How Stevenson grad landed her dream job in ESPN's NBA Bubble coverage

  • Cristina Daglas, an editor who produces network and digital NBA coverage for ESPN, is seen here with Gianni Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.

    Cristina Daglas, an editor who produces network and digital NBA coverage for ESPN, is seen here with Gianni Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks. Courtesy of Cristina Daglas

  • Cristina Daglas, an editor with ESPN, is seen here producing a piece at the 2019 NBA Draft.

    Cristina Daglas, an editor with ESPN, is seen here producing a piece at the 2019 NBA Draft. Courtesy of Cristina Daglas

  • Stevenson High School graduate Cristina Daglas, an editor with ESPN, is at Wrigley Field during the Cubs' 2016 World Series run.

    Stevenson High School graduate Cristina Daglas, an editor with ESPN, is at Wrigley Field during the Cubs' 2016 World Series run. Courtesy of Cristina Daglas

 
 
Posted10/24/2020 1:00 AM

To pass the time in the NBA Bubble over the summer and fall, Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat started his own coffee shop.

"He ran it out of his hotel room and he named it 'Big Face Coffee,' " Cristina Daglas said. "He had all these fancy coffees and the price was ridiculous, like $20 a cup. So, then a trainer (Heat assistant trainer Brandon Gilliam) started 'Little Face Coffee' because he said his guys (other team staff) couldn't afford Jimmy's coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"It was a fun story."

Daglas, a 2002 Stevenson High School graduate who has found herself in an unexpected dream job, helped share the coffee story and all kinds of other colorful insights as to what life was like in the NBA Bubble.

She is a senior deputy editor for ESPN and produces network and digital content. She works mostly on the NBA, and also with boxing and mixed martial arts coverage.

The coffee story, written by Malika Andrews and edited by Daglas, appeared Sept. 27 on ESPN.com.

"I'm so proud of the work we did in the Bubble," said the 36-year-old Daglas, whose parents Catherine and Nick live in Long Grove. "There was so much that went into it, starting with all the safety precautions, and then the mental health and life in the Bubble and the basketball itself. It was hard, but it was fun, and I think we did a nice job of pulling the curtain back and letting everyone in on what was happening behind the scenes in the Bubble. It was one of the most interesting experiences of my career."

Daglas, who did not live in the Bubble but instead managed ESPN's staff of Bubble writers and reporters from her home in Los Angeles, is the first to admit her career has been full of surprises.

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She was on the newspaper staff at Stevenson, but didn't exactly consider herself ESPN material back then.

"I was not into sports at all in high school," Daglas said. "I think I went to two football games, and maybe a basketball game, but I had no idea who was on the teams.

"I've always kind of been a Cubs fan, but I joked when I got the job with ESPN that being a Cubs fan certainly doesn't make you a sports expert. I had told (the people at ESPN) right up front, 'I'm not a sports expert. I want to make that clear.' "

Daglas also had no television experience, either on-camera or in production.

ESPN was interested in Daglas anyway. She got on the radar of Scott Burton, who was executive editor of the now-defunct ESPN The Magazine. Burton happened to be judging a contest involving city-themed magazines.

Daglas, who went to Wisconsin and earned a graduate degree from Missouri, was a new editor at D Magazine, the city magazine for Dallas. She helped with a major overhaul of the design of the magazine and that spoke to Burton.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Before her stint at D Magazine, Daglas was an editor at Milwaukee Magazine.

"I was the face on the editor's page of D Magazine and we were in that contest, and I was fortunate Scott Burton was judging that contest and I thank him for finding me," Daglas said. "With him, it wasn't so much him being concerned I knew sports, it was that I knew stories and I knew reporting."

Daglas was also fortunate ESPN was willing to teach her sports and the mechanics of television on the job, which is highly unusual in journalism, where experience is the biggest prerequisite.

Six years later, Daglas has been in four different positions with ESPN, climbing the ranks with various promotions. She's not only covered the NBA, but was on hand when the Cubs, her one sports passion, won the World Series.

"I've had a lot of opportunities at ESPN," said Daglas, also now an adjunct journalism professor at the University of Southern California. "Journalism can take you to some strange places, some places I certainly never expected. I stopped guessing a long time ago about how things might turn out, because all of my guesses were usually wrong. But I think I've kept an open mind to new experiences and I've been very fortunate."

Twitter: @babcockmcgraw

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