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Ninth edition of “Face to Face” is Storm’s most ambitious yet

Mo’ne Davis and Hannah Storm during the “Face to Face” shoot.

(Rachel Pineda/ESPN)
(Rachel Pineda/ESPN)

For her ninth “Face to Face” program, SportsCenter anchor Hannah Storm has not only taken on the largest contingent of guests in the three-plus year history of the program, she’s also departed from past specials that were mainly one-sport focused.

The latest installment, which debuts tomorrow (ESPN, 7 p.m. ET), features seven newsmakers from various sports: DeMarco Murray (NFL); Missy Franklin (Olympics swimming); Adam Jones (MLB); Karl-Anthony Towns and Michele Roberts (NBA); Pat Haden (college sports); and Mo’ne Davis (LLWS).

“It’s the most ambitious show that we’ve done, and it took the better part of the summer to fly all over the country and get everything,” said Storm, who created the “Face to Face” series in January, 2012. “This one offers a wide breadth of individuals who are fascinating and are going to continue to be big stories in sports going ahead.”

Storm hosts the show from the unique setting of the National Academy in New York City, a museum and school that for nearly two centuries has been one of the most vibrant centers of fine art in the country. Also featured is the work of award-winning portrait artist Yuka Imata (see sidebar).

As Storm moves on to the upcoming 10th edition of “Face to Face,” she was asked if she has a “wish list” of guests for future shows.

“I always do, depending on the show and who I’m talking to, but the great thing is we’ve had so many huge names in the past,” she said. “There definitely are names I’d like to do.

“The first-ever interview at ESPN when I joined was the Manning Brothers,” she said. “And that was years ago, so it’d be fun to get them back together at this point. We’ve never featured LeBron (James).

“There are definitely names out there still, and we’ve been lucky enough to do the ones we’ve done. If you look at the roster we’ve had, it’s pretty impressive.”

'Face to Face' coordinating producer explains concept of latest show
The work of artist Yuka Imata is featured in the new “Face to Face with Hannah Storm” special. (Rachel Pineda/ESPN)

Artists and portraits have always been part of the ESPN “Face to Face with Hannah Storm” specials, and coordinating producer Ursula Pfeiffer explained that the theme of the new show centered on art

“The concept evolves around the delicate and fundamental art of defining one’s identity and the things you stand for,” said Pfeiffer. “It was because of this concept that we reached out to the National Academy.

“On a continuous basis, artists address the uniqueness in human nature through different mediums, much like the personalities included in our show have molded themselves into fascinating personalities that have carved out for themselves a place in the world of sports and beyond,” she said. “It is also the reason why each piece is as unique in its approach as the people they portray in the show.”

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