I will never forget all the time I spent as a child flipping through the first few pages of a Sports Illustrated magazine. Those first few pages had the full page photos that were colorful, detailed and somehow always powerful.
Those photos always represented more than what was on the page. The photos themselves were great, but the competitors in the pictures were always overcoming something that transcended sports.
The image above is the one that is always comes to mind for me when I think of powerful sports photos. The athlete in that picture is, of course, Michael Jordan.
That photo was taken on Father’s day in 1996. Jordan and his Chicago Bulls had just won the NBA Championship, Jordan’s first since his father’s murder on the side of a North Carolina highway three years prior.
The reason that this photo transcends words is the fact that it shows what sports can do for and to people.
Jordan was so overwhelmed with emotion that he collapsed to the floor in the locker room. Sports had a hand in helping him to grieve after his father’s death. Winning on Father’s day brought out something in him emotionally that could not be put into words.
But it could be caught on camera.