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Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated
"People always tell me I have the coolest job in the world, covering the NFL for Sports Illustrated," says SI.com senior writer Don Banks. "And I always tell them they're absolutely right."
Banks joined the Sports Illustrated Group in March 2000 after a distinguished career in newspapers. He covers the NFL year-round and writes the popular Snap Judgments column during the season. Banks also serves as SI.com's designated mock draft specialist. Not surprisingly, he says the NFL is his favorite sport to cover. "There's nothing that matches it for the intensity of the fan interest and the once-a-week explosion of drama on game day," says Banks. "It's the only sport that makes fans wait so long for their next fix, but that's part of its allure."
Before joining SI.com, Banks covered the Minnesota Vikings for the St. Paul Pioneer Press (1999-00) and the Minneapolis Star Tribune (1996-99). He served as the NFL writer and Tampa Bay Bucs beat reporter for the St. Petersburg Times from 1990 to 1996. From 1984 to 1989, Banks spent time as a copy editor on the Times's main sports desk and also covered high school sports for the Times in both St. Petersburg and Tampa. He was honored numerous times during his newspaper career, including two Society of Professional Journalists Minnesota Page One Awards (1998 and 2000), two Associated Press Sports Editors awards for news and investigative reporting (1994 and 1997) and a feature writing award from the Florida Sports Writers Association.
Banks says the most memorable SI story he's worked on was Michael Vick's involvement with dog fighting. "In May 2007 I reported and wrote a peel-the-onion type of character profile of Vick, talking to sources who were close to him and knew him well," says Banks. "In that story sources for the first time told me that Vick was heavily involved in the dog-fighting ring that had come to light, and that story advanced the notion that Vick was no innocent bystander in the sordid situation. More than any other story I've written at SI, I think the Vick profile helped advance a truly meaningful story in a meaningful way and was the kind of quality journalism that did some good in the world."
Banks has made numerous appearances in NFL Films projects and appeared as a sportswriter in two films: Invincible (2006) and The Game Plan (2007). He has regular radio appearances throughout the year and has appeared on CNN, Fox Sports Net and Comcast.
Banks received a B.A. in mass communications from the University of South Florida. He resides near Philadelphia, with his wife, Alissa, a merchandising director at a large retail firm. Banks has two sons, Matt and Micah, who live in the Washington, D.C., area, and like their dad, are avid Red Sox fans.