Natalie Williams on the court of Michelob Ultra Arena, where he is general manager of the Las Vegas Aces WNBA team. After an outstanding four-year college career at UCLA, Williams spent a decade playing professional basketball.

David Jay Becker for the Deseret News

The way Natalie Williams tells it, the idea came from Holly Rowe. The former BYU student and University of Utah alum had already been working with the Utah Jazz as a broadcast analyst — in addition to her sideline reporter duties for ESPN’s marquee college football crew — when she reached out to Williams with an opportunity. She was recruiting a team of women to become the first all-female broadcast unit in Jazz history. She’d also reached out to Krista Blunk, a Pac-12 Network and ESPN sports analyst who, like Rowe and Williams, is from Utah. But Williams differed from both Rowe and Blunk in a very important way: She’d never done any broadcast work before. 

That made little difference to Rowe, who figured Williams’ basketball bona fides made her a no-brainer regardless. She was, after all, a four-time WNBA All-Star and three-time all-WNBA first-team selection; an Olympic gold medalist and a Hall of Famer. Not to mention her deep Utah roots. She grew up in Taylorsville and graduated from Taylorsville High School, and she played for the WNBA franchise formerly known as the Utah Starzz. She lived in Utah until earlier this year, managing a program called the Natalie Williams Basketball Academy that, by Williams’ estimates, has helped nudge about 65 young women into college basketball. She once owned a sports bar in town, too, and was one of the torchbearers ahead of the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Games. Still, broadcasting? Williams knew plenty about basketball and about Utah, but she didn’t know a thing about television production. 

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Source:: Deseret News – Sports News


Las Vegas Aces: WNBA champion Natalie Williams on second acts

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