After 20 years of writing about basketball Hall of Famers for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Jack McCallum has joined their company. In September the SI senior writer received the Curt Gowdy Award, given each year to a member of the media, and saw his name inscribed on a bust of Gowdy that resides in the Springfield, Mass., shrine. A posse of 13 friends and family members accompanied McCallum to the induction ceremony--"which is not as many people as Gary Payton travels with," McCallum says, "but more than Shaq." McCallum received a book of written congratulations from luminaries such as Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Isiah Thomas and Pat Riley. "That," says McCallum, "was the most mind-blowing part of an extraordinary weekend."

Senior writer Ian Thomsen has lately focused on some decidedly lower-profile names in the basketball world. Thomsen's network of advance scouts helped him prepare the Enemy Lines reports that figure prominently in SI's NBA preview issue (page 64). "Few people know who these guys are or what they do," says Thomsen, who has been with SI since 1998. "But no one knows the league better than they do. Talking to them is an intensive study session."

Senior editor Chris Stone, a 13-year SI veteran who also oversees SI ON CAMPUS, takes over the NBA beat this season. He coordinated SI's preview, which includes a look at the perfect NBA lineup. Speaking of dream teams, Stone says that working with McCallum, Thomsen, staff writer Chris Ballard, senior writer L. Jon Wertheim, associate photo editor Marguerite Schropp Lucarelli and reporter Chris Mannix, "gives me the cushiest setup of any rookie boss since Pat Riley took over the 1981-82 Lakers," a team that included Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jamaal Wilkes and Kurt Rambis.

SI veteran McCallum got busted in Springfield.
Thomsen's scouts tell all.
Stone has transition game.