The 2018-2019 NBA Season is in full swing which means the NBA world has played witness to star reporter, Ros Gold-Onwude effortlessly “manning” the sidelines in of-course her louboutin heels. Ros (who was first seen on television balling out in a pair of Nikes as a member of Stanford Women’s Basketball team) is now about to embark on her second season with Turner Sports in a year sure to be incredibly exciting. However as Ros moves forward, she took a moment to reflect back. It was at Stanford where she decided to take the first steps towards a career in broadcasting.
“ I had always been thinking about life after college. I had an internship with Nike, I was teaching a public speaking course, and getting experience as a production assistant. I was trying to find a way to chase broadcasting while still staying close to the game off the court. My mother was sick, and I had a lot of financial and personal issues, so I made a decision to pursue broadcasting. I was trying to build a career (a passion with practicality), but I also kept a full time job as well. Sometimes pursuing your dreams means you have to be creative and persistent.”
These past few years have seen Onwude rise to an elite level of Sports Broadcasting. With a rare ability to establish personal connections with her audience, Ros has developed her own core fan base. Yet in still, she remains humble, opening up about the early challenges of her career.
“A crossroads moment came two years out of school. I had left my full time job to pursue broadcasting full time, and was piecing enough odd jobs together to call it a very low salary. I was even coaching my landlords basketball team to get half off the rent. I was under a lot of pressure, my family was homeless, my mother and my sister were going through a lot, and I felt scared and embarrassed. I had both my Bachelors and Masters and felt I should be pursuing something more responsible. Then one day I hit up my guy (Kevin Danna) and we created a show called The Pink Room (which focused on women’s college basketball) and we pitched it to the PAC-12. They loved the show, but they said they couldn’t pay us. The next season though, the PAC-12 started their own network, and I was able to get my first T.V. Contract.”
The Pink Room was the blueprint, and the timing was perfect. Recalibrated, the grind didn’t stop as she continued to get more reps in the industry. In addition to her work with PAC-12, Ros also called games for the New York Liberty on MSG Networks and took on a role with The Golden State Warriors G-League affiliate (then known as the D-League) Santa Cruz Warriors, which saw her wearing many different hats. Her hard work certainly didn’t go unnoticed, and when NBC Bay Area was looking for their new sideline reporter as well as somebody to contribute to their various different programs, it was Ros who got the job. Again perfect timing.
“It was a blessing. Timing is important in everything whether it’s work, career, love, etc. With the Warriors I was there for their Championships, Three Straight NBA Finals, and I got to work with high caliber men who treated me with the utmost respect. Now I cover the whole NBA, and I am grateful for everything that I learned along the way because it prepared me for what I do now.”
Unbeknownst to everybody, The Warriors were about to enter an era of historical dominance we have never quite seen before. While their Dynasty is still going on (and will be for the foreseeable future), that 2014-2017 period will forever be memorable for the many different landmarks events that took place. Moments such as the two championships in three years, Curry’s incredible 2015-2016 MVP campaign, and breaking the Chicago Bulls coveted 72-10 record to name a few, are forever ingrained the minds of Dub-nation, and so is Ros. The Bay Area was emotional to see her go when she announced the move to Turner last summer and gave her a warm welcome when she returned to Oracle this past January. Above all, however, she never forgets to give back, taking time to open herself up to aspiring journalists all over the world.
“Mentorship and relationships, in general, are very important. Have a few trusted people that you can call. Doris Burke gave me a shot and allowed me to come out and shadow her for Games 6 and 7 Of The NBA Finals. She’s a mentor and one of the GOAT’s who was just inducted into the Hall Of Fame. I have found a sisterhood with a few of my fellow female sports broadcasters (Cari Champion, Jemele Hill, and LaChina Robinson to name a few), and I always call David Aldridge for advice and feedback. So I try to open myself up for mentorship whether it’s students in or out of college. I take phone calls, and try to be a support system by opening up my arms to them.
Also I wouldn’t let the money move you. Just love what you do, keep working hard, be persistent, and the money will follow at some point. I think a lot of young journalists go in thinking they should be Oprah or Rachel Nichols. It takes time, and you have to consistently be working and be a student of the game. You have to learn how to deal with adversity. Get feedback. I record and watch back every single thing, learn what I can from it, and then move on. I make sure to enjoy the moment as well. I once spoke with Craig Sager and I asked him if I could have some advice. He said make sure every single day you have fun and bring joy to your job. So I always try to do that.”