Multi-tasking Jill Martin a ray of sunshine during basketball broadcasts

As the realms of sports, entertainment and fashion intersect, one person is at the pulse of it; Jill Martin. While she made a household name for herself as an expert in fashion, it may come as a surprise to many sports fans that Martin has a considerable background in sports journalism.

Currently based out of New York, one of the world’s true big league cities, Martin is part of MSG’s coverage for Knicks basketball. It only seems appropriate that Martin is part of this new pop culture zeitgeist of sport and fashion in the Big Apple.

Appropriately, it was in New York that these worlds first collided generations ago. New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath emerged as more than an athlete. An icon in pop culture, he was an entertainer, a sex symbol and an individual who set fashion trends.

In recent years, the impact of David and Victoria Beckham has restored that icon-like status Namath made so popular. They helped to blend sport and fashion into a popularly accepted package. Whenever David Beckham would change his hairstyle, adorn himself with a new tattoo or don new footwear for the soccer pitch, it was seen as fashion.

Martin's book Fashion for Dummies

Martin’s book Fashion for Dummies

No one could understand that impact better than Jill Martin. From the Miami Heat to the New York Knicks, she has been surrounded by larger than life personalities like Dwayne Wade, Shaquille O’Neal, Pat Riley and Carmelo Anthony; all of whom have a love of fashion off the hardcourt.

A likeable personality complemented by a friendly demeanor, Martin may be the hardest working woman in journalism today. Having risen to newfound popularity as part of the endearing Ambush Makeover segment on Today with Hoda and Kathie-Lee (she selects two women from the crowd to get the makeover treatment), Martin is also a contributing editor at People Stylewatch.

May 2013: Martin at the beach in Miami greeting basketball star Juwan Howard

May 2013: Martin at the beach in Miami greeting basketball star Juwan Howard

It would come as no surprise that Martin has also been on the red carpet of the Golden Globes and the Academy Awards, interviewing the likes of Hollywood power couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie. Based on her popular “Gimme a Minute” segments on Knicks broadcasts, Martin could easily be just as comfortable on the red carpet of the ESPY Awards, let alone hosting it.

Her “Gimme a Minute” segments have featured other celebrities and legendary sports figures such as Kevin Bacon (of which Martin could now be part of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon), Ron Howard, Spike Lee, John McEnroe and legendary lead singer of Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant.

For Martin, who also contributes pregame and postgame interviews at Knicks broadcasts for the MSG network, it is truly a labor of love. Having grown up on Long Island, the intrigue and allure of Madison Square Garden cultivated her love of sport. Working there during the NBA season only adds to the thrill.

While it would be easy to dismiss Martin as mere eye candy, she is knowledgeable, credible and well-spoken. Her first exposure to sports coverage occurred in the cosmopolitan city of Miami. She was hired to work at CBS affiliate WFOR-4, where groundbreaking female athlete and sportscaster Anita Marks once worked. It would begin an eight year sojourn covering the iconic Dolphins and the energizing Heat. Along with her television coverage in Miami, she made journalistic contributions for Ocean Drive magazine, bringing a stylish yet relevant female presence to sports and fashion.

While it would be easy to dismiss Martin as mere eye candy, she is knowledgeable, credible and well-spoken. Her first exposure to sports coverage occurred in the cosmopolitan city of Miami. She was hired to work at CBS affiliate WFOR-4, where groundbreaking female athlete and sportscaster Anita Marks once worked. It would begin an eight year sojourn covering the iconic Dolphins and the energizing Heat. Along with her television coverage in Miami, she made journalistic contributions for Ocean Drive magazine, bringing a stylish yet relevant female presence to sports and fashion.

With her passions for sport and fashion, Martin was tailor made for the glamorous and sexy world of Miami. Although it was disappointing to see her hometown Yankees fall to the Florida Marlins in the 2003 World Series, one of her highlights in Miami was a captivating interview with the late Junior Seau that earned her an Emmy nomination.

Many watershed moments in her sporting career came via the Heat. She was the only journalist who landed a sit-down interview with Shaquille O’Neal heading into the 2006 NBA Finals. After the Heat prevailed over the Dallas Mavericks, she broadcast live for an impressive 24 hours reporting on the club’s victory celebration. Of note, she was the only journalist allowed at the celebration.

Her most acclaimed role in Miami may have come as the first NBA in-arena host with the Heat. As the host of Heat-TV, which aired on video screens throughout American Airlines Arena, along with hundreds of televisions, Martin was the ideal choice to host this quirky yet entertaining feature. From cooking with Heat players, getting players to sing along or engaging in shoot-outs versus celebrities on the court, she quickly became as popular as any of the players on the Heat.

While Martin’s national audience may know her better for fashion than sports, compared to women like Nicole Zaloumis, Anita Marks and Andi Petrillo, who cater to a sports audience, there is no denying that Martin’s role in sports journalism is nothing short of ground breaking. Her accomplishments in Miami opened the door for many women to shatter the glass ceiling of professional sports.

Through it all, Martin has also proven that staying grounded, maintaining a winning smile and having a genuine love for what you do are all essential for success. While women still persevere in their quest to make significant inroads in the traditionally male dominated world of sports, whether as athletes and journalists, this media darling can truly be considered a pioneer for women in sports media.

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