In tonight’s SEC Storied film Shaq & Dale, Shaquille O’Neal says there’s one word that comes to mind when he thinks of his former LSU coach Dale Brown: loyalty. This loyalty, and the friendship based on it, is what ESPN’s own Hannah Storm explores in her upcoming film, premiering tonight at 9 p.m. ET on the SEC Network (airing Thursday on ESPN at 8 p.m.).
Front Row caught up with Storm in anticipation of her fifth documentary’s debut.
Why did you choose to tell this story?
I love the authenticity and depth of the relationship between Shaquille and Dale Brown, which dates back to Shaq’s days as a gangly, uncertain teenager living on an army base in West Germany. There is so much mutual love and respect between the two men, extending decades beyond their shared experience at LSU. It was a story that had never been told. . . and one which germinated in my mind as I researched the two of them individually. We all know Shaq as a master pitchman and NBA superhero, but what many do not realize is Dale’s role in making Shaq who he is today through his constant support.
What was it like being with Shaq and Coach Brown as they reunited in Louisiana?
It was magical! Both of them have crazy schedules so it was no small feat to get them back to Baton Rouge, La. for the day. We were at a lot of locations and covered a lot of ground which was challenging. . . but both men are so energetic and really enjoy being with each other, which made the day very special. I am grateful to the folks at ESPN Films who bought into my idea and am really proud of the way it turned out. I love the moments on campus the most, because although I directed them regarding general content and stories, their actual conversation was so unscripted and authentic. The true magic of the film lies in those moments.
How do you juggle your ESPN job with producing/directing projects like this one?
That’s a challenge! It’s so much more than just being in the field and directing (which is my favorite part) because you are responsible for every aspect of the film. I take vacation days to do the actual filming and then I do the rest of the work around my on-air schedule: from the pitching and conception of the film, to the scripting, editing, audio mix and color correction.