Kelly Naqi joined ESPN in September 1987, and is currently one of two full-time reporters assigned to the Emmy-Award winning series Outside the Lines. Naqi also contributes to ESPNEWS, and other ESPN news-gathering programs, including SportsCenter, NFL Tonight, and Baseball Tonight.
Naqi began her career behind the scenes, joining ESPN as a Bristol-based associate producer, contributing to features for SportsCenter, college basketball, NBA Today and Outside the Lines. Naqi was promoted to New York Bureau Producer in 1995.
As a producer, Naqi won numerous awards, including an International Monitor Award, two Miller Lite Women’s Sports Journalism Awards, two Cable Ace Awards and six Sports Emmys, including three for sports journalism. Naqi produced four features for the 1994 Outside the Lines show which won an Emmy for “Program Achievement.”
Naqi has covered a range of sporting events, including the NBA All-Star Game and Finals, the NCAA Final Four, the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500, Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes, Breeders Cup and Cal Ripken’s record-breaking consecutive games streak. Her forte has been producing long-format features on social issues as they relate to sports, such as Nike’s labor practices in Vietnam, sports changes in Russia since the fall of Communism, sports programs in prison, and the healing affect a little league team had on Montoursville, Penn., which lost 16 of its high school students in the crash of TWA flight 800.
In 1998, Naqi moved in front of the camera, becoming the only woman at ESPN to have made the transition from producer to on-air correspondent. As a reporter, Naqi continues to cover socially relevant topics, such as how high school athletes in Louisiana were affected by Hurricane Katrina, and how Arab Americans and Muslims in the sports world were impacted in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.
In June 2006, Naqi received the Pop Warner Female Achievement Award, presented to “a woman who inspires others by showing a remarkable strength of character and leadership through her lifetime achievements.” That same month, she accepted a Gracie Award from the Foundation of American Women in Radio and Television, awarded to Outside the Lines as an “Outstanding Sports Program.” In January 2007 Naqi was one of 10 “On-Air Women” in Multichannel News magazine recognized in its “2007 Wonder Women” special.
Prior to joining ESPN, Naqi served as a sports producer at KYW-TV in Philadelphia, covering Julius Erving’s last season in the NBA, the 1986 World Series and the 1987 Stanley Cup Finals.
Naqi is a native of Rumford, RI, and graduated magna cum laude from Boston College in 1984 with a B.A. in Philosophy. While an undergraduate, Naqi also covered high school football for The Boston Globe. Naqi resides in New York with her husband.
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