Enterprise Unit Reporter, ESPN
Kelly Naqi joined ESPN in September 1987 and is currently assigned to the Emmy-Award winning series Outside the Lines. Naqi also contributes to other ESPN news-gathering programs, including SportsCenter.
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. She was promoted to the position of New York Bureau producer in 1995.
As a producer, Naqi won numerous awards, including an International Monitor Award, a National Association of Black Journalists Award, two New York Festivals Awards, two Miller Lite Women’s Sports Journalism Awards, two Cable Ace Awards and six Sports Emmys, including three for sports journalism.
Naqi has covered a range of sporting events, including the NBA All-Star Game and Finals, NCAA Final Four, Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500, Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes and Cal Ripken’s record-breaking consecutive games streak. Her forte has been breaking stories, such as Michael Vick’s involvement in dog fighting and 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, and how Arab-Americans and Muslims in the sports world were impacted in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.
In 1998, Naqi moved in front of the camera, becoming the only woman at ESPN to have made the transition from staff producer to on-air correspondent.
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” that 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, 1986 World Series, and 1987 Stanley Cup Finals. She also was a New York City-based broadcast associate for CBS Sports from 1984-1986.
Naqi is a native of Rumford, Rhode Island, and graduated magna cum laude from Boston College in 1984 with a B.A. in philosophy. While an undergraduate, she also covered high school football for The Boston Globe. She resides in Florida with her husband.