In 1953, Henry Robinson Luce, "Harry" to his friends, speculated that the "tremendous interest and participation" in sports corresponds with "something deeply inherent . . . in the human spirit." Though not a sports fan himself, Luce took a daring step and started a weekly magazine to chronicle "the wonderful world of sport." Luce's advisers at Time Inc., his media empire, tried to kill the venture, insisting that sports were not the province of serious journalism. Luce ignored them. He felt the time was right and plunged ahead. Sports Illustrated was born, with the largest initial circulation of any magazine in history to that date. Luce built his empire with the zeal and self-assurance of a missionary, perhaps because he was born in Tengchow, China, on April 3, 1898, to a poor but well-connected Presbyterian missionary family. He learned Chinese before he spoke English.