A behind-the-scenes look at NBA superstar Kevin Durant making a difference in his hometown and the inspiring story of a successful high school football coach who was born with no arms or legs will open the new season of SC Featured, the award-winning storytelling brand of SportsCenter.
Since its 2013 beginning, SC Featured has brought unique and compelling feature stories to ESPN’s flagship news and information program. SC Featured stories air on SportsCenter during the months of the NFL offseason and this year will debut in a new time slot: the Saturday morning 8 a.m. ET hour. The features will re-air in other SportsCenter editions during the weekend and over subsequent days.
“Every season our goal with SC Featured is to inspire, to inform and to entertain viewers with the amazing stories,” said Victor Vitarelli, ESPN Features Executive Producer, who oversees SC Featured. “We’re especially looking forward to the new air schedule for this season. Having the stories premiere on Saturday mornings and air over two weekend days presents more opportunities for sports fans to sample the quality storytelling of SC Featured.”
In the season’s first story debuting Saturday, Feb. 9, Durant welcomes reporter Tom Rinaldi and SC Featured cameras to his Prince Georges County, Md., hometown for the opening of the Durant Center. A college track program offering tutoring, counseling and a study space to students from low-income families, many of whom will become the first in their family to earn a college degree, the Durant Center could have an even bigger impact, as Rinaldi reports. PREVIEW of “For PG, from KD.”
On Feb. 16, the SC Featured “Who Says I Can’t” tells the story of Rob Mendez, who was born without arms or legs due to an extremely rare condition. Mendez found his calling coaching football, a sport he was never able to play himself. SC Featured documented Mendez’ first season as a high school football coach outside of San Jose, Calif., capturing the inspiring and unlikely story of a coach who transformed a group of young athletes from skeptics into believers. In addition to the SC Featured presentation on SportsCenter, a longer version of the story will be available on ESPN+ and an accompanying written piece will appear on ESPN.com. PREVIEW
Among other stories that will be told in the upcoming season of SC Featured:
Clayton Kershaw – The Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher travels to the Dominican Republic with International Justice Mission (IJM) to engage with the fight to end sex trafficking. ESPN MLB analyst Jessica Mendoza accompanies Kershaw.
NBA 2K – The comeback story of “Larry Legend,” a gamer who was wounded in the mass shooting last year at the Madden Tournament in Jacksonville, Fla.
Rocky Bleier – The former Pittsburgh Steelers running back returns to the Vietnam battlefield where he was shot nearly 50 years ago.
Brian Pata – A member of the Miami Hurricanes football team, Pata was murdered after a practice in November of 2006. There have been no arrests made in this case, but the family and police continue to hold out hope that the murder can be solved.
SC Featured is produced by ESPN Features, which, since its creation 16 years ago, has received 86 Sports Emmy Award nominations resulting in 14 Emmys. SC Featured had 18 Sports Emmy Award nominations in the last two years. SC Featured’s “A Mountain to Climb,” the story of a young woman from Nepal trying to become her country’s first female golf pro, won in the Outstanding Short Documentary category for 2018.
In addition to being in the first SC Featured, Durant and his Thirty Five Ventures are developing The Boardroom, a new original series on ESPN+, debuting soon. ESPN+, the premium direct-to-consumer sports streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International (DTCI) segment and ESPN, includes an exclusive archive of the best SC Featured stories from over the years.
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