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Anatomy of a Broadcaster

Anatomy Of a Broadcaster: Jim Nantz

“Nantz keeps up his high-level play-by-play, despite being one of the busiest guys in network television.”

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Jim Nantz

“Hello friends.”

It’s a signature greeting from one of the top flight broadcasters in America, Jim Nantz. You’ve heard it coming from many different sports venues over the years, highlighting his versatility in sports broadcasting. Nantz’s opening phrase is more than just a throwaway line, it has deep meaning to him, which we’ll get into a little later in the column.  Nantz is one of the busiest, “number ones” in the industry. Leading CBS’ coverage basically every sport they have, with the exception of college football. Oh and he’s hosted the Olympics as well. 

Jim Nantz anticipating 'most demanding' stretch of his career

Nantz’s CBS career started on September 14, 1985 when the legendary Brent Musburger who was live (or looking live) at Michigan Stadium threw it back to the studio and introduced the baby faced 26-year-old Nantz who was live in the studio alongside Pat Haden. Nantz remembered: “My pulse was racing in high gear; I had never encountered such a flash of tongue-tying anxiety before — not even during Mr. Applegate’s public-speaking class back in high school.”, he told CBS publicists. 35 years later he’s still going strong. 

This is already shaping up to be an unusual year for Nantz. By now, he’d have already called the NCAA Championship Game and the Masters but the former was cancelled and the latter postponed. Will the Masters take precedent over the NFL? As Nantz told the Athletic, he knows already where he’ll be come November, “I don’t think there’s any doubt that I will be anywhere other than Augusta National,” Nantz said. “One of the great honors of my life is that I get reminded of The Masters virtually every day. That’s not an embellishment. So, do I think about the Masters from November 12-15? Oh, my goodness, yes.”


This is going to be a very difficult “field” to narrow down. Nantz leads CBS’ coverage of PGA Tour Golf, the NCAA’s Final Four and the NFL, including Super Bowls. It’s tough to narrow things down, but I’ll give it a shot here. 


Let’s start in the shadows of Butler Cabin at the famed Augusta National Golf Course. I can think of three separate moments that made Nantz a national sensation. Golf is a tough enough sport to call, because of the pacing, the energy, the silence and the exuberance. 

In 1986, Nantz was working his very first Masters at the age of 26. He was assigned the 16th hole at the famed course. Little did he know that 46-year old Jack Nicklaus would be on track to win the tournament for the 6th and final time. Nantz was a part of watching the “Golden Bear” shoot a 6-under par back nine which included a birdie in the young broadcaster’s view. This wasn’t the final hole, but the call showed the wit and ability for Nantz to capture a moment. When Nicklaus birdied, Nantz waited a second or two so the crowd could swell and then uttered, “The Bear…has come out of hibernation.”. He then laid out for a few seconds before the telecast cut to the next hole. While it wasn’t his greatest Master’s call ever, it showed viewers that were paying attention, that this guy gets what he’s doing. 

Eleven years later, Nantz would once again be witness to history. This time it wasn’t a 46-year old mainstay winning the tournament, but a 21-year old by the name of Tiger Woods. The first major championship in the career of Woods was a thing of beauty. He won it by 12 strokes and set a record for the lowest score. It was capped off by a putt to end it, with Nantz uttering the now famous, “There it is, a win for the ages.”, then 40 seconds of silence. Pictures telling the story. A young golfer in a red shirt, pumping both fists in the air, hugging his caddie and seeking out his parents. The beauty of television and the beauty of a broadcaster that understands that there are no words you can say that will match what people are seeing at home. 

Tiger Woods Wins 15th Major, Wins First Masters Since 2005

Nothing put that philosophy on display more than Nantz’s work covering yet another Tiger Woods win. This was more improbable than the first one he witnessed 22 years prior. Woods had battled injuries and off the course issues and was starting to put things together, culminating in a 2019 Masters Championship. Nantz was right on in his commentary leading up to the final clinching putt, comparing the two events as basically night and day. Leading up to last putt, “this is the minute that millions around the world have waited for, waited for years, many doubted we’d ever see it, but here it is,” said Nantz, then Woods completed the tap-in to win it all, with Nantz exclaiming , “The return to glory!”, then nothing for 2 minutes and 42 seconds. That is a lifetime of silence for any broadcaster. The temptation to jump in, resisted by the professional Nantz let the moment speak for itself. 


Nantz called his first Super Bowl in 2007, Super Bowl XLI with the Bears and Colts playing in the rain in Miami. This one was special not only because it was his first call of the big game in the booth, it started out in a historic way. Devin Hester became the first player in Super Bowl history to return the opening kick for a touchdown. “Gets past the first wave and here he goes, it’s Hester inside the 30, Hester’s going to take it all the way for a touchdown. No flags, 92 yards!” he described.

Not a bad way to start both of their Super Bowl careers huh?

The irony of it all, he was ready for it after talking to a broadcasting legend before the game. Nantz recalled, “Two things raced through my mind as Hester wove his way down the field. One of my broadcasting heroes, Jack Whitaker, had counseled me earlier in the week: ‘Just be prepared for the opening kickoff, Jimmy.’”, he remembered. Then another bit of irony, Nantz continued, “Then, I flashed back to the first NFL play I ever witnessed – my dad and I were standing in a smoky aisle in old Tulane Stadium in 1967, when John Gilliam ran back the opening kickoff of the first game in New Orleans Saints’ franchise history.  So, there was a sense of ‘perfect symmetry’ to my first Super Bowl play-by-play call.” Nantz recalled the story to CBS. 

With that broadcast Nantz joined Curt GowdyKevin Harlan and Dick Enberg as the only play-by-play announcers to ever call both a Super Bowl and an NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game. 

NCAA Tournament

He’s called so many memorable games in this tournament, but a few recent calls stuck out to me as I was compiling my list. 

The 2016 NCAA Championship game won by Villanova on a buzzer beater. Building the drama was Nantz, “Villanova trying to go the length of the court, with Arcidiacono. Three seconds at midcourt! Gives it to Jenkins! [Jenkins shoots, time expires] For the championship… YES!” Nantz continued, “OHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Villanova! Phenomenal! The national champions, with Jenkins hitting the winner at the buzzer!” It can be so tough with a three-man booth, but Nantz commanded the situation and made the call, nailing it just like Jenkins’ buzzer beater. 

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Just last year, in the 2019 NCAA Championship game, Virginia avenged a first round loss the year before to UMBC, the first 16 seed to beat a number one in history. The Cavaliers were dribbling out the clock and Nantz exclaimed, “And Virginia, with the all-time turnaround title!” Pretty simple and pretty darn to the point. 

There were so many more moments to choose from, I know I left a bunch out. 


The answer is variety. Nantz is like a chameleon with his ability to adapt to the many different sports he calls. His pacing, timing and energy are all based upon the moment and based upon what he’s calling. You can’t be energetic all the time in golf. You have to be energetic all the time in football and college hoops. Nantz knows when and how to use that energy, effectively and in the right spots. 

I enjoy most everything he calls, but to me the golf is where Nantz really shines. His voice is soothing and relaxed. It’s measured in its pacing, matching the pictures and emotions on screen. Some of his crowning moments as a broadcaster have come on the PGA Tour, having been around for the beginning of “Tiger Mania”, watching the tail end of the “Golden Bear” era. 

He’s got that perfect tone for the tower on 18. Nantz has the ability to paint a picture with his words, even though you can see those pictures on your television. That’s not easy to do. He sets scenes at the beginning of each day’s golf coverage and it almost sounds like a song. It’s on the melodious side and ear pleasing as well. 

It doesn’t matter who he’s working with, Grant Hill, Bill Rafferty, Tony Romo or Nick Faldo, it’s a seamless broadcast. Nantz has a way of bringing out the best in all of these guys, especially his newest partner Romo.

VIDEO: Jim Nantz Trolled Tony Romo On His Back Issues Live On Air

It’s no accident that Romo is a star on the rise, you need to look no further than to his side and Nantz. It’s an art form as a play-by-play announcer to make your analyst the star without even intending to do so. That’s what you’re seeing. It’s Nantz’s professionalism that is the underlying current. 

Nantz keeps up his high-level play-by-play, despite being one of the busiest guys in network television. His schedule is going to be even more crazy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Normally he’s pretty busy with a little down time, but not this year. How’s this for a workload?

2020 Masters — Nov. 12-15
NFL football — every Sunday through Jan. 24
Farmers Insurance Open — Jan. 28-31
Super Bowl — Feb. 7
PGA Tour golf — Feb. 14-21
NCAA Tournament — March – Early April
2021 Masters — April 5-11
PGA Tour golf — April 18-May 16
PGA Championship — May 20-23

As mentioned Nantz is known for a couple of signature lines, but one is unmistakable. “Hello friends,” the iconic greeting you get at the start of each and every broadcast he does. If you’ve ever wondered why, the story surrounding the origin is a touching one. 

Believe it or not, the tradition only began in 2002. At the time, Nantz’s father had Alzheimer’s and Jim wanted to do something under the radar to send his dad a special message during the PGA Championship.

Last year, Nantz explained the origin on “The Dan Patrick Show”, “My father was deep in the throes of his battle that he would lose in ’08 to Alzheimer’s, and he had faint recognition of his son. The last thing I said to him earlier in the week in Houston was, ‘I’m going to say a little cryptic message to you on the air this weekend, and it’s ‘Hello, friends.” Because my dad had nothing but friends in his life,” Nantz recalled. 

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While it began as a one-time thing, one of Nantz’s friends suggested that he repeat it during Sunday’s final round. He did and has continued the tradition since. “I love it because for that little moment I connect with my dad and I feel like I’m talking to him,” Nantz said. “It’s a calming effect every time I come on the air.”

Pretty cool tradition by any standard. 

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Anatomy of a Broadcaster

Anatomy of an Analyst: David Cone

“You can tell immediately how well-suited he is for a role in the booth. Not that it should come as a surprise. He was always thought of as one of the more cerebral players during his career.”

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He’s authored a book and a perfect game. Now, David Cone is continuing to write the story of his broadcasting career. 

He was blessed with a long baseball career. He pitched for five teams after making his Major League debut for Kansas City in 1986. Cone has extended his association with baseball in his role as an analyst for the New York Yankees on the YES Network and for ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. 

Cone was a World Series Champion 5 times in his career, won the 1994 AL Cy Young Award, struck out 19 hitters in a game, was an All-Star 5 different times and won 20 games twice. Quite a resume for one of the game’s most clutch postseason pitchers (8-3 in 21 playoff games). 

David Cone was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and was drafted in the third round of the 1981 MLB Draft by the hometown Royals. He wound up pitching for Kansas City twice in his career. But after debuting for the team, he was traded to the Mets before the 1987 season. In 1988 he went 20-3 with a 2.22 ERA and yet wound-up finishing third in the Cy Young balloting. 

He finished his career with a 194-126 record and with 2,688 strikeouts. 


Cone has flourished as a broadcaster with the Yankees, but it was almost a short-lived stint in the Bronx. 

When Cone retired from baseball in 2001, he became a color commentator on YES during the network’s inaugural season (2002). All was good until he attempted a comeback with the crosstown Mets in 2003. The move infuriated Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and Cone was told he would not be welcomed back. After his second retirement from baseball, Cone was offered a broadcasting position with the Mets, but declined. 

In 2008, Cone rejoined the YES Network as an analyst and host of Yankees on Deck. He left the network during the 2009–10 offseason in order to spend more time with his family. But a year later, Cone returned to the Yankees broadcast booth in Toronto, working as analyst for a Yankees-Blue Jays series along with Ken Singleton. He has been with the network ever since.

David Cone is currently the Yankees’ lead color commentator, alongside former teammate Paul O’Neill. The two are paired with Michael Kay as the Yankees’ regular broadcast team. His work with YES has earned him four New York Emmy Awards.

In 2022 he added to his busy schedule when it was announced he would be part of the Sunday Night Baseball broadcast team. David Cone works alongside Eduardo Perez, Karl Ravech and Buster Olney. 

In addition to all the broadcasting, Cone hosts a pitching podcast for Jomboy Media called Toeing the Slab with David Cone.


The first thing I notice about David Cone is just how smooth he is. Even experienced analysts are at a loss for words from time to time, but Cone’s thoughts are usually quite complete. It’s not like he’s a rookie, after all. 

You can tell immediately how well-suited he is for a role in the booth. Not that it should come as a surprise. He was always thought of as one of the more cerebral players during his career. When you listen to his analysis you are immediately struck by his vast knowledge of the game. Not only does he know the game, he can explain things in a way that makes them understandable to the average fan. 

For example. After the recent ejection of Mets’ pitcher Max Scherzer for using a foreign substance on his hand that made it ‘too sticky’. Cone, going along with the pitchers’ explanation that it was only rosin, washed off with alcohol, conducted an on-air experiment

During the Sunday Night Baseball broadcast, Cone put rosin from an MLB rosin bag on his fingers and said they got sticky just from that. After his fingers became discolored from the rosin, Cone, like Scherzer claimed he did, used alcohol to wash it off. Cone then showed how his thumb, index finger, and middle finger on his right hand were sticking together. 

“The alcohol sort of activates what’s left of the rosin,” Cone said. Finally, he went back to the rosin bag once more and grabbed a baseball, showing the ball hanging from his index and middle fingers due to the stickiness. ESPN Tweeted out the video and it’s amazing to see.

It may not have been his idea to perform the experiment, but Cone, nonetheless, made it work effectively. Based on his experience as a quality big league pitcher, it was more than credible. No tricks, no smoke, no mirrors, just facts for the viewer to plainly see. 

For a guy that pitched in the era before analytics took over the game, he’s pretty knowledgeable about the “inside” numbers. He seems at ease sharing the numbers, mainly as they relate to pitching. Spin rate, release point, and vertical and horizontal movement are a few that he regularly talks about. It almost seems as though he is jealous that he didn’t have access to these stats while he pitched. But he turns that jealousy into a feeling like he’s a little kid in a candy store, with eyes wide open. That’s a good thing. 

David Cone is a rare breed in the analyst world. His ability to combine the numbers with the vast experience he has as a former MLB pitcher keeps a good balance to his commentary. In other words, he’s not solely reliant on that information. Cone has the ability to reach back into his career and apply things he experienced to complement the analysis. Viewers love it when former players can tell a story from their time in baseball and make sense of it in the context of today’s game. 

He’s had to adjust on the fly, because of his national work with ESPN. In the YES booth, he can be more of a “hometown” analyst. He doesn’t go over the top, but he is known as a Yankees broadcaster. Because of that, Cone has had to change his commentary when working on Sunday nights, especially when he had to cover the Yankees/Red Sox game last April.

“I was really conscious of it there because I knew on the Red Sox side I had to be careful and make sure that I presented it in a fair way, a balanced way, or at least tried to,” Cone told The Athletic last year.

He’s done an admirable job. 


Cone pitched the sixteenth perfect game in baseball history in 1999. It happened to take place at Yankee Stadium on Yogi Berra Day at the ballpark. Throwing out the ceremonial first pitch that afternoon? None other than Don Larsen, the author of one of the most famous perfect games, in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series. The catcher, of course was Berra. Cone remembered a conversation he and Larsen had before that game. It centered on the famous picture of Larsen and Berra in an embrace after the perfecto. 

“Don came out, he threw out the first pitch and I said, ‘Are you going to go run and jump in his arms again?’ And he said, ‘Kid, you got it wrong. He jumped in my arms.’ I messed that one up,” Cone recalled to in 2019. “I thought I was pretty good at history. Apparently not.”

Cone remembered leaving the field after the perfect game. 

“I got out to the tunnel and there’s Don Larsen. I went up to him and hugged him like he was my father. Nothing needed to be said.”

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Anatomy of a Broadcaster

Anatomy of a Broadcaster – Boog Sciambi

“While Sciambi excels at every sport he does, I think his voice best lends itself to baseball.”

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In the sports broadcasting industry, if you say “I saw Boog today”, nobody looks at you funny. They know immediately who you are talking about. 

Jon “Boog” Sciambi is one of the more recognizable people in the world of play-by-play. He currently serves as the voice of the Chicago Cubs on the Marquee Sports Network. Sciambi is also the voice of Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN Radio. He’ll add World Series duties on ESPN Radio this fall. 

Sciambi grew up in Philadelphia as a huge Phillies fan. Strange that he got a job with the Cubs, because it was a Cubs/Phillies game in 1976 that he got his first exposure to the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field. When Sciambi was six years old, he was visiting his grandparents and got to watch the game on TV. 

The Cubs took a 12-1 lead after three innings. He wasn’t leaving and in fact predicted the Phillies would come back and win it. He was right, thanks to his favorite player Mike Schmidt hitting four home runs in the game for an 18-16 extra inning win. 

As is the case with some of us that get into baseball broadcasting, our first choice would be to play the sport. Sciambi went to Boston College with that intent, but that dream ended when he was cut from the team as a freshman. He started bar tending and dabbling in radio, with a weekly talk show with two of his good friends, who we’ll talk more about in a bit. 


On January 4, 2021, Marquee Sports Network named Sciambi as the play-by-play announcer for its Cubs telecasts. 

“When you look at the signature franchises in baseball, you’re talking about the Yankees, the Dodgers, the Red Sox, and the Cubs,” Sciambi said at the time in a Marquee Sports Network release. “Chicago has always been one of the special places to go broadcast the game. Baseball matters there.” It was quite a road in getting there. 

Sciambi got his first real taste of broadcasting at BC’s 1000-watt FM radio station. He would host a weekly talk show with fellow classmates, Joe Tessitore and Bob Wischusen, both of whom have their success stories in the industry.

In 1996, Sciambi, worked for the Boise Hawks, an Angels’ farm club in a short-season A league. One day, he decided to ask broadcaster Dave O’Brien to review his play-by-play. 

“A few days after I gave him the tape, he stares at me for a second, holds up the tape and says ‘When you gave me this tape, I thought it would stink. It didn’t.’” Sciambi told the Sports Broadcast Journal in 2019

Sciambi’s first break in Major League Baseball was getting into the play-by-play chair for the then Florida Marlins from 1997-2004. While in Miami, he hosted talk shows in the city on 790 The Ticket and WQAM. He left the former in 2008 to focus on his new main job, with the Atlanta Braves. 

Boog joined the Braves broadcast team on SportSouth and FSN South in 2007. He was paired with Joe Simpson. Late in the 2009 season Sciambi announced he was leaving the Braves to join ESPN’s Major League Baseball and college basketball coverage full-time. Sciambi is the network as the play-by-play voice for MLB on ESPN Radio, while continuing the same role for college basketball and MLB on ESPN, which he had done since 2005. 

At ESPN, Sciambi served as one of the play-by-play voices of Wednesday Night Baseball telecasts for the network beginning with the 2014 season. Sciambi had contributed to ESPN Radio’s World Series coverage as the on-site studio host since 2007 and provided post-game, on-field interviews for SportsCenter. Additionally, he had done play-by-play for both the College and Little League World Series and in 2020, served as a play-by-play commentator for ESPN’s KBO League coverage. It was announced last season, that Sciambi would take over the broadcasts of the World Series on ESPN Radio, starting with this year’s Fall Classic. 

Sciambi was also tabbed to replace Matt Vasgersian as the play-by-play voice of MLB: The Show video game series, starting with MLB The Show 22. He’s paired with Chris Singleton who used to be part of the Chicago White Sox’s broadcast. 

Sciambi said that he recorded over 200 hours of audio to get in all the player names, types of plays, and other sorts of commentary that might typically be in a game broadcast.


While Sciambi excels at every sport he does, I think his voice best lends itself to baseball. He’s smooth and polished, but not to the extreme that it sounds forced in any way. Sciambi’s style is all his own. That’s a compliment. 

There are many voices out there today that sound the same, like machines, very ‘announcer-y’. Fake effected voices are a dime a dozen, but ones like Sciambi’s are in a class of their own. He doesn’t try to sound like anyone else. In fact, I’ve had multiple conversations with him over the years and the way he talks off air is the way he talks on air. 

Sciambi has a booming voice that he controls very well. He’s very conversational in between the action, but rises to the occasion when the play warrants excitement, enthusiasm or disappointment. Then there’s his sense of humor. I love the fact that Sciambi isn’t afraid to poke a little fun at himself. Self-deprecation goes a long way with a viewer, especially if a mistake gets made. Everyone is human, so own it right?

I like how Sciambi is able to simplify some of the more complicated details of the new stats and numbers in the game of baseball. He is able to explain them in terms that even those who don’t follow closely can understand. For example, on a Tuesday night broadcast from Cincinnati, Boog was talking about the importance of Exit Velocity. He started by saying something to the effect of “I know this frustrates some people to hear about how hard a ball is hit. But, last year in the Major Leagues, if you hit the ball 95 miles an hour or above you hit .488, that’s why exit velocity matters.” His broadcast isn’t riddled with analytics, but there’s enough there to keep the interested parties happy without driving those that aren’t away. 

I’m a big fan of Sciambi’s work. I’ve known him for a while and he’s as good a person as he is a broadcaster. 


Sciambi is passionate about raising awareness for and supporting people who live with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or ALS. His friend, Tim Sheehy, died of ALS in 2007. Sciambi is on the board of directors of Project Main St., which works to improve the quality of life for those affected by the disease. The organization, which has raised over $1 million, hosts an annual Tim Sheehy Gala and Softball Classic support their mission.  

Remember that I told you, Sciambi’s favorite Phillies player growing up was Mike Schmidt? How about this? The night that the Cubs announced Sciambi had taken the job as their broadcaster, he got a call from an unfamiliar number, and low and behold, it was Schmidt himself. 

Sciambi’s nickname, “Boog,” was given to him owing to his physical resemblance to former major league player Boog Powell. 

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Anatomy of a Broadcaster

Anatomy of an Analyst: Doris Burke

“Doris Burke has an ease about her. A quiet confidence if you will.”

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Basketball and Doris Burke have been synonymous for many years. At the age of 7, she started to play the game that would eventually get her to the top of her profession. Along the way she’s recorded many firsts for women in this field which I’ll detail later. Burke has also become an inspiration to other women already in broadcasting and those thinking about a career in media. Pretty impressive. 

Burke was raised in Manasquan, New Jersey. She was the youngest of eight children, and started playing basketball in the second grade. She starred at Providence, where she was the team’s point guard all four of her years there and made an impact immediately. 

During her freshman year, Doris Burke led the Big East in assists. She was a second-team All-Big East player once and twice made the all-tourney team of the Big East Women’s basketball tournament. Burke held seven records upon graduation, including finishing her career as the school and conference’s all-time assists leader, a record that has since been broken. She served as an assistant coach for her alma mater for two years from 1988-90.

From there it was time to embark on a Hall of Fame career.


Burke began her broadcasting career in 1990 as an analyst for women’s games for Providence on radio. That same year, she began working in the same role on Big East Women’s games on television, and in 1996 she began working Big East men’s games. 

Doris Burke has been working for ESPN covering basketball in different roles since 1991. It has also allowed her to do other things along the way that were unchartered for women in the business. In 2000, Burke became the first woman to be a commentator for a New York Knicks game on radio and on television; she is also the first woman to be a commentator for a Big East men’s game, and the first woman to be the primary commentator on a men’s college basketball conference package.  In 2017, Burke became a regular NBA game analyst for ESPN, becoming the first woman at the national level to be assigned a full regular-season role. 

If that wasn’t enough, from 2009 to 2019 she served as the sideline reporter for the NBA Finals on ABC. I mentioned it was a Hall of Fame career and it was officially deemed as such in 2018. Burke was selected to enter the Basketball Hall of Fame as the Curt Gowdy Media Award winner.


“Doris Burke has an ease about her. A quiet confidence if you will.” Relying on her past experiences in the game as a player and coach, the information she brings her audience is relatable. Some analysts struggle to bring home a point in a way that a casual fan will understand. Burke has no trouble with this. Her ability to spell it out, concisely and conversationally sets her apart from most analysts, male or female. 

Burke attacks her job, knowing that some will question her authority when it comes to commentary on the NBA. She doesn’t mind steering into the skid.

“I am mindful of the fact that I have not played or coached in the NBA,” Burke said to last year. “It doesn’t mean that I can’t do a very competent job. I think I try to do that every single night, and I’m never afraid to ask questions.” 

It’s all about the information to Burke, and has nothing to do with the fact she’s a woman covering the NBA.

“If you enhance a viewer’s experience, it doesn’t matter what your gender is,” she said. “As long as you are competent and put in the work … you’re going to be accepted.”

Doris Burke learned the ropes so to speak from several women that came before her. In an piece from January of last year, she outlined how much she enjoyed watching former ESPN SportsCenter anchor Gayle Gardner. Early on in her career at ESPN, Burke got to work with Robin Roberts on WNBA and women’s college basketball broadcasts along with Ann Meyers Drysdale and Nancy Lieberman. Roberts was Burke’s inspiration as she started her career path. She admired the professionalism that each displayed. 

“Working alongside Robin Roberts … the one thing I would tell you is the most powerful means to change or impact somebody is by your actions,” Burke said. “She was the epitome of professionalism and competency and garnered the respect of the people around her because of the work habits she had. Watching Robin early on let me know that the basis for everything is the work you put into something.”

While Roberts may have been influential to Burke, Burke has been a beacon for other woman that are getting opportunities in broadcasting.  When asked about their role model, YES Network analyst Sarah Kustok, 76ers play-by-play broadcaster Kate Scott and former WNBA player and current Miami Heat studio analyst Ruth Riley Hunter all mentioned Burke by name.

“Burke is the best example for anyone — male or female,” Hunter told “I love the way she describes the game. She adds so much to every broadcast, and when I was playing in the WNBA I was always really inspired by her work.”

Burke is popular amongst her colleagues at ESPN/ABC, thanks to a tireless work ethic an ability to adapt to whichever sport she may be calling that day. Count Jeff Van Gundy among her biggest fans.

“She’s the best, most-versatile analyst and commentator at ESPN,” Van Gundy said of Doris Burke in 2017 via Deadspin. “She does it all—great interviewer, commentator, studio analyst—everything. And she is an expert at it all—women’s and men’s college basketball, the NBA and the WNBA. She’s the LeBron James of sportscasters. There’s no better broadcaster out there right now.”

Burke is equally a big fan of Van Gundy and the top broadcast crew for ESPN/ABC’s NBA coverage. That includes Mike Breen and Mark Jackson as well. 

“We are talking about three of the best to ever do it. Mark, Jeff and Mike have held down the NBA Finals for over a decade with commentary that is the best of the best. Hubie Brown is a living legend. All of those men have been nothing but gracious and supportive of me,” Burke told the Athletic. 

Doris Burke is considered one of the best NBA analysts around.  Her bosses at ESPN made sure to re-sign her to a multi-year deal and promised she will be involved in “high profile” NBA games in both the regular season and playoffs. Burke will also call finals games on ESPN Radio and appear on the NBA Sunday Showcase program on ABC.

Good for her and good for fans of the NBA on ESPN/ABC.


In 2010, she was featured as the new sideline reporter for 2K Sports ‘NBA 2K11’ video game. She has appeared in every version since, including the latest ‘NBA 2K23’.   

As a senior at Providence in 1987 she was the school’s Co-Female Athlete of the Year.  

Her basketball idols growing up were Kyle Macy, Kelly Tripucka and Tom Heinsohn.  

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