Shams Charania is known for breaking NBA news for Yahoo! Sports. Everything from trades to free-agent signings to coach firings, Charania and ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski are the two names fans turn to for breaking news about their favorite teams.
One little-known fact about Charania is he’s a proud graduate of Loyola.
Charania, 24, walked across the stage in 2017 with a degree in communications. He rose to fame in 2015 when he joined Yahoo! Sports to cover the NBA alongside Wojnarowski after covering the NBA for RealGM. He said without his time at RealGM, he wouldn’t be in the position he’s in today with Yahoo.
“I was so grateful that RealGM actually took me on as a voluntary writer because without having that, I probably would have never been able to develop contacts,” Charania said. “That led to Yahoo, so I’m just trying to work hard and be present in the moment and see where it takes me.”
During Loyola’s Final Four loss to the University of Michigan March 31, Charania worked as the sideline reporter for TruTV’s TeamCast, a broadcast tailored to Loyola fans, alongside play-by-play announcer Jeff Hagedorn and 1963 Loyola men’s basketball team captain Jerry Harkness. While he didn’t follow Loyola basketball too closely — only making it to an estimated five games over his four years — he said the team’s success this season was special to him because he was in class with some of the players, including Donte Ingram.
“I went to class with Donte, so to see him in this position, honestly it’s great,” Charania said. “I’m glad to be able to tell people I went to class with him and he was a diligent student, someone that really works hard in class and someone that works hard on the court.”
In classes, sometimes with Ingram, Charania would have to break news on Twitter. When something needed his attention, he said he’d simply step out for as long as he needed, sometimes to his professor’s dismay.
“I would just walk out of the classroom for like 20-25 minutes on a phone call and my professor would look at me when I came back in the classroom and be like ‘We need to talk’ in front of the classroom,” Charania said. “There were probably a handful of kids that knew what I was doing … other than that, [I was] just on [my] phone in class or tried to if the professor would let [me].”
Since graduation, Charania said his job has changed a bit since he doesn’t have to worry about being in class when he gets a scoop.
“The biggest thing is me being out of school,” Charania said. “[I’ve] got more time … the work hasn’t changed. It’s just about how I’m managing time now that I’m out of school.”
While at Loyola, Charania kept a low profile. Not many people would realize they were sitting next to one of the top NBA news breakers on the intercampus shuttles. He said he didn’t know how he stayed under the radar, but he said commuting might have made it easier.
“I commuted [from Wilmette], so maybe that helped a little bit,” Charania said. “[I] just sat in the back of the classrooms. But I don’t know [how I did it].”
One piece of advice Charania said he’d give to a young journalist is to write as much as possible. He said if he hadn’t started writing for the Bulls blog, he wouldn’t have gotten where he is today.
“Write as much as possible,” Charania said. “When I was 17 [or] 18 in high school, I was writing three to five times a day about the Bulls [and] about different topics around the league and I had no viewership … most people that age, even in college, they don’t have much viewership. So … if you want to do TV, if you want to do camera work, just try to do as many reps as you can.”