Photo C/O Alexandra Vergyris
When Meghan McPeak first picked up a basketball as a young girl, like a lot of basketball-loving kids, professional dreams were soon on her mind. Growing up with a family who watched and played sports, a father who played baseball and a brother who played basketball, baseball and soccer, sports were destined to be a part of McPeak’s life.
Being a tall kid growing up, a friend of McPeak’s encouraged her to try out for her basketball team, and right off the bat, she fell in love with the sport.
“As a kid, it was a great way to exert my energy and run around with friends, so I just loved it,” said McPeak. “But as I’ve gotten older, the love of the game has not only grown, it has changed in a way for me, now that I’m in broadcasting.”
McPeak knew early on that she would have a career in broadcasting but she did not expect it to come this early. A former varsity basketball player for Humber College, McPeak had plans to play basketball professionally overseas, but at the same time she was always planning for life beyond playing basketball.
“When I was in school deciding what program I would take, [broadcasting] was more thinking life after basketball,” said McPeak. “It wasn’t until I finished college with a really bad injury and realizing that it may not be the pro route for me, I realized that I had to really focus on broadcasting.”
A career-ending injury is not an easy thing for any athlete to endure. After dedicating so much time and effort to one thing only to not get the result one wants, it is easy to want nothing to with the sport at all. But that is not how McPeak approached the situation. A firm believer of everything happens for a reason, she knew this was not the end of her basketball story.
“Life after basketball happened sooner than I expected but it was the right time for me,” McPeak said.
Luckily for McPeak, her first job came shortly after she graduated. After her co-worker at her part-time job forwarded her a McMaster email that was looking for a play-by-play announcer for McMaster basketball games, she jumped at the opportunity.
“I emailed Jamie Tennant, CMFU Program Director at the time, and it kind of went off from there,” said McPeak.
From 2009 -2012, McPeak called Marauder basketball games. She also got to do work with Cable 14 when they would cover the games, and it really put her degree to good use.
“It was great because it’s not typical that you can graduate and within six months you’re working in the line of work that you want to be in and went to school for,” McPeak said. “Not being a Mac student or graduate, I got really lucky that Jamie was willing to give me the opportunity.”
“Hopefully he’s looking back now and realizing that without him taking a chance on me, I may not have had the career that I have had up to this point. So I thank him a lot for giving me the opportunity for those four seasons,” McPeak added.
Though some may consider her lucky for getting the opportunity that she did, it has been nothing but preparation that has carried her the rest of the way.
“I think early on the timing was lucky with me, but I would say over the last five or six years, it’s where my luck and preparation met at the right time,” said McPeak. “I think I’ve been able to prove that through my preparation, I’ve been lucky enough to get the opportunities I’ve gotten.”
The career McPeak has had up to this point is nothing short of amazing. Following her four seasons with the Marauders, she was a play-by-play announcer for the Canadian National Basketball League and then the National Basketball Association Development, now Gatorade, League team, the Raptors 905.
Most recently, she became one of the first women ever to call play-by-play for an NBA game. Currently working for Monumental Sports Network in Washington, D.C., the historic moment was made when she called the Washington Wizards’ pre-season win over the Detroit Pistons. For the 2018-19 G League season, McPeak and former NBA player Tony Massenburg have been the broadcast team for the Capital City Go-Go, the Wizards’ G League affiliate.
McPeak was the first woman in nearly 30 years to call an NBA game since Leandra Reilly who called play-by-play for a New Jersey Nets-Philadelphia 76ers game in 1988.
— Tony Massenburg (@tonymassenburg) November 25, 2018
Though McPeak’s latest major accomplishment is nothing short of amazing, “breaking barriers” is not why she does it.
“To be quite frank with you, it’s because it’s what I want to do,” said McPeak. “I want to call basketball games 52 weeks of the year. My ultimate goal and ideal work situation would be to call NBA games with a national network or direct NBA team during the NBA season, then continue on into the WNBA season doing the same thing.”
When asked by The Washington Post why she was chosen for her current role, Zach Leonsis, the son of Monumental Sports and Entertainment founder Ted Leonsis and the network’s general manager, felt that, out of almost 40 announcers who applied for the position, McPeak stood out. “Ultimately, Meghan was the best because she was the most dynamic and knowledgeable candidate,” Leonsis said. “It’s as simple as that.”
Wanting to be the best in the room, regardless of gender, is what has given her a seat at the table and she’s not stopping here. Through preparation and hard work, McPeak has gotten where she is today, so get used to her name because this will not be the last you hear of it.