Doris Burke after Game Four of the 2022 NBA Finals. Boston, MA – June 10, 2022 – TD Garden: Doris Burke after game four of the 2022 NBA Finals. (Photo by Allen Kee / ESPN Images)

Doris Burke will make history this season as the first woman on ESPN’s top NBA broadcast team and the first woman to call an NBA Finals on television. However, her promotion to the role came alongside the departure of two of her friends and advocates in the industry in Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson.

In an interview on Sports Media with Richard Deitsch this week, Burke described how an exchange with a Basketball Hall of Fame colleague helped her get her mind right. She also explained her reaction to their layoffs as well as how she is approaching replacing the two broadcasters.

While in Massachusetts to support ESPNers Marc Spears and Holly Rowe as they won the Curt Gowdy Award at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Burke received the news of Jackson and Van Gundy leaving ESPN.

“There are people who are happy and there are people who are disappointed,” Burke explained.  “And you’re colleagues with them.”

“And so while you in this particular instance happen to be one of the fortunate ones, you also are close to people who are not happy about what’s happened. So you have to come to terms with that.”

Burke was struggling to make peace with the opportunity the moves might open up for her while also being hurt by those laid off. It was Spears who gave Burke the consolation and motivation she needed.

“As Marc said to me, ‘This is the business. This is a business. And you’re tremendous at what you do. Go do it,'” Burke described. “I really appreciated that from Marc.”

Still, Burke is open about how positive a force Van Gundy in particular has been for her career. He went out of his way to vouch for her getting the top NBA sideline reporter job at ESPN.

And while she denied the chance to discuss their communication since she replaced him, Burke likely has Van Gundy’s support in this new chapter as well.

[Sports Media with Richard Deitsch]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.