FOCUS | NATE BURLESON
around the house saying them out loud because that’s one of the things that I do as an exercise: I try to say it out loud as much as I can, so when I read it, I’m just reciting the rhythm versus reading the words. It was scary, but I also feel like James was preparing me over the last couple of years. Even my first, second, third year, there’d be moments where he’d be like, “Nate, take us to the commercial break,” or he’d say in the commercial break, “All right, I’m going to say the first line and you lay out and toss the people to the next game.” He wasn’t doing that because he was tired or couldn’t do it. He was doing it because he was giving me live reps. When a coach gives you live reps, that means you’re going to get in the game and have a greater role at some point. But that was tough. It wasn’t my first time, though. When was the first time you really had to scramble and adapt on TV? NB: I remember years ago, when the Super Bowl was in Santa Clara. I’m sitting in my hotel room, one of the execs from NFL Network calls me and they say, “Hey, what are you doing tomorrow?” And I’m like, “I guess prepping for my show.” They said, “Well, we have an interview with Lady Gaga and we want you to do it.” I said, “Wait a minute, what? First of all, tomorrow? And second of all, why me?” They’re like, “Well, you’re tapped into that entertainment space.” So that night I spent as much time as I could refreshing myself on her story, maybe some songs that I wasn’t familiar with, but then formulating my questions. I listened to songs from deep cuts in her album, and obscure songs like singles that weren’t at the top of the charts, and I took lines from those songs, and quotes from those songs, and I weaved them into the questions that I wanted to ask.
She walks in the room and it just feels like all the air got sucked out. She just has this aura about her. So she walks in and I ask her the first question. She answers it. Second question, she kind of hears her lyrics in these questions. She was like, “All right.” Third question comes and she’s like, “Wait a minute, nobody’s ever done an interview like this. You did your homework.” And I said, “Well, I had to. You’re Lady Gaga .” That prepared me for a ton of TV moments. What does it mean joining CBS’s morning show and how excited are you for this challenge? NB: I’m thrilled, just for the simple fact that this is a legacy show. It’s rare that you have an opportunity to join a teamwith such rich tradi- tion. In sports, you can’t control every move that’s made throughout your career—you can be drafted somewhere, traded somewhere— and you don’t always land in the spot where you want to be. But CBS’s morning show is truly one of those hallmark shows. And I’m joining one of those teams, in football terms, that is of champion- ship quality.
“ I’ll be able to wake up with the viewers every single morning and give them a little bit of me, along with my honesty, my love, and my passion. It’s going to spill over right onto their breakfast tables.”
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