By Melva N. Lloyd
For years, the sports world has been a pirmarily male-dominated arena – both on and off the court or field. Sure, the WNBA has gained popularity and reconigition since the first game tipped off in 1997 and Venus and Serena have brought a new meaning to the term tennis racket, but outside of female athletes, sports announcers/broadcasters/reporters all seem to sound the same.
Most sports fanatics can pick Marv Albert or Mike Breen’s voice out of a crowd of thousands and even they sound similar. But for those of us (women) who like to watch football or basketball as much as the next guy, it has been harder to relate to a television personality who shares the same interest in sports.
For me, I’ve always admired Tina Cervasio, Heather Cox and even Cheryl Miller, and if you aren’t familiar with those names, you might want to utilize Google. But over the past ten years, a seemingly “new” face emerged in the sports reporting world; Lisa Salters.
A Penn State alum with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism, Alisia Salters was born and raised in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. During her time as a college student, she played guard for the Penn State Lady Lions from 1986-87, where she holds the distinction as being the shortest player in the schools history – standing tall at 5’2″.
Flash forward to 2000 and Salters finds herself as a member of the ESPN team where she started as a general assingment reporter and has worked her way up the professional totem pole, serving as a sideline reporter for Saturday Night Football and lead sideline reporter for the NBA on ABC.
But her accomplishments don’t stop there, Salters is a featured correspondant on ESPN’s E:60 and she was even nominated for a Sports Emmy Award for Ray of Hope – a story about Jason Ray, an organ donor and UNC’s mascot who died during the NCAA Tournament after he was hit by a car before a game.
The forty-four year old hasn’t always reported solely on sports-related events. While she has covered the murder trials of both O.J. Simpson and Rae Carruth, Salters was an LA-based correspondant for ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings, reporting on the Oklahoma City Bombing and the crash of TWA Flight 800.
As an aspiring sideline reporter, it always encourages me to see women, especially women of color, thriving in such a competitive field. From Lisa Salters to Sage Steele, they took their passion for sports to the next level and bring a smile to work everyday while doing so.
Be sure to check out Lisa Salters during this years’ NBA Playoffs on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and TNT.