King for a Day

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King for a Day

Rick Reilly, within his weekly Sports Illustrated column, “The Life of Reilly” sheds an interesting light onto the LeBron James controversy. LeBron James is considered, possibly, the greatest high school basketball player ever and will, in most scouts’ opinion, will be the first player selected in the 2003 N.B.A. draft. However, after a chain of events involving a gift of $845 worth of free basketball jerseys, James was ruled ineligible for two of his team’s high school games. Reilly explains the benefit another player receives from James’ error. Junior Brandon Weems has the chance to step in the shoes no one can fill and play in front of full crowds expecting to see LeBron. This paper will discuss briefly Reilly’s background as well as whom he has intended to read his piece. Furthermore, it will also discuss the rhetorical appeals Reilly has used and the argument structure that is taking place.

Reilly has been a Sports Illustrated writer for seventeen years and has won the award for National Sportswriter of the Year seven times. His career has taken him places such as the golf course with President Bill Clinton, into the cockpit of an F-14 fighter plane, to the daunting task of being present at the Swimsuit Edition photo shoot. Reilly, who started in 1979 with the Boulder (CO) Daily Camera, always tends to put a witty and amusing spin on stories that may seem bland at first glance. It has been said that he has an uncanny knowledge of all sports mixed with the “timing of Jay Leno and the wit of Johnny Carson” (

The intended audience for the piece, “King for a Day”, is an intelligent crowd that has somewhat of an interest in sports in general, not necessarily basketball. Any current or former high school athlete can relate to the situation that Weems is in. He is a replacement who just wants to have fun when he gets the chance. Anyone who appreciates the story of an underdog who succeeds will value this article. Reilly’s purpose is to show that there are two sides to ever story.

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