A new face to ESPN’s NBA draft coverage in 2015 is Shannon Spake, who will interview draftees. Jay Williams handled the job in 2014, but he is moving to the main set with the departure of Bill Simmons.
Spake has been around ESPN for quite some time, working as a reporter for NASCAR, college football and college basketball. Still, while she isn’t a stranger to those who watch those sports, many don’t realize just how accomplished–both in the professional and personal world–the 38-year-old really is.
1. She Grew up Around Sports
Growing up in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Spake and her father, an air pilot for Air Florida, shared a mutual bond through their love of sports.
“I always loved sports,” she said. “My dad use to take me to high football games in the area. Michael Irving used to play in that area as well as the Blades brothers played at my high school. I was an athlete myself. I was a competitive swimmer. So I was always very into sports.”
After graduating from Piper High School, she went to Florida Atlantic University, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in communications.
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2. She Began Working for ESPN in 2006
When she graduated from college, Spake dabbled in a little bit of everything. In a matter of about five years, she worked for Nickelodeon as an assistant coordinator, covered news for CBS, worked with Bryant Gumbel at HBO, did reporting and producing for the Charlotte Bobcats and joined the SPEED channel to cover NASCAR. During the latter, she reported from the pits and co-hosted “Backseat Drivers.”
In 2006, she joined ESPN, where she continues to wear multiple hats. In addition to her work with NASCAR, she does sideline reporting for college football and basketball games. She was re-signed in August of 2013.
“I have the dream job definitely,” she said. “I pinch myself when I go to work every weekend. I absolutely love working for ESPN.”
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3. She Runs Triathlons
Spake completed her first sprint triathlon (about a half-mile swim, 12-mile bike and three-mile run) a year ago, and she continues to consistently train and run more races.
Her most recent came earlier this month:
The next step for Spake, an international distance triathlon, is about a one-mile swim, 25-mile bike and six-mile run.
4. She and Her Husband Have Twin Boys
Spake was married to Jerry McSorley in Ireland on April 14, 2008. A little less than two years later, in January of 2010, she gave birth to a set of twin boys, Brady and Liam.
As if being an accomplished reporter and running triathlons wasn’t enough, Spake also manages to find time to be a loving mother to a couple of five-year-old boys. Her Twitter account is full of pictures of her with her sons.
“I pick up toys and talk about sports for a living!” she wrote. “I am blessed!”
5. She Sometimes Mixes up Football and Basketball
In January, Spake made some headlines when she was interviewing Alabama basketball coach Anthony Grant and asked him about “holding onto the football.” It was a funny moment that probably earned Spake a little bit of unwanted attention, but considering her incredibly busy schedule, that one brain fart is acceptable.