Behind The ScenesNFLSportsCenter

Touching SC Featured “Dear Mom” Series in Third Year with More All-Star Athletes on Deck

Baker Mayfield, CC Sabathia, Lisa Leslie are among athletes sharing family stories on ESPN in anticipation of Mother's Day. Here's a look inside the annual SportsCenter series.

This week, SportsCenter viewers are seeing the third season of the “SC Featured” series “Dear Mom,” in which star athletes read a letter to their mom for Mother’s Day. What the athletes don’t know is that their mother is hiding off-camera and hearing it all, leading to a surprise after the reading.

The series, started in 2017, has included athletes from a variety of sports and this year’s lineup of five is no different: Baker Mayfield (NFL, Tuesday), CC Sabathia (MLB, Wednesday), Ninja (Tyler Blevins, gaming, Thursday), Lisa Leslie (basketball, Friday) and Fernando Tatis Jr. (MLB, Saturday). A compilation of the five will air Sunday on Mother’s Day.

The series was the idea of Ben Webber, senior managing producer in ESPN Features. NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt Jr. was the first athlete to agree to participate. Other past participants have included JJ Watt, Bryce Harper, Laurie Hernandez and Russell Wilson (in 2017, with Earnhardt) and Chloe Kim, Calais Campbell, Manny Machado and Isiah Thomas (2018). The pieces from previous years are available on ESPN.com.

“The ‘Dear Mom’ series is some of the most touching and well-received content each year for ‘SC Featured’,” said Jose Morales, coordinating producer, who oversees production for ESPN Features. “It’s a project we always look forward to and this year our teammate Susan Ansman [feature producer] did an outstanding job producing the five pieces. And we couldn’t do any of it without Stacey Pressman [Sr. Writer] helping to secure the athletes participation. ”

When the features debut on SportsCenter, they are introduced with language that sets the tone for what viewers are about to see:

Mother’s Love is ever-present. It knows no distance, it never wavers and it’s the first and often strongest love you know . . . so when we asked athletes to write a letter to their mothers, we knew the message would be personal and heartfelt.

“We appreciate the athletes and their mothers who have embraced this and the positive responses we’ve received from viewers,” said Morales.

    EDITOR’S NOTE: Tune in to ESPN on Mother’s Day for a marathon of ESPN documentaries that celebrate women who not only help raise athletes but are resilient athletes themselves.
    1:00 p.m.: “Pat XO” (Coaching legend Pat Summitt)
    2:00 p.m.: “Every Day” (Runner Joy Johnson)
    4:30 p.m.: The 99ers” (US Women’s World Cup winners)
    5:30 p.m.: “Think Normal” (Jason McElwain and mom Debbie)

Jennifer Christie contributed to this post.

Close