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John Papanek

John Papanek spent nearly 40 years as a writer, executive and visionary leader for the two premier sports media organizations in America, Sports Illustrated and ESPN. John joined SI as a reporter directly out of college in 1973 and worked his way to staff writer, and senior editor before becoming the youngest managing editor in the magazine’s history. Along the way he was also the founding managing editor of Sports Illustrated For Kids. After more than 20 years, John moved to ESPN, where he created and served as editor-in-chief of ESPN The Magazine. In the next several years, he assumed editorial leadership of, and vastly expanded, ESPN’s industry-leading website,, and helped ESPN expand its reach into Europe, South America and Asia. After winning numerous awards and achieving national recognition for his leadership, John retired in 2011. He has, since then, dedicated his time to consulting, writing, appreciating the arts, and working for the benefit of various charitable organizations.