On Thursday night, ESPN’s Doris Burke received one of sports media’s greatest awards, the Curt Gowdy Media Award. This is an annual award given by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for excellence in basketball reporting. Burke joins a short list of the greatest broadcasters and writers in basketball history including Dick Vitale, Jim Nantz and the late Craig Sager. Burke accepted the award in Springfield, Massachusetts where she gave a speech giving thanks to several NBA players and coaches, including Lebron James and Steve Kerr.
Burke was hired by ESPN in 1991 and over the past 27 years, she has covered the NBA, WNBA and women’s college basketball. She is a trailblazer for women in sports broadcasting in what has been historically a male-dominated field. Burke was the first woman to call a Big East men’s college basketball game on television and a New York Knicks game on both television and radio. In 2017, she also became the first woman in a national role as a regular NBA game analyst. Burke believes her successes were a large part due to the positive support she was receiving from her peers as well as the league throughout her journey.
“I guarantee you everybody in this building knows that under the leadership of David Stern and Adam Silver, the NBA is the single most inclusive, open-minded, progressive sports league in the country,” Burke said during her acceptance speech on Thursday. “And both men’s support of me speaks volumes.”
She has paved an avenue for female broadcasters through her barrier-breaking work and successes, from young girls around the world to her own colleagues.
“No one has done more for women in sports broadcasting,” WNBA analyst and reporter Rebecca Lobo said in a tribute video to Burke.
At the same time, she has been an inspiration to numerous male athletes, coaches and celebrities.
Not gonna lie… I’ve been around the game for a long time and been able to meet & talk to some AMAZING people… but i can honestly say last night was the first time I’ve EVER been star struck😱 meeting @heydb was a Dream Come True🤗🙇🏽♂️ #MamaIMadeIt
— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) July 13, 2018
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) November 17, 2016
Burke will be serving as an NBA analyst and sideline reporter again this year, as she continues to make an impact that is so much greater than just journalism.