Franz Lidz joined the writing staff of Sports Illustrated in 1980, even though he had never read the magazine and had covered only one sporting event in his life - a pigeon race in Shapleigh, Maine. A columnist for Smithsonian and Vice President of Communications of the Detroit Pistons, he has written for the New York Times since 1982, on travel, TV, film and theater. His work is widely anthologized and includes the childhood memoir Unstrung Heroes -- which was turned into an eponymous 1995 film, directed by Diane Keaton -- the urban history Ghosty Men: The Strange But True Story of the Collyer Brothers and the "crypto-memoir" Fairway To Hell. His career highlights at S.I. include road trips in search of sports on the equator, the world's most dangerous sport and Roman gladiators as the first sports superstars, a lengthy meditation on Don King's hair, the second-ever descent of Africa's Zambezi River, a weighty essay on the 580-pound sumo wrestler Konishiki, an investigation into the questionable around-the-world run by Robert Garside, a look inside the mind games at the 1987 world chess championship between Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov in Seville, Spain, three weeks in the Sahara covering the 2002 Paris-to-Dakar Rally, a trudge through Panama's Darien jungle retracing Vasco Núñez de Balboa's 1513 expedition, and a journey into the world of Jeopardy! His essay on George Steinbrenner and the New York Yankees' line of succession was called the "scoop of the year" in the 2008 Houghton-Mifflin collection The Best American Sports Writing. In 2013 he co-wrote a groundbreaking S.I. cover story with NBA player Jason Collins in which Collins became the first active male in one of the four major North American team sports to announce he was gay. Among the other noteworthy news stories he broke: the surreal, Fifth-Dimensional beliefs of former All-Star catcher Darren Daulton. and the twisted torment of onetime Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
All Franz Lidz Stories
Anthony Thompson isn't your average black Jewish accountant turned fighter
The Bruise Brothers
A pair of brawny, brainy Ukrainian Ph.D.'s, Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, hope to soon divide and conquer the heavyweight division
Bulwark of the Bruins
Boston's Ray Bourque might resemble Linus at home, but on the ice he could be the best defenseman in the NHL
Chris Berman, ESPN's answer to Fred Flintstone, has struck gold in the cable-TV quarry. A knack for nicknames is a key to his success
At 14, Andrea Jaeger won her first professional tennis tournament. At 18, she reached the final of Wimbledon. At 19, a bum right shoulder all but ...
Oiler coach Jerry Glanville has guts, wit and verve. So, of course, he expects to get fired anytime now.
It was 1982, and Dusty Loveless's first-grade teacher was on the horn. "Better come down to the school, quick," she said to Dusty's mom.
After three years in development on Indiana's bench, Charlotte's Primoz Brezec has been a surprise hit of the season
Where isn't Dennis Rodman now? Ever since the Mavericks cut ties with him in 2000, the Worm has wriggled around the earth, his travels ...
At 14, Royce Sharp wanted to be a swimmer like crazy. "Unfortunately I was totally whacked at the time," says Sharp, the U.S.-record holder in ...
Maybe it comes from the hours he spent watching his scaffold-building father scale the walls of Swedish high rises. Or maybe from the hours he ...
Scott Bacigalupo appears at Cap & Gown, his Princeton eating club, rumpled and unshaven, not quite what you would expect from the Frank ...
Richard Krajicek, known in tennis circles for his big serve and his big mouth, came up big in another way last weekend. A tall (6'5"), rangy (190 ...
As a kid, Lucille Fletcher beat up on boys. Now she's a fight judge who also guides the careers of her three boxing sons
PAINT A PITCHER
Bob Tewksbury is the seurat of St. Louis. The Cardinals righthander isn't an expressionist like Roger Clemens nor a surrealist like Pascual ...
Pat C Rendezvous
Even when she slobbers, Pat C Rendezvous has a certain patrician air about her, a look of world-weary resignation one associates with good ...
WOOFERS & TWEETERS
WOOFERS & TWEETERS & GRUNTERS & SNORTERS SERVE AS MASCOTS FOR MANY COLLEGE FOOTBALL TEAMS. ALONG WITH THAT VERY ODD SUBSPECIES, THE 300-POUND LINEMAN, THEY ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ANIMALS IN THE SPORT