Tribute to Grant Wahl and his legacy in the world of football


Let me tell you a story.

A man lands the job of his dreams at a landmark in sports writing and reporting in America: Sports Illustrated. He’s new to the industry, mind you — clearly inexperienced compared to those around him. Despite the bravery and confidence he may think he has, he’s still raw. A sheep enters the lion’s den. He knows it and they know it, but this man is determined to make a difference.

This story is not about the man himself, but about the shining light that eventually becomes his mentor, his ally, his co-host, his confidante – through the bad and the good – and most importantly, his best friend. Is.

His name was Grant Wahl.

For most of you, Grant represented the true heart of football writing. Passionate, fearless, raw, honest and dedicated to a single quest: to tell the truth and connect. You don’t need us to tell you how influential this man was to the industry. It is there, printed everywhere, voiced everywhere, reported everywhere.

It went beyond journalism; It was social commentary at its best. It had the ability to talk not only about the game or the player, but who they represented. I don’t even need to tell you how inspiring he was as a professional. Young writers saw his pieces everywhere from his early days at Princeton.

I’m not here to talk about that. I have come here to tell you about that person. A man who cares so much for others, maybe too much. Including me

Back to Sports Illustrated.

A few months after joining, the company decided to create a show for soccer fans: a video digital version of Planet FĂștbol. Grant would naturally lead. But Grant’s first wish? Not the material, not the studio space and not the quality of guests he could welcome at the door.

He needed a partner. He wanted me “I believe that Luis Miguel, you and I can create something truly unique here. Your voice is needed,” he said. I always loved how he said his name in that gringo-Argentine accent.

See what I’m getting at? Grant was more than a titan and one of the most important voices in our sport: He was a crusader for voices that wanted to be heard. He didn’t just talk about travel; He opened the way for you. This is the reason why you are getting all these messages from social media. All these wonderful, diverse voices recounting their experiences with Grant. They all point to one thing: his selfless desire to create you Better.

I’m here now, working in this industry and at ESPN, because of him.

Were there sad moments? Difficult ones? Sure. did i do enough to show My help? Was I a good enough friend to help her? I carry this weight with me for the rest of my life because I honestly don’t know. All I can hope is that he’s watching from above and smiling,” Luis Miguel. Por Ahsaan. Stop it.”

We had lunch a few months ago in New York City. Talked with the podcast about the good days and the tough days during the pandemic. We talked about football, of course. About his wife, Celine, and his love for his brother and family. Photos of their dogs, Zizou and Coco, obviously. Grant lost both of his parents over the years, and he knows about my own experiences, as I too lost them at a young age. We deal with all of that and a lot more.

Lastly, I just want to let you know that Grant was my mentor, my brother, and my friend, but the wonderful thing about him, the incredibly unique quality, is that when you met him, you felt the same way. It doesn’t matter if you are a 20 year veteran or an intern. He cared for all of us. He believed in all of us.

So let’s remember how he lived, with the hope that we too live our lives in the same way.

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