As a kid growing up in Jamaica, Mark W. Wright wasn’t always the first pick on the playground. On an island known for producing the fastest runners in the world, Mark found other ways to stand out, believing he could make any team better if he was on it.
During his senior year at Springbrook High School in Maryland, Mark convinced the school’s soccer coach to give him a chance to try out for the team — even though the deadline had passed and he hadn’t played organized soccer for four years. The coach called Mark’s bluff and, after an intense training session, Mark learned that he’d made the squad.
As a journalist, the Wolverhampton, England–born father of three has built on that “special skill,” finding ways to get his subjects to open up about topics that are often deeply personal. The Howard University grad knows how vital it is for a journalist to be both personable and trustworthy. “If you don’t give athletes their respect — and treat them like they’re more than stats and machines — not only will you fail, you won’t get anything from them, and you won’t last,” he says.
It’s a mantra to which Mark has held firm throughout a career that’s spanned two decades at various stops, including Scholastic Inc., ESPN and NBA.com.
As OZY’s senior editor for sports and race, Mark is poised to oversee two verticals that are personal to him, and integral to OZY’s editorial growth and reach. “It’s no coincidence that, in recent years, professional athletes around the globe have felt compelled to speak out against injustices that they see and feel around them,” says Mark, a founding editor at ESPN’s The Undefeated. “Race, in particular, is top of mind in every conversation — whether political or personal — and I’m happy to be a vehicle to help bring those stories to OZY’s global audience.”
We’re convinced Mark will do what he says. He’s made a life of it.