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‘It Has Been a Whirlwind’: Kate Scott Is Taking It All In As Sixers’ Play-By-Play Announcer

By Emilee White

Kate Scott has always been a baller. Like many kids growing up, the California native would play basketball in the streets, but she noticed there weren’t many women on TV that were talking about sports.

After watching some of the greats like Linda Cohn and Robin Roberts on SportsCenter, Scott knew by the time she headed off to college that she wanted to get into sports broadcasting with the goal of becoming a sideline reporter or studio anchor. It wasn’t until after college that Scott started thinking about calling games as a career path.

“It was either my junior or senior year at [University of California, Berkeley] when I first heard Beth Mowins and Pam Ward calling football for ESPN,” Scott says. “I still didn’t think it was something I could do. Thankfully, a guy who I’d worked with at Cal had a high school football package and asked if I wanted to call some games.”

While Scott was hesitant to take the job—she had not called any games before this moment—a former coworker told her the men who also interviewed for the position had no experience calling games either. With the playing field leveled, Scott accepted the job and her career only grew from there.

Among her many accomplishments, Scott became the first woman to call an NFL game on the radio, was the first woman to call a Golden State Warriors game, the first woman to call football for Pac-12 Networks, and was the play-by-play announcer for the first all-women NHL broadcast in the U.S. Scott also became the first woman to call Olympic men’s basketball as part of NBC Sports’ coverage of the 2020 Tokyo Games, covering both men’s and women’s hoops.

Just last month, the trailblazer was back at it again when the 76ers announced Scott as their newest full-time play-by-play announcer, making her the second woman with that title in the NBA, or any major men’s sports league for that matter. Scott’s news came days after the Bucks named Lisa Byington as the first full-time woman play-by-play announcer in the league.

“I still haven’t wrapped my head around it,” Scott says. “I don’t think I’ve taken a moment to process what it means to be here in Philadelphia or in the larger scheme of the sports broadcasting world. It has been a whirlwind since I arrived [in Philadelphia], so I’m just trying to learn a little bit more about the team and the city each day.”

Scott’s new gig is one for the books, but she believes she wouldn’t have achieved it without the skills she learned in sports or the people who encouraged her to keep pushing to break barriers. She hopes one day she can pay it forward and be the encouragement other women and girls need to do the same.

From on-air personalities on the field and in the booth, to those live-tweeting behind a screen or cutting b-roll for sports shows, Scott wants women to know that anything is possible. And sometimes the harder and more challenging the path, the more fulfilling the victory and the success. 

“You can do it and we need you here,” Scott says. “I’ll be ready to extend my hand once you get here.”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Kate Scott

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