Bryant Gumbel Makes History As First Black Journalist To Receive Sports Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award


April 6, 2023

His HBO show has won 36 Sports Emmys!

Bryant Gumbel is a veteran journalist and a household name. He got his start as a sports anchor at Los Angeles’ KNBC, eventually landing a job at NBC Sports in 1975, The Grio reports. For 15 years, he hosted NBC’s “Today” show and still holds the record for longest-running host of the news program. Gumbel has also hosted CBS’ “Public Eye,” and “The Early Show. However, his longest running show to date is HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel,” a program the journalist has hosted since 1995. The series marked its 300th episode last year and has garnered a whopping 36 Sports Emmys. While a sports enthusiast, for Gumbel, he said he’s always tried to bring an elevated sense of journalism to the sports world. 

“[I’ve] always been a sports fan, but I’ve always been less interested in the scores than I was the story elements of sports. I’m overly selfish about it, but I’m enormously proud of it,” he said of his long-running HBO series. 


Now the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) is set to pay homage to Gumbel and his 50 years of journalistic service, honoring him with this year’s Sports Emmys Lifetime Achievement Award

“Bryant has a storied career, from his start as a sportscaster in Los Angeles to five decades of celebrated work – every bit cementing him as an icon and trailblazer in sports and entertainment…[His loop work has] brought dramatic and human news and sports stories to life for audiences, [making Gumbel] a clear front-runner for this distinct honor,” said NATAS President and CEO Adam Sharp. 

The pioneering journalist will make history as the first Black journalist to receive the Sports Emmy award. Sports Emmys head Justine Gubar said honoring someone as talented and respected as Bryant Gumbel is an achievement for the whole of sports journalism. 


“Bryant is a consummate journalist, interviewer and storyteller, and the sports media landscape is indebted to the high standard Bryant continues to set to this day,” said Gubar. 

Gumbel has earned numerous accolades and awards over the course of his career including four Emmys, three NAACP Awards, a Peabody, the Edward R. Murrow Award, the Frederick D. Patterson Award and the Martin Luther King Award from the Congress of Racial Equality. Still, he said this achievement is a lot to take in and he’s grateful. 

“It’s very humbling. I’ve been a fortunate, lucky guy. It makes you stop and take stock. You take a look at the guys who I admire a great deal who received this award, people like Vin Scully, Jim McKay and Howard Cosell. You never want to put yourself in their company, but it’s heady stuff,” he explained. 


Congratulations Bryant Gumbel!

Cover photo: Bryant Gumbel makes history as first Black journalist to receive Sports Emmy Lifetime Achievement Award/Photo Courtesy of Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

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