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Shoeless Joe author W.P. Kinsella Talks About the Special Place Iowa Holds in his Heart

New York, NY, February 25, 2004 - This week's SPORTS ILLUSTRATED highlights the sports scene in the state of Iowa, marking the 32nd of 50 state-specific sections to be published in the magazine as part of SI's yearlong 50th Anniversary celebration.

Identifying wrestling as a sport unique to the state, the six-page feature also includes an accompanying essay by W.P. Kinsella , plus a wide range of facts, figures and photographs highlighting the most memorable moments and personalities that have shaped the state's sports landscape.

The Iowa edition begins hitting newsstands today, Wednesday, February 25, 2004 . Newsstand copies in Iowa will feature a cover-flap identifying the special Iowa section.

Highlights from the special section include:

  • In "Wrestle Mania," SI senior writer Kelli Anderson explains how in four days each February, all eyes in Iowa turn to the supercharged state high school championships in Des Moines.
  • W.P. Kinsella's novel spawned a landmark film about magic amid the cornfields as explained in "State of Dreams."
  • The Poll: Iowans weigh in on their state's sports scene in a Harris Interactive poll that found these results:
      o Favorite major league baseball team Chicago Cubs (30%)
      o Favorite NFL team Green Bay Packers (18%)
      o Favorite NBA team Chicago Bulls (19%)
      o Favorite NHL team Minnesota Wild (7%)
      o Favorite sport to play Golf (21%)

  • Enemy of the State: Bob Knight, The General had a 34-20 record against Big Ten-rival Iowa while coaching Indiana (30%). Knight has also been the recipient of Enemy of the State honors in Indiana (23%). George Steinbrenner makes the list for the 11th time with 5 percent of the vote, and Brett Farve, Tom Osborne and Joe Paterno tie for third place with 4 percent of the vote.
  • Greatest Moment - Editor's pick: Nile Kinnick had a knack for a late-game heroics, and in 1939 he led Iowa to a 6-1-1 season, including wins over powerful Notre Dame and Minnesota. A 175-pound halfback from Adel who also played defense, Kinnick became the only player from an Iowa college to win the Heisman Trophy, leading the nation in kickoff returns and interceptions having a hand in 107 of the Hawkeyes' 130 points.
  • Sportstown: Cedar Rapids earns Sports Illustrated 50th Anniversary Sportstown honors for having Iowa's best community sports programs.

SI's 50th Anniversary program, America's Sports Illustrated: 50 Years, 50 States, 50 Sports, is a wide-ranging multimedia platform that is the most ambitious initiative in the history of the franchise. The grassroots effort, which began in July 2003 and continues through July 2004, is a yearlong celebration of sports in America. It will include editorial coverage in the magazine and online, a community sports outreach campaign with YMCA of the USA and the National Recreation and Park Association, as well as The Toyota Presents Sports Illustrated's 50th Anniversary Tour that will travel to unique sports events and festivals in cities and towns throughout the country. SI's actual 50th anniversary date is August 16, 2004. Toyota is the presenting sponsor of the Tour; Best Buy , MassMutual Financial Group and Starter are program sponsors.

Contacts: Rick McCabe, SI (212) 522-1375&nbs     Julie Sprich, Edelman (212) 522-9511

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