ESPN is one of the leading sports channels in the United States of America. As such, anyone who is a sports fan and a frequent viewer of the channel should be familiar with Maria Taylor, one of the notable analysts on the sports network.
Taylor’s position as a sports analyst on the prestigious network is not only an impressive achievement on a personal level but one for the break down of the stereotypes about women and their position in sports. She has been working as a reporter since 2009, having retired from her active days as a basketball and volleyball player.
Maria Taylor’s Life Before Joining ESPN
Today, the education of the global population on the abolition of gender roles is on the rise. Men and Women are learning that they are not confined to a certain set of jobs or lifestyle because of the nature of their reproductive organs. Those who are still learning to embrace this new reality can look to women like Maria Taylor who is part of a line of women breaking down the stereotype that women have no place in professional sports broadcasting.
Maria Taylor was born on the 12th of May 1987 to Suzette and Steve Taylor in Alpharetta, Georgia. Born to African-American parents, she grew up with a solid interest in sports, earning several awards during her high school career as a basketball player at Centennial High School. While basketball was the dominating sport for her in high school, Maria had an affinity for volleyball that saw her get selected for the USA Volleyball Junior National A2 team in 2004. This passion and talent for the sport earned her an athletic scholarship to the University of Georgia where she continued her career as a volleyball player.
At the University of Georgia, she played both volleyball and basketball throughout her time in college, getting named to the All-SEC team in each season. At the end of her active days as a volleyball player, she ranked fourth in her college’s history for kills and points.
The Journey and Accomplishments In Her Career
After she graduated from Georgia, Maria Taylor worked for IMG College, a collegiate sports marketing company as a reporter. She held the role for three years, earning the necessary experience as a sports broadcaster in the process. After her time at IMG College, Maria Taylor joined ESPN as a sideline reporter in 2013. Her role with ESPN allowed her to continue nurturing her career as both a reporter and an analyst. In these capacities, she covered several divisions of college sports – from basketball to volleyball.
At the moment, Maria Taylor works for two different sports networks, ESPN and SEC Network, joining the latter in 2014. She later began reporting on college football for SEC, working with other notable sportscasters like Brent Musburger and Jesse Palmer. Since her career took off across both networks, she has reported or analyzed games in shows like ESPN College GameDay. Some of the notable sporting events she has covered include the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship, NCAA Women Basketball Tournament, Women Volleyball National Championship, and much more.
Maria Taylor’s career journey hasn’t been smooth sailing. She has had to overcome both sexist and racist challenges. A good example of this was a 2018 incident when she interviewed Nick Saban, the football coach reacted very impatiently to her questions and this sparked a national controversy. Following the uproar as a result of his behaviour, Nick Saban apologized to Maria.
Maria Taylor’s salary and net worth are also testaments to how successful her career has been. In 2018, she resigned from ESPN but was contracted to stay on the network for an additional number of years. Her salary, based on the new contract, is believed to be $87,885. As for her net worth, having worked professionally since 2009, Maria Taylor has been able to accrue a net worth estimated at $2 million.
She Co-founded Winning Edge Leadership Academy
In a career that has spanned many years, Maria Taylor has been able to gain a massive knowledge in the field in addition to a good fortune, but she counts the Winning Edge Leadership Academy as the biggest accomplishment of her career.
She co-founded the non-profit organization in 2015 and its mission revolves around empowering people of ethnic minorities and women who are passionate about building a career in the sports industry.
Since it was birthed, the organization has helped several students work towards kicking off their careers in sports journalism through the provision of funds and quality mentorship.
Facts to Know About Maria Taylor’s Love Life
Maria Taylor spends her weekends covering college games across the country and her weekdays analyzing games in the studio. To say she is a busy woman would be an understatement. This led to the belief that she is not interested in building a love life. For many people, the reporter was channelling all her love towards her booming career.
This seemed to be the fact until it emerged sometime in May 2019 that she is married to a man named Rodney Blackstock. Much isn’t known about him apart from the fact that it has been reported in some quarters that he is a director of sports marketing working for Q4 Sports.
Nevertheless, Taylor has revealed that they met in 2014 during a game of the Charlotte Hornets in North Carolina. They met in the backroom and the first thing Rodney said to her was “you’re not as tall as I am.” They would exchange numbers and later decide to hang out which marked the beginning of their relationship.
Eight months later, Rodney proposed to Maria Taylor and they were set to become life partners in June 2016. But then, they felt like they were rushing things and decided to call it off. About three years later, Rodney proposed again during a hike and they ultimately got married at the oceanfront Hilton Sandestin in Destin, Florida.