As Sage Steele sat on the ESPN set, ready to cover Game 3 of the NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, the sound was deafening.
The mania. The mayhem. The magic. It was all around her.
Yet for some reason, with only three minutes to go until Steele went live on international television, her mind turned to something other than basketball.
It flashed back three decades to a 12-year-old girl — a painfully shy 12-year-old girl — sitting at the dinner table, telling her family that someday she would be on ESPN.
“I just took a deep breath and said, ‘Smell the roses. Appreciate where you are,’ ” Steele recalls thinking before tipoff. “Why me? Why did it work for me? It could have a been a million other women and men.”
Why Steele? It’s an answer that’s easy to come by. Spend even a few minutes with the fast-talking, funny, humble ESPN anchor and her spirit is infectious.
While she was back in Indianapolis last week — to be the keynote speaker at Forest Manor Multi-Service Center’s Champions Awards Luncheon — The Star caught up with the Indiana University graduate turned sports broadcasting superstar.
Steele was raw, honest and, at times, completely off the cuff. She also was completely unpretentious.
As the host of NBA Countdown on ESPN Fridays and Sundays — and with 142,000 followers on Twitter — Steele has the limelight directly on her. But she says she has purposely chosen to not change who she is or forget where she came from.
“That’s how I was raised,” said Steele, a 42-year-old mother of three with husband Jonathan Bailey. “And if I did change and if my head did get big, I would have the longest line of people waiting to kick my ass.”
Growing up an Army brat
Childhood for Steele meant moving from city to city, state to state, country to country, wherever her father was stationed in the U.S. Army.
“By the time I was 11, I had lived in three other countries. My field trips would be the Acropolis in Greece, going to Paris with my Girl Scout troop.”
She had friends who were Belgian, French, Norwegian and Turkish.
“We were so worldly, but with that, we were sheltered. The military is so accepting racially and culturally. It didn’t matter that my mom was white and my dad was black. It was an easy, wonderful life.”
Achieving the dream
When 12-year-old Steele announced her ESPN dreams at the dinner table, it was a shock. Steele was so shy that her parents had actually consulted with doctors to make sure there wasn’t something wrong with their daughter. Steele wasn’t particularly athletic. She ran track in junior high and high school and she competed in equestrian. But she loved sports and she knew sports.
“It’s ironic how it all turned out. I can’t believe that little old me, who was too shy growing up, somehow I overcame it. Yes, by my own strength and hard work. But I’ve had a ton of people caring for me. I’m overwhelmed sometimes.”
To read the rest of the article visit the Indy Star where it was originally published
John Buccigross: Return Of NHL ‘Reenergized’ Me In ESPN Role
“I’m just grateful that I was able to get reenergized without leaving the company that I’ve worked for so long.”
John Buccigross is probably the most thankful out of anyone that the NHL returned to the ESPN airwaves this season.
Bucci has been at the network for 25 years and was a part of the coverage team the last time ESPN had NHL broadcast rights. He told Awful Announcing that the change after the 2003-04 season really helped change his focus at the network.
“It’s probably a good thing that it went away back in 2004, because I was able to focus on SportsCenter and kind of move up the ladder there, and maybe I never would have if hockey had stayed all these years,” he said. “Maybe that was good. And then I got involved with college hockey, I asked to do play-by-play a couple of years after we lost the NHL, so I’ve been doing college hockey for over 15 years with play-by-play, hoping we would get the NHL back and then I could do NHL play-by-play.”
Now the NHL is back, the Stanley Cup Final will air on ESPN and ABC, and John Buccigross will be a part of it in some fashion. He said having the chance to pick back up where he left off all those years ago gave him a second wind in his career.
“It’s been absolutely fantastic. It couldn’t have come at a better time for me in my career, being at ESPN over 25 years,” he said. “To kind of get reenergized, reinvigorated with your job after being in the same place for 25 years, that’s probably pretty rare. I’m just grateful that I was able to get reenergized without leaving the company that I’ve worked for so long. At this stage of my career, it was just perfect timing.”
ESPN and Turner Sports replaced NBC Sports as the U.S. broadcast rightsholders for the NHL this season.
Mark Sanchez Emerges As Potential #2 NFL Analyst At FOX
“It is believed that Joe Davis will be the play-by-play man to sit opposite either Brees or Sanchez in the booth.”
Football season is 104 days away and FOX is still sorting out its broadcast crews for the upcoming season.
Enter former New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez as one of the top candidates being considered for the number two booth at FOX this season.
Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reported that if Drew Brees doesn’t end up in the role, Sanchez is next in line. Greg Olsen and Kevin Burkhardt will comprise the top broadcast team for FOX this season.
It is believed that Joe Davis will be the play-by-play man to sit opposite either Brees or Sanchez in the booth. Marchand reported that Sanchez made a great impression on producers in auditions and tests.
Mark Sanchez began his broadcasting career three years ago. After two seasons of covering college football for ESPN, he made the move to FOX last year.
Tracy McGrady’s Basketball League Enters Media Partnership With Showtime
“The Showtime Basketball brand will create a behind-the-scenes documentary following the OBL’s 2022 tour.”
Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady launched his own basketball league this year. Ones Basketball League is a touring competition to find the best one-on-one basketball players in the country. Now fans can follow the action on Showtime.
The Showtime Basketball brand will create a behind-the-scenes documentary following the OBL’s 2022 tour. The all-access series will put new episodes on the Showtime YouTube channel.
“The production and creative team at Showtime Sports knows how to build and tell stories like no one else, and the detailed background and exciting drama we have already started to capture with OBL makes this content partnership a perfect fit for us,” McGrady said in a press release. “The team at Showtime shares our excitement for putting a spotlight on one-on-one basketball and all of the great action, rich stories, and hyper-competition that flows from the game.”
OBL competitions from now until the end of the season will be documented. Each tour stop features a 2-day, 32-player competition. Three of the league’s six competitions are complete.
Showtime will be there for stops in New York, Springfield, Virginia, and Los Angeles as well as the championship tournament in Las Vegas.
“We believe in Tracy’s vision and are thrilled to be working with the OBL on their inaugural season,” Brian Dailey, SVP of Sports Programming & Content for Showtime Networks Inc, added. “This collaboration embodies the Showtime Basketball brand — premium, bold and boundary-pushing. We are delighted to welcome Tracy and the OBL team to our unmatched lineup of content and talent.”