Illinois State alum and basketball player-turned-broadcaster Katy Winge is getting to live out her dream job.
On International Women's Day last week, Winge made her debut as a television analyst for the Denver Nuggets. It's a role few women have ever held in the NBA.
Winge said she never envisioned her sports broadasting career would rise so quickly.
“The quick answer is absolutely not,” Winge replied. “When I think about my time at ISU, I really didn’t decide I wanted to get into broadcast journalism until my sophomore or junior season. I was so focused on just being a player.”
Winge served as the in-arena reporter at the Pepsi Center last season for Nuggets games before Altitude Sports hired her to serve as host, radio color commentary and television analyst. She has filled each of those roles throughout the season.
Winge said at first, she didn’t see herself as a pioneer in sports broadcasting.
“The more I’ve had conversations with people like this, I have realized the platform that I have and the voice that I have,” Winge said. “It’s something that I now take a lot of responsibility with.”
Winge said she understands now she is serving as a role model for women and girls who might want a career in sports or sports broadcasting.
“For them to be able to see there are no limitations in what a woman can do in this league and in this industry, that is a big reason of why I do what I do.”
Winge said she doesn’t feel pressure to succeed as a woman in a field dominated by men, but she feels the responsibility to help lay the foundation for others.
She said negative feedback from fans is rare and is limited to social media.
“Even though I don’t (get it) nearly as bad as those who have truly paved the way for women in this industry, it still exists, it’s still out there and for me it’s just about having thick skin,” Winge said. “I always say, have a conversation with me for five minutes, talk about basketball and I think you’ll see that I know what I’m talking about.”
Winge, a native of Eden Prairie, Minn., was the Redbirds’ leading scorer in the 2014-15 season and she ranks among the top three-point shooters in the program’s history. Off the court, Winge twice made the Missouri Valley Conference Scholar Athlete team.
Winge was one of two former Redbirds with the Denver Nuggets this season. DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell played in seven games before he was waived in December. He's now playing in France.
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