High-Flying Summer

August 29, 2014

By Matt Hawkins

When the bright lights above Allstate Arena’s basketball court go dark, the night is young for Bradley sports communication major Giana Thompson ’15. The Chicago Sky intern is busy working with players, team officials and media long after the crowd is gone.

Thompson, a Chicago native, spends game nights running through the arena compiling statistics for media, updating media outlets with scores and managing the media room. Once media shift attention to postgame interviews, she’s in the press conferences talking to players and coaches to gather quotes and information for the team’s official game summaries.

These busy nights comprise the next chapter in Thompson’s lifelong enjoyment of sports. She picked up basketball as a child and her passion for the sport blossomed through long days and nights with the Sky.

“This internship has sparked a new passion in me,” she said. “Meeting professional athletes and coaches and learning about their backgrounds has inspired me to have a career close to the basketball court.”

She hopes to pursue a career in college athletics, perhaps sports information or game operations.

Beyond interviewing players like Elena Delle Donne — the Sky’s 2013 No. 2 WNBA draft pick behind former Baylor standout Brittney Griner — Thompson is active in the team’s daily media relations efforts. When she’s not at the arena with the team, Thompson is at the office researching and assembling information to update the team’s media packets. That means hours of research and brainstorming sessions with fellow interns before writing stories.

These duties give Thompson a sense of pride as her work is distributed to media and fans via the press information packets and website stories.

“The most gratifying part of the internship is completing an assignment and seeing it posted or distributed,” she said. “Seeing my work gives me satisfaction that I created something that meets the team’s standards and can be viewed by so many people.”

Because of her lifelong ties to the hardwood, Thompson admits to a little “star-struck awe” when working with players she followed as a fan.

“Interacting with the athletes is nerve-wracking, but it’s rewarding,” she said. “I still look at the players as celebrities, but I’m able to keep a professional relationship.”

Additionally, Thompson has discovered an eye-opening look at the internal operations of a professional franchise that entrusted her with greater responsibility as the summer progressed.

“I was surprised that I was responsible for assignments like full-time Sky staff have,” she said.