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.”
Stephen A Smith: ‘I Haven’t Been This Excited To Do First Take in Years’
“Anytime Smith and Irvin match up it creates headline haymakers and that contributed to the feel of First Take on day one.”
The new era of First Take just hit the two-week milestone, and the path to changing the show up was a big group effort. ESPN FrontRow detailed the changes and those behind them, including a prizefight feel on the Sept. 6 debut.
Michael Irvin is now debating Stephen A. Smith on Mondays, while Tim Tebow saddles up to the debate desk on Fridays with a rotating cast in between.
“I haven’t been this excited to do First Take in years,” Smith said in the story. “The future is limitless.”
Anytime Smith and Irvin match up it creates headline haymakers and that contributed to the feel of First Take on day one.
“My first Monday on First Take,” Irvin described. “The set was covered with white boxing ring ropes on all the walls throughout the studio. I thought it was beautifully designed and set the stage for what was about to transpire every Monday. ‘Put your dukes up!!!’”
The first shot of the new era featured just Qerim Rose on the debate desk — then the prizefighting debaters walked out to the arena.
“Senior coordinating producer Antoine Lewis wanted to swing big and come out with something memorable,” producer Michael Goldfarb said about the process. “I pitched him on the boxing intro open. Meg Drobniak directed the shoot from Bristol. Stephen A., Michael, and Molly all came in on their off day to film. Associate producer Kat Seelig then worked with remote editor Lauren Bernstein on Sunday night to turn it around in edit for Monday morning. It was an awesome team effort to create something memorable to kick off an important new era for the show.”
The talent and production crew went above and beyond to create the memorable open. A new beginning for a show that’s leaned on Smith for years and isn’t shying away from that strategy anytime soon.
“I’m incredibly excited about First Take’s future. Considering the exceptional lineup of experts who already contribute to our show, combined with an enthusiasm that emanates from the close relationships we all have with one another, you can expect lots of laughter and entertainment, along with astute analysis.”
PFTCommenter Makes It On Manningcast Again
“This week, PFT tweeted what seemed like a compliment to Eli Manning.”
Either PFTCommenter’s tweets really do get under Peyton Manning’s skin and someone in the ESPN control room knows it, or someone in the ESPN control room is a big fan of Pardon My Take.
For the second week in a row, ESPN2 put a tweet from Barstool’s PFTCommenter on the screen during the Manningcast of Monday Night Football. And, for the second week in a row, the older Manning brother complained about his spelling.
It started last week when the podcaster tweeted Peyton Manning needed a prescription helmet, because the one he was using on set clearly did not fit.
Peyton countered by pointing out that PFT does not know how to spell the word prescription.
This week, PFT tweeted what seemed like a compliment to Eli Manning.
“Oh this guy’s back,” Peyton said when the Tweet appeared on screen.
Eli joked that it was his burner account, but his older brother, likely still sore from the way PFTCommenter fired back at him on last week’s Pardon My Take, pointed out another spelling error.
“He spelled wonderful wrong again. He couldn’t spell prescription last week.”
Will PFTCommenter respond on this week’s Pardon My Take? If so, how? We will find that out on Monday.
In the moment, PFTCommenter seemed happy to have the recognition. He noted that he has now made more appearances on the Manningcast than he and Big Cat ever did on Barstool Van Talk, which ESPN2 cancelled after one week.
Mike Greenberg A Candidate To Host NBA Finals
“If the network chooses Greenberg, it may solidify him as the face of ESPN.”
ESPN is in need of a new host for its coverage of the NBA Finals. Last week, Outkick reported that Michael Eaves and Elle Duncan have emerged as candidates to be the new host of NBA Countdown. It sounds like that may not mean they would automatically host the league’s biggest games.
Andrew Marchand reports in his SportsClicker Newsletter that Mike Greenberg has emerged as a candidate to lead studio coverage of the NBA Finals. Duncan is a potential host as well. So is Cassidy Hubbarth.
If the network chooses Greenberg, it may solidify him as the face of ESPN. Sure, Stephen A. Smith makes more money and is at the center of a bigger show, but making Mike Greenberg the host of the NBA Finals in addition to the NFL Draft would make it clear that he is the one the network wants at the center of its most-watched events.
Jay Rigdon of Awful Announcing doesn’t believe that Greenberg will end up with the job. The optics aren’t great after the way Maria Taylor and Rachel Nichols left their roles at ESPN.
“After the PR disaster this past summer, with one Taylor leaving the network after it was revealed Nichols had accused ESPN of giving Taylor hosting duties because Taylor is Black and Nichols is not, handing that gig to a white dude would set ESPN up for a massive (and, to be honest, fairly justified) backlash,” he writes.
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