How Doris Burke Became The Best Damn Basketball Broadcaster There Is

CLEVELAND—Doris Burke has never spoken a single word to Drake. And they never had dinner together, despite what the internet says. Before November of last year, when Drake famously wore a black shirt with Burke’s smiling face above the phrase “woman crush everyday” during a Toronto Raptors home game and used his ESPN interview to ask her out to dinner, the two of them had only one interaction—if you can call it that. Drake made a heart with his hands and pointed at Burke from the sideline at an Eastern Conference Finals game in 2016; she mouthed back the words “thank you” to him. That was it.

Then the shirt happened.

 Burke laughs about it now, calling it a sweet gesture, and admitting that Drake made her life a “hell of a lot” more interesting for a few days. The rest of us know better, though. Drake professing his love and admiration for Burke via a shirt on national television wasn’t just a random act or a simple gesture. It was about respect.

It’s impossible to follow basketball and not know Burke. She’s been an ESPN broadcaster since March of 1991, covered the WNBA since its inaugural season in 1997, and been a fixture on NBA sidelines since 2003. When Burke began covering NBA games, it was still shocking for some people just to see a woman on the sideline. She has effectively and steadily broken barrier after barrier throughout her entire career, now handling some of the biggest basketball games of the year and still schooling her fellow analysts on ESPN studio shows.

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