Broadcaster Robin Roberts was born in Mississippi in 1960 in an upper class household. Her father Lawrence Roberts was a member of the famed “Tuskegee Airmen” and her mother Lucimarian served for years on the Mississippi State Board of Education. Her mother was adamant about teaching young Robin correct grammar and elocution. Robin took to sports at a young age becoming a champion high school basketball player as well as a Mississippi state bowling champion by the age of ten. Robin majored in communications at Southeastern Louisiana University. She was a star on the women’s basketball team and became the university’s third highest all-time scorer and rebounder in school history and graduated cum laude in 1983.
Roberts was drawn to broadcast journalism by watching her older sister Sally-Ann, a television anchor. Robin was a real on-camera presence and turned down offers for news reporting after graduating college but instead Roberts took a part-time job as a weekend sports anchor at a small television station in Hattiesburg, Mississippi for a starting salary of only $5.50 an hour. Soon she moved to the larger market of Biloxi, Mississippi spending an additional two years there before eventually moving again to Nashville and then Atlanta before joining ESPN in 1990 with an offer to host the stations hit overnight SportsCenter recapping the day’s highlights in sports. Within just a month of being at the Bristol, CT ESPN headquarters, Robin was promoted to the prominent anchor position of Sunday SportsDay and NFL Prime Time.
Robin was the first black anchorwoman hired by ESPN and was one of the networks most popular and affable hosts. Roberts’ seemingly unquenchable work ethic took over and she took on as many big assignments that the sports super-station could give her. She landed her own series called In the SportsLight in 1994 that touched upon interviews with famous people whose lives had been touched by athletics. Her guests included everyone from Bill Cosby, MC Hammer to U.S. Senator Bill Bradley. Roberts became omnipresent in the sports world covering the Winter and Summer Olympics, Ladies Pro Golfing and the ATF Tennis Tour.
Robin broadened her resume to include regular news and in 2002 she became a part of the Good Morning America news team. She went on to prove to be one of TV’s most versatile and talented anchors on TV and continued to climb the ladder of news broadcasting. In 2007, Robin was diagnosed with breast cancer and fought a very public and courageous battle with the disease. Almost five years after starting to fight the disease, Robin announced that she was diagnosed with MDS (myelodysplastic syndrome) and was in need of a bone marrow transplant. Fortunately her sister Sally-Ann Roberts was an almost perfect match for a transplant for Robin. Her operation was successful and Robin went home after three weeks of treatment. Robin is now planning her triumphant return to the Good Morning America family in the first quarter of 2013.