Kara Lawson

UT Knoxville, ’03

Kara Lawson in her Lady Vol uniform laying up a shot
Photo courtesy of UT Knoxville Athletics

Kara Lawson, a 2008 gold-medal Olympian, a 2005 Women’s National Basketball Association champion, four-time All-SEC women’s basketball player and UT Knoxville Torchbearer, learned to put everything into whatever she does.

“One of the great lessons I learned from Coach (Pat) Summitt was how hard you have to compete,” Lawson says. “She taught you the lesson and then pushed you to be able to fully understand it so that you could be a master at it when you left. That’s what great teachers do.”

Lawson has carried that lesson beyond her basketball career into her 14 years as a broadcaster with ESPN television. In 2007, she became the first woman to work as a nationwide broadcast analyst for a National Basketball Association game. She has called the Women’s Final Four and regularly calls both men’s and women’s games.

“It’s honest. You can’t fake it,” she says of basketball. “If you are good at basketball, it’s because you work and practice. If you are in shape, it’s because you put your time in and pushed yourself. You can’t cheat it.”

But, no matter the success she has achieved, she continues to push herself. While she stays busy with her broadcasting career throughout the year, during the summer of 2017 she took four high-school players to China to represent in the United States in the three-on-three World Championships.

“I love being able to stay involved in the game,” she says. “It’s something that brings me great joy.”

Part of the Tennessee Alumnus100 Distinguished Alumni feature.