"If you're a fan, what you will see in the next minutes, hours, and days to follow may convince you that you've gone to sports heaven…"
On September 7, 1979, those were the first words spoken by Lee Leonard during the debut of ESPN's new daily sports television show called SportsCenter. And Leonard—who was seated next to his co-anchor George Grande at the time—was right. SportsCenter was a dream come true for many sports fans. At the time, there were very few shows that were devoted solely to sports. So SportsCenter was a godsend for fans who wanted to park themselves in front of their TVs and hear about nothing but sports.
Since that day, SportsCenter—which has now aired more than 50,000 original episodes since 1979—has grown by leaps and bounds. It's now shown live up to 12 times every day on ESPN, ESPN2, and other ESPN-owned channels, meaning it's damn-near impossible to escape the iconic SportsCenter theme song ("dun-nuh-nuh, dun-nuh-nuh"). It broadcasts from studios in both Bristol, Conn.—where ESPN has its headquarters—and Los Angeles. And in addition to sports highlights, the show now features commentary, debate, and feature stories on athletes.
There's one other thing that has also changed over the course of the last 35 years, too—the anchors who host SportsCenter. Since it first started airing in 1979, there have been dozens and dozens of anchors who have come and gone, some lasting just a year or two and others lasting for a decade or more. So to help celebrate the 35th anniversary of the show, we thought we'd take a look back at some of the most memorable SportsCenter anchors of all time. These are The Most Popular ESPN SportsCenter Personalities: From Most Hated to Most Tolerable.