March 25, 2023 7:42 am

(From left to suitable) Tara August, Charles Barkley, David Levy, Kenny Smith, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Ernie Johnson, Craig Barry, and Lenny Daniels attend the 2017 NBA Awards Reside on TNT in 2017.

TNT’s award-winning broadcasting crew is produced up of a lot of basketball legends. There’s Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Jamal Crawford and Candace Parker to name a couple of. “Inside The NBA” is a single of the most thriving shows in sports tv, boasting seventeen Sports Emmy awards due to the fact its inception in 1989. But this results wouldn’t be attainable without the need of a single of the basic ladies behind it all – Tara August. 

“You know what you imply to all of us, and how you have taken care of us for several years. We appreciate you,” mentioned “Inside the NBA” host Ernie Johnson to August in the course of the All-Star 2023. 

August is the former Senior Vice President of Talent Relations and Particular Projects at Warner Bros. Discovery Sports (formerly Turner Sports). In January, she announced that she would be leaving her post following 18 years – with her final day getting the 2023 All-Star Game. 

“To say it is a enormous wave of emotion is an understatement,” August mentioned. 

“This is a single of these moments in your life when you feel about difficult your self, and say ‘should I do one thing else?’ Becoming afraid of it is not a purpose to not do it. I have this window to challenge myself and step out on faith, but genuinely absorb, acknowledge and appreciate the 18 years of outstanding moments and relationships right here.”

To sum up what August has meant to Warner Bros. Discovery Sports: “The Planet,” Barkley told August in the course of the All-Star Game.

“You by no means know what type of effect you have on folks till they inform you,” August mentioned. “When I announced I was leaving, a single colleague of mine reached out saying, ‘I know that cannot be correct, simply because if you are leaving, how could any of us maintain operating?’ It was extremely type.” 

August’s appreciate of sports started as a kid in San Diego. Increasing up, she remembers usually getting at the baseball field with her younger brother at his Tiny League practices and traveling for his games. 

“I realized early I could make a profession out of operating in sports, and marry a job with what I loved most,” August mentioned. 

Her initial function in the business was with a Sports PR system though simultaneously earning her Bachelor’s degree at San Diego State. Following graduation, she skilled what she referred to as a single of her “biggest failures” when she didn’t land a dream function with her favored group – the San Diego Chargers. 

“I was devastated,” August mentioned. “I believed, properly if I cannot function for my favored group, then I do not want to function in sports. Following feeling sorry for myself for a couple of days, I decided I’ll attempt once again.”

That is when her most significant failure moment turned into “the very best issue that would ever take place.” 

(From left to suitable) Wayne Gretzky, Tara August and Charles Barkley.

August applied to graduate college for sports management. A year following her graduation, she got a job at WBD Sports. 

When August began at Turner 18 years ago, it was a cable organization. She now calls it a “content organization.” August credits her longevity at the organization to remaining adaptable in an ever-altering sports landscape and creating the leap from the PR side to the Talent Division.

“I believed I was going to do PR all my life,” August mentioned. “A lady who was in the organization at the time told me you can only determine what’s very best for you. But if you appear about the organization – the leaders are folks who have varied encounter. That has stuck with me due to the fact.” 

Prior to her departure from the organization, August was a essential choice-maker in hiring and keeping talent. She jokingly described going by way of this course of action with “her committee.” In other words, every person at Turner.

“Everybody’s got an opinion on talent. No matter if it is an executive producer or a director or a president – they’ve reached out to me saying ‘we watched this person’s interviews, they had been great’ or ‘they could retire.’ Names are all usually swirling,” she mentioned. 

August was by no means afraid to go up against any person anytime she was told “no.” 

“I ordinarily like to have the exact same conversation a couple of instances, ” August laughed. “I do not think anyone the initial time when they inform me no or yes. We arm wrestle it out from time to time, then we stroll out of a space all on the exact same web page.”

On the other hand, she emphasizes that there is no ideal formula to hiring award-winning talent when it comes to “Inside The NBA”

“It functions simply because these guys are special. It functions simply because of the timing. It functions simply because of how lengthy they’ve been with each other. It functions simply because of how considerably time they have on air. You cannot just replicate that,” August mentioned. 

Despite the fact that she might be biased, August really believes Turner has the “best talent in the planet.”

“Who would’ve dreamed that I’d be the boss of Charles Barkley,” August laughed. “Inside The NBA appears entertaining on the air, but it is a hundred instances a lot more entertaining behind the scenes. These guys genuinely let loose and inform jokes and wrestle and act like brothers. But I also remind folks, they’re just like other employees. They’ve got the exact same desires – they wanna be promoted, they want a lot more cash and they wanna know what chance lies ahead.”

Spending endless hours with each other on set and traveling, August and the Inside crew grew close in the course of their downtime with each other. She recalled a distinct moment when Shaq supplied her some essential guidance that she nevertheless thinks of to this day.

Tara August and Shaquille O’Neal in the course of a TNT tipoff in Instances Square.

“I’d come into the studio that day, and I was frustrated. I was getting a conversation with Shaq, and he mentioned, ‘are you okay?’ I mentioned, ‘I’m just frustrated with X, Y, Z.’ He told me, ‘no, be mad at what you are mad at. You are not upset about that issue, you are upset about one thing else.’ This taught me to recognize genuinely what was upsetting me rather of the surface issue, and be truthful about that.”

August says she’ll miss the little interactions with the talent most. 

“We’ve had so several goofy moments. There’s a moment exactly where Kenny’s button popped off in the middle of the show, and you could hear it like rolling on the set. Kenny attempted to maintain speaking and Charles mentioned, ‘hey man, can you afford a new jacket?” It was hilarious,” August mentioned. 

When it comes to what she is most proud of – August noted that it was not her accomplishments operating with the award-winning talent, but launching a partnership with ‘My Brothers Keeper’ – an alliance began by President Obama in 2014 to address the chance gaps boys and young guys of colour face. 

In spite of all her accomplishments, August nevertheless experiences imposter syndrome – a term loosely defined as doubting one’s capabilities or feeling fraudulent in one’s function. She overcomes this by making sure she usually tends to make her presence identified in a space.

“As [a] Black lady in sports, oftentimes I’m the only lady. Oftentimes I’m the only Black particular person. Oftentimes, I’m each. But if you are gonna be a unicorn, you could as properly place on a show,” August mentioned. “If they’re gonna spend focus to you, give them a purpose to bear in mind why you had been there.”

Despite the fact that her time at the organization has come to an finish, August is leaving a lasting legacy that is endless. 

Tara August at her final All-Star weekend, wearing a Craig Sager-themed blazer.

“I came into this spot and it was currently terrific. I hope that folks will say I added to it a bit, but a lot more than that. I hope I blew the doors open for a lot more chance, particularly when it comes to diversity of believed, of folks, of experiences and of background,” August mentioned. “If I could have added a small sprinkle more than the 18 years of greatness, great. But I genuinely hope that I opened the door for it to be accomplished differently, and superior, even on my way out.”

Throughout her final hoorah [at the 2023 All-Star Game] August produced certain to go out with a bang. Wearing a blazer that was previously owned by the legendary broadcaster and her dear pal, the late Craig Sager, she produced her final tv look alongside the Inside crew as she  delivered a cake to Barkley for his 60th birthday. Following Shaq led the complete crowd in a Delighted Birthday song, the crew produced certain to share their appreciate and respect for August on air. 

Stated Kenny Smith: “Not only have you [August] been an inspiration to what we do, but ladies in sports. To be in a position to be in a position to negotiate contracts, and place points into spot from a league and person viewpoint. We will miss you.”

In addition to getting her flowers from the Inside crew that final day, August also got to witness Candace Parker becoming the initial female analyst for the 2023 All-Star Game. 

It was the ideal ending. August sent a note following this interview saying: “When you asked if I have memorable moments from the previous 18 years right here –  that is going to be a single of my most proud moments, and what a grand finale!”

 A grand finale for a grand profession. 

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