The move is the just the latest step up for Burke in her rise through the ranks of ESPN.
After years of acclaim, veteran studio host Doris Burke has gotten the call from ESPN to become the network’s primary color commentator for national broadcasts for the upcoming 2017-2018 NBA season. Burke, who had served as a commentator and analyst on select games, will be replacing Doug Collins as the network’s regular go-to talent for its games, all of which are nationally televised. In the league’s later playoff rounds, which ESPN doesn’t cover, Burke will remain in her role as the lead sideline reporter for those games.
Burke’s the first woman to fill the role, and the consensus is that she’s the most qualified person for the job.
With this promotion, it’s clear that she’s earned ESPN’s buy-in as well. Tim Corrigan, a senior coordinating producer for ESPN, said of Burke in a statement:
“Simply put, Doris Burke is one of the best commentators in sports. She's incredibly accomplished, respected and admired, and for good reason. Her work-ethic and her passion for the NBA are second-to-none, she's a great colleague and she makes our coverage better. Doris has spent a lifetime in basketball, and now, she'll be able to share all of her knowledge, from the booth, with NBA fans on a regular basis.”
Burke’s response to the news underlined both her enthusiasm and gratitude for her new role. Speaking to Sports Illustrated, she remarked:
“I believe if the players and coaches respect my viewpoint of the game, then fans will as well. And full credit there goes to the NBA and to ESPN. They are willing to put people like me in a position to do this. It's pretty cool to have a greater role and the chance to continue to cover a sport that I love with the best players and coaches in the world.”
Burke’s pedigree as a player and broadcaster casts little doubt on her abilities to handle her new assignment. She played college ball for the Providence Friars, setting the school’s record in assists. She began her broadcasting career in 1990 and joined ESPN in 1997, serving as an analyst for the network’s WNBA coverage. More recently, she teamed up with ESPN’s other NBA talent on the studio show “NBA Countdown,” where she got props from colleagues and fans alike for showing she hasn’t lost a step when it comes to her on-court prowess.
She won’t be able to showcase her moves from the announcing table, but something tells me she’s willing to live with her new trade-off.