SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – Kalia Butler has always been drawn to sports. Whether it was through playing sports in high school, working as head manager for her undergraduate women’s basketball team or as a team attendant for the Chicago Bulls.
Butler said that thanks to her time with the women’s team and the Bulls’, she realized how she wanted to stay involved with sports in her career: by sharing these athletes’ stories. Now she’s a master’s student on the Sports Media track at Syracuse University pursuing that goal. She said she finds that it’s very easy for fans to lose a sense that these players are people with lives off the court.
“I wanna share who athletes are as people because I think a lot of people just look at them as like a stat line,” said Butler. “It’s just numbers to people.”
The Dallas Mavericks’ Kyrie Irving is one of Butler’s favorite athletes but is also known for being a bit controversial due to his antisemitic comments. While Butler believes that Irving should be held accountable for what he’s said, she also doesn’t think many interviewers have dug deep enough into why he says the things that he says and believes there’s more to his story.
“There’s a lot of politics in sports so it’s more ‘hush hush, you have to do these things and then you can play basketball again,’” Butler said. “I want to know what his real story is, what he’s trying to convey, and why he doesn’t think he can get it across in the right way.”
Butler plans to continue to share who athletes are as people as she graduates from Syracuse.