Doris Burke makes history as the first female NBA Finals analyst

Basketball: Doris Burke become the first woman to serve as a game commentator on television for a championship final in one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States will be watching with pleasure Thursday night.

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Varun Sarwate
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Doris Burke (Source: Front Office Sports)

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Doris Burke has mentored several female analysts and commentators. However, one of the announcers who helped pave the way for Burke to eventually become the first woman to serve as a game commentator on television for a championship final in one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States will be watching with pleasure Thursday night.

Before announcing Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Dallas Mavericks and the Boston Celtics, Burke mentioned Robin Roberts as one of her main influences when she first started as an analyst calling women's college basketball.

Burke's respect for those who came before her, according to Roberts, co-host of ABC's "Good Morning America," is one of her finest attributes. As per AP News, “What I appreciate about Doris is that she is respectful and acknowledging those who came before her and who helped pave the way. She knows how her being there will make a difference, as I and others have made a difference, for her to be where she is,” Roberts said.

Burke's influence extends beyond basketbal

Burke, who joined ESPN in 1990, has covered the Finals since 2009. She was a sideline reporter for ABC's coverage from 2009 to 2019, before becoming an analyst on ESPN Radio for the last four finals. Burke understands that this year's task is different. Burke deserves this opportunity, according to Ann Meyers Drysdale, the first woman to work an NBA game for one of the broadcast networks, NBC in 1997.

Burke's influence extends beyond basketball. Jessica Mendoza stated that after witnessing Burke announce a game, she urged ESPN management to begin covering baseball. Mendoza started doing MLB games in 2015, was a part of "Sunday Night Baseball" from 2016 to 2019, and has covered the World Series on ESPN Radio since 2020.

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