2016 Rising PR Stars: Gianina Thompson, Senior Publicist (NBA, MLB), ESPN

Gianina Thompson undeniably loves her job, and it shows in her work. As the senior publicist and spokeswoman for ESPN’s NBA and MLB properties, she has been a leader in brand/reputation management and pushing the network’s messages.

Thompson played an important role in building Jessica Mendoza’s (the first female MLB analyst) external reputation by telling her story in a sustained, impactful way across media outlets and platforms. This counteracted the notion that the campaign was an ESPN publicity stunt, focusing on Mendoza's unparalleled athletic career and veteran media presence.

While Thompson often hits PR home runs for MLB, she has been shooting threes on basketball PR for ESPN as well. When ABC debuted its new “Saturday Night NBA on ABC” game package, Thompson secured media placements in national publications like Forbes and The Huffington Post; writers interviewed commentators like Sage Steele, Jalen Rose and Jeff Van Gundy.

Thompson has been successful in securing NBA and MLB media interviews with Vogue, Cosmopolitan, The Wall Street Journal, Complex, Men’s Journal, The New York Times, USA TodayThe Boston Globe, Essence and many other top-tier outlets.