In our second feature from the inspirational Shelley Smith of ESPN, she writes about two male champions and the special influence the trio had upon each other’s families and careers.


“I met Reynaldo Spalding in 1993 when he was just out of high school. We became fast friends as I was working on a story about life in inner city Los Angeles. Reynaldo and his fellow athlete, Keyshawn Johnson, who works for ESPN now, hung out with me and offered to do just about anything I needed.

I needed babysitters. So the two of them would alternate taking care of my then 6-year-old daughter. Keyshawn went on to play football at USC and then to the NFL and Spalding, aka “Skeats” went to Iowa and then began working with Keyshawn.

Skeats ended up living with us for a while and worked his way into becoming a football coach at Mission Viejo High School. I went to his state championship banquet just after I was diagnosed with breast cancer. He said it was his turn to babysit me. My daughter is now 31. How about that?”

– Shelley, Bureau Reporter, ESPN
Los Angeles, California

See this story at The Corner of the Court Project


In the first of our “doubleheader” feature from Shelley Smith of ESPN, read about basketball Hall of Famer Jack MacCallum and his influence on Shelley and other women sportswriters.

“Jack McCallum is a writer, formerly senior writer of Sports Illustrated.

I was a new, young reporter for SI assigned to the NBA finals in the late 1980s. I was terrified. Jack, whom I had never met, took me under his wing, showed me the ropes (who to talk to and how and where and when) and, most of all, showed me how to treat people. He was the most laid-back male ally I know — Hawaiian shirts and humble. During the next few finals, he gave his courtside seat to our intern, who was younger and greener than me, which was wonderful to see.

He is a hero in the NBA world and continues to be an inspiration to me as a budding author. I’m at the 2017 Finals right now and guess who I saw? Jack McCallum. Still at it strong.”

– Shelley Smith, Bureau Reporter, ESPN
Los Angeles

This post was originally featured at The Corner of the Court  project