Doris Burke says she’s never actually met Drake, which actually makes his respect and admiration for the sportscaster all that more impressive. The ESPN broadcaster was featured in a Deadspin story about her career, which of course covered the infamous night Drake was interviewed in Toronto while the rapper wore a shirt with Burke’s face on it.
Burke notes that the only time the two have interacted in person was when he made his hands into a heart in front of her, but nothing came of it. Though she did respond to his dinner request on Twitter, nothing more has happened on that front. It did make for a very interesting few days for the reporter after Drake’s national television interview. Via Lindsey D’Arcangelo of Deadspin:
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.
The respect Burke garners in the sports world really is unquestioned. In the piece, Jeff Van Gundy called Burke “the LeBron James of sportscasters,” high praise for someone he’s known for decades.
“I’ve known Doris for over thirty-some years,” Van Gundy told me. “She’s the best, most-versatile analyst and commentator at ESPN. She does it all—great interviewer, commentator, studio analyst—everything. And she is an expert at it all—women’s and men’s college basketball, the NBA and the WNBA. She’s the LeBron James of sportscasters. There’s no better broadcaster out there right now.”
It’s a great profile of one of the best in the business. When you have Van Gundy and Drake’s approval, you know you’re doing something right.