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|| News Item: Posted 2002-08-31

An Amazing Job: Burgess shooting #73
By Nate Gordon, Picture Editor, Sports Illustrated

Photo by
This was definitely the most legwork I've done on a story so far... and I feel like John did most of the heavy lifting. I honestly never expected us to actually get to shoot the ball. There were just so many variables. First off, both sides hated each other and right down to the end they were willing to kill the whole thing over the most minor of details.

Then there was the whole legal aspect. I'd get on the phone with these lawyers, and they'd be using all kinds of legal terms, and I'd just fake it on the other end of the line like I knew what they were talking about. I think John probably had a similar experience. Just to make the shoot happen we had to circulate around a 7-10 page agreement penned by Hayashi's lawyers that was then revised by Popov's, and that was followed by the 8 page injunction Popov's lawyer put together to get John access to the ball.

The main thing was, everything had to be cleared by Popov and Hayashi's lawyers, the Judge, SI, the bank, and John. So everything we'd try to coordinate would require 4 or 5 phone calls, then there'd inevitably be someone who was unhappy, and we'd have to call everyone back and start at square one again.

And during crunch time I was on vacation, with my fingers crossed that the thing would come off.

I was in Milwaukee for the All Star game on the day of the shoot, and John called me in the morning with the news that we'd set the shoot up at the wrong bank. I had to sit down (on a sidewalk curb in downtown Milwaukee). I still don't know how John finessed his way into the real bank-He did an amazing job.

John did a wonderful job on the whole story, from the eerie shots of the ball to the portraits of major players in the case. It's a shame we were unable to get more of his pictures into the magazine.

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