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
Oiler coach Jerry Glanville has guts, wit and verve. So, of course, he expects to get fired anytime now.
Two brothers from D.C. run Playing for Peace, using basketball to unite youths in nations torn by prejudice
Shortly after the Clippers made Danny Manning the top pick of the 1988 NBA draft, team owner Donald Sterling invited the player and his agent ...
Danelle Ballengee, the world's greatest female adventure racer, runs--and paddles, pedals, climbs and snowshoes--on candy power
Remember Roy Jones Jr., the light heavyweight champion, the only undisputed titleholder in boxing? Jones, concerned that you don't, has a ...
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 ...
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
Inside Motor Sports
STEADY AS YOU GOIn Montreal, a patient Mika Hakkinen showed why he's world champ For a journalist, the problem with having Mika ...
WOMEN'S RUGBY GETS SERIOUS
Back in 1985, the lighthearted trappings of women's rugby were much in evidence at the national championship. The Minnesota club arrived ...
THIS JOB'S A GAS
The lady in the khaki-colored Caddy is dangling a fat $2 tip in front of Glenn Wilson. "Thanks ma'am," he says, "but I really couldn't take it.
He's scaling the heights
Cincy's Pete Johnson may be overweight, but he can sure bowl you over
Finally earning his stripes
The Tigers' Lance Parrish is catching on to the demands of his position
AT ONE WITH THE GRASSHOPPER
The UCLA practice field is an unlikely place to find a would-be Buddhist shaman. A shaman is, of course, an ecstatic medicine man in touch ...
This Fighter's A Breed Apart
It's "Rasta vs. pasta" as Livingstone Bramble, top dog of the lightweights, eyes a rematch with Ray (Boom Boom) Mancini
MICKEY GIVES HIM THE SLIP
So I hear old Gozzlehead is down in Miami playing bingo for a living. They called Mickey Rivers Gozzlehead when he was making $200000 a ...
Here's A Lamb Among Wolves
The meek are not about to inherit the woolly world of pro tennis, but Jose Higueras is proof that a gentle man can win
Lights, Camera, Come Out Punching!
The boxing movie has been a staple of Hollywood for more than a century. Here are some of the genre's champs and palookas