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Artestaholic
06-14-2004, 04:26 PM
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/print?id=1821759&type=story

Wiley, 52, was provocative, respected writer

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ESPN.com

Ralph Wiley, one of the original Page 2 columnists and former senior writer for Sports Illustrated, died Sunday night of heart failure. He was 52 years old.

Wiley joined Page 2 at its inception in November 2000 and had written more than 240 columns for ESPN.com.

"For the past three and a half years, Ralph has produced a body of work that was both exceptional and insightful and arguably the best sports commentary on the web," said John Walsh, executive vice president and executive editor, ESPN.

Wiley also had appeared on ESPN's "Sports Reporters" since 1990. He provided regular commentary for ESPN's SportsCenter and formerly worked as an NFL analyst for NBC.

"Through his perspective and experience, Ralph developed one of the most creative lead voices in the American sports chorus," added ESPN.com vice president and executive editor Neal Scarbrough. "We were lucky to have him as a big part of ESPN.com."

Wiley was born in Memphis, Tenn., in April 1952. His mother, Dorothy, who taught humanities at S.A. Owen Junior College, made an early habit of reading great books to her son: Alexandre Dumas, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and Richard Wright. His father, a veteran of the Korean War, died young.

The early literary exposure clearly had a major influence on Wiley, who wrote several plays in high school. "Until I was 18, I never slept where I couldn't reach my hand from my bed to a bookcase," he told Essence magazine in 1993. He attended Knoxville College from 1972-75; while at Knoxville he played wide receiver and landed his first professional journalism job, writing sports for the weekly Knoxville Keyana-Spectrum. He studied business and finance at the school.

Upon graduation, Wiley took a job as a copyboy for the Oakland Tribune. He soon was promoted to a city beat writer, and then, a year later, to sports. By the end of his 6-year tenure at the Tribune, he was a regular columnist.

Sports Illustrated hired Wiley in 1982, and he remained there for nine years, writing 28 cover stories, many about boxing (most notably, the Mike Tyson trial), baseball and football.

Wiley grew up boxing in "friendlies," and took a liking to an uncle who had been, briefly, a pro middleweight. "Charlie Boy" Wiley finished his career with a 3-2 record. "Charles was my favorite uncle," Wiley said in SI in 1989. "He was the slowest to anger and the quickest to laugh. And he had ability. It gave him what I call serenity."

That was the theme of Wiley's first book, published in 1989, "Serenity: A Boxing Memoir," which received excellent reviews. In the book Wiley "has taken the reader on an unflinching, sensitive and often sad boxing journey," wrote Bernard Kirsch in the New York Times Book Review.

"The novice will find 'Serenity' a fascinating look at the world of boxing, its winners and losers, which Wiley illustrates with anecdotes that reveal what he has learned about it," wrote Manuel Galvan in the Chicago Tribune.

His second book, a collection of essays entitled "Why Black People Tend to Shout" was rejected, Wiley estimated, "25 or 30 times" by publishers. The book sold well and also got good reviews. "It is not easy to express how it feels to be a black man in the 1990s," wrote Alex Raksin in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Ralph Wiley is one of the few who have been able to find just the right tone."

Wiley's writing was intentionally provocative. "As an essayist I don't believe in the fiction of an anonymous observer. Rather than the sham of objectivity, I think you should put your perspective up front. That's only fair to the reader," he told Essence in 1993, shortly after the publication of his second book of essays, "What Black People Should Do Now: Dispatches from Near the Vanguard", was published in 1993.

Wiley's third book of essays, "Dark Witness: When Black People Should Be Sacrificed (Again)", was published in 1996. One of the more memorable segments of that book was "Trial of the Century." Wiley wrote of the O.J. Simpson trial from the perspective of having worked with Simpson on TV just a few years earlier. Wiley's portrait of the Simpson he knew was less than flattering.

Wiley also co-wrote many books. "Best Seat in the House: A Basketball Memoir", by Spike Lee and Wiley, was, according to John D. Thomas of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "One of the most honest, opinionated and enjoyable sports books to come out in years, maybe ever."

With Lee, Wiley also wrote "By Any Means Necessary: The Trials and Tribulations of the Making of Malcolm X".

He co-authored "Born to Play: The Eric Davis Story" and Dexter Scott King's autobiography, "Growing Up King: An Intimate Memoir".

Wiley also wrote articles for Premiere, GQ, National Geographic, and many national newspapers. Among Wiley's many contributions to sports writing over the years was the phrase "Billy ball" to describe the Oakland A's under Billy Martin.

Zesty
06-14-2004, 04:29 PM
Holy crap. That's very, very sad. :'(

Suaveness
06-14-2004, 04:30 PM
That is very sudden.

Hicks
06-14-2004, 04:30 PM
Jesus. Just 52? That's very sad. :cry:

ABADays
06-14-2004, 04:31 PM
52!!!!!!!!

indygeezer
06-14-2004, 04:35 PM
Young....VERY VERY young.



Note to self...GET BACK ON DIET

PS to NOTE...GET BACK ON TREADMILL

PPS TO NOTE...HAVE SOME JIM BEAM LIFE's TOO SHORT TO WASTE IT ON A DIET AND A TREADMILL.

TheSauceMaster
06-14-2004, 04:50 PM
Exatcly why I don't stress over too much in life death has no preffered age, I know it may sound grim but you never know if this is your last day alive ..live it to it's fullest.

When I had my bussiness 3-4 years ago I had a regular fed ex guy , he was well known around the town and a very likeable guy , very health concious and in good shape. He came to make his daily pickup we chatted and joked for oh about 10 mins or so he seemed fine , 30 mins later the man was dead , I found this out the next day in the Paper , he was only 38.

Sorta same situation happen to the guy who used to live behind me , his wife came home from work ( she worked midnites and he watched the kids , needless to say found him dead in the bathroom , had a heart attack ..he was only 32.

indygeezer
06-14-2004, 04:56 PM
Exatcly why I don't stress over too much in life death has no preffered age, I know it may sound grim but you never know if this is your last day alive ..live it to it's fullest.

When I had my bussiness 3-4 years ago I had a regular fed ex guy , he was well known around the town and a very likeable guy , very health concious and in good shape. He came to make his daily pickup we chatted and joked for oh about 10 mins or so he seemed fine , 30 mins later the man was dead , I found this out the next day in the Paper , he was only 38.

Sorta same situation happen to the guy who used to live behind me , his wife came home from work ( she worked midnites and he watched the kids , needless to say found him dead in the bathroom , had a heart attack ..he was only 32.


and that is why I'm a "win now" guy. Screw this build for the future business. I may not be around to see em win it and I wanna enjoy something before I kick off (see I can be pessimistic too). It's why I can't knock the Piston organization too much for trading for sheed, just who they traded for.

ABADays
06-15-2004, 12:38 PM
Exatcly why I don't stress over too much in life death has no preffered age, I know it may sound grim but you never know if this is your last day alive ..live it to it's fullest.

When I had my bussiness 3-4 years ago I had a regular fed ex guy , he was well known around the town and a very likeable guy , very health concious and in good shape. He came to make his daily pickup we chatted and joked for oh about 10 mins or so he seemed fine , 30 mins later the man was dead , I found this out the next day in the Paper , he was only 38.

Sorta same situation happen to the guy who used to live behind me , his wife came home from work ( she worked midnites and he watched the kids , needless to say found him dead in the bathroom , had a heart attack ..he was only 32.

I know it happens. My stepfather died of a heart attack at 39.