By the time SPORTS ILLUSTRATED goes to press each week, Judy Bass, an associate counsel for Time Inc., has usually spent hours poring over its contents. Bass reads the approximately 37,000 words in a typical issue from a legal point of view. Little escapes her eye, from cover billing to 19TH HOLE, including headlines and captions.
"I try to anticipate how people mentioned in the stories will perceive what is being said about them," says Bass, who discusses possible problems with the editors, writers and reporters involved in the stories. "If it's something that could be sensitive to the person who's being written about, I want to know how we got the information we are reporting."
On Sundays, the deadline for closing most stories, Bass reads stories and files as they come in, often working well past midnight. "I don't mind working late or on weekends," she says. "It's exciting to be facing deadlines and then see the results in print only a couple of days later." On other workdays Bass is concerned with business matters for SI and other Time Inc. publications.
Bass professes to be a nonathlete. "I laugh at the irony of it," she says. "I'm the least likely person to have wound up working at a sports magazine."
In truth, she has been seen on occasion with a tennis racket in her hand, and she's quite a sports fan. She grew up in Forest Hills, N.Y., and every summer from the time she was 12 she and her family walked the 10 minutes from their home to the West Side Tennis Club to see the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open. In 1969 her father bought Knicks season tickets. "The Knicks won the championship that season and I was hooked," says Bass, who can still be found Tuesday nights at Madison Square Garden when the Knicks are home. As you see, our lawyer knows her way around the courts.
In July, Bass and her husband, Jack Levy, who's also a lawyer, were in England for the Wimbledon quarterfinals and caught part of a trial in the Royal Courts of Justice. And this week she'll be back home at the U.S. Open. Well, sort of.
"When the Open moved to Flushing Meadow, I boycotted it for five years," Bass says. "I thought it would never be the same." Two years ago, she gave in and attended the Open. The verdict? "It was great," she says. "Of course, I was sitting in SI's box seats."