Tue. Apr 20th, 2021

Doris Burke: Nothing Means More Than Inspiring Other Women

“I know there are women who preceded me who carved a more difficult path than I did. It was their professionalism and their competence that allowed me the opportunities I had.”

When you think about who the most notable women in the sports media industry are, it does not take long for someone to mention NBA analyst Doris Burke. Burke has had an impact on so many women in the industry and she was the latest guest on the latest episode of Mike Greenberg’s podcast, I’m Interested

Towards the end of the interview, Greenberg asked Burke about the impact she has had on other women in the industry and how others look up to her. She gave some powerful words and talked about how she is excited for what women are currently doing in the industry: 

“I am so excited by the women I see because I know they are just going to go to higher and higher ground. I will tell you the truth. I did not enter this business. It was sort of a happy accident for me. I love the game of basketball. It has shaped my life since I was 7 years old…So much of my self-worth was wrapped up in could I be an All-Big East player. I have been fortunate in terms of timing. I am operating at a point in history where coverage of women’s sports was growing exponentially. If it’s not for the WNBA, I don’t get in front of those executives at MSG. I am the beneficiary of incredible divine providence and unbelievable timing.

“If somehow I have made the path easier for the women who come behind me, nothing I professionally have done would mean more to me. I know there are women who preceded me who carved a more difficult path than I did. It was their professionalism and their competence that allowed me the opportunities I had.”

During the interview, Burke mentioned how one of her favorite memories in her broadcasting career was being on the broadcast for the UCONN women’s 66-64 loss to Mississippi State in the 2017 Women’s Final Four that ended the Huskies’ 111-game win streak. While describing that moment, she takes the listener inside what she was feeling at the time as well as her notable reaction to the moment: 

“We were in Dallas, Texas. The building was packed. It’s funny because they put a spy camera towards the announce team. Pat Lowry was the coordinating producer. She called me the next morning and asked if I mind if they release the tape? I said hell no. That’s incredible footage of a very real raw reaction and I said please send it out because you are giving the viewer a glimpse into our world.

“That is the play-by-play’s moment. We were working as a threesome for the first time. Kara Lawson just joined our telecast. I wanted to make sure Dave O’Brien called it and to put some context on it.”

For every broadcaster or media member, it takes that big break for them to get on the national stage. For Burke, that also applies as she was able to work her first playoff game and got an email from a basketball Hall-Of Famer and current ESPN analyst: 

“My first playoff game only happens because they had been telling Tom Tolbert to get a password and he could never logistically work it out. ESPN’s first game was on a Saturday at noon in Toronto and Tom could not go. That was my first playoff game. I remember this distinctly. After that, I got an email from Bill Walton. It was substantial, but it said congratulations, it was absolutely fantastic, and I hope you get to work more games as an analyst. That was a big break for me.” 

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