Fake It Till You Make It, Then Come Clean: A Sportscaster's Big Break How do you become a sportscaster when you've never done it before? Adrián García Márquez, now La Voz De Los Lakers, faked a demo tape with the help of a Sega console and FIFA '95.
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Fake It Till You Make It, Then Come Clean: A Sportscaster's Big Break

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Fake It Till You Make It, Then Come Clean: A Sportscaster's Big Break

Fake It Till You Make It, Then Come Clean: A Sportscaster's Big Break

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ARUN RATH, HOST:

Now for the latest installment of our series My Big Break about career triumphs, big and small. If you watch sports in Spanish, there's a good chance you've heard the voice of Adrian Garcia Marquez.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPORTS BROADCAST)

ADRIAN GARCIA MARQUEZ: Kobe (speaking Spanish).

RATH: He's called the World Series, the Olympics, Monday night football. Nowadays, he is La Voz de los Lakers. Before all that, though, Adrian Garcia Marquez was an amateur baseball player, struggling through college ball and then the Mexican League. Then he found his girlfriend was pregnant and decided it was time for a real career. He'd always wanted to be a broadcaster, so he got a job handing out bumper stickers and flyers and DJ-ing overnight for a San Diego radio station called Jammin' Z90.

(SOUNDBITE OF JAMMIN' Z90 JINGLE)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Jammin' Z90...

MARQUEZ: In my heart, I didn't want to be a hip-hop disc jockey. I mean, I loved it, but I wanted to go to sports. So another got promotions guy told me, hey, man, I have a buddy of mine who told me that he has a buddy that knows this guy that wants to start off doing broadcasts for television - just a few games for San Diego Flash, which is an A-league team - minor league soccer. You want to call him up? Yeah, I'll call him up.

You know, so I called him up. I had no demo. So how do I get a demo on the fly, out of nowhere, having zero experience? Make one. Fake one, basically. So I did have a Sega. I did have "FIFA Soccer", 1995 edition.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO GAME, "FIFA SOCCER")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: EA Sports - it's in the game.

MARQUEZ: So I pop it into the console. I recorded the beautiful crowd chants that I had 'cause technology was advancing, so it sounded like a real soccer game. So I figured I'll grab that crowd noise, put it on a tape. Then from that, I recorded America, which is a Mexican soccer team, and River Plate, which is like the Yankees of Argentina soccer, right? So they're playing each other - Copa Libertadores. I just happened to record a game.

(SOUNDBITE OF SOCCER GAME)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: (Speaking Spanish).

MARQUEZ: So I grabbed that video, pulled the TV into the bathroom, had a boom-box with that Sega crowd noise I recorded from "FIFA 95." And I just grabbed my little handheld, and I recorded a minute of play-by-play. I turned that into the guy, and he told me there was two spots available. He told me he loved what he heard, that I'm definitely going to have one, but I still have to go through the audition process, but that he really my demo.

I go home. I'm happy. I', telling the wife, babe, it worked out. It's awesome. I feel good. But then it kind of set in, like, oh, I'm such a liar. I mean 'cause I told him that, you know, I had a couple of contacts - an uncle or something - that, you know, allowed me to broadcast as young as I was. And I felt like such a liar, so I went back, and I told him the truth. Frederico (ph), you know what? I lied, man. You know, I did the Sega. I told him the whole story.

He starts laughing. He goes, well, if you can do this with home appliances [expletive] lying around your house, I can only imagine what you're going to do with the real gear, and thank you for being honest. And that's where it started.

That was the big break, and it just happened really fast. I mean, put it this way. The time my son was born, when I started putting bumper stickers on cars, it was at the end of '97. '98 - San Diego Flash, '99 - Chargers...

(SOUNDBITE OF FOOTBALL GAME)

MARQUEZ: (Speaking Spanish) Touchdown, San Diego.

Then bam - here I am calling Oakland A's baseball in 2000 on opening night. When I got to the Oakland A's, ESPN happened to show up on a weekend. They heard the broadcast. Alvaro Martin - that was a huge break. I get into ESPN. Next thing you know, I'm the voice of the Red Sox at the same time that I'm doing Wednesday night and Sunday night baseball, Monday night football, NFL primetime.

(SOUNDBITE OF BASEBALL GAME)

MARQUEZ: (Speaking Spanish) - Los Red Sox - (speaking Spanish).

I caught myself at 2009 World Series. The Yankees opening up new Yankee Stadium, and there I am behind home plate, calling the game. And I had that moment like (speaking Spanish). What the heck are you doing here? And I'm going to be saying to myself when the Lakers get another title before Kobe retires again (speaking Spanish). What the heck are you doing here? And I'm going to have the answer. I earned it. That's why I'm here. And thank you, "Sega FIFA 95." Without you, none of this would be possible. (Laughter).

RATH: Adrian Garcia Marquez, La Voz de los Lakers. You don't have to call Lakers games to have a big break. Send us your story at mybigbreak@npr.org.

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