Every week, I shine the spotlight on some of the best storytelling in the business and offer my comments. “3 Great Stories of the Week” will post every Monday at 8 AM.
The official coming-out party (10/12/16, ESPN): Rarely have I seen a story whose tone is set immediately by its opening photo.
But upon clicking on the above link, you will be confronted with not words but a full-screen snapshot of a recent Pride Parade — with one figure on a float towering above the crowd, in both height and happiness.
He is Bill Kennedy, an NBA referee who came out last winter after a player described him with a homophobic slur.
As you scroll down, you will find 7,000+ words from versatile ESPN scribe Kevin Arnovitz, who provides some of the site’s best analysis and, in this case, a compelling portrait. He fills his profile of Kennedy with revealing anecdotes and morsels. He describes Kennedy’s complicated existence as a gay man in a high-profile job, constantly monitoring who among his colleagues and connections knew of his sexual orientation.
Arnovitz deserves credit for a masterful story. But it starts with that first photo, taken by David Dow, which displays Kennedy’s newfound comfort and happiness better than any word.