How Doris Burke Is Making History as ESPN’s FIRST Female, Full-time NBA Analyst (USA)
You don’t have to watch a lot of basketball to know who Doris Burke is. There’s a chance you remember when, in fall 2016, rapper Drake made a very public (and reciprocated) admission of admiration for the longtime NBA broadcaster. But there’s an even better chance still that her ESPN presence since the early ’90s has found a way into your home on more than one occasion. In late September, the sports network promoted Burke from NBA sideline reporter, making her the first woman to become a full-time, national, game analyst. It was a watershed moment in an already momentous career.
Burke’s hard-earned milestone will go a long way to help break down barriers for other women looking to get into sports announcing, but Burke admits that, if she thinks too much about the significance of it all, she gets nervous.
“If I stepped onto the air thinking, ‘Oh gosh, you’re the first to do this, or right now, you’re the only one doing this,’ that would terrify me,” she says over the phone from her home in Rhode Island. “I try to compartmentalize things. I will tell you, still, 20-plus years into this profession, I’m nervous before every broadcast.”
It’s a philosophy that has guided the 51-year-old mother of two through her entire career: Put your head down and do the work. Recently, just as Burke returned home from a red-eye flight from a game in L.A., we had the chance to speak with about her career, the future being female, and, of course, the game she loves so much.
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