Listen, I love watching Shaq and Candace Parker banter during Inside the NBA as much as the next person, but there's something about seeing an all-women broadcast crew that just hits differently. On March 24, TSN made history with the NBA's first-ever all-women broadcast team during the Toronto Raptors game versus the Denver Nuggets. There's no other way to say it, but, this is f*cking huge. As someone who from the age of 9 could be found stationed in front of the TV without a worry in the world when any NBA game was on, seeing this badass group of women lead the charge in a game that took place during Women's History Month means a lot.
With Amy Audibert and Kate Beirness as hosts, Kayla Grey as the sideline reporter, Meghan McPeak handling the play-by-play, and Kia Nurse as the analyst, history was made. Yep, women were featured in every single on-air role during the game, and it's about damn time. Before the game, Beirness and Audibert took time to recognise the gravity of the moment and just how much it meant to young girls all over the world watching.
"When we were diehard basketball fans as kids, we never saw this."
"I think I can speak for all of us and say that we are absolutely thrilled to be here," Beirness said. "And to all the young girls that are currently watching this broadcast, we welcome you especially, because I'm not calling us old, but we're a little bit old and when we were diehard basketball fans as kids, we never saw this. We never saw an all-female broadcast of women that are more than capable to do their jobs in all the roles. So, we welcome in everyone, but especially those young girls, and please, dream big. One day you could be sitting right here."
Seeing these powerhouses on television is important, but it's also important to recognise the obvious disparities with men's and women's sports, most recently with the alarming comparisons between the men's and women's weight rooms for the NCAA basketball tournaments. Like equal pay for the US women's national football team, which Megan Rapinoe has so prominently fought for, this recognition is long overdue.
While many prominent figures praised this moment in sports history, Raptors star Fred VanVleet said it best. "We need to keep empowering our women and lifting them up and supporting them," he said. "I think this is a great opportunity for all women involved, to shine a spotlight and show that we're with them. They should replace all the men with women, the world would be a better place. Especially in this organisation, we try to push forward in that regard and be leaders and be at the forefront of empowering our women and lifting them up." So yes, it's a big deal, and it's so important for women, whether they're 9 years old or 29 years old, to see themselves in these roles.