Doris Burke is the best NBA analyst on television today. In a sports media marketplace still dominated by men, which often relegates women to be sideline reporters with a particular look (young, pretty, blond), her recognition as the best in the game by her peers, NBA coaches and athletes, and media executives is an incredible achievement.
Burke, 52, has been a sports broadcaster for more than 25 years, beginning her career on the radio in 1992 when she called women’s basketball games at her alma mater, Providence College.
This career arc was recently detailed in an interview with journalist Andrea Kramer on an episode of HBO’s Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel. In this conversation, Burke, who is divorced and has two adult children, explained how broadcasting was initially a family compromise, giving up a budding coaching career while continuing to follow her passion for basketball.
“There’s not a working woman out there,” Burke said, “regardless of her profession, who doesn’t struggle with that work-life balance. There’s not one.”
Burke has risen from there to broadcast Big East men’s basketball, the WNBA, the New York Knicks and the NCAA Women’s Final Four. She was also added to ESPN’s NBA coverage, first as a sideline reporter and then this past autumn as a lead analyst. She’s even featured in one of the world’s most popular basketball video games, "NBA2K," and recognition from rapper Drake, who wore a Doris Burke sweatshirt while sitting courtside at a Toronto Raptors game.