During a recent player interview session, new Milwaukee Bucks sidelines and digital reporter Katie George leaned forward and lobbed an offbeat question to center John Henson:
“Do you sleep with your socks on?”
The big man laughed and said, “nah.” He prefers to let his toes breathe at night.
George pressed on with her inquiries. What’s in your morning smoothie? Do you hit the snooze button on your alarm? Who plays the worst music in the locker room?
And so on, player after player, for several hours.
The lightweight banter was actually serious business, an assignment George handled with professionalism and good humor. It helped her break the ice with players she’ll be following all season and also provided valuable video for the Bucks digital team.
“It shows people a bit of their personalities,” George said. “Khris Middleton laughing and making fun of Giannis (Antetokounmpo) — people love that and it helps to build his brand.”
The players’ answers — and eye rolls — will be sliced, diced, turned into GIFs and other snippets for the Bucks’ Twitter feed and website, tools the team uses to engage with fans around the world.
The interviews were the first big task for George, 24, who has national-level ambitions and knows the Bucks just gave her a big career break.
“She’s going to blow people out of the water,” said Bucks President Peter Feigin. “You can see that confidence and ease when she meets with the players and coaches.”
Feigin said George matched an important slice of the Bucks’ fan base.
“She’s the Instagram generation, the Snapchat generation,” he said. “She’s grown up in the short-form world.”
Feigin added: “She’s got limitless potential.”
A former Miss Kentucky USA and star volleyball player for the University of Louisville, George worked in local television in her hometown of Louisville for two years before landing the Bucks gig. This is the first time she’s lived away from Louisville.
“Things are moving so fast, I don’t think I’ve had time to realize that I’m not living at home,” she said.
George will do sideline interviews with players and coaches for the television broadcasts and host the team’s digital content, such as features on the Bucks’ website.
George said her athletic background has served her well as a broadcaster.
“I believe in setting big goals and trying to reach them — I’m ultra-competitive, maybe to a fault.”
She’s had her eyes on the national scene for years.
“I decided at age 13 that I wanted to be the next Erin Andrews,” George said of the Fox sportscaster who built her name at ESPN.
But first she’s got to prove herself as part of an NBA team, in a position she views as a “blend” of journalism and marketing and public relations.
“I think journalists tell stories and I think, ultimately, that’s what my job here is,” she said. “We’re an extension of the team.”
The WDRB sports reporter continues her career in her move to Milwaukee to cover the Bucks.
Louisville Courier Journal