With so many games to cover each season, the young reporters at Rebel Report — UNLV’s student-run sports broadcast and social media outlet — are definitely getting their reps in. Senior Jade Thomas is one of the UNLV students who are making their mark in the world of sports journalism.
What inspired you to pursue sports journalism?
I've always had an outgoing personality and I've always wanted to be on TV. I love sharing my message and conveying things and my tone of voice. So having played basketball for so long, I was like, "This is perfect." I declared my major as soon as I got into college, and I knew I wanted to do sports broadcasting. I played basketball [at UNLV] on a basketball scholarship, but as of this year, I'm medically retired due to rib injuries and a shoulder injury. I’ve been pursuing this ever since, and it's been amazing. It's really cool because I have such a personal insight into basketball. I know the game, I know what I'm seeing, and it's really fun to be able to analyze it and put it into words for people.
Why did you choose UNLV?
Actually, during my senior year of high school, I thought, "I don't want to stay at home [in Vegas]," but I went on a tour of UNLV and when I saw the journalism school here I immediately committed. I chose UNLV because it's a hub for everything. There’s so much going on, I can cover multiple games in a day — one week, I covered three games in a day and they were all different sports. At Rebel Report, we cover volleyball, basketball, football, hockey, everything.
How does your experience as a former basketball player inform your coverage?
I think being a former athlete has helped me so much and given me a head start because I have a lot of access to the players and the facilities. My [basketball] career came to an end early, and I love shining light on these athletes. Being able to cover them on such a personal level is really awesome. I know this industry is very hard, so I'm ready for struggles, but so far it's been really good.
In my basketball coverage, I also focus more on defense and like the little things that don't always show up on the stat sheet because as a former player, I was making plays that didn't always show up on the stat sheet. I like to highlight the defensive mindset and bring light to the players that are not getting the attention that they deserve.
You mentioned that you suffered an injury that made your career as a basketball player come to an end — I’m curious if that’s translated into doing more with sports journalism and what your experience has been like.
My posterior labrum was torn, so last year was very hard for me. It was definitely mentally draining as well. The thing that really helped me move on from that and realize that it's okay is being involved in journalism. Still being in the atmosphere, being the emcee for the Lady Rebels — all of it makes me feel like it was meant to happen.
What do you love most about doing live coverage?
It's the second closest thing to playing. You feel the energy, you feel the crowd, and you see it all happening live. There’s nothing like watching it live. You can watch it on TV or in the studio, but I think that having that crowd gives me an extra energy boost.
What does your future in sports journalism look like?
My dream job would definitely be working on ESPN or CBS as a sports analyst, in the field, maybe in the studio. I think, though, the fun part is now, because now I just get to send my resume out and see what happens and see where it takes me. I know that you can't just go to ESPN right away. Most people can't, but I'm going to shoot high and hope for the best.