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Sage Steele Is Living Her Dream

Jason Barrett

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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

Sports TV News

FanDuel TV Strikes Deal With ONE Championship Martial Arts

“We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

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FanDuel TV and ONE Championship Martial Arts have struck a deal that will see the MMA, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and submission grappling series air weekly events on the newly launched channel.

“We’re eager to continue expanding the variety of content we’re offering at FanDuel TV to introduce our audience to emerging sports,” said FanDuel Chief Commercial Officer Mike Raffensperger. “We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

ONE Championship is a top-five global sports property for digital viewership and engagement according to Nielsen measurements.

“We are thrilled to join the FanDuel TV lineup and give our passionate U.S. audience yet another way to engage with ONE Championship,” said ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. “Having a quality partner in FanDuel will help raise the profile of our company in the region and provide their viewers with action-packed martial arts events like they have never seen before.”

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Sports TV News

Bob Costas Re-Lives First Announcing Assignment For NBC

“My biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979.”

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Legendary sports broadcaster Bob Costas appeared on KNBR’s Tolbert & Copes Thursday to discuss the death of Baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. But before the conversation turned to the recently departed pitcher, the show asked Costas about what he has announced that would surprise someone. He reminisced about his first time on the air for NBC.

“My very first assignment for NBC, my biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979,” Costas recounted. “There was a program on NBC then called Sports World. It was an anthology series that was their answer to the gold standard, ABC’s Wide World of Sports.

“So they traveled the globe, like Wide World of Sports did. So they sent me, wearing a red NBC jacket, to Tokyo to cover a sumo wrestling tournament with seven-time world power-lifting champion Larry Pacifico as my color man. Now, this is all the Japanese I learned as we came on the air: ‘Minasan kon’nichwa watashinoamaeha Bob Costas’, which means ‘Hello everyone, my name is Bob Costas’. If ever there was typecasting, when they sat and looked at their roster of announcers and went ‘Who should we send to the sumo wrestling? It’s gotta be Costas, who’s entire body weight would constitute one meal for the sumo wrestling champion.”

Costas departed NBC Sports in 2019 after 40 years with the network, announcing MLB, NBA, and the Olympics, in addition to his work with the network’s sumo wrestling coverage.

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Sports TV News

Matt Leinart, Alex Smith Make Wager Over Pac-12 Championship Game

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous. I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.”

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FOX Sports analyst Matt Leinart and ESPN analyst Alex Smith have made a friendly wager over the upcoming Pac-12 Championship Game.

USC, Leinart’s alma mater, is slated to play Utah, where Smith attended, in the game Friday evening on FOX from Las Vegas.

The two agreed to don the other player’s jersey. “At least it will be 11,” Smith said, noting he and Leinart both wore the number during their playing days.

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous,” Leinart said when presented with the offer. “I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.” Smith jokingly responded by calling USC “Free Agent University”. He added he would overnight Leinart a jersey to ensure he had one if the Utes were victorious.

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