When it comes to sports journalism, there is no denying the fact that much like sports itself, it is a world of men. Men highly populate the sector and while there might be different reasons for this, it goes without saying it’s something that needs to change. One of the ways it can happen is by embracing women who desire to work in the profession, just like YES Network has done with Sarah Kustok. They made her the first NBA solo female analyst. Nonetheless, it was the culmination of a career that began right after college as an analyst and sideline reporter for ESPN and Fox Sports.
Sarah Kustok Has Always Been a Sports Fan
When it comes to sports broadcasting in America, a couple of the big players are ESPN and Fox Sports, and Sarah Kustok can boldly say she has worked for both of the big entities. In a way, Sarah has always been a fan of anything that has to do with sports. Her only sibling, an older brother named Zak Kustok is a football player who played up to college level for the Northwestern Wildcats football team.
Sarah herself played basketball and volleyball in high school before moving to college at DePaul University, where she continued to play in the women’s basketball team while she simultaneously earned a degree in Communications and Media Studies; it was in 2004 that she graduated.
Following the completion of her college career as a basketball player and her graduation with a degree, she became a coach for the DePaul University women’s basketball team where she worked from 2005 to 2006. She also worked with ESPN as a sports reporter and analyst on the side, gaining her foundational experience in broadcasting.
Detailing Her Exploits In Sports Journalism
While she was working with ESPN, she also worked for Fox Sports and was tasked with the coverage of high school football, college football, and basketball; covering both the men’s and women’s games.
After some time with the big two, she joined Comcast SportsNet Chicago and worked as a reporter and in an elevated position as an anchor for a total of three years. During her time with Comcast, she worked in dedicated positions for teams like the Chicago Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs, White Sox, and White Fire.
Sarah Kustok is also known to have worked for Versus, a channel under the NBC Sports Network. In another capacity, she has worked as a sideline reporter for the Brooklyn Nets and was a notable contributor to the Nets Magazine.
To say her rise to the top of sports journalism has been without its challenges, professional or personal, would be unrealistic. She once famously testified in defense of her father, Allan Kustok, after he was accused of killing her mother, Anita Kustok.
Not only did she lose her mother, but her testimony failed to sway her father’s judgment, and he was sentenced to prison, to serve 60 years behind bars. However, despite dealing with this, amongst other professional challenges, Sarah Kustok is famously not keen on discussing them. She insists on focusing on her job and getting better at it.
Aside from that, her personality and character as one of the most lovable talents in the industry have helped paved the way against the industry’s institutionalized ceilings. This, combined with her extraordinary basketball knowledge and insight gained from her experience as a competitive basketball player, led to her most recognizable achievement as a journalist.
In 2017, Sarah Kustok achieved a significant milestone, both for herself and women in her profession. She became the first female ever to be a solo analyst in the NBA. She achieved this under the banner of YES Network, an exclusive network for the New York Yankees which has diversified its coverage to other sports.
An Overview of Her Career Achievements
Being the first woman to become a solo analyst in the NBA is an achievement that will forever be part of the record books for Sarah Kustok. But while it might be her biggest so far, it is not the only thing she has attained. Since joining YES Network, she has won four of the 126 New York Emmy Awards received by the network.
She also has a few individual nominations for her role, including the two she earned during her time as YES’ Nets courtside reporter in 2017 and 2018. In 2020, she won the New York Emmy Award for Sports Analyst, becoming the first woman to win the award in New York.
Asides from her achievements in journalism, she has been inducted into Carl Sandburg High School Hall of Fame. She is also a Chicagoland Sports Hall of Famer as she was inducted in 2012. As a basketball coach before she became a full-time journalist, she helped her team (DePaul’s Blue Demon’s Women’s Team) reached the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the first time in the program history; this was in the 2005/2006 season.
She Might Be Single
One of the reasons women are not deeply involved in sports broadcasting is the jet setting life that it requires. With games played every day all over the country, devoting enough attention to a romantic partner and potential children is a challenge, and women still considered the primary caregivers in the home, it goes without saying the demands of the profession is extra challenging for them.
For this reason, and the fact she hasn’t been linked to anyone since she began her career, the general belief is that Sarah Kustok is a single woman. But it is also worth noting that she has repeatedly spoken of her interest in keeping her personal life private. Thus, the exact truth about her relationship history and status remains elusive.