In my younger and more vulnerable days, I used to keep all the Sports Illustrateds that arrived in the mailbox Thursday. Now, in my closet, I have stacks and stacks of fading covers glorifying Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, deifying football players no one remembers, honoring some of the most unforgettable sporting events of the last 20 years. The college basketball previews, though, were always my favorite—and I especially raced to open the ones that crowned Duke No. 1 to start the season.
To commemorate its college basketball preview—which, not surprisingly, hails North Carolina as the top team in the nation—SI put together a slideshow of its 19 best covers on SI Vault, quite possibly the greatest thing to happen to any fan of sports writing since Glenn Stout started a certain anthological series. Duke players are featured on—count 'em—five of them.
We're partial to three in particular: Wojo (1997), JWill (2001) and the whole team (2005).
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