Mini sports reporter makes moves on the sidelines

By Alexis Davis

NABJ Monitor

At the tender age of 11, Pepper Persley is breaking barriers and scoring big, one sideline at a time. She is wasting no time living out the question most people her age get asked as they get older, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

This 11-year-old has made it a point to cover both WNBA and NBA sports leagues. 

“It’s amazing and it’s something I never would have thought for me at this age,” Pepper said. “Broadcasting and reporting is like my long-term goal as an adult and the fact that it’s happening now is something very incredible.”

Pepper Persley and WNBA Basketball Player Britney Griner

Pepper started going to New York Liberty Games at a young age with her family, which sparked her passion for reporting.

Affectionately known as the “kid reporter,” Pepper wasted no time jumping into the action and leaving her mark. She scored an interview with Liberty point-guard Sugar Rodgers. The interview resulted in Rodgers and Pepper creating their own handshake. 

In just five years time, she has interviewed some of the biggest names in sports including Reporters Ros Gold-Onwude, Arielle Chambers, and Basketball Players A’ja Wilson, Kelsey Plum, Sue Bird and Natasha Cloud. 

Out of all of her star interactions, Persley says she was the most nervous to interview Phoenix Mercury Point-Guard Dianna Taurasi.

“I had the chance to interview Dianna Taurasi and as someone who watched her previously, I have to admit I was a little bit scared and definitely nervous because she’s so intense on the court and the fact that she was so nice to me is something I will always remember.”

Her father, Christopher Persley has been one of Pepper’s biggest advocates. Watching her evolve into an impactful journalist, grips him with gratitude. 

“I think it’s great that she has connections with so many different people she looks up to and are accomplished in different fields, so I’m quite grateful for that,” he said. “We just want her to be the best Pepper she can be.”

Aside from crafting her way into arenas, Pepper is also a star softball player, a black belt in taekwondo, violin player and has even taken on learning how to play squash. She has her sights set on higher heights in the journalism world but enjoying the journey along the way.

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