Marc Spears: Photo Courtesy of Maria Christie Photography
NABJ Member and NBA writer for Yahoo! Sports Marc Spears is the current feature for our Member Spotlight. Find out more about Marc and his career. Marc was also featured in this month's edition of "Mile High Sports", the article can be seen here on page 68.
NAME: Marc J. Spears
CITY: Oakland, Calif.
AFFILIATION: Bay Area Black Journalists
OCCUPATION: NBA writer for Yahoo! Sports
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN
IN NABJ? 1993
LEADERSHIP ROLES WITHIN
THE ORGANZIATION: Vice-President of Print
with Sports Task Force. Play key role in setting up NABJ Sports Task
Force’s annual scholarship party.
EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in print journalism from San Jose State
University. AA Degree from Foothill College (Calif.)
Landing the national NBA writer position at
Yahoo! Sports. Covering the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Covered the Boston Celtics
when they won a 2008 NBA championship. Covered big sports events as the NBA
Finals, NBA All-Star Game, the World Championships of Basketball, the NCAA
Tournament, Women’s Final Four and Rose Bowl. Wrote about Muhammad Ali when he
was named Athlete of the Century. Followed Mark McGwire as he broke the home
run record and the Denver Nuggets when they visited military bases in Europe
the year after 9-11. Traveled to China, Sweden, Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina,
Turkey, Mexico and Canada through work.
Tell us about yourself.
I co-produced a documentary called "Katrina Cop
in the Superdome” that has been in five film festivals and won best documentary
at the 2010 Big Easy Film Festival. Yahoo! Sports NBA writer from 2009-present;
The Boston Globe’s NBA and Boston Celtics writer from 2007-09; Denver Nuggets
and NBA writer for The Denver Post from 1999-2007; Had a weekly NBA radio show
in Denver called "Roundball Rap” with Hall of Famer Dan Issel and former NBA
player Popeye Jones (2005-07). General assignment sports writer for The Courier
Journal (Louisville, Ky.) from 1998-99. Anaheim Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers and
Cal State Northridge beat writer from 1997-98. University of Arkansas football
and basketball beat writer from 1995-97. Played college basketball at Foothill
College (1990-92) and University of District of Columbia (1992-93) before
suffering a career-ending knee injury as a redshirt at San Jose State
(1993-94). Wrote on school paper at each school. Graduated from San Jose Andrew
Hill High School in 1990 where I wrote on the school paper and a first-team
All-League and region All-Star in basketball as a senior. San Jose native.
Born in St. Louis.
What inspired you to
work in journalism/ media related profession?
I learned I wanted to be a sports writer in the
7th grade after a media relations person from the NBA’s Golden
State Warriors told me at a career day that in order to find a job you truly
love you must find a career where you combine what you love most in life with
what you do best in school. With sports and writing being my love, being a
sports writer was a natural fit for me. After being urged by a teacher, I wrote
a letter to San Jose Mercury News sports columnist Mark Purdy who wrote a
blueprint of what I needed to do to be a sportswriter from the 7th grade
on and I followed it verbatim. My late cousin, Vernell Hayes of San Diego, was
also a former sports journalist that brought me around sports and explained
them at a young age.
How has NABJ benefitted
I landed my first major internship in 1994 from
NABJ working for the Grand Rapids Press (Mich.) and also wrote on the
first-ever UNITY Paper that year, which opened a lot of doors. NABJ connections
have helped me make each step of my career. The NABJ Sports Task Force is like
a tight-knit fraternity to me that I can turn to at any time when needed for
advice and to put it all in perspective with real talk.
What advice do you have
for aspiring young journalists/ media related professionals?
Do not be afraid to move to a small town or city
you’re not excited about to promote your career … Work much harder than your
competition and always make that extra phone call. … Get to know everyone from
the CEO to the person sweeping the floors. … Sports writers can’t just be
writers now. You also have to be Internet savvy, be able to speak and be on
video, too. … Find at least two greats mentors and always call them before
making any big move. … You must give back and help bring someone else up, too.
It’s your duty. … With each passing year in the business you will need a
thicker skin. … Never miss a Sports Task Force Scholarship Party!
What are your thoughts
on the future of journalism?
I love reading my newspaper daily and subscribe
to the San Francisco Chronicle, but the future is now with the Internet which
is why I love working for Yahoo! Instead of being read thousands locally,
Yahoo! gives an opportunity to be read by millions globally. With the newspaper
industry starting to figure out how to adapt to the Internet, the booming love
for tablets and website after website being born daily, the future for
journalism is now bright.
The one tool you can't
live without as a journalist/ media related professional?
Tape recorder and Blackberry. Tape recorder
ensures you have accurate quotes. Blackberry is not only a phone, but also the
secretary you can’t afford to pay for.
Please tell us who in
journalism/your profession you admire and why?
Rob Parker, Garry Howard, Neal Scarbrough and
David Aldridge for being there like big brothers, giving me advice and
listening since I was a little boy in the business.
David Aldridge, Michael Wilbon, Jemele Hill,
Stuart Scott, Greg Moore and Stephen A. Smith for showing me that anything is
possible for us in journalism.