Journalism Showcase

ESPN’s “Journalism Showcase” – March 4, 2016

Ryan McGee (right) and Scott Park (Frank Saraceno/E:60)
ESPN’s Ryan McGee (right) interviews Scott Park. (Frank Saraceno/E:60)

A new E:60 feature airing on Sunday’s Outside the Lines (9 a.m. ET, ESPN) tells the story of N.C. State basketball fan Scott Park, who on March 13, 2015, became the center of a viral frenzy after his half-court shot attempt for a million dollars at halftime of an ACC Tournament semifinal game fell woefully short of the basket.

But what the millions who clicked Park’s six-second Vine didn’t know was this: He was lucky just to be alive. ESPN’s Ryan McGee takes fans and viewers inside those six seconds of Park’s life and shares his overall journey in “The Rest of the Story.”

How did you first hear or find about this story?
I first saw the clip of Scott Park’s shot that my friend Ryan Fagan from The Sporting News posted on Vine one year ago. I thought the same thing so many others did, “Oh boy, that was not good.” Then Ryan wrote his story about his experience, how Scott’s friends reached out to say there was more to Scott’s story. When the E:60 team saw that, they felt immediately like it was the kind of story they like to tell. Me too. We just didn’t know how long and how great that story would be.

How did your perception of Scott and his story change from the time you started reporting until now?
It’s been a year. In the beginning, we thought it would be a nice quick turnaround story for the NCAA Tournament. When that didn’t work out, honestly, I was pretty bummed. But that delay became a blessing. In the year since his missed shot, Scott and his family have been through so much more and they’ve allowed us to document it all. They hit a real low last fall. But his spirit never wavered. Now, a year later, it feels like a more complete story. Having followed it, lived it, seen where the Parks have been, it’s really been an emotional experience.

If fans could take one thing away from the Parks after watching this story, what would do you hope that would be?
Live every single day like the calendar forever ends at midnight tonight. Scott Park is one of us. He’s a sports fan. He’s a good man. He has a great family. But twice now it’s all almost completely vanished through health situations that were totally out of his control. That could happen to any of us at any moment, with zero warning. The way he has handled it all, battling back while finding strength through his family, his team and the legendary leader of that team, [former N.C. State men’s basketball coach and ESPN analyst] Jim Valvano. . . We could all take cues from Scott Park, no matter what your walk of life.

Journalism on Display

  • From ESPN the Magazine: Fifty years ago, Khadeem Lattin’s grandfather David and his Texas Western teammates helped changed the course of college basketball by beating Kentucky to win the national championship. Now the Oklahoma sophomore is continuing the family legacy. Dana O’Neil writes “A Beautiful Burden.”
  • Boston-born comedian/actor Lenny Clarke narrates the exploration of the urban legend of a monkey that lived in the old Boston Garden, whose remains were found when the building was torn down. The SC Featured segment “Monkey Business” debuts in the 10 a.m. edition of SportsCenter on Sunday and re-airs in other editions of the program throughout the day.
  • Panelists on Sunday morning’s The Sports Reporters (9:30 a.m. ET, ESPN; 10:30 a.m., ESPN2) will be: John Saunders (host), Frank Isola, Jemele Hill and Bob Ryan. – Andy Hall
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