World Class

World Class

Purpose, Passion, and the Pursuit of Greatness On and Off the Field

[co-editor]

World Class: Purpose, Passion, and the Pursuit of Greatness On and Off the Field, a collection of the work of the pioneering sportswriter Grant Wahl, will be published in June 2024. The volume is edited by Wahl’s former Sports Illustrated colleagues Mark Mravic and Alexander Wolff, with a foreword by Wahl’s widow, the infectious disease specialist and media figure Dr. Céline Gounder. 

Wahl spent nearly 25 years on staff at Sports Illustrated before launching his Substack, Fútbol with Grant Wahl, which burnished his reputation as one of sports journalism’s most influential and distinctive voices. He made a further impact through podcasts, TV work, and video series, as well as with a vibrant social media presence and the books The Beckham Experiment, a New York Times bestseller, and Masters of Modern Soccer. He collapsed and died of an aortic aneurysm in December 2022 while covering the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. He was 49.

Early in his career Wahl primarily covered basketball—including a groundbreaking cover story on a high schooler named LeBron James—but his true passion was soccer. He emerged as the authoritative American voice on the sport and a key driver of its growth in the United States. He was posthumously inducted into the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame and awarded the National Soccer Hall of Fame’s Colin Jose Award for contributions to the American game.

Reviews

For me, Grant Wahl’s Sports Illustrated cover story was the moment everything started. The time that we shared when I was in high school for that story was pretty special for myself and my family. Wahl was always energetic, always had a smile on his face, and always wanted to do right by his interview subjects. This collection of his work is a great testament to not only what he did when he was here, but what he’s still doing to impact others.”

LeBron James

“Grant Wahl was—and his work and legacy remain—world class. Wahl was all class and tops in class, with few peers matching his quality, rigor, vigor, and unswerving honor. He also considered the entire planet his beat, going wherever the story took him. Damn, we miss him.”

Jon Wertheim, Sports Illustrated writer and editor and 60 Minutes correspondent

“You can’t talk about the history of U.S. soccer without including Grant Wahl. His legendary career and fearless advocacy for the LGBTQ+ community will be a legacy that lives on through this anthology and beyond.”

—Megan Rapinoe

“A titan of the American game.”

—Brendan Hunt, Coach Beard on Ted Lasso

“I hesitate to call this collection sportswriting at its best, because I think it is just writing at its best. To me, Grant was an anthropologist, and sports was his lens for studying humanity.”

David Epstein, New York Times bestselling author of Range and The Sports Gene

“Grant Wahl’s job was to write about sports, but his art was to reveal what matters most in life. This anthology is a collection of brilliant storytelling and timeless wisdom about excellence from a world-class professional. He was the best of us, and his work lives on to make us all better.”

Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Hidden Potential and Think Again

“The title says everything: Grant Wahl was absolutely world class in everything he did. He was a world-class writer. He was a world-class person. He was a world-class friend. Reading his work again reminds me just how much he loved telling stories and standing up for what he believed in. Every word in this book surges with his energy and enthusiasm and love. I was one of the luckiest people in the world to get to know Grant. I miss him. But he’s here in this wonderful collection of his best work.”

Joe Posnanski, New York Times bestselling author of Why We Love Baseball

“Far more than an ordinary sportswriter . . . [Wahl] did more than any other writer to elevate soccer in the national sports conversation. . . . A fine collection by a much-missed writer who was just rising to the top of his game.”

Kirkus, Starred Review

“Grant Wahl took the craft of writing seriously and he took the sport of soccer seriously. His dedication to each of them resulted in some of the best, most compelling sportswriting I’ve ever read. When a new Grant Wahl article came out I dropped everything and read it. When a new Grant Wahl podcast episode dropped, it immediately went to the top of the queue. I will miss him and I will miss his work. He made me a better writer. He made me a better fan.”

Clint Smith, New York Times bestselling author of How the Word Is Passed

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