ESPN.com Columnist and Television Contributor/Essayist
Eleven-time National Sportswriter of the Year Rick Reilly is a front-page columnist for ESPN.com. He also delivers human-interest features for ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown and essays for SportsCenter.
Reilly joined ESPN in 2008. His “Life of Reilly” weekly column for ESPN.com reflects his unique, breezy, hilarious style. While on-site for ESPN’s Monday Night Football games, Reilly appears on both the pre-game Countdown and post-game SportsCenter alongside Stuart Scott, Trent Dilfer, Ray Lewis and Steve Young. Similar to his columns, Reilly offers thoughtful MNF-themed weekly television features for Countdown.
Reilly, who has made appearances on PTI and various ESPN radio programs, is also an essayist for SportsCenter and a contributor to the company’s coverage of golf majors and other championship events, including the Ryder Cup, NBA Finals, NCAA Final Four, Super Bowl and BCS Championship.
Reilly was ESPN The Magazine’s back-page columnist and he has been the host of ESPN’s Homecoming with Rick Reilly, a one-hour one-on-one interview show that goes deep inside the life of America’s greatest athletes. The program has featured the likes of John Elway, Magic Johnson, Michael Phelps, Jerry Rice and Dwayne Wade discussing their rise to success.
Reilly joined ESPN after 23 years at Sports Illustrated, where his work graced the pages of the publication from 1985 until 2007. His popular “Life of Reilly” column was the magazine’s first signed weekly opinion column in its history; it ran on its last page for 10 years.
In addition to Reilly’s award winning magazine writing, he is the author of 10 books, including his latest – “Sports from Hell, My Search for the World’s Dumbest Competition.” The book was a finalist for the 2011 Thurber Prize. It’s the account of his three-year search for the dumbest sport in the world.
An accomplished author and screenwriter, Reilly’s titles include the New York Times bestsellers “Hate Mail from Cheerleaders”, “Missing Links”, “Shanks for Nothing”, and “Who’s Your Caddy?” His collection of columns — “The Life of Reilly: The Best of Sports Illustrated’s Rick Reilly” – also was a New York Times bestseller. He co-authored “The Boz,” the best-selling autobiography of bad-boy Oklahoma linebacker Brian Bosworth; “Gretzky,” with hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky of the Los Angeles Kings; “I’d Love to but I Have a Game” with NBC announcer Marv Albert, and the “The Wit and Wisdom of Charles Barkley.” Reilly also co-authored the movie “Leatherheads,” a romantic comedy centered on the 1924 Duluth Eskimos of the fledgling NFL, starring George Clooney, Renee Zellweger and John Krasinski. The film rights to his “Missing Links” were also sold to actor Steve Carell.
Reilly began his career in journalism in 1979 at his hometown paper the Boulder Daily Camera, while a sophomore at the University of Colorado, from which he graduated in 1981. He wrote for the Camera for two years. He went on to the Denver Post and the Los Angeles Times before moving to Sports Illustrated in 1985.
Reilly has won numerous awards in his 30-year writing career, including the prestigious New York Newspaper Guild’s Page One Award for Best Magazine Story and the Denver Press Club’s 2009 Runyon Award for Outstanding Contributions to Journalism. He has been voted National Sportswriter of the Year 11 times, and on three occasions his columns have been read into the record in the U.S. Congress. An astronaut even once took his signed trading card into space.
Outside of writing, Reilly is founder of the anti-malaria effort “Nothing But Nets” (NothingButNets.net), a partnership with the United Nations Foundation, which has raised over $40 million to hang mosquito nets over kids in Africa, where 3,000 children die every day from the disease. Every dollar raised by “Northing But Nets” goes to buying nets.