If you love sports, chances are Lisa Kerney plays a role in your life. Kerney joined ESPN in February 2014 as a studio anchor, appearing on various shows across several ESPN platforms, and is now co-host of the 11 a.m. ET edition of SportsCenter with Jay Crawford. A point guard at heart, she was named Female Athlete of the Year while running the point at Lynn University. That mentality helped her navigate her way through the world of media after college and brought her to where she is today. She sat down with Youth1 Media recently to talk about that journey and here is her Y1 on 1:
What have you learned from sports that have helped you most in life?
This is a great question! Sports introduce, establish and enforce core values that are essential to success for the rest of your life. I learned how to work with teammates, learned what true hard work feels like, built confidence, learned to appreciate winning through the emotion of defeat and learned that health and fitness are incredibly important for me to feel my best. My husband and I encourage our children to try any and all sports for these reasons and many more! Currently, our 2 year old wants to play squash!
Do you have any mentors who guided you along your journey as an athlete?
Both of my parents are athletes. My dad played basketball. My mom is a big runner and grew up swimming competitively. Their example of what it takes to be an athlete has guided me from the very beginning. I have always had crazy respect for their perspective and advice because of their background and the way they shared their passions with me and my siblings. They took me to all my practices, games, traveling tournaments, cheered me on every single day. I can’t thank them enough for being the most positive, inspiring influences in my athletic and professional career.
You were a standout guard and captain on the Lynn University women's basketball team. What are a few of the more memorable moments in your sports career, whether it be at Lynn or before?
One of my favorite moments was from a high school game back in 1999. 3…2…1…buzzer!! It played out like a scene from a movie. I was a senior…seconds ticking down in overtime…I drove the lane and with my defender pulling on my right arm, I hit the last second shot with my left to beat our rival, Blue Valley North! It was insane…a truly euphoric celebration for a game that meant nothing and everything at the same time! (I laugh at this being my favorite memory…makes me feel like Uncle Rico from Napoleon Dynamite!)
Specializing is such a hot topic in sports. Would you advise youth athletes to play multiple sports or focus on one?
Try everything that interests you! You won’t know what you like or are good at until you give everything a try. I feel that once you determine your passion then there is nothing wrong with dedicating yourself to leveraging that talent. Specializing certainly has its advantages which benefited me. I knew early on that soccer and basketball were my favorite sports so I wanted to play both year round. I played AAU basketball and Premier soccer throughout my youth through high school which certainly played into my excelling at a high level and ultimately helped facilitate my college scholarship.
What specific advice do you have for youth athletes? What pitfalls should they look out for and be aware of?
Be confident and use that swagger to be great. Work hard and know that all that effort has put you in a position to succeed so give yourself the opportunity to reach high levels by believing in YOU. You’ll never know how good you can be until you give everything you have!
Is there anything on your journey as an athlete that you would have changed or done differently?
I would not change a thing.
The talent in the game today is incredible. Who in your view are the players who will lead sports forward for the next 10 years?
Steph Curry, Jordan Spieth, Elena Della Donne. These are just a few young athletes who, in my mind, embody toughness and class which are super important traits for kids to look up to…
Favorite player/coach you had the chance to meet or interview?
LeBron James. It was his second year in the league when the Cavs were in Seattle to play the Supersonics. I went into the Cavs locker room during warmups and I’ll never forget LeBron sitting there eating chicken fingers and french fries minutes before tipoff. He then went and dropped about 30 points and it hit me that he really was such a young kid out there dominating in a man’s world. That was super early in his career and everyone knew then how special a talent he was and continues to be today.
Being on ESPN you're such a public presence. But outside of sports what are some of your other interests/passions?
My favorite job is mommy! I have four beautiful, amazing children that I get to hang out with every day. My babies and my husband are my world, my happiness and greatest supporters! I also love to bake and work out. I can frequently be found running through my neighborhood pushing a double stroller or whipping up some apricot, white chip oatmeal cookies!
Follow Lisa on Twitter @LisaKerneyESPN
* Photos courtesty of ESPN Images
* Additional photo courtesy of Lynn University Athletics
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