Summer 2016

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ESPN journalist Israel Gutierrez usually reports about others. But when his personal story came to light, he became comfortable focusing on himself. BY NILA DO SIMON PHOTOGRAPHY BY RYAN STONE Hoop Dreams Israel Gutierrez has a sweet jump shot. There's an ease to the trajectory. His right hand, which has the letter "I" tattooed in Old English font on the side of his wrist, puts a slight underspin onto the shot. His form is near-perfect while shooting hoops at the outdoor courts on Fort Lauderdale Beach. But if Gutierrez is known for anything, it's not his basketball game; it's the way he covers the sport. The nationally recognized sports reporter has written for the Miami Herald and currently covers the NBA for ESPN and He is a regular contributor to the programs "The Sports Reporters," "Around the Horn" and "The Jump," all of which feature some of the nation's most popular sports journalists. An occasional sideline reporter, 39-year-old Gutierrez has evolved into a multimedia sports figure, completing the trifecta of media by also co-hosting the weeknight radio show "Jorge and Izzy" with Jorge Sedano on ESPN Radio. Raised in Miami by Dominican parents, Gutierrez grew up in the heyday of Dan Marino and Don Shula, and the rise of the Miami Heat and Florida Marlins, perfect breeding grounds to develop a love of sports. "I would read these sports articles by Dan Le Batard and Dave Hyde, and I thought they were phenomenal," Gutierrez says. "When I read them, I started experiencing all these emotions. As I got older, I realized they were among the best of the best sports writers." After getting a taste of journalism as editor of his high school yearbook, Gutierrez went on to study at the University of Florida, where classmate Jesse Eisenberg (now the fantasy sports editor at Yahoo) introduced Gutierrez to sports writing at the student-run newspaper, The Independent Florida Alligator. The rest, as they say, is history. Gutierrez interned at the Palm Beach Post, which eventually hired him after he graduated. 88

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