By: Talia Bargil
With an alumni roster that features the likes of NBA superstars Shaquille O’Neal and Vince Carter, the NBPA’s Sportscaster U. is certainly producing top-rate talent – off the court.
A three-day interactive seminar geared toward NBA players interested in pursuing a post-playing career in broadcast journalism, Sportscaster U. offers its participants hands-on experience in broadcast basics, game coverage, interviewing techniques, studio performance and equipment technology.
Recently held at the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, the program, in its fourth year, included an array of NBA players, such as Earl Boykins, Matt Carroll, Vince Carter, Ryan Hollins, Andre Iguodala, Dahntay Jones and Shaun Livingston.
From mock in-studio interviews to live game play-by-play rehearsals, the guys had the unique experience to learn what it’s really like to get in front of the camera. And while they all concurred it was much more challenging than expected, they also agreed it was a tremendous and worthwhile opportunity.
“The benefits of this program are the doing and the participating. I got an in-depth look at what really goes on…we got to see every single aspect,” said Charlotte Bobcat Matt Carroll. “I want to be able to make a smooth transition after I’m done playing, so I’m glad I did it now. It was an unbelievable experience.”
Others are also preparing for a life after basketball and exploring their options.
“This was an opportunity to get a foot in the door. If I decide to pursue this after my playing career, I won’t be going into it blind,” said Milwaukee Buck Earl Boykins. “We were able to learn a lot in a short period of time…every drill was brand new! For any player interested in broadcasting, this is definitely something you should do. Sportscaster U. is where it’s at!”
For eight-time NBA All-Star Vince Carter, he appreciated the camaraderie he shared with fellow Sportscaster U. grads.
“It was great going through the program with the guys, you know, it’s comforting. We all felt the same coming in…how will I do on-camera…what if I mess up someone’s name? But we all helped each other,” he said. “I’m glad I signed up, and I left Sportscaster U. feeling like I was ready to take on the challenges of the broadcasting world.”
And for many of Sportscaster U’s alumni, Carter’s sentiments rang true. Former NBA players Pat Burke, Steven Hunter, Brevin Knight, Donyell Marshall, Malik Rose, Eric Snow, all program grads, are currently or have been employed in the field.
With a mission to provide NBA players with valuable programming to help them grow personally and professionally, the NBPA’s year round efforts are proving successful. And as a result of player interest, the NBPA will host an unprecedented second Sportscaster U. session in July.
Perhaps Shaq put it best when he said, “If you are interested in a career in broadcasting, do yourself a favor and go to Sportscaster U. I’m glad I did.”
Check out what other Sportscaster U grads had to say about their experience:
“The program helps you figure out your niche – radio, play-by-play, analysis. You realize what it really takes and if you have a future in this business… I learned a lot about myself and would definitely recommend Sportscaster U to a teammate. You can actually use what you’ve learned.”
— Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia 76ers
“I chose to participate because I thought it was a great opportunity to get in-depth experience with professionals. As players, we think we have experience from doing interviews, but this is totally different. This program gave me the opportunity to see if this is what I really want to do. Am I good at it? Am I willing to put in the work? Because it’s definitely work!”
—Shaun Livingston, Charlotte Bobcats
“One of the most beneficial aspects was getting on-camera time and working with professionals who teach you through it.”
—Ryan Hollins, Cleveland Cavaliers
“Sportscasting is something I’ve always had an interest in, and I wanted to use my time wisely this summer. This program was a way of learning and understanding a craft. We see what they do on TV and think we can do it, but it’s a lot different.”
—Dahntay Jones, Indiana Pacers