The Brilliance!


We’re really internet and we’re really back. A website about things Benjamin , Chuck , Virgil , and various friends & guests think are interesting. Little-to-no specific focus, a bit odd, speling errors, and incredibly culturally relevant.


Interview! > Henry Lee of ESPN! !

THE BRILLIANCE! > What's happenin', Henry? How's your day going?

HL! > still here, it's past 9, i'm listening to some weird remix of the cure, um did someone actually ok this? cause it sort of sucks. here for the expn insert, almost done. 2 more days...

TB! > Henry seems like a classic sports name. You know, like, Henry Aaron, Henry the main character in the movie The Sandlot...and now Henry Lee. It's quite the pattern. Now that that's out of the way - tell us a bit about yourself. A brief bio and maybe a quick rundown of what your job consists of.

HL! > born new york city, madison wisconsin for college and back here. Art direction of features in the magazine and other businesses at ESPN such as Consumer products and mobile.

TB! > How did you end up at ESPN Magazine? That seems like it would be a golden job to land - I'm sure a lot of designers and artists out there who also love sports would consider what you do to be a dream job. Is it what you imagined in the past a dream job would be like?

HL! > freelancing for a while at magazines and agencies when about 5yrs back i ended up here through a random phone call. i always sort of freakout when people know me and i'm thinking who is this person? a headhunter called me one time and pretty much read my life back to me.... i was like, um, i think i have to go... wait, how did you know that? i even forgot about that...

don't know if this is a dream job. don't know what that is yet... it's definitely great, the freedom and creativity here is beyond most domestic magazines of this circulation and budget. also watching sports during the day is not frowned upon. it's part of "the job"...

TB! > What is a normal day for you like?

HL! > well, start with making a little ice coffee, then a little to check rumorville. then see what's on that daily planner. i write out a to do list before i leave at night for the next day. with the different projects i have going it gets a little hectic at times, it also could include, buy socks u dummy.

TB! > When we spoke before this interview on the phone, you told me that your title has changed in the last year to art director/special projects. What exactly did you do when you first worked there, and what has your role turned into? What kinds of things are included in the 'special projects'?

HL! > i was working solely on the magazine before but now i've been expanding into the various businesses that ESPN as a brand has. It's such a multi faceted business that there's always something new here. we started an apparel business last year with footlocker that i helped concept, mobile phone design, xgames phone and logos, just the other week i was in wasua wisconsin hanging with eastbay catalog people for this conjunction catalog project. it was interesting, from their design perspective to the marketing and strategies to drive more people to the ESPNSHOP site. they crunch numbers. not exactly sexy but effective.

TB! > Tell us more about EXPN and your involvement in it.

HL! > EXPN is our action sport side, it's a cousin of the xgames franchise here. It's an insert in ESPN mag. it was a stand alone before but we felt due to our large circulation we could distribute this to a larger audience and attract new readers. i'm art directing it, trying to give it a different feel from the mag.

TB! > Have you been artistic and creative all your life, or was it something that you eventually just found and loved?

HL! > i guess my early creative memory is lego. i had the big yellow castle one. simple with multiple answers.

TB! > Have you always been a big sports fan or an athlete yourself?

HL! > yeah, basketball fan. the knicks have been killing me for years, and i still buy tickets.

TB! > What other jobs have you had in the past, before you came to ESPN? Including the fast-food jobs.

HL! > started working for pops at his supermarket age 12. delivery on trucks lifting rice an stuff through maryland, d.c. and virginia though high school, internships in ny for college summers at sportswear international(fashion trade mag) got a job there after graduation. then freelance at spin mag, harper's bazaar, maxim, sci fi channel, mademoiselle, and numerous agencies.

TB! > What is your absolute favorite part of your job? Any cool perks?

HL! > because of our schedule i get every other monday and friday off.

TB! > What is your absolute least favorite part of your job, if anything?

HL! > because of our schedule i work every other sunday.

TB! > How often do you have the opportunity to work with other artists or freelancers? Is this something you enjoy?

HL! > tons, i try and bring non magazine people into the mix so they can throw a diverse perspective to what we do here. i barely hire illustrators that do "sports" illustrations, or even know sports.

`TB! > OK let's be honest here - you work at ESPN Magazine. I know ESPN has to have the hookup. How many times have you played HORSE with Michael Jordan? Have you ever gone golfing with Ken Griffey Jr.? Dang, that would be sweet.

But seriously - in the life of your job, have you had the opportunity to meet any of your idols or at least some big-time players or coaches? `

HL! > i've been at a photo shoot with kobe, stephon marbury, bernard hopkins has been here but probably the funniest one is at an ESPN party when i spilled a beer on former ravens lineman tony siragusa.


he was like, "2 beers," splash..." ...make that 3."

TB! > So - what else do you enjoy? Besides your job, what does life consist of for you? Any interesting hobbies or anything?

HL! > travel is probably my thing besides work. i try and get out as much as i can. whether it's alone or with friends, ya gotta go on an adventure. el salvador was the last place in december. also take muay thai, i regularly limp out of the gym but it's been great. streetfighter without the 6 button joystick.

TB! > Do you have any further dreams or goals either regarding or aside from your current work?

HL! > simplify, simplify, and work and live in multiple places.

TB! > Any advice for people who might be interested in working at a magazine someday in the creative department or sports genre?

HL! > try not to do the same things in your genre, people thought sports illustrated was the only way to do sports mag for 40+ years. there's always a different way to do it. look at adidas and reebok, they are trying to knock on nike's door.

TB! > Is there anyone you'd like to thank in particular, or anyone who has had great impact or influence on you? And who are your favorite athletes and artists?

HL! > the people who made me better. they know who they are.

TB! > Anything else you'd like to say or discuss before I go back to reading my copy of Sports Illustrated?

HL! > i gotta get this TOC done tonight. hello, ice coffee.

TB! > What do you think of THE BRILLIANCE? What are the chances of telling Dan Patrick and Stuart Scott to mention this on SportCenter? I mean - it's only fair...

HL! > pretty sweet, digging the simplicity and tone, i'm gonna snipe that bathing ape shirt and rock it in the LES, get some kicks at rivington club and walk into the bape store in soho. i dig american ingenuity, it's bold, and flat out. like when i used a black marker in junior high to color my reeboks black. i'll hook you up with brooklyns finest biggie shirt from delancey street, XXL. just like how kids rock it these days. but really, thanks for letting me get on this, let's do some work together again.