Join ESPN 'SportsCenter' anchor Kenny Mayne, a native of Kent, for a live chat with Seattle Times readers from noon to 1 p.m. He's answering questions now.
ESPN “SportsCenter” anchor Kenny Mayne joined Seattle Times readers for a live chat on Wednesday, Dec. 9. Scroll through the window above to see a full replay of what Mayne had to say.
Mayne, 56, has been an anchor for ESPN’s Los Angeles-based version of “SportsCenter” since 2013 and has been a mainstay on the network since he joined in 1994. He and ESPN agreed last week to a new contract that will keep him as a “SportsCenter” anchor and reporter for years to come.
“Happy to be back for more. It beats real work,” Mayne said in the network’s announcement. “I fly to L.A. for a week, talk sports and make up words. Sometimes I literally make up the words. Pure gibberish.”
A native of Kent, a suburb of Seattle, Mayne wasn’t always a nationally known television personality. He worked as a garbage collector during college, according to his ESPN bio, and even worked in sales as recently as 1994.
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But Mayne, after playing football at Wenatchee Valley Community College and then UNLV, got his true start in television at KLVX-TV, a PBS affiliate in Las Vegas. From there, he moved to Seattle’s KSTW-TV (now CW11) in 1982 and worked his way up to weekend sports anchor by 1989.
From 1990 to 1994, Mayne mainly worked as a freelance reporter and field producer for ESPN. ESPN hired him full-time in ’94 and he has been with the Bristol, Connecticut-based network since then.
Here’s some more background info from his ESPN bio:
In his work as an anchor and reporter, Mayne has become well known for his offbeat style, dry humor, and unique sayings (“thanks for having electricity”) and home run calls (“I am amused by the simplicity of this game!”). Although he stands out in the studio – his most prominent roles have been on SportsCenter, ESPN2’s motorsports show, RPM 2Night and hosting both seasons of the sports trivia game show 2-Minute Drill – it truly shines in features, often humorous and currently his primary vehicle as a commentator at ESPN. His popular “The Mayne Event” segments on Sunday NFL Countdown ranged from the fourth grader who wore a Brett Favre jersey for 600 days to the “real reason” quarterbacks lick their fingers to making nachos with Martha Stewart and highlighted his creativity and deadpan delivery that has distinguished his career’s work.
From 2008 – 2011, he produced and starred in an original scripted series on ESPN.com titled Mayne Street. Mayne played himself in a fictionalized version of life at the center of sports television. In 2011, he shifted gears and debuted Kenny Mayne’s Wider World of Sports on ESPN.com. Inspired by the iconic Wide World of Sports on ABC in days gone by, it takes a look at unusual sports from exotic and distant locales around the world.
For many years until 2011, Mayne also hosted ESPN’s horse racing coverage, a life-long passion, for which he was honored in 2006 with the Old Hilltop Award for excellence in covering thoroughbred racing from the Maryland Horse Breeders Association.
Mayne joined ESPN as an ESPN2 SportSmash anchor, providing five-minute score and news reports every half-hour, and as a feature reporter for SportsNight. Beginning in September 1995, he served as the original host of ESPN2’s weekend auto racing news and highlights programs, Sunday morning’s RPM 2Day and RPM 2Night on Saturday and Sunday. He also occasionally anchored SportsCenter until assuming that role fulltime in August 1997.