Sidestepping the Sports Illustrated cover jinx

This is only peripherally about North Carolina, but the recent death of Jack LaLanne reminded me of his visit to Charlotte in 1981. He was promoting both his chain of fitness centers and his belief in intense physical exercise.

The latest issue of Sports Illustrated had profiled him, showing him posing with a statue of himself. The headline read, “Look, Mom, I’m an Institution.” He was 67 years old.

LaLanne had almost made the SI cover, he told me. “It was nip and tuck. They ended up putting that football coach on the cover. Yeah, Bear Bryant. I’m glad. They say when somebody gets his picture on the cover of Sports Illustrated, he goes downhill.”

Barely a year later Bryant was dead of a heart attack at age 69.

LaLanne lived to be 96.

9 thoughts on “Sidestepping the Sports Illustrated cover jinx”

  1. I guess Michael Jordan was one of the few who escaped the “Sports Illustrated” cover jinx. Unless you count that baseball cover on March 14, 1993.

  2. As a dulcimer musician, I don’t have to worry about being on their cover. I wonder if the Rolling Stone cover would have the same result? Playing my mountain dulcimer bores my audience to death. Dulcimers and death should not be in the same sentence. We miss Bear Bryant.

    Zither man, Michael

  3. Michael, you mean Shel Silverstein didnt have dulcimer players in mind when he wrote

    We got all the friends that money can buy
    So we never have to be alone
    And we keep gettin’ richer but we can’t get our picture
    On the cover of the Rolling Stone….

  4. Lew:
    As I looked at the Cam Newton “Sports Illustrated” cover for November 30, 2015, I remembered your “SI” jinx piece from February, 2011; and then, the thought occurred…what about the inadvertent individuals who are in the picture…like #70, Offensive Guard Trai Turner for the Panthers and #90, Defensive Tackle Stephen Paea for the Redskins. Does the jinx apply to them as well?

  5. A whole ‘nother research topic, Jack….I’d expect Newton to make one or more future appearances, but for an offensive guard (or a Redskin at any position) even this supporting role could be a career highlight…..

  6. Lew…you were right on point with your comment of 11/30/15.

    For those of us who got the Carolina Panther (Cam Newton) Super Bowl Edition of “Sports Illustrated,” the jinx is alive and well and living in Charlotte.

  7. Given a while longer to recover, I might be able to argue that having put yourself in a position to be jinxed is something of an accomplishment in itself….But not quite yet….

  8. Ha — reminds me of the old observation that “An honest politician is one who, when he is bought, will stay bought”…. I guess Phelps wouldn’t stay bought!

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