The National has always had a mythological place in the minds of sports fans and sportswriters of my age. The lineup of writers and editors, the stories that it produced, are the stuff of sports journalism legend - as is the fact that it closed 18 months after its first issue. Grantland (the much-hyped new Bill Simmons-edited long-form site) has two fantastic pieces about The National. Alex French and Howard Kahn have an oral-history of the paper, and The Official Favorite Writer of Sports Media Guy recalls his time at the paper. ("Launching a newspaper without a coherent idea of how you're going to promote it, or get it to people who might want to read it, is like launching a boat without a rudder or an engine … or a hull, now that I think about it.")
I'm not going to recap everything - I'm not sure of the headline assertion that The National changed sports journalism forever - but wanted to point the stories out because they are fascinating and fantastic.