SportsCenter "My Wish" Series Shows Youth Meeting Shaq

by Jeramie McPeek
VP, Digital
Posted June 30, 2008

PHOENIX, June 25, 2008 – Phoenix Suns center Shaquille O'Neal made a child's wish come true when he met with Alexander Williams, a 9-year-old boy from Mobile, Ala., that has acute lymphocytic leukemia. Williams is one of five kids from the Make-A-Wish Foundation whose unique sports-related wishes will be chronicled in the ESPN SportsCenter "My Wish" series starting Sunday, June 29.

O'Neal, who is the boy's favorite NBA player, helped Williams' dream of dunking on "The Diesel" come true in an episode that debuts in Thursday, July 3. Williams' wish, along with the four other wish experiences, will be the subject of SportsCenter feature segments airing June 29-July 3.

Each story and wish experience, will generally premiere each day on the 6 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter. ESPN Deportes’ SportsCenter will present special Spanish-language editions of the series on Sunday, June 29, and Sunday, July 6.

The series, a collaborative effort between the Make-A-Wish Foundation, ESPN and Disney, will feature prominent sport figures – O’Neal, Cleveland Indians Baseball Team, Ben Roethlisberger, MLS and Mexican soccer star Cuauhtémoc Blanco, and former Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Smarty Jones. Emmy Award-winning reporter Chris Connelly is the “My Wish” reporter.

Since 2006, “My Wish” has offered an unprecedented, behind-the-scenes look at the wish-granting experience and featured wish children participating in sports-related activities with athletes such as: Major League Baseball’s Derek Jeter, David Ortiz and Todd Helton, the NBA’s Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade, figure skating star Michelle Kwan, NASCAR drivers Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon, and the NFL’s Tedy Bruschi, Drew Brees and Donovan McNabb.


  • Williams dunks with O’Neal
  • O’Neal picks up Williams before proceeding to a luxury hotel in Orlando for lunch
  • O'Neal furnishes Williams with a Phoenix Suns jersey before playing him in a game of P-O-N-Y at a local gym
  • O’Neal teaches the child some NBA moves

    “My Wish” first aired in July 2006, followed by five more original wish stories in June 2007. The critically acclaimed series won a Gold Medal at the 2007 New York Festival Awards for Outstanding Sports Special.

    About the Make-A-Wish Foundation

    The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Born in 1980 when a group of caring individuals helped a young boy fulfill his dream of becoming a police officer, the Foundation is now the largest wish-granting charity in the world, with 67 chapters in the United States and its territories. With the help of generous donors and nearly 25,000 volunteers, the Make-A-Wish Foundation has granted more than 164,000 wishes in the United States since inception.