This little baller’s hitting the huge time!
Upper West Sider Camilla “Pepper” Persley is simply 10, however after Game 5 of the Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks’ first-round sequence on Wednesday, she may have referred to as her first NBA playoff recreation.
The fourth-grader, who moonlights as a reporter and podcaster, shall be a part of the inaugural “Clippers Kids Cast,” a youth-centric broadcast that includes graphics, animation and quippy kid-friendly commentary.
“When I found out, I was really excited, but I was a little nervous,” Persley, who flew out to LA on Tuesday for the recreation, instructed The Post. “But now that we are almost there, it’s really all excitement.”
After all, the budding broadcaster who acquired her begin at the tender age of 6, shall be getting assists from two professionals, analyst Corey Maggette and Clippers radio voice Noah Eagle, who did the play by play for the wildly fashionable, slime-drenched Nickelodeon broadcast of the NFL Saints-Bears playoff game again in January.
“[Noah] is really awesome. He is funny, and I think we have great chemistry so far. I am very excited to get to LA and broadcast with him and Corey,” stated the pint-sized, lifelong Nets fan who’s getting ready for her gig by finding out up on the Clippers’ roster.
Nicknamed Pepper — after the Marvel character Pepper Potts — by her father, Persley interviews WNBA gamers on her Instagram web page “Dish With Pepper” and podcast “She Got Next.” She caught the Clippers’ eye when she co-hosted a digital panel they produced for the YMCA in Los Angeles.
“Her poise and talent left an impression on all of us,” stated Gillian Zucker, Clippers’ president of enterprise operations.
“When the details for this broadcast started coming together, Pepper was the first person we thought of . . . Her future isn’t just bright, it’s blinding.”
The precocious Persley, whose father, Christopher, has been a New York Liberty season ticket holder since the crew’s first season in 1997, credit her begin in media to curiosity and a ardour for hoops.
“[Initially,] I don’t think I was necessarily interested in journalism. I just had so many questions about the WNBA and the players that my parents couldn’t answer,” stated Persley. When she was 6, her father, who had a reference to the Liberty, organized an interview with Sugar Rodgers, who was enjoying for the crew at the time.
“He thought they were just going to pass some questions along, but it became this big thing,” stated Persley. She sat down with Rodgers, and it ignited a facet hustle for Persley. The subsequent yr she interviewed a handful of gamers on anti-bullying for her YouTube channel. Then final May, as the pandemic was raging, she launched her Instagram Live sequence and podcast. “I wanted to bring a smile to people’s faces,” she stated of her challenge.
But her poise and considerate line of questioning did greater than make individuals smile. It introduced a flurry of league superstars to her digital interview chair.
So far, she has chatted with gamers similar to Sabrina Ionescu, Sue Bird, Liz Cambage and Brittney Griner, in addition to coaches and different broadcasters, together with her two favorites, Meghan McPeak, who calls video games for the Washington Mystics and Nets analyst Sarah Kustok.
“I love what [Sarah] does, because she is a woman in a space where there is basically all men . . . [Meghan] is one of my mentors, and I texted her this morning to tell her about this. We had five texts back and forth with her telling me I was going to be awesome.”
However, Persley received’t play favorites with gamers, solely saying, “They all inspire me.”
On recreation day, she’ll be sporting a Clippers jersey and sporting a key round her neck that was given to her classmates by her instructor again in September. “I’m not super superstitious. But it’s something tangible to hold onto. I thought it was cool.”
And she’ll be listening to her private playlist titled “Calm down, you’re gonna do great,” which has inspirational songs together with “Born To Be Brave” from the “High School Musical: The Musical” sequence.
When she’s not reporting on sports activities, she’s enjoying them. Persley fits up for soccer, softball and basketball — the latter with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) program Future Ladies Who Hoop. The petite fourth-grader stated she likes to “break ankles” along with her deft ball-handling abilities.
Although Wednesday’s Clippers broadcast will air solely on the West Coast, followers throughout the nation can get a style of her abilities on the crew’s social-media platforms — and that’s simply the starting for the rising younger star.
“I think this is a really big opportunity, and I can’t wait to see what else comes of it,” stated Persley. “A lot of people expect kids to have dreams and grow up and then achieve them. And I am really lucky to achieve them while I am a kid, so I want to be a role model and an inspiration.”