In xoNecole's Finding Balance, we profile boss women making boss moves in the world and in their respective industries. We talk to them about their business, their life, and most of all, what they do to find balance in their busy lives.
LaChina Robinson is one of the most admirable women in the sports media disrupting the broadcasting industry one game at a time. Of course, before she was the LaChina Robinson that we all know and love from ESPN, Fox Sports 1, and NBATV, she was a 6'4" 14-year-old girl who was struggling to find her place in the world on top of day-to-day teen angst. Once she gave basketball a try, she felt like she belonged for the first time, which allowed her to tap into her strength, find her voice, embrace her unique features and eventually earn a college scholarship.
"Now I get to give back to the sport that gave so much to me while also giving women's sports the spotlight it deserves and helping to increase media imagery of powerful women," the Rising Media Stars co-founder told xoNecole. Though Robinson is working tirelessly to demolish the stigmas against Black women in sports broadcasting such as lack of audience interest, not being attractive to the average viewer, and their opinions not mattering to sports fans, she knows that she's not alone in the fight for equality for women's sports reporters' rights.
"There is a look and sound brought to you by mainstream America and Black women are led to believe that we don't check the boxes. What I love about the trend we are seeing with black women in sports like Jemele Hill, Cari Champion, Maria Taylor, we are creating our own boxes, so check that!"
Just like any job, being a sports analyst comes with its ups and downs, but LaChina Robinson loves her career and the research, passion, and packaging behind the pretty picture she paints on-screen. "I love telling the story behind the athlete. I cover the WNBA which is a league of 80% Black women who are undercovered by the media, unappreciated, and overlooked," the Around The Rim podcast host shared. "I take pride in shining a light on who they are as athletes, moms, business owners, activists, philanthropists, and much more. We need to expose the world to how incredible the Black female athlete really is."
As for the future of sports journalism in relation to the inclusivity of Black women, LaChina had this to say: "I believe the future of Black women in sports media is more Black women as a play-by-play announcers, analysts, editors in the newsroom, directors, and producers on live sporting events, and much more. These spaces are lacking diversity and Black women need to be in positions of power with freedom to create, hire, make decisions, and drive the narrative."
xoNecole had the chance to speak with multifaceted sports media maven about the importance of her relationship with God, how rapping Jay-Z helps her warm up before reporting a game, and how she finally started to make dating a priority in this installment of xoNecole's "Finding Balance".
xoNecole: At what point in your life did you understand the importance of pressing pause?
LaChina Robinson: I was in my late 20's before my career in broadcasting started and I got physically ill. I could not dig myself out of this hole of physical, spiritual, and emotional suffering. When I reflect back, I had been working for two years straight without a vacation and I had nothing left. I emerged from that situation closer to God, my purpose, and definitely learned the importance of pressing pause.
What is a typical day in your life? If no day is quite the same, give me a rundown of a typical work week and what that might consist of.
Being a basketball analyst requires a lot of homework, film, interview, studying stats, and reading articles. People think that you just show up on television and talk about what you see; not even close. I am buried in research and the game itself is literally 10% of all the work you do.
What are your mornings like?
I get up, say my prayers, listen to a meditation podcast (I love the Shine App), and try not to pick up my phone, which is a daily battle. I have a cup of decaf coffee, check my schedule for the day, and I'm off and running. In a pre-pandemic year, I am on a plane at least 160 days a year so when I am home, I spend a lot of time running errands, watching film, and packing for my next trip.
How do you wind down at night?
I am a big fan of the Calm app which gets my mind drifting off into stories that take my focus off of the worries of life. I've started drinking tea more often before bed to relax. During the pandemic, I am definitely watching more Netflix and Hulu and would like to do more reading before bed but it's a work in progress.
When you have a busy week, what’s the most hectic part of it?
The most hectic week for me is when I have to be in four different cities in a week. I could have two or three games, be hosting a special event, moderate a panel discussion, and before I know it, I am only home one or two days a week; that's hard. The traveling is the hardest part. I got so used to the get-up-and-go that I don't think I fully realized how hard it is to build consistency in your life when you are never in one city for very long.
Do you practice any types of self-care? What does that look like for you?
Self-care for me is listening to a church sermon, working out, treating myself to a two-hour deep tissue massage once or twice a month, getting a mani-pedi, or going to the park and meditating, reading, stretching, and cooking when the motivation hits me.
What advice do you have for busy women who feel like they don’t have time for self-care?
You have to make time for self-care; no one can pour from an empty cup. My word over the last two years has been "replenish". I realized that I give so much of myself mentally, physically, spiritually to everyone's else's priorities, but who is going to take care of me? That is ultimately my responsibility and I deserve to take time for myself and take care of myself.
"You have to make time for self-care; no one can pour from an empty cup. My word over the last two years has been 'replenish'. I realized that I give so much of myself mentally, physically, spiritually to everyone's else's priorities, but who is going to take care of me? That is ultimately my responsibility and I deserve to take time for myself and take care of myself."
How do you find balance with:
I have the best friends in the world because they are super understanding that my travel and work schedules are crazy. I can be going at a fast pace and then have like a month where I am not as busy so my friends either see me often or not at all. I love pool days, park days, long FaceTimes, and trying new restaurants with friends when I can.
I finally started making dating a priority about two years ago. Something happened to me in my 30's where all of a sudden I was willing to move my life and career around to prioritize love which was a huge step for a girl who has always been career first.
I love the app ClassPass because I can dip into one of the many great workout classes available in Atlanta or on the road. I like a combination of muscle toning and cardio so you will find me in spin, interval training, I get bored with workouts so bouncing around in different classes keeps me excited for that next workout challenge.
What about health? Do you cook or find yourself eating out?
I am trying to like cooking but it just isn't my thing. Traveling as much as I do makes it hard on grocery shopping and cooking. I have tried a few meal prep services I like which helps to keep things healthy but I love some DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates, definitely lifesavers for a girl on the go.
Do you ever detox?
I am a fan of fasting more than detoxing but it is something I would like to do more of. Fasting just helps me to reset my system, get my appetite under control, and keep a healthy mindset around the purpose of food which is really to nourish.
When you are going through a bout of uncertainty, or feeling stuck, how do you handle it?
Prayer. My relationship with God is the foundation of my life. I don't know where I would be without His grace and mercy. God is my best friend and the first place I turn in times of uncertainty, anxiety, or need direction.
What do you do when you have a creative block when creating concepts for a project?
I like to rap Jay-Z lyrics before my games. Not only has his music been the soundtrack to my life but when you need to get a report out and want to speak clearly and with fluidity, rap lyrics are the perfect warm-up.
Honestly, what does success mean to you? What does happiness mean to you?
My definition of success over time has changed but at this point in my career, I would say peace, purpose, and freedom. I want to be able to lay my head on the pillow every night and feel like I am in alignment with the plan God has for me, that I am proud of my personal and professional brand, and that I have freedom to be the ultimate decision-maker on where I want to put my time and energy.
For more of LaChina, follow her on Instagram!
Featured image courtesy of LaChina Robinson.