Lydelle King, manager in the ESPN Features Unit, is in his first year overseeing production of SportsCenter’s “My Wish” Series, which begins its 10th anniversary season Sunday night. Since its beginning in 2006, the series has fulfilled 55 sports-themed wishes for children with life-threatening medical conditions.
King spoke with Front Row about being part of the incredible team that delivers the unforgettable features annually.
Describe your role with the series.
I am just one member of the overarching team that helps put this whole package together. Stepping into this role, one thing that’s obvious to me is the collaboration between Disney, ESPN and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Previously in this role was [coordinating producer] Valerie Gordon, who was the lynchpin here at ESPN – she was the conduit who got everything to air. I’m trying to be the guy who makes sure we get all the content that we need. This year, with the 10th anniversary it’s different because we have television items as well as a digital landing page that we’ll be populating with tons of content looking back at 10 years of wishes fulfilled in addition to the 2016 class.
Had you worked on the series previously?
In 2013, I produced a wish for Lateef Brock, who wished to hang out and play with Robert Griffin III. I also produced one in 2014 with George Gring and Cam Newton. It’s probably the most gratifying project I’ve worked on as a producer. And transitioning to the management role, it’s allowed me to stay in touch with what it’s like to be in the field and to be around some of these young people. Now you’re part of this team that is offering them this glimmer of hope, and to me, just being in that mix and being in their presence, is uplifting.
What really resonated with you in this year’s wishes?
They’re all very unique in their own way. We had a young woman named Ashley Wagner this year who chose to use her wish for her twin brother, and that lit me up because part of her reasoning behind it was while she was sick and getting all this attention from parents and doctors, and that although it wasn’t fun, she understood that her brother was missing out on some of the parental attention. Her wish (with Steph Curry) was one that she actually thought he would enjoy more than she would.