Mature. Relaxed. Focused. Consistent.
These are the qualities that Rosalyn Gold-Onwude, former Stanford basketball player and broadcaster, says she now possesses that allow her to shoot the ball better than when she was in college.
This can also describe her approach to her new job as the Golden State Warriors’ sideline reporter for Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area.
Ros took over as the Warriors’ sideline reporter prior to the 2014-15 NBA season. Ros brings her experience as a player, a high basketball IQ, and her love for the game to the Warriors’ already stellar broadcast team of Bob Fitzgerald and fan favorite Jim Barnett. Ros might be the rookie on this broadcast team and this might be her first NBA gig, but she is never afraid of a new challenge.
Transition is a familiar word to basketball players. For Ros, she’s familiar with transitions on and off the court.
Her first transition: Queens, New York to Palo Alto, CaliforniaPhoto Courtesy Rosalyn Gold-Onwude
After being a standout combo guard in high school, Ros had to “buy in and take on a role” at Stanford, as she played alongside elite players such as Jayne Appel and Nneka Ogwumike. She found her way into the starting lineup by playing defense and draining threes.
“At Stanford, I learned how to push myself outside my comfort zone, which was really hard and to do that consistently every day, I don’t think I learned how to do that until about my junior year,” Ros explained. “It’s easy to be good two days a week or three days a week, but all six days we had a practice. Maybe you had a bad day. Maybe you’re tired. There’s a mental toughness you have to develop.”
Mental toughness is a requirement when playing under coaching legend, Tara VanDerveer. Despite reports of a rocky relationship between Ros and VanDerveer, Ros declared that she has a deep respect for VanDerveer.
“I haven’t faced anything harder in the real world than what I faced in college basketball,” Ros revealed. “I learned so much about myself then and how to handle adversity that now anytime I have anything, I’ve already got a strategy and an approach to handle it that I learned from being with Tara.”
Ros knew VanDerveer prior to her Stanford days, as VanDerveer and Ros’ mother were college roommates for a year at University at Albany-SUNY. Ros and VanDerveer still have a very close relationship today, and Ros claims that VanDerveer continues to have a big impact on her life.
“After graduating college, I thought my time having to watch video with Tara was over. And it was not,” Ros recalled. “She calls me into the office, sits me down in the video room, and puts on one of my first broadcasts. She watches the whole thing with me. We watch part of it, then she stops it, and she said, ‘Nice point. I like what you’re saying there. How can you say it with less words?’ And she continued to break the whole thing down…so you’re still being coached even after you’ve graduated.”
Second transition: Player to broadcasterPhoto Courtesy Rosalyn Gold-Onwude
Ros claims that she was the type of kid that was always planning for life after college. After doing internships with Nike, working for the Stanford radio station, and teaching a public speaking course at Stanford during college, Ros had several opportunities upon graduation from Stanford with a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and a Master’s degree in Sociology of Organizations, Business, and the Economy.
She had built up a résumé that could’ve landed her a job in the sports business field, she had opportunities to play basketball professionally overseas, and she could’ve competed for a middle-to-end of the bench roster spot in the WNBA.
Playing in three Final Fours at Stanford was certainly great basketball experience, but it also presented her with a career opportunity too. Ros met Doris Burke, the renowned basketball reporter who was covering the Final Four at the time, and was able to shadow Burke a few times.
She also met former Warriors’ sideline reporter Ric Bucher and shadowed him as well. She learned from both of these experienced reporters about how to build rapport with players, how to prepare notes as a sideline reporter versus as an analyst, how to handle yourself in a locker room, and how to ask the right questions.
This valuable experience led her to an audition, and eventually, an opportunity to broadcast some women’s college basketball games through ESPN. This wasn’t a full-time position though, so she also got a job at Tesla. After working 12 games for ESPN in her first year of broadcasting, she knew that she wanted to build a career in broadcasting.
In her second year of broadcasting, she wrote for the Stanford Bootleg, she did digital content for the Stanford football team, she continued to broadcast for ESPN, and she did a digital content show for the San Francisco 49ers. After working many jobs and still not making a lot of money after her second year, Ros was at a crossroads.Photo Courtesy Rosalyn Gold-Onwude
“You do a lot of work for free, and it’s a hard business to get into,” Ros stated. “So I remember in the moment of frustration, I thought, ‘I don’t know why ESPN won’t hire me for more games. Why don’t they see something in me?’ Again, basketball teaches to re-approach it.”
She channeled that mental toughness and drive that she built up at Stanford, and she created a women’s basketball show called “The Pink Room” with her friend Kevin Danna. After countless sleepless nights and plenty of hard work, the show was picked up by the Pac-12 Network.
In her third year of broadcasting, she continued to work for the Pac-12 Network, and she picked up a broadcasting gig with the Warriors’ D-League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors.
One person within the Warriors organization who can relate to the transition that Ros has made from player to broadcaster is Warriors head coach, Steve Kerr.
Ros admires Kerr’s style of coaching, and she describes him as open, friendly, smart, and encouraging. He’s competitive but still brings a quiet intensity.
Ros is bringing a similar approach to Kerr’s in her broadcasts: mature, relaxed, focused, and consistent.
Third transition: College/D-League basketball to NBA basketballPhoto Courtesy Rosalyn Gold-Onwude
Ros faces her latest challenge of covering NBA basketball with the same approach.
“I think I’m fortunate to get a good group of guys, but I also think my approach with people and the way I try to broadcast, I’m just me,” Ros mentioned. “When I come onto the screen, I want to talk to you like I’m talking to my friends about basketball. When I come to speak to a coach or the players, I’m just a girl who enjoys basketball who’s here to talks hoops with you. And it’s nothing more, nothing less.
“I don’t take myself very seriously. I want to do the best job. I respect the players having been a player. Whether I’m doing a sideline report or doing analysis for college ball, one of the things I take personally is I want to put these people in the best light possible. What I enjoy about this job is storytelling, and I’ve seen it done well and I’ve seen it done not fair sometimes. That’s our job. Be the middleman for their stories.”
When facing a new challenge, it’s best to have a supportive, strong team behind you, and that’s exactly what Ros has. Her transition from college basketball to NBA basketball has been made smoother with the help of veteran broadcasters such as Fitzgerald and Barnett.
She explains that this dynamic duo, also known as Fitz and JB to Warriors fans, have welcomed her and supported her immensely, and she’s starting to feel more chemistry with her broadcast team.
“It’s a team. There’s a synergy throughout the broadcast where it’s a consistent and fluid conversation where we’re working together to get the best information out to the fans,” Ros claimed.Photo Courtesy Rosalyn Gold-Onwude
In addition to becoming more comfortable with Fitz and JB, she also has become more comfortable with her new role as sideline reporter with each game.
“It’s like taking a jumper. The more reps you get, the better you get,” Ros added. “I’m really happy and thankful. Thankful, is the word, to be with this team and to have the chance to develop and cover this team and be a part of this whole program. I’ve been very fortunate.”
She also is extremely thankful for Warriors fans, who have supported her from the start. She gained over 700 followers on Twitter in one day when CSNBA announced that she was the Warriors’ new sideline reporter.
Ever since then, she continues to receive kind comments and words of encouragement from Dub Nation. She even said that the fans’ comments have been very “lifting and helpful.”
Fourth transition: Meeting the team
New faces. New places. A new challenge.
In addition to learning the differences between color commentary and sideline reporting, Ros has had to meet many new faces, build new relationships, and establish herself with the Warriors.
As mentioned before, her transition has been made easier with the “great group of guys” on the Warriors. Ros knows basketball, and the players respect that. She’s also a winner and a hard worker, and the players respect that too.Photo Courtesy Rosalyn Gold-Onwude
Ros was on several elite Stanford teams, so she knows what a successful team looks like. She compared the successful Stanford teams she was on to this current Warriors team.
“One thing that was said to me that is important is ‘to be a great leader, you have to have great followers.’ There was that in our locker room,” Ros recalled. “You have leaders who were respectful of the people who they were leading. We had followers who saw the leader not only leading vocally but by example. I see that with the Warriors.”
She also cites the similarity in team chemistry. She stated that great teams are great off the court. She said this Warriors team spends lots of time together off the court. They like to have fun, but they genuinely like each other and can hold each other accountable, which she says is a luxury.
Ros is starting to get to know the players more, and she’s even starting to become the victim of some of their jokes. She revealed this is a sarcastic, funny group of men, and she’s starting to keep an eye out for some of their pranks.
Andre Iguodala pretended to not want to talk to her in one of her first TV appearances on Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area, and she fell for one of Andrew Bogut’s sarcasatic jokes on air about Blake Griffin. David Lee also jokes around with her on a regular basis.
Ros might still be a rookie in her sideline reporter role, but she is the ultimate professional and has enjoyed getting to know this team.
When asked who was the easiest Warrior to talk to, she answered Stephen Curry. Although, according to Ros, all the Warriors players are easy to talk to and extremely nice.Photo Courtesy Rosalyn Gold-Onwude
So is her favorite Warrior Curry then? Although that might be how many Warriors fans would answer that question, Ros chose to answer the question differently. She acknowledged that everyone on the Warriors is “great,” but the player who she appreciates the most right now is actually the player that might have pulled the biggest prank on her: Bogut.
Bogut’s witty and sarcastic sense of humor could explain why Ros picked him as her current favorite, but when asked why she picked him, she focused on his contributions on the court.
“The beauty and the magic of the backdoor cuts you’re seeing in the Warriors’ offense and many of the sweet plays you’re oohing and aahing after is because of the cerebral facilitating of Andrew Bogut,” Ros pointed out. “He is a magician. Whether he’s creating space with his screening or he’s using space with his ability to pass and see the court, it’s beautiful.”
When discussing the beauty of Bogut’s game and what he brings to the Warriors, the knowledge and the eloquence that Ros brings to the Warriors’ sideline is apparent. She’s analytical, detailed, and persistent while still maintaining her eagerness to learn and gratitude.
“I approach everything with energy, excitement, and enthusiasm. I try to find joy in everything I’m doing,” Ros concluded.
From Queens, New York to Oakland, California. From the court to the sideline.
Whether she’s in transition on the court or in her career, she approaches her job with passion, gratitude, and mental toughness.
Whether she’s taking a jumpshot or broadcasting, she’s now more mature, relaxed, focused, and consistent. On the court and on the sideline.