Cleveland Cavalier sideline reporter, Allie Clifton, worked next to play-by-play announcer Fred McLeod as the color analyst for Tuesday night’s Cavs vs. Suns broadcast on Fox Sports Ohio.
The team’s regular TV analyst, Austin Carr was unavailable due to funeral arrangements for his brother who passed away earlier in the month. It was Clifton’s first opportunity to serve as a color commentator.
“At this level, I don’t think I ever really thought about it, at the NBA level,” Clifton said. “But it’s something to see other women do it, Sarah Kustok, and Stephanie Ready, and Doris (Burke) of course. It just shows that the opportunity is there. So I think the chance for me to do it in a place I’m so familiar with, alongside someone like Fred. I’m excited about it.”
To help prepare for the broadcast, Clifton spoke with Kustok and Ready. Kustok shares analyst responsibilities with Jim Spanarkel for the Brooklyn Nets on the Yes Network. Stephanie Ready spent two seasons as an analyst for the Hornets before being shifted to a reporting role this season, much to the displeasure of the team’s fans.
“I want to have an understanding of feel of the game, and timing, and mechanics and so forth,” Clifton said. “They were great. At the end of the day, it’s basketball, and they told me, along with AC (Austin Carr), to just be myself.”
Veteran play-by-play announcer Fred McLeod was not concerned about Clifton’s transition stating preparation is the key. “She’ll be prepared and same for me,” McLeod said. “When you prepare, I don’t care what sport it is, it relieves all the tension. Because now you’re just reacting to what’s going on and you’re so armed with material that, then it becomes fun.”
Clifton, an Ohio native, joined the Cavaliers as their sideline reporter in 2012. Prior to her role with the Cavs, Clifton played Division I women’s basketball for the University of Toledo and worked for a local ABC affiliate after finishing school in 2010.