed describes Slater’s plan: consult with other aging GOATs, wrestle with his demons, and keep stoking his competitive fire until he doesn’t anymore.
- PickleMania: It’s easy to see why Pickleball is America’s fastest-growing sport: It’s addictive and easy to play, whether you’re a high-level converted tennis player or a creaking retiree. Much money followed this growth in popularity, as did fierce debate over how the sport should be governed. John Walters takes us to the war for the soul of Pickleball.
Also in this edition:
For his 150thth Next month, the Open Championship returns to the iconic home of golf: St Andrews. Sports Illustrated searches its photo library for classic footage of Palmer, Nicklaus, Tiger and others playing the Brits on the Old Course.
Howard Beck on the NBA’s obscenity problem. First question: why does the league think this is a problem?
SI Gameplan: Mark Bechtel reviews two new memoirs: Ron Shelton on the making of Bull Durham and Grant Hill on his career ups and downs.
Balance of Power: Ranking the closest and most one-sided rivalries in sport.
SI Full Frame: A sweet shot of Hall of Famer (and Jackson State Star) Walter Payton.
Sports Illustrated this month recalls Serena Williams’ first Wimbledon title 20 years ago.
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