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Nick King grew up in south central Pennsylvania. More specifically, on the sports fields of south central Pennsylvania playing “whatever was in season.” The oldest of three brothers, he looked up to Michael Jordan, cheered for the Tar Heels and was allowed to watch TV only when there was a game on. And after he got to play TV sports anchor in a fifth grade class project, a career in sports journalism was pretty much a lock for King.
But it’s more than just the play-by-play that interests the KMPH Fox 26 sports reporter and weekend anchor. King’s bio on the station’s website begins with this quote by NFL Films founder Ed Sabol used to explain why he got into the business: “Tell me a fact and I’ll learn. Tell me a truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.”
King came to Fresno from his previous gig as a sports reporter and weekend anchor in Joplin, Mo. One of the best things about covering sports in the Central Valley, he says, is having access to many talented local athletes who have gone on to perform on the national stage. But it’s a 10-year-old girl who takes King’s top spot for the most memorable story he’s covered in the two years he’s been with KMPH. His 30-minute documentary on Heaven Vallejos, a blind cross-country runner from Clovis, earned King an Emmy nomination in 2014. And an open invitation to the Vallejos’ home whenever he wants to stop by for a visit, which he regularly does.
Ultimately, King’s dream job in sports journalism is one that would allow him to tell more long-form stories like Heaven’s, but also let him roam the sidelines of games soaking up the atmosphere. And as far as atmosphere is concerned, it doesn’t get much better than Friday night high school football in the Valley, which King says are some of his favorite games to cover. His excitement begins a few miles out, he says, when the stadium lights in small towns like Dinuba or Reedley come into view and he knows the whole town is there, ready for their team to take on that night’s opponent.
Here, King talks about his athletic childhood, why covering high school football practices makes him nostalgic, and which ’90s sitcom he likes to quote during his weekend sports reports.