As part of this week’s SI Media Podcast, ESPN basketball analyst Doris Burke discussed becoming the first woman at the national level to be assigned a full season rotation of games as an NBA game analyst. Over the last couple of years Burke has worked selected NBA games as a color commentator but now gets cemented as a regular. Burke said she will keep her role as lead ESPN NBA sideline reporter for the NBA Conference Finals and NBA Finals.
“As a member of the distaff side this is exiting to me because I think the perception of what a woman can do, should do, how we are looked upon is absolutely changing,” said Burke. “And I will say this about the NBA: To me it has always been one of the most forward-thinking sports leagues and I mean that on two ways. … The league is pro-active about things that matter inside the lines and they should be because it is about integrity and perception. Then you have a commissioner (Adam Silver) who is at the forefront of social issues. Adam Silver marches in the Gay Pride parade in New York City.
To me, it goes beyond the NBA because the game of basketball has always been so inclusive. Going back as far as I do covering men’s college basketball, the objections to me being an analyst never came from inside the game. The players and coaches have always showed me the utmost respect and quite frankly my gender has never felt like an issue inside the game."
Burke said she doesn't have an official number of games yet she will do. “Over the last four or five years I have probably done 10 games a year as a regular season analyst," Burke said. “It will definitely be more than that and I will do some sideline reporting as well. For the most part, it will be all NBA for me this year and that is exciting. I love the league.”
Burke’s first game this season as an NBA analyst is a preseason game on Oct. 8 between the Kings and Lakers in Las Vegas.
One of the remarkable things upon the announcement, Burke received an overwhelming amount of praise on Twitter, which is not always kind to women in the sports media. “I was touched, and I was moved by that,” Burke said.
2:00: ESPN assigning Burke to a fulltime NBA game analyst.
4:00: The amount of games Burke will do this year.
6:00: The hirings of women such as Sarah Kustok, Stephanie Ready and Kara Lawson to work as analysts on NBA games.
10:00: The progressive nature of the NBA on political talk.
13:00: Who will be Burke’s partner?
14:30: What can we expect from Russell Westbrook, Paul George, and Carmelo Anthony in Oklahoma City?
16:30: How often do women in sports media reach out to Burke?
18:00: The social media reaction to the news.