Richard "Rick" Paul Reilly
(born February 3, 1958 in Boulder, Colorado) is an American sportswriter.
Long known for being the
"back page" columnist for Sports
, Reilly moved to ESPN
1, 2008 where he is a featured columnist for ESPN.com and also
writes the back page column for ESPN the Magazine. Reilly hosts
, an interview show, and he is a
contributing essayist for ESPN SportsCenter
Reilly began his career in 1981 with the Daily Camera in Boulder,
Colorado. He spent two years (1983–85) as a football writer on the
sports staff of the Denver Post, then on to the Los Angeles Times
before joining Sports Illustrated in 1985. Reilly has become a
recognized name in the sportswriting
industry because of his human interest pieces; his column, “Life of
Reilly” was featured on the back page of SI from 1997 until 2007
when he announced that he would leaving Sports Illustrated to join
ESPN. Reilly officially left SI during the week of November 29,
2007, after 23 years with the magazine.
“Life of Reilly” now appears in ESPN the Magazine (also the last
page) and on ESPN.com. In addition to his weekly columns, Reilly
delivers essays from live sporting events for SportsCenter and
other ESPN telecasts, such as the U.S. Open,
Wimbledon, and the British
He is host of “Homecoming”, an interview program,
also on ESPN, taped in the hometowns of featured guests. The series
launched in April 2009.
Reilly has been voted National Sportswriter of the Year eleven
He is second only to the late Jim Murray
of the Los Angeles Times
number of times winning that award. In 2009, he joined a roster of
journalism notables as winner of the Damon Runyon Award for
Outstanding Contributions to Journalism. His work has also been
recognized by the prestigious New York Newspaper Guild's Page One
Award for Best Magazine Story.
Reilly co-wrote Leatherheads
, a film
directed by George Clooney
Clooney, Renee Zellweger
and released in April
Reilly’s first novel, Missing Links, has been optioned for
development as a feature film.
The New York Daily News called him "one of the funniest humans on
Reilly does have a serious side and has written on a broad range
subjects. His writing often focuses on themes of family, heroism,
and human spirit. He has said in his columns that he doesn't write
about sports, but writes "about people IN sports".
's Josh Levin noted
that Reilly had an affinity for discussing pro athletes and their
accomplishments via tooth jokes. He is especially harsh on dental
flossing. He described Tiger
Woods's 2002 victory at Augusta as suspenseful as flossing,
riding Lance Armstrong's team car
about as boring as flossing sharks, would rather floss crocodiles
than go skydiving, and stated John
Elway's perfect endorsement product would be Johnson &
Johnson dental floss.
In 2002, Reilly responded to Sammy Sosa
assertion that he would "take a drug test if someone offered it to
him" by spontaneously offering him a chance to drive to a local lab
and take a drug test after a game; Sosa reacted by yelling and
threatening him. Reilly responded in his column the next
Reilly has also been a frequent critic of former San Francisco
Giants star Barry Bonds
treatment of his teammates, his off-field behavior and his alleged
Nothing But Nets
In 2006, Reilly wrote a column in Sports Illustrated about program
dedicated to providing anti-malaria
African children at a cost of $10 per net. His request for
contributions elicited a response from thousands and led to the
creation the Nothing But Nets foundation in partnership with the
United Nations Foundation
By mid-2009, the initiative has collected over $24 million
Reilly’s books include:
- Slo Mo! – (Doubleday) – A fictional diary of a naive
7'8" kid taken from high school to the NBA.
- Missing Links – (Doubleday) – A novel about an
eccentric group of golfers who are regulars at the worst public
golf course in America.
- Shanks for Nothing – (Doubleday) – This sequel to
Missing Links cracked the New York Times bestseller list. Like
Missing Links, it revolves around the antics and camaraderie of the
regulars of the Ponkaquogue Municipal Golf Links and Deli.
- The Life of Reilly – An anthology of Reilly's best
early works from Sports Illustrated. A New York Times
- Hate Mail from Cheerleaders and Other Adventures from the
Life of Reilly – An anthology consisting of one-hundred
Reilly's best weekly articles from 2000-2006. An instant success,
it hit the New York Times bestseller list in its first week.
- Who's Your Caddy – (Doubleday) – A collection of
stories about Reilly caddying for several remarkable people ranging
from Donald Trump to the blind golfing
world champion. A New York Times bestseller.
- The Boz – Co-author of the best-selling autobiography
of Oklahoma linebacker Brian
- I'd Love to but I Have a Game – co-author with
announcer Marv Albert.
- The Wit and Wisdom of Charles Barkley – co-author with
- Gretzky – The autobiography of hockey superstar,
Wayne Gretzky. Reilly was the
co-author with Gretzky.
Reilly married the former Cynthia Puchniarz, four years younger, in
October 2008. From 1983 until 2003, he was married to the former
Linda Campbell of Boulder, Colorado. Together, those two had three
children whom Reilly writes about often.
- During an altercation in a bar in 1997, Charles Barkley threw 20-year-old Jorge Lugo
through a plate-glass window. This led to a long standing running
gag in Reilly's column which included a year-end award dubbed "The
Chuckies" dedicated to people or things in sports that deserved to
be thrown through a plate-glass window. Barkley later wrote the
foreword to "Life of Reilly".
- Reilly has his own football card, which he detailed in a
column. The card was part of the Donruss "Fans of the Game" series,
and featured Reilly with the logo of his favorite team, the
now-relocated Los Angeles Rams.
- Reilly is an avid supporter of Lance
Armstrong and has often argued him to be the greatest athlete
of all time. Armstrong wrote the foreword for Hate Mail from
Cheerleaders and Other Adventures from the Life of Reilly.
- Six of his articles have been included in the Best American
Sports Writing anthology series.