Senior NBA Writer, The Undefeated/ESPN
Veteran NBA reporter Marc Spears joined ESPN as senior NBA writer for The Undefeated, ESPN’s content initiative focusing on the intersections of sports, race and culture, in March 2016. His role with the company expanded in February 2019 when he signed an extension that includes reporting and creating content for a myriad of ESPN platforms.
At The Undefeated, Spears regularly breaks NBA news and some of his most notable long-form work includes, an examination of how black NBA players have embraced playing for the Utah Jazz and the Boston Celtics, NBA legend Dirk Nowitzki on his interracial marriage, and a multimedia profile on how former NBA player Stephon Marbury found stardom in China. Spears also reported Marbury’s story for a SC Featured segment.
During the 2016 NBA Playoffs, Spears authored an exclusive player diary series by the Warriors’ Draymond Green that captured his thoughts on and off the court as the Golden State forward and his teammates were chasing a second straight NBA title. Green’s 2016 NBA Playoffs diaries, including his NBA Finals Game 5 suspension, preceded the launch of The Undefeated and debuted on ESPN.com – a precursor to the unique content offerings on the platform. The series continued on The Undefeated after the platform launched on May 17. Spears has since spearheaded The Undefeated’s NBA Players diaries featuring Vince Carter, Josh Jackson and Trae Young, who also featured on a video diary during the 2019-20 season.
Leading into the start of the 2019-2020 NBA season, Spears brought together fathers of African American NBA players – Chris Paul, Ja Morant, Wendell Carter Jr. and Darius Garland – for a candid conversation about stereotypes of black fathers raising NBA sons. The roundtable, published by The Undefeated, garnered critical acclaim. Spears has penned “as told to” pieces with NBA stars Bradley Beal, Jimmy Butler, Rajon Rondo, Udonis Haslem, Tyson Chandler and coach Doc Rivers, on their lives on- and off-the-court.
Spears’ June 2019 access-driven feature about then 31-year-old Canadian tattoo artist Steve Wiebe, who is responsible for inking NBA stars like Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard and DeAndre Jordan, generated more than 3.5 million views in one year on YouTube. In the story, Spears travelled to Wiebe’s studio outside Vancouver and captured the artist inking Jordan’s new tattoo on a private jet to Greece.
In December 2019, Spears authored “As Real As It Gets,” the ESPN Cover Story on the NBA and music careers of Portland Trailblazer Damian Lillard, aka Dame D.O.L.L.A. The multiplatform storytelling franchise profiled how the NBA all-star, who secured his NBA career with a multimillion-dollar extension in the summer of 2019, gives back to his East Oakland community of Brookfield Park.
In addition to his work with The Undefeated, Spears regularly contributes to other ESPN platforms, including the award-winning Outside the Lines and E:60, SportsCenter, SC Featured, The Jump, ESPN Radio programs and more.
Spears has covered the NBA for more than two decades, including more than 18 NBA All-Star Games as well as 18 NBA Finals. Prior to The Undefeated, Spears worked for Yahoo! Sports (2009-16) as a national NBA reporter, where he earned national recognition as an NBA Insider at Yahoo! – breaking numerous stories while covering the NBA, as well as USA Basketball.
Prior to Yahoo!, Spears covered the Boston Celtics and the 2008 Beijing Olympics for The Boston Globe (2007-09). He began covering the NBA as the Denver Nuggets beat writer for The Denver Post from 1999-2007. His earlier newspaper work includes stints at The Tulsa World (1995-97), Los Angeles Daily News (1997-98) and The Courier-Journal in Louisville (1998-99) where he covered college football and basketball, and Major League Baseball.
A former chair of the National Association of Black Journalists’ (NABJ) Sports Task Force, Spears is a graduate of San Jose State University. He completed a graduate program at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, earning a master’s degree in sports business management in May 2019. Spears has won numerous national and regional awards for journalism, including Top 10 listing in the 2019 APSE (Associated Press Sports Editors) contest for beat reporting for Category A outlets.
Spears co-produced Katrina Cop in the Superdome, an award-winning documentary chronicling the experiences of New Orleans Police officer Rhett Charles and other city residents during their stay in the Louisiana Superdome after Hurricane Katrina.
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