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Boardroom Q&A With Little League World Series Legend Mo’ne Davis

The Hampton University softball player will take part in ESPN2’s “KidsCast” of Sunday’s Little League Classic between Cleveland and the Angels

It was just seven years ago when Mo’ne Davis took the American sporting scene by storm through sheer force of will and dominance.

Starring for Philadelphia’s Taney Dragons, the 13-year-old Davis took her 70 m.p.h. fastball and carried her squad all the way to Williamsport, becoming the first Black girl to ever play in the Little League World Series. She then became the first girl to ever win a game as a pitcher in LLWS history and the first girl to throw a shutout, additionally becoming the first Little Leaguer to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated as an active player.

Now 20, Davis is a student at Hampton University in Virginia, starring on the iconic HBCU’s softball team with the goal of a career in sports broadcasting. Just as she did in 2019, she’ll join ESPN2’s “KidsCast” feed of Sunday night’s Little League Classic between the Los Angeles Angels and Cleveland Indians, providing commentary and analysis from the Gen Z perspective.

Leading into Sunday’s game, Boardroom spoke with Davis about college life, women’s sports, and her aspirations for the future. The following is our conversation, lightly edited for clarity.

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SHLOMO SPRUNG: How did you develop this relationship with ESPN, and what most excites you about the KidsCast format?

MO’NE DAVIS: In 2019, ESPN first started KidsCast and reached out to asked if I wanted to do it. I am most excited about doing all the cool things they talked about, and I’m also excited to work with other kids and learn some things from them and just overall having a good time.

SS: What’s your college experience like at Hampton? Are you able to have a relatively normal experience? What are your favorite subjects?

MD: My college experience has been a weird one. I was on campus in 2019, then got sent home early 2020 because of COVID. For the short time I was on campus, I had a relatively normal experience.

Since then, I’ve been online since March 2020. Classes have been a little different, but my favorite class that I’ve had was probably my Current Issues In Sports class last semester.

Photo courtesy of ESPN

SS: What’s it like playing college softball at Hampton? Do some pitchers react or throw a little differently when you step up to the plate?

MD: I really like playing softball at Hampton. We had a great team and we’re really bonding with each other. I don’t think any pitchers throw differently. 

SS: Since you became a household name in 2014, what are the most important breakthroughs you’ve seen for women’s sports in society and culture?

MD: Everything Simone Biles has done, Serena Williams winning her 23rd Grand Slam, the USWNT equal pay fight, and seeing WNBA players fight for social justice and them getting the recognition they deserve. 

SS: How do you evaluate the role of Little League Baseball in society in 2021? What would need to help grow youth participation in baseball in America?

MD: Within the last few years, a lot of people have been engaged and watching Little League, which shows how much the sport has grown. I think if the sport is introduced in the inner cities, it’ll show more kids the sport and get them interested.

SS: There are a lot of athletes who look up to you, but who are the athletes who you continue to look up to yourself? Is there something they all have in common?

MD: I am a huge Christen Press fan, and I believe she puts out a great message and spreads a lot of positivity throughout her social media platforms. I have also been a fan of Skylar Diggins-Smith for a while now.

SS: What do you see yourself accomplishing over the next 5-10 years and what’s going to help you achieve your goals and dreams?

MD: Within the next five to 10 years, I see myself finishing school with maybe my master’s. But I also want to do broadcasting and possibly have my own television show where I interview athletes and do things outside of sports.

My ultimate goal is to own a women’s team, preferably basketball or soccer. I think Philly needs a women’s team.