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Journalism Showcase: ‘She is extremely inspiring and I think she’s somebody that you look up to . . . ‘

E60 producer Michael Sciallo talks about profiling basketball legend Sue Bird, who reflects on her career and finding her voice

ESPN’s newsmagazine program E60 will feature a candid look at the life, career, and evolution of basketball superstar Sue Bird in the newest edition debuting Sunday, Aug. 9, at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN.

There are few athletes more accomplished than Bird. And as Lisa Salters reports, she has become a leader off the court, speaking out for equal pay in women’s sports, advocating for LGBTQ rights and, most recently, using her platform to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Michael Sciallo, who produced the feature for E60, said the original idea for the feature was hatched in late 2018 when Bird was offered a front office position with the Denver Nuggets. The general feeling was that she was close to retiring from the WNBA’s Seattle Storm.

“There also was the potential story angle of the Olympics,” he said. “She would be going for her fifth gold medal. Then it changed – Sue got injured right before we interviewed her for the first time. That was in June of 2019, and we didn’t know if she was going to miss the whole season. A month or so later, she found out she was going to be out for a year.

Sue Bird signs an autograph for a young fan. (Michael Sciallo/ESPN)

“So it evolved into these different story points, and now in the last few months she’s become an advocate for social justice,” he said. “And that became our main focus – she grew up a shy kid, and there have been people along the way who have helped her on the court and off to evolve into who she is today.”

In addition to Bird, among those interviewed in the piece are her mother and sister; her partner, Megan Rapinoe; her former UCONN coach Geno Auriemma; and her former high school and AAU coach Jill Cook. Her former UCONN teammate and longtime friend Diana Taurasi is also in the feature.

“She’s just a really – I don’t know how else to put it – just a great, down-to-earth person,” Sciallo said. “And she is extremely inspiring, and I think she’s somebody that you look up to – young girls or young boys, young kids, or even older people.”

E60 airs following ESPN’s live telecast of the WNBA game between the New York Liberty and Las Vegas Aces, which begins at 2 p.m.

Sunday’s E60 also includes features on New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso and boxing great Mike Tyson.

E60 correspondent Lisa Salters (L) interviews Sue Bird in Seattle. (Michael Sciallo/ESPN)

– Andy Hall

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