Average to Savage
Average to Savage

Episode · 1 year ago

LaChina Robinson | Average To Savage EP94

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This is the ninety-fourth episode of the Average to Savage podcast featuring basketball analyst LaChina Robinson. Paul Guarino talked with LaChina Robinson discussing her time at Wake Forest playing basketball, her broadcasting journey from local TV to ESPN, and why she started her nonprofit Rising Media Stars. Follow LaChina Robinson https://www.instagram.com/LaChinaRobinson Podcast interview with LaChina Robinson originally recorded April 3, 2020

This is the average this averagepodcast with Bal Garino everyone, an anyone, athletes, soex andmuch more so everybody, I'm back for anotherepisode of the average savage podcast or special guest todayis with China,Robinson Letrana how's it going going all right Paul. You know Wer indifficult time, challenging tons right now, but thankful to be healthy and my family'shealthy. So I know complain how about yourself. Yeah definitely feel you onthat. It's pretty weird but M. I'm doing good same families all right, sopretty good right now, where r you located t, I'm Atlanta. I've been herefor bow gosh, maybe seventeen years now pet one year afterI graduated from Wak forest in Greensborough. But after that I got ajob that Georgia pack and I've been in it when ever say: Neverlast Yeao, Yos,yeah, going back in time. How D you get involved playing basketball yeah, so Itot te Lok Tis little girl when it came to sport. I had two older sisters thatplayed basketball on an bon. My Dad's side, which I didn't spend as much timewith my older sister, actually did earn a college. cholership on his side ofthe family and then my older sister, my mom side, played in high school, butyou know I wanted to fit in. So I want to be a cheerleader like the rest of myfriends and then obviously, when we realized that fourteen years old that Iwas six for a little bit of a change of heart, but it really was a guy in myneighborhood named Michael J, continued to come to my house and beg my mom to.Let me play basketball, and one day he mentioned that I can earn a collegescholarship and that's really all it took for my mom to hear she was big,always have been big on education and she pretty much brought me off thepractice the next day and never came o pick me up. You know now you have found a face in the worldwhere you can flourish and get a free education, and I started to learn how to make friendsand found my voice. You got a LO confidence level as a fourteen year oldhave a teenager and Basketballis the first place. I reallyfelt like I was alotg I belong. I felt like that was the reason why I wasdifferent, because the sign gave me an advantage, but I would learn to justlove to compete and play the game, but that's how I got into it. Ah, you were six four, an fourteen. I was six foot four, an fourteen. Iactually grew three inches from my a ote fourteen. I was probably a freshmanto I I grew. I was six or six one in the eighth rade, so I probably grewlike three or four inches of one one summer, which was a lot yeah, it'scrazy e, and then what was your recruiting process like out of highschool? Well, because I had started playinglate and I was not very good when I started playing at Fortyear Sod T. Iwas grateful that man name Fred Priester, who had an a Ou programcalled the Virginia Bo, gave me a shot and joined his team and there hadn'tbeen anyone added to this team in many many years. But I'm sure the fact thatI was take for was kind of help me along a little bit, but I wasn't verygood to start and it took me while to Developp, but I did get started to getsome division. One offers my teammates were really good and had place sincethey were younger. So I played with a postplayer that went to regiva pack,and I mean they were rolling, but I ended up. My College decision came downto Waike Forh Clinfon Jam, U Anflor Aanm, so that was kind of the recruitedprocess. I willn three of those vuses and after every school I thought I wasgoing to that school. So I I let damn usin thinking I was going to go there.Then I left Clinton thinking, I'm going Ta go there. Then after we finished upat Wakt fors because of the size of a smaller school. I needed that one o oneattem mice attention. I had Coch wit, a...

...woman of color, which was something mymother really was excited about. Having me play under someone who was inleadership position who look like me just playing in the ACC, the academicopportunity, Waik forse ended up being the place for me ad. then. What wasyour overall experience like I wake Fort, it was definitely challenging. Ithink, going off to college, for any young person is tough, but definitelyfor me, n particular, because I was still finding my way on the basketballcourt Weit fors as a predominantly wite school. So I was a minority and youknow I had grown up in a very diverse high school situation being away fromhome in general, but the transition was so challenging for me that I reallyhomed in on academic an basketball. So I end up making the beam Flif myfreshman year, I wa all the on all freshman team. It went forward to myfreshal year, so a lot of good things came from the challenge of e transitionlike that, but I think it was definitely a different environment thanwhat I was used to Ani las challenge to just really find a different skill setand is manage to live on my own and woul that look like like during college. Did you know whatyou wanted to do after college, like Broadcasting Lise? I did not. I Wal Otiogy major almost by fore, andI say that because I came into college thinking, I wanted to be a lawyer, butthen I was Likei Gnto find out how muc reading O writing. I had to do was'finding up for that. I almost failed my inteo class of psychology after Iwanted to try that as a major. So I was figured that was probably not a bigmoode for me either and then I dust tarted to look into different majorsand what the course work was like. And when I looked up othiology I was goingto be taking classes like deafh and dying. Is Marriage in the familysocialequality and need for all things that I was interested in Hat resinatedwith me? I always love people and society and how l they interact, and soI really just followed what I was passionate about moment by moment andthat lended me in Ata sociology major and when I was done with college, Ihadn't even thought about broadcasting. I mean I didn't get into broadcasting.Soi was in my Lage Twety, so I actually spent the first seven years of mycareer in Athleti administration got an internship of the ACC or Ta Georda Techloved. It love what I did and then kind of went through it. A career pitet inmy La Twenty after going through a low point in my life, is finding kind of anew sense of purpose. So you know it was it's a big bad road. You try thingsyou like it, you don't you kind of move forward and you allow yourself tochange and shift as well. You know you grow with a person, and you know youwit. Your purpose today may not be your purpose an ten years from now, but youwake up and you do what means the most to you today and it kind of helps youfind your journey, and so when I was in Myla Twenty, I made the P pipot into broadcasting, andI've been doing that for th last eleven years, Yeah D, like how did you get intobroakcasting, like what was like your first jobs in broadcasting yeah, so Itarted off in radio at Georga Tech. I was working there on the administrativedide and one day they were like hey. Do you want to try a do the Radio Road Actand IM? Like sure, and the first thing I put a head bet on- I knew that thatwas something that I was going to be interested in doing Moro, because Ifelt so close to the game. You know I was one of those that always knew Ididn't want to coach and that's about as close to the game as you could be ifyou're not playing, but I just didn't know and probably didn't, have theconfidence in my filt tat to do much other than that when I transitioned outof college, so I gained experience on the administrativebid. That's what was good to me. Wi put...

...that headset on I was like. Oh, this iscool, so I started doing the radio for the team, because when we traveled, Iwould plan travel, but I didn't sit on the bench. I didn't have any gameresponsibilities. So did the radio love that and from there started to justbecome a little bit of bet about integrating myself into spaces. where Ifelt like I could meet people that would give me broadcastingopportunities or learning I mean I used to shadow every time there was a gameat Jordan Seck. I wanted to shoutow the analyst I want o Shoul Shat on the FIM.I reporter sit in the truck. It was really building and education in thespace where I had no experience from scratch. You know there really isn't abroadcast school. What I mean by that is when that light comes on. You needto know what you're going to say or you don't. You know you either can get itout of your mouth or you can't and you can sit in the classroom and learn aton of things, but not until you're on the field or have that bargophone inyour in your hand or they paying your on. Do you know if you could actuallydo it? So you know I did a lot of Shadowyn and things like that. An Ijust started, taking whatever job I could to get a microphone to my hand inmean that that's when broadcasting thing online wasn't hat popular, but ifI could find an opportunity to do a want o ane interview- or you know, Istarted at a very small reional network called CFF here in the south beast andit was like okay. If someone gets sick give me a call, because that was reallythe only way anybody was going to give you a chance and that's pretty much howit happened. You know I had no broadcast experience. I was a broadcastmajor, so people were saying: Oh Lt's, let's call her. She thought he goeswhat she doing you know. So it was more about just positioning myself so thatI's an opportunity came. I would be ready for it yeah. Were you also sending out likereals? Absolutely I mean at that point becauseI was doing radio. There wasn't a real real right, so I was sitting out B of my games. You know old school, soyeah I mean I was pitting out. PD Al be doing. Radio people would listen andChritique me and I would try to make changes, but it really takes yougetting that first television opportunity, like I said we got a verysmall regional network. Someone couldn't come. I was whatever number onthe list of people they called and once I started to get those on camera jobs.That's when I started to build a real, but I honestly did not have a real forawhile but didn't have enough work. I mean I was already doing substantialwork for ESPN by the time I got a whole real and the thing about wimitbasketball is that all along I had been establishing mybrand. Even when I was working with the was basbulking at Georgiatect. I wasmeeting people along the way who knew people who were in position for thissport, so that was important right. It wasn't like I was trying to go out andbe a hoppy and list like, and I knew the sport and I knew the coaches and Ihad been studying even before I decided to get into broadcastic. So you knowthat helped me as well that I had an established, respect and brand inpresence in this pace even before I would ever be able to have an actualreel and then two thousand and nine you got hired at ESPN. So how did that comeabout yeah? So I thank to a woman am Carol Fith. I wasATA conference for what was Wakua, which was the national atsopies ofColegat women, atlike administrators, which is now weighing leaders. So I wasthere at TA conference because I wasnat administration at that time, but I wasstarting to try to tranition into doing television and Carol. Who has been anEFPID. I mean she may be Igos shes at tha senior level as far as televisionprogramming at the senior executive level in in the organization she's beenthere a long time and she donated an...

...opportunity for a raffle. So they weredoing this and actually was an austion. They were doing an option and everyonewas bringing different things from their company and Carol was having themofftion off an opportunity for someone to visit EFP somethining in theaudience. I'm like, Oh boy. I hear that. That's one of the things that off me. Ikeep it by on making like no money Yno, as he number ki going up for thisoution, I'm like. Oh, there is no way I can afford that. Right put my hand up,I'm not doing anything. I'm just sitting there salibating wishing thatyou know that opportunity could bemirn well Tis so happens, vary matelroy. Whowas the singior women administrator at the time at trge, Seck Ro was workingone bad opportunity to go to the FPIS, and immediately after that was over, Irad overtur was like parol. I have to have this. No sorry, I could marry. Ihad to have this. I said you know, I can't afford it, but I can pay you withinstallment, so you know that at the time probablylike fifty bucks a month- and I was like I can- pay- you N A sulment, but Ihave to have this so I ended up taking that trip to Bristol meeting peoplethefp and including Carol, who introduced Im to a woman named PenitThorton. Not only was she in charge of talet over win e basketball, but shewas also a former way forest graduate, so it was working at it Firu, and I also just thinks thealignment of the stars. God knows where you're supposed to be of who you'resupposed to be awhere youre supposed to go. He opens the doors and that tripwas something that was definitely God opening up thedoors for me because ithad a line so perfectly yeah. It's awesome yeah, then going you've beenworking there, ten plus years now. What's your experience been likeworking for USPN, and I know you do stuff for what you did: SUFFFOR Atlantadream and Fox ports, south yeah, it's been great, I mean no one does more forwomen, basketball, er broadcasting, sandpoint, then EFP. So it's not evenclose. I mean we have the womens tournament. We have the WNBA even andplayoff and finals so to be working. If you want to work at the highest levelfor the sport that I love, that's where you want to be- and I couldn't sayenough about the opportunities that I've been given, I mean I wasn't allAmerican I was in an Olympian. I wasn't a champion. We need to make these teipsheartit when I was in college. So, for me to be sitting in some of the placesI've been sitting, whether it's the wd finals or at the regional Atalir on thecollege level, or you know whatever that is. IS IT IBOT my mind? I neverthought that I would get those opportunities, so I'm grateful to workin a company that is recognized my hard work, an has elevated, be and is giventhe sport that I love the attention that is deserved yeah. What about? Howdo you think women's basketball on like WNBA like? What do you think could helpit grow? Art Foremost, just more companiesinvesting in ponsorships. You know, I mean what is basketball, genteral needsmore exposure, they need more disability and it comes from investing.You know: Company investing an the marketing ofthe sport at various level, media entites, committing to more coverage ofthe port that aren't already giving the attention. So it definitely starts morethere with just big companies, Sayng Hey. We want to give to womens backcallONC WBA, whatever the Cape is Ta, I think it's also just it takes a shiftedattitude. You know there are still people out here that believe that womenshould be playing basketball and do oul think that we would be way beyond thatattitude as this point, but we're not so we need those people to get over it...

...and give the game a chance. Just watchit now ye, don't like it. Fine, you know, go about Yo business, you can saywhatever you want to Sayu lot of the critins are just people that have amopoginistic attitude in general about women and refuse again to sport a canand we just need more people to open their eyes and see that people.Women are the best athletes in the world and they're greated what they doand deserve all the support. Like any other sport yeah, I mean the thing thatI like the most recently is. I seen a lot of like NBA players, supportingwhich I think is going to help in the long run and IV seen like a couple ofplayers actually like where their jerseys to yeah, I mean it at least opens people'seyes, because there is a high level of respect for the NBA. Is Moreestablished, obviously, because it's been around a lot longer to the WBA,and so it definitely help an indinuay. You know it's a genuine respect,because Batkba and backball no matter o the level yeahyeah. Definitely and then I know you have a podcast toaround the room. How did that come about yeah? So it really came out of a desire to havefurther conversation around our. For you know, podcasting is, you know, ison the ride and it's a platform that people are using to pick their mind onvarious topics freely. You know you don't always have open space open time,open opportunity to talk about everything, whether it's oon televisionor I'm, not a great writer bils platforms Ar for everyone, so Iactually met with a woman named Lor Gin Tilly, who I another highranking exactat Espnn fat down with her in New York about five years ago and said Hey. Igot this idea and toter about a show podcast when Ibasketball was started it with Canea Grulaka, as have a producer, TericaPonte Braby, that it would be the entire time today. No longer does itwith us, but it started out tenaani having a conversation at NBATV andthink hey. We need something. You know cool and fresh and culturally Relevantefor ou sport in order to attract een, a younger audience so ose of the ideas,and we are about to have our FIFTHWNBAC cat, I believe, which is crazy, but Tisa fun platform, or we can tell the stories of women basketball and havecoaches and players on and talk about, hot topics and artof. The conversationabout big games that happened throughout the year, both in collegeand WBA Soit's, just a great pace to give the sport more love for the podcast, like what's yourprocess when, like you're interviewing someone like what Youre likeresearching them and like the questions you want to ask. Oh I mean I tito, let my naturalcuriosity takeover. So it's really just about. How can webest tell this story so that it resonates with whoever is listening inour audience? So we have coaches that livten in fans and Listin and formerplayers or curnt players a wristen to different groups. They all havedifferent interest at ther is levels, but we just basically try to bring allthe personality of our guest w they're an expert hobnestly be want to put thaton display, but we just want to find a way to connect with our audience way,thats that already happening for our sport and hopefully just bringing outsome of the personalities, but also going a little deeper in the level ofcovelege. I think I definitely something that is on our mind. Every time we interviewsomeone is finding out, you know what behind this win, what's behind assuccess of this program, how did you bet involved in basketball, there's somany different angles? You can look at it and I know you also have your owncompany rising media stars. How did you start that Amedia Stars is a nonprofit? Actually,we right now were about to achieve or our nonprofit status iffitially, but Istarted it as a training program for...

...young women of Color that want to getinto boadcasting. You know I had an amazing career and hope to do this formany years, but it was a tough transition in terms of Dus, finding andfiguring out what I needed to know and have to get to the space. So once I satdown and s okay, I love the where my career is now. The next desire was tohelp other people who maybe wanted to be where I was, and so my cofounderKevin Nickon and I had already been bringing young women the Games andhaving them shadow up. He does video production. This was more what I wasdoin analyst for the dream that Thi started, but you limi would comin andshadow me and get con sit in the chuck and they would, you know, get to sit onthe head sed an listen to how we're communicating with the producers. Youknow just basically giving them behind the things of how it all works, and wejust formulize the program honestly, so we basically have been doing this for along time. But now we have a formal program where our young women actuallyget experienced behind the camera in front of the camera. They get to do,stand up and learn how to ask questions and have a deeper understanding oftheir own personal brands. I mean we go into it at various levels, but the mostimportant part if they come out of the program with a real because they get tocover the united and Aban a dream and the Falcons in the Halk. We have greatpartnerships through our board of directors with those programs and Thossports teams that allow our young women to come in and actually cover it likethey would if they were hired, and so they give footage. I definitely do myfair share of critiquing them and giving them feedback, which is good. Weconnect them to mentors. We've had amazing women COM ING and be involvedin our program, using their resources to help and also guiding and answeringquestions. So it's a team effort, but you know there's a lack of coverage, fowomen sports, but there's also a lack of women covering sports and especiallywomen of color. So if I can impact that number that very closely resonante withmy procet yeah yeah, definitely I think that point right there that there hasto be more women's broadcasters covering women in sports for sure andthen yeah another one is what advice would you give to a young broadcaster to get your feet wet? You know get outthere in the field, even if Thi's, just practicing with your friend holdingyour camera and you doing a fake stand up outside of a stadium. You know practice get comfortable with how youlook on camera and what you found by. Can you even when you don't have anofficial job? You can always do a recap of a game that you saw. What would yousay about this game? What question would you ask Abon after this game,the're always ways to get practice and it makes t perfect. You can't wait. TilYou get in front of the camera for the first time to figure out. If you knowwhat you're doing or not, I used to practice on my phone all the time andjust play it back. How do I found at I mak fit what I talking to fast, I usingmy hands too much, so it's a process offiding your voice, an I I somethingthat you could start doing on your own for sure, You'e ready for some funquestions, Yeah Ley! Do It! What's your favorite song right now, my favorite pone right now the question: Let's Sae, my favorite Tong right nowis probably bavage rigt. I like that. Ifyou had to do a Jersey exchange with somebody who would you do it at tatspick one WNBA player, one NBA Pler Nda, definitely Patrick Ulin, WNBA TNEAKAcatching allrigh. You might have been the fastest person to answer thatquestion before...

I know I know my favorite doesn't takeme long and don't Chang. I I like that. What do you like to do inyour free time, free time I love to eat, so I love to try different restaurant.I always love getting my mail dones and that's something that was terapauticfor me. My NAA CO do and working out bhas become somethingthat's more important to me. I definitely need to do it moreconsistively, but I just love getting a sweat did and last one what's been likethe most memorable or your favorite game that you covered favorite gamethat covered by a o game, five of the WNBA finalpoint. Sixteen, when the LApart beat the Minnesota rink in the waning moments of a crazy game. Five,after just the most amazing theory, O I've ever covered in my career, it wasjust a a game. TAT goes down the history as for the greatest and maybethe best series the suport has ever had. That would definitely be my pick. I'mimpressed that you had those answers so fast. Usually people are like elllet methink yeahyeah. I can come up with Themlie,it's pretty consistent for me, so I don't have to think. You know thank thing today that it was fiveyears ago. You know as far as my favorite players and I don't changerery much. I don't vary very much yea like that. Well, I appreciate youcoming on and you have toe listeners know where they could follow you atyeah. I am on twitter at Lachina Robinsbon, I'm on Instagram at Lis toInpirus the number two and yeah. That's where you can reach me again appreciateit in Besela Ankal. I appreciate you having me on thanks of showcasthing,that you do and for elevating women athletes as well and women in Spornte,and they faith.

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