Years after being cut from her seventh-grade basketball team, Lesley McCaslin said she's thrilled to have an opportunity to cover one of the top NBA teams, the Oklahoma City Thunder, as its sideline reporter.
“I was so bad, the coach told me I could be a manager,” McCaslin said. “And my tennis coach said, ‘No, you better just come back to tennis.' I've always loved basketball, but I was never very good at it.”
Although basketball didn't work out for her growing up in Lubbock, Texas, she excelled at cheerleading. As a senior at Monterey High School, she helped Texas Tech win the national cheerleading championship as a part-time student. After enrolling at the University of Texas, she joined the pom squad.
McCaslin started out as a theater major at UT, but changed her mind and went into broadcasting.
“I didn't think I wanted to act,” she said. “I'd rather be in sports.”
After graduating in 2005, she landed her first TV job as the weekend sports anchor and reporter for an Abilene TV station. A couple of years later, she returned to Austin and spent four years covering the Longhorns for cable channel News 8.
“What I like to say is while I was there, I got to cover the College World Series, the Fiesta Bowl, the (BCS) national championship, an Elite Eight run. After I left, things changed,” she said, with a chuckle. “I like to think I was good luck.”
McCaslin joined Fox Sports Southwest as a freelancer, used in a variety of anchoring and reporting roles in covering the Rangers, Mavericks and Stars, hosting college football preview shows and as a sideline reporter.
Thunder management was familiar with her work when its sideline position opened in the offseason after Kelly Crull departed.
“What an amazing team,” McCaslin said. “I came here and met literally everyone in the organization before I accepted the job. It was really neat for me. They all wanted an input from (general manager) Sam Presti on down.”