Lee Jenkins
Lee Jenkins>ARCHIVE

Since Lee Jenkins joined Sports Illustrated and SI.com as a senior writer in September 2007, he has written more than 100 features for the magazine and more than 30 cover stories across every major sport. Since 2010, his primary beat has been the NBA, and he has profiled the league's biggest stars, including LeBron James and Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and Derrick Rose, Chris Paul and Dwight Howard. He penned the annual SI Sportsman of the Year story about James in 2012.

Jenkins came to Sports Illustrated from The New York Times, where he covered the New York Mets and the New Jersey Nets, and was named the city's best new sports writer by The Village Voice. Before that he covered UCLA basketball and football for the Orange County Register and the Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets for The Colorado Springs Gazette. A San Diego native, Jenkins graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1999, which he attended on the Grantland Rice-Fred Russell Thoroughbred Racing Association Sportswriting Scholarship.

Jenkins says his favorite project at SI was the Oct. 25, 2010, cover story Rolling Thunder about the bond between Oklahoma City and its NBA team. For the story, Jenkins accompanied the Thunder to the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, which every player visits when they arrive in town. "There is a real correlation between the bombing and the team," Jenkins says. "In the wake of the tragedy, Oklahoma City residents passed virtually every tax initiative put in front of them to change the image of their hometown. They made it possible to bring the NBA to a place no one thought it would go."

Jenkins lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Elizabeth, son, Austin, and daughter, Ainsley.

Extra Points

  • Favorite SI Vault story: Livin' Large (June 16, 1997). "This Tom Verducci profile of Kevin Mitchell was the most fun story I ever read. Second would be this Verducci profile of Rickey Henderson, from June 23 2003."
  • Writers who have inspired my work: "I grew up reading Jim Murray in the Los Angeles Times and he made me want to be a sportswriter. The list has grown so long, but Dave Sheinin from The Washington Post is near the top of it, as well as everybody at our magazine, at Esquire, at Yahoo Sports, and many friends at ESPN."
  • Person you would most like to cover: "Cool Papa Bell, the late Negro League star. When I was a kid, he sent me an autographed picture. I should have asked for an interview."
  • Hobbies: "Following Vanderbilt's football, basketball and baseball teams to an unhealthy extent."
  • Favorite book: "Favorite one I've read recently is 'The Art of Fielding,' by Chad Harbach. Baseball is the hook, but like all good sportswriting, it's about far more."
  • Hidden Talent: Pitching batting practice to 5-year-olds. Those are small strike zones.
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