Nyrie Iskandarian has been speaking fluent sports since she was a little girl.
“Growing up, I was watching ESPN instead of the Disney Channel,” said the aspiring broadcast journalist from South Florida. “Sports became a part of my life. I grew up around it.”
At 21 years old, Iskandarian is a new graduate from Florida State University (FSU), where she majored in English, writing and media. She is now charting her professional career in the sports broadcast industry while celebrating the release of her first ever children’s book titled Maya’s Shot.
The motivational, 24-page story is about a young girl who discovers her passion and talents in the game of basketball through her introduction to the legacy of Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant.
This project has been three years in the making. Iskandarian said she was inspired by the NBA All-Star after his tragic death in January of 2020. “Kobe was one of the biggest inspirations in my life,” said Iskandarian, who recalled jotting down the Hall of Famer’s post-game statistics in a small notebook when she was around eight years old. “My dad was a big fan of his, so I became a big fan of his.”
The youngest daughter of the late Steve Iskandarian, Nyrie fondly remembers weeknights on the couch with her father watching the Miami Heat and rooting for the Dolphins during Sunday Night Football. “Moments like that I cherish forever,” she recalled. “I always think of those times. They are very special memories I keep close to my heart.” Iskandarian dedicated Maya’s Shot in memory of her father who shared in her love of sports.
Iskandarian is an active member of her local Armenian community in Boca Raton, where she supports the events and activities of St. David Armenian Church. Like her father, she is also a proud member of Homenetmen.
This past weekend, Iskandarian hosted a book launch party at her home for friends and family, who were surprised to see copies of Maya’s Shot on display as she had kept this project under wraps for almost three years. Sales of her book have already exceeded her expectations. “The response has been amazing. I still can’t believe it,” said the young author. “It warms my heart. I love it.”
Iskandarian has been making a name for herself since the fall of 2019 when she debuted her blog and sports media company Speak Sports. She spoke with the Weekly from her home studio, where she hosts and produces her own podcast under the same name. Behind her was a wall of sports memorabilia with trading cards, a signed football, a copy of The Mamba Mentality: How I Play and a growing collection of media passes. She said she will make room to proudly display a print copy of this article in the Weekly.
Iskandarian, who has reported from the sidelines for ACC Network and FSU Athletics, has been dreaming of becoming a sports reporter since she was 14 years old. A confident and talented budding professional, Iskandarian has garnered a sizable audience on social media that appreciates her well-rounded knowledge and commentary on nearly every type of sport from baseball to boxing. On her podcast, she has chatted with former NFL players like Pittsburgh Steeler Bryant McFadden and Shawn Wooden (Miami Dolphins) and blogged about her predictions in the NFL and NBA playoffs.
Unfortunately, Iskandarian has already run into some of the challenges involved with working in a male-dominated industry. She says she has received disrespectful and belittling comments from sexist social media users, but she remains undaunted. “I just use that as motivation,” explained Iskandarian. “I feel like I have the ability to open the door for the generation under me like those women in the generation above me, so I’m going to keep striving to do that.”
Iskandarian says she is committed to working hard to achieve her on-air dreams. In addition to promoting her new children’s book and producing consistent content for Speak Sports, Iskandarian is busy on the job hunt, writing cover letters and perfecting her reel. “No one should stop you from doing what you love,” she concluded. “You just gotta do it no matter what anybody says.”