After his playing days are over, don't be surprised if you turn on NBA Countdown on ESPN and see Randy Foye sitting behind the studio desk, alongside guys like Jalen Rose and P.J. Carlesimo. If Foye isn't there, he might be a member of your favorite team's NBA front office. At just 31 years-old, Foye is looking into his future, thanks in part to the NBA Players Association's career programs.
"As a union, our role representing the players' interests does not expire when they finish playing professionally," said Michele Roberts, the executive director of the NBAPA in a statement. "It is essential to offer career development programs like Sportscaster U., and I am delighted to see the progress participants can make in their three days of training and in the following years."
Sportscaster U was Foye's first step toward testing broadcasting waters that have piqued his interest. He was at Syracuse University from June 5-8 working on show preparation, studio work, and play-by-play work of the NBA Finals for both TV and radio.
Randy Foye getting his preparation work in before getting on camera, courtesy of NBAPA.
"It was an unbelievable experience, I didn't realize how much work went into it, but I had an unbelievable time and I learned a lot," said Foye in a phone interview with Denver Stiffs. "It was something that looked like fun. At first, I thought of it as just going up there and talking about basketball. I really didn't understand the preparation, but going through the program and going through the long days at Syracuse University; allowed me to understand that a lot more goes into broadcasting, than just understanding the game. You have to be extremely professional, be ready way before the show comes on, and it's just all about preparation."
In addition to Foye, he was joined at Sportscaster U by current and former NBA players: Kelenna Azubuike, Matt Bonner, Danny Granger, Robbie Hummel, Nazr Mohammed, Amar'e Stoudemire, and Jason Thompson. Foye enjoyed the experience, and getting a chance to learn alongside his NBA peers. Being a professional basketball player that has averaged 11.5 points and 37.5% shooting from three-point land in his nine-year NBA career, Foye understands preparation.
"I'm the type of guy that believes if you study, and study hard that you'll pass the test. But if you don't prepare yourself, then you won't pass the test," explained Foye. "Every night, I would sit in the hotel room, and just would go in front of the mirror and practice - like it was the Spelling Bee."
Getting in front of a mirror and practicing being on television can be an awkward thing. But it's also a necessary evil as you must prepare yourself for being in front of the cameras. It can be difficult to be yourself when the bright lights go on.
"The first day ... I was quiet, I really didn't say much about anything. I was talking, but I just wasn't myself," said Foye. "But the second and the third day, I came of age the way I handled everything. My personality became so aggressive."
And just when you think you have everything down, there's another aspect to the broadcast game you have to learn to deal with.
"You have a producer in your ear and they say, "Hey Randy, talk about this..." and after the commercial break I talk about it and give my feelings on it," said Foye. "The producer is in your ear, and you just have to have the energy for it, but the producer is in your ear most of the time."
But like anything, it's about finding a comfortable balance. Once Foye found his voice, he was able to really articulate what he wanted to say in a unique way, as a current NBA player.
"People want to hear exactly what's going on behind closed doors, and I think I can give them that insight." said Foye.
He pointed out that he has enjoyed watching guys like Rose, a former player, and Carlesimo, a former coach, do a variety of things for ESPN. While they do have fun, perhaps not the jokesters that you'll see on TNT, they also really talk about the game, which is important to Foye.
Randy got a little broadcast time in with Altitude TV's Scott Hastings and Chris Marlowe during a Nuggets game, while he was injured. But perhaps he should log more time with Nuggets radio guru Jason Kosmicki.
"I really enjoyed play-by-play on the radio," said Foye. "and I enjoyed the studio work."
Could Hastings have some competition for his job when Foye hangs up his sneakers?
"No, he shouldn't be worried at all." Foye said with a laugh.
While Foye enjoyed his time at Sportscaster U, he also plans to take advantage of other programs available through the NBAPA, and might look into some of the programs where he can also get a feel for NBA front office life.
"I definitely have an interesting in working in a front office," said Foye, who fancies himself somewhat as a scout, "I get a feel for people, from watching guys play. I have a great feel for that."
Foye's relationship with the Nuggets' current front office is a good one. He has spoken to former player and front office member Jared Jeffries about his role with the team, and he has a long standing relationship with general manager Tim Connelly, dating back to their days together with the Washington Wizards.
Did you know Foye appeared on Canadian sitcom Wingin' It in 2010?
And while Foye is peeking down the road a bit at life after hoops, he knows what he really wants to do when he eventually calls it a career.
"What do I want to do after basketball? I want to take some time off to hang out with my wife and daughters," said Foye. "and then go from there."
The Nuggets have until July 11th to decide if they want to bring Foye back into the mix in Denver. His veteran voice, and calming presence have been key inside the Nuggets' locker room. He still sees himself as key part to what the Nuggets want to do, and plans on being back with the team.
"I want to be there, from the talks I had it looks like I'm going to be there. It's a great place. With Tim Connelly and those guys, they're great," said Foye. "They want high character guys that work hard, and give it what they have every night and that's my M.O. I'm looking forward to being on the Nuggets next year."
So, let's put Foye's new Sportscaster U training to the test. How would he access new Nuggets head coach Michael Malone?
"I know he's a good coach," explained Foye. "He got a raw deal in Sacramento when DeMarcus Cousins was hurt."
Foye is right on the nose there. The Kings started the 2014-15 season 5-1 under Malone with Cousins, but that record slipped to 9-6 before Cousins missed the next 10 games with viral meningitis. Malone was fired on Dec. 15th, as the team went just 2-7 without their best player, and Cousins returned to the lineup just three days later on Dec. 18th.
And being a well-connected NBA player, Foye was also able to offer up some insight on Malone though a former teammate that had a big imprint on Foye's career.
"Chris Paul spoke extremely high of him when we played together with the Clippers," said Foye. "Chris Paul, if he's talking highly about someone, you know he really likes them. Michael Malone must be a great guy."
Foye spent the early part of his offseason in Denver working out with strength and conditioning coach Steve Hess. Now, he's back in his home state of New Jersey, spending time with his family. And Foye has his annual basketball camp coming up, too - which you can find on Foye's website. Foye will enter his 10th NBA season when the 2015-16 campaign begins, and he'll be going into it with some new perspective.
Said Foye, "For me, being on my side, and seeing your side - I have much more respect for the grind and the every day process that you guys [in the media] do."