Originally written on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 10/23/14

Sports Illustrated is an institution. It is a magazine that brings readers a weekly digest of sports analysis, photos, and really cool covers. In fact, SI covers have become something of an art form. Being on the cover is has become more than just a cool thing that athletes can add to a bulging scrapbook; it’s become a measuring stick. If you find yourself on the cover of Sports Illustrated you have an excuse to puff out your chest out a little bit. You can put some more swag in that step. You can say you’ve joined “The Society” which is probably harder to get into than The Illuminati, and something that I definitely did not just make up for the sake of this article. Point is, it’s a pretty big freaking deal to be part of a group that includes Michael Jordan (50 covers), Muhammad Ali (38 covers), John F. Kennedy, and Big Bird. Yes, Big Bird. So when I just so happened to be living right across the street from Syracuse University’s Carrier Dome, which just so happened to being having a Sports Illustrated cover shoot for March Madness, which just so happened to feature star point guard Michael Carter-Williams, THAT JUST SO HAPPENED TO NEED STUDENTS TO BE REALLY REALLY EXCITED IN THE BACK GROUND, I jumped on it quicker than Nate Robinson makes a bad decision. It was like destiny. It was like a romantic comedy. It was like a Metta World Peace elbow to the head. Some things just NEED to happen.  I mean, it can’t be a coincidence that right after I get myself a haircut, I get invited to a Sports Illustrated photo shoot, right? So, after throwing on my best Syracuse shirt and my Carmelo Anthony tribute headband, I was feeling pretty good. Remember, I’d just gotten a fresh haircut. What’s that saying? “If you look good, you feel good, you photograph good,” right? Sounds good to me. Here’s the cover: If you look closely, you can see Greg Fenton under the “IL” in “Illustrated” The photo shoot itself was like a dream. This was my moment. Who cares about Michael Carter-Willimas , this was all about me. Like I said: destiny.  When my friends and I got there we were pretty pumped, but we got even more excited when the photographer’s assistant started handing out Syracuse jerseys to everyone.  Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to keep them, even though Michael Carter-Williams totally thought they were going to let us. But that’s beside the point. Since we had gotten there a little late, my friends and I were placed near the back. It was disappointing. I knew that in that position there was very little chance that I would actually be seen on the cover. But fortune smiled on me one more time. After a few pictures, the photographer decided that he wanted to shake up the lineup. I’m not sure if it was for diversity reasons or not, but whatever the reasoning, the assistant to the photographer decided to place me a row behind Michael Carter-Williams. It. Was. Awesome. As the photographer’s assistant sat me down, I couldn’t help but think of what Eminem says at the beginning of his song “Lose Yourself,” and I asked myself if I would capture this moment, or just let it slip. I decided to capture it. (Without having vomit on my sweater already, mom’s spaghetti.) The photographer was telling everyone to be surprised, so I immediately brought out my surprised face equivalent to Blue Steel that included me bursting out of my chair with an outreached fist. Because of my acting background I thought I was doing a great job simulating an excited scream. I also was just about the only person to change up what I did for every other picture. I thought this was a good strategy, and there was only one face that I remember regretting. At one point, I decide to clutch the back of my head and scream wildly. And as everyone knows, when you don’t like a picture of yourself, it’s always the one that gets plastered all over the internet. In my case, it was one of the most popular magazines of the free world. Flattering, I know: Yep, that’s my shining moment. After the shoot was over I wriggled over to Michael Carter-Williams and shook his hand, saying, “beat DePaul.” I felt proud of myself. I felt like a superstar. I felt like any day now I would be receiving sponsorships from Gatorade because I was just SO handsome (remember, I’d just gotten a fresh cut). Now all I had to do was wait Two weeks later, my broadcast journalism professor tweeted a photo of the cover. I shared the photo on Twitter and Facebook and the rest is basically history. Every time I turned around Facebook likes poured in. And if you know anything about digital natives, we basically consider Facebook likes the equivalent to getting to first base. It was basically the greatest spontaneous experience of my life, and I highly recommend it to everyone.

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