Robin Roberts: From The Heart
Part 2 of 3
Roberts will appear in Indianapolis on Friday, June 22, to share those insights and thoughts pertaining to her book, when she takes part in the Fever's Inspiring Women Night. Prior to her visit, she talked with FeverBasketball.com's Kara Albert, as part of a three-part Q&A detailing her career, her life as a former basketball player and sports broadcaster, her new life as co-host of ABC News' Good Morning America, and her thoughts on success.
Part I covered her transition from athlete to sportscaster to ABC News co-anchor, and the motivations for her book. Below is Part II of the three-part interview. Part III appears Monday, June 18.
Robin Roberts: “You know, Kara, I cannot express to you what a feeling that is. I was just at a little deli last night, grabbing a turkey sandwich, and this woman says to me, ‘You are such an inspiration.’ She went on for a few minutes talking about in the mornings, you know, what I do for her and how it just lifts her and I’m just speechless. And I think sometimes it is the presence of someone. We don’t understand or fully grasp how we can affect someone’s life. I humbly accept it. I know that my parents came from very humble beginnings and there were a lot of people that helped them get to where they are, and I’m just grateful that for some small way, for whatever reason, they see something in me that helps them. I think that is all you really could want to strive for.”
FB: Speaking of the woman that mentioned she watches you in the mornings on ABC, how was that transition from ESPN, where you now have to welcome people into the day, instead of getting all fired up and excited about sports when working for ESPN? The tone just has to be so different.
RR: “Totally different, I know! First of all in sports, we are nocturnal. Nothing starts happening until the evenings, so everything is just in the night and it’s a totally different tone. And here (ABC) I’m trying to ease people into their day, and first and foremost, inform them. Especially after 9/11, people wake up going ‘oh my goodness.’ So to be able to let them know what has happened overnight and to kind of ease them into their day, it’s totally different. Also, what has been different for me, is that I was used to high school guys, college guys and college grads knowing who I was. I would walk through the airport and hear the Sportscenter theme – duh-da-da, duh-da-da!
“And now I have these stay-at-home moms who now know who I am. It’s just really weird. It’s totally different for me, the people who recognize who I am as opposed to before in my sports days.”
FB: Who have been your 2-3 favorite interviews outside of sports?
RR: “Outside of sports? When I interviewed former president Bill Clinton down in South Africa, that was definitely one of them. I went on a trip with him for his work with AIDS and – wow! Talking with him, and in that environment, and to see people in such need and how he was using his post-presidency to bring attention to such a dire need. He is one of the most intelligent people I have ever met. The combination that I was with a former president and I was there in South Africa, that was just incredible. Gee, there’s been so many people that I’ve talked to. I know that he jumps out right away.
“Oprah Winfrey. I enjoyed talking to her. She is somebody that I have admired for a long time because of her willingness to help other people, for her Angel Network and creating the school. You just think about where she came from and where she is now. She is such a beacon of hope for so many people. So the first time I had a chance to sit down and talk with her I was in my glory. That was a real highlight for me. Just recently I did a thing with Tiger Woods. Even though I’m outside of sports now, it was right before the U.S. Open and I was out on the course and we were just hitting balls and we played a hole against each other.
“I still have such an appreciation for athletes. It’s different from when I first started. It’s more of a business than when I first came along, but still, the chance to anytime to spend some time with someone who is the best at what they do, you have to appreciate that.”
FB: Any other favorite interviews in sports?
RR: “Oh gosh, it goes on and on and on. Arthur Ashe, Billy Jean King. Jimmy Connors when he made his great run at the U.S. Open, in 1991 I think. He was like this old guy who made it to the semifinals and it was on CBS. He blew past all of them, and he sat down with me. I had just started at ESPN. Again, it’s sometimes not always just the person, it’s the timing of talking with that person. So that was really special.
“Once, I was shooting a commercial with Michael Jordan, when he was playing baseball. I remember we shared a trailer together. It was like some hot dog commercial, and I’m sitting in a trailer with Michael Jordan, reading the paper and kind of chilling, waiting for our shots and whatnot. I remember sneaking away and calling my brother on my cell phone whispering, [literally whispering excitedly] ‘I’m in a trailer with Michael Jordan!’ I was like, this is totally surreal! It was a lot of fun. Covering the Dream Team, the original Dream Team in 1992, was great.
“Being there for the inaugural broadcast of the WNBA was good. Fifty years from now, people will look back at the original games and stuff, and hearing us and seeing these pioneers and being a part of that was really special. It was really hard for me to leave because I was covering the women’s NCAA tournament and I was very proud of that, being a former basketball player. I have been to countless Fever games, as well. Kelly Krauskopf is someone who I keep in touch with and have known since the 90s. It’s funny how we say the 90s now and that was so long ago. Like the 1890s or something!”
FB: [laughing] The 90s were way long ago for me!
RR: “Just a youngin’! Alright!”