by Karl Nelson II, Intern Media
Rob Parker is a sports analyst with over 30 years in the media industry. The Queens, New York native was recently honored at the 2018 National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Convention in Detroit as the NABJ Sports Journalist of the Year.
“There’s nothing better than being honored by your own people and peers,” Parker said in reference to receiving his award. “To be honest, I’m thrilled to be recognized among so many fine journalists.”
Parker is a contributor to FS1’s Skip and Shannon: UNDISPUTED. He has a column on The Shadow League and he also co-hosts The Odd Couple with FS1’s Chris Broussard on Fox Sports Radio. Prior to joining FS1, Parker had an eight-year run on ESPN, where he appeared regularly on the famed ESPN debate show First Take.
In 1993, Parker became the first Black sports columnist at the Detroit Free Press and then the first Black general sports columnist at Newsday in New York back in 1995.
Those are just some of the accolades you’ll read about when doing research on Rob Parker, but the good thing about getting to know someone for yourself is you don’t really need a bunch of sources to tell you what you already know. Having known Parker for over a year now, I don’t need to reference two and three sources in order to tell you how great of a mentor, journalist and person he is. I’ve learned that on my own from having a mentor/mentee relationship with him.
Parker and I met in the summer of 2017 while we were both attending the NABJ Convention in New Orleans. It was there that I had the opportunity to not only meet Parker, but to also talk to him briefly about sports and politics amid the Colin Kaepernick controversy.
Well, Parker has been a mentor to me ever since. Just like sports, mentorship is a part of Parker’s daily life, as he’s mentored some of the most prominent sports reporters and columnists that you see today, including the famed Stephen A. Smith of ESPN’s First Take. Parker has a good reason for helping many young journalists today; people helped him along the way and he feels that he has a responsibility to do the same for others.
“People helped me when I started my career,” Parker told me during our interview. “I’ve always believed in that. We all need help along the way and if someone is willing to put in the work in their industry and they really want me to help them, I’ll do whatever I can do to help.”
Parker and I discussed his mentorship and a lot more in a sit down interview in New York City during one of his recent visits from Los Angeles. Throughout the interview, I asked Parker about how he got his start in sports journalism, his major accomplishments thus far, what it’s been like to contribute to FS1’s Skip and Shannon: Undisputed, the current climate of sports and politics, Colin Kaepernick, the NFL, the NBA, and much more.
Before I met Parker, one of the reasons I became a fan of his commentary as a sports analyst was due to his knowledge of sports, how socially conscious he is, and the fact that he never disappoints when it comes to saying or doing something memorable on the air – something that we also discussed during the interview.
Checkout our exclusive video interview below and choose to be inspired. | KMN
Thanks again for making time for this interview during your visit to the Big Apple. You’re a stand up guy. That’s not easy to find in the media industry today, especially when it comes to people who have an illustrious resume like yours. But I admire the fact that through all of your success, you’ve remained down to earth and you continue to be a mentor and a voice for the young journalists coming up in the game. I’m blessed to have you as a mentor my brother. We have to do this again sometime.
Karl Nelson II, CEO/Founder of Intern Media