Doris Burke, pioneer of women’s journalism in the NBA

You don’t have to wait until March 8 to honor the women who made the NBA. One of them, perhaps the most important, in any case, one of the pioneers of NBA women’s journalism, is called Doris Burke. A talented former basketball player, Doris puts all her knowledge and passion at the service of her profession. And the women who will come after her.

In the small world of the NBA, one voice is perhaps the most recognizable, the most recognizable. Doris Burke, 57, has been commentating and analyzing matches for radio and television since 1990. In 2003, he received the title “The best new face on television” – which can be translated as “The best hope”. USA Today. In 2018, he won the Curt Gowdy Award, given annually by the Basketball Hall of Fame to the most important basketball journalists. She is the first woman to achieve this honor. Doris Burke has made her mark on the League for over 20 years and I’m sorry for those who don’t like her (who are you?) but she’s not done becausethis year he signed a new contract with ESPN. That’s why we’ll find him on the mic for big regular season and Playoff games and on ESPN radio for the NBA Finals. And it has been for at least a few seasons. The agreement signed on March 8 proves that Doris Burke and women’s rights are essentially connected.

A long career that traces its roots far back in Doris Burke’s life. You have to love basketball to stay in business this long, and to say the least, the game is more than a passion for him. Even if he was born there a little by accident.

“When I was little, we moved from New York to New Jersey. There was a park near our house. I am seven years old, the last of eight siblings. My parents beg me to find something to watch. So I pick up the ball and never put it down. – Doris Burke via the Duncan Robinson Podcast

And that’s how a little girl from New Jersey becomes a super talented basketball player. Because before the microphone, it was the ball he was holding as he walked the floors. And he handled it pretty well. A standout at Manasquan High School, he was then courted by several universities and chose Providence College in Rhode Island. Doris Sable, as she is still called, cheered the Providence Friars for four years. And to describe his game, who better than himself to be sure of his strengths and aware of his weaknesses?

“Dribbling, I could go anywhere on the floor. My ball handling was excellent. I had no problem with having multiple defenders around me. I liked the two man game as I was able to find the right pass, the pressure didn’t bother me. But even if my life depended on it, I couldn’t shoot. – Doris Burke, via Duncan Robinson Podcast

Doris Burke made team history, despite not being better than shooting Ben Simmons, with whom she shares a huge confidence problem. It’s the first year that a team has dominated the Big East Conference in assists. He made the Big East first team twice. In her fourth and final season, she was named her university’s female athlete of the year and ranked first.ll-time number of assists. In 1999, twelve years later, Doris Burke was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Providence College. Come on, present, some small moments of his high school career, starting with a shot when he says he can’t do it. Note that this is not in 4K.

As you can see, a very successful sports career gives him legitimacy within the NBA today. Unfortunately, it was a surplus that women journalists needed then, and we dare to hope, even less so today. And if it’s less, it’s largely because of Doris Burke. One of the pioneers of the discipline, she was the first woman to… actually many things, let’s mention them. In 2000, he made his first appearance at a Knicks game, on radio and television. No woman had ever refereed a Big East men’s game before. In 2017, she became the first woman to land a full-season role on American television. At the end of 2020, Doris Burke is the first woman to commentate the NBA Finals. According to Kristen Ledlow, a journalist for TNT and NBA TV, it is not Doris Burke, but a list of firsts that more than one goal can gargle.

“One woman who always inspires me in this industry is Doris Burke. He is a pioneer. If she hadn’t opened all those doors, there would be very few women here today. […] He was not content to be first or to be alone. And that’s one of the things that makes him special: he turns to those who follow him so that we don’t feel like we’re walking beside him. – Kristen Ledlow

Doris Burke therefore not only integrates a strongly male-dominated environment, she tries to make it more mixed and more egalitarian by helping those who like to find their place in it. And this is despite this little impostor syndrome that many of these women talk about. So that goes for Doris Burke, but also for Malika Andrews or Cassidy Hubbart. The problem that they try to fix, or fail to fix, will hopefully go away with the arrival of other women in important roles in NBA media. A role model should be easier with a mentor like Doris Burke. Be that as it may, the pioneer woman happily awaits the arrival of the next generation of journalists.

“One day we won’t talk about it anymore. There are many talented women covering the NBA. I’m fascinated by the new generation and what they’ve achieved, starting with Candace Parker. I remember seeing him come to TNT and being in awe of the confidence he showed. Candace and many other women of her generation seem very well prepared and have really succeeded. I am very happy about it. – Doris Burke, via Sports Illustrated

Doris Burke is a pioneer who inspires and helps the next generation. There are many women in the audiovisual landscape of the NBA today, and it might not be the same without her. Plus…he’s got a crazy arm, so what’s not to like?

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