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Anchorage Native Trajan Langdon Writes on Alaskans' Passion for Basketball

New York, NY, March 3, 2004 - This week's SPORTS ILLUSTRATED highlights the sports scene in the state of Alaska, marking the 33rd of 50 state-specific sections to be published in the magazine as part of SI's yearlong 50th Anniversary celebration.

Identifying the tradition of the Iditarod as a sport unique to the state, the six-page feature also includes an accompanying essay by former Duke Alaskan Assassin Trajan Langdon , 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 Alaska edition begins hitting newsstands today, Wednesday, March 3, 2004 . Newsstand copies in Alaska will feature a cover-flap identifying the special Alaska section.

Highlights from the special section include:

  • With sled teams musing 1,112 miles, the Iditarod celebrates Alaska's history and makes the state even more distinctive, explains SI senior writer Chris Ballard in " A Dogged Race ."
  • In " Ice Buckets ," Trajan Langdon writes about growing up in Anchorage and developing his hot hand in extreme cold.
  • The Poll: Alaskans weigh in on their state's sports scene in a Harris Interactive poll that found these results:
      o Favorite major league baseball team Seattle Mariners (22%)
      o Favorite NFL team Seattle Seahawks (16%)
      o Favorite NBA team Los Angeles Lakers (18%)
      o Favorite NHL team New Jersey Devils (10%)
      o Favorite sport to participate in Fishing (24%)

  • Enemy of the State: George Steinbrenner , The Boss earned his fifth Enemy title by edging Cusack, former owner of the minor league hockey Alaska Aces. The teams most hated by Alaskans are the Fresno Falcons (13%)-the Aces' archrivals-the Yankees (9%) and the Oakland Raiders (9%).
  • Greatest Moment - Editor's pick: While her competitors waited out a blizzard during the 1985 Iditarod, Libby Riddles, 28, mushed into the teeth of the storm. Howling winds, poor visibility and bone-chilling cold eventually forced her to spend the night wrapped in her sled bag, but Riddles continued and became the first woman to win the race. Her daring run became a media event and raised the Iditarod's national profile.
  • Sportstown: U.S. Army base Fort Richardson earns Sports Illustrated 50th Anniversary Sportstown honors for having Alaska'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;   Julie Sprich, Edelman (212) 522-9511

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