Stephen Bardo Former NBA Player and ESPN Announcer

Stephen Bardo, Former NBA player and ESPN announcer

Stephen Bardo is a motivational master. His experience on the basketball court and as a television analyst helped forge his fast-paced presentations that provide audiences with tools they can use immediately to achieve greater results in their professions. Growing up in Carbondale, Illinois, Bardo always strived to be the best at anything he did. ...    

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Stephen Bardo is a motivational master. His experience on the basketball court and as a television analyst helped forge his fast-paced presentations that provide audiences with tools they can use immediately to achieve greater results in their professions.

Growing up in Carbondale, Illinois, Bardo always strived to be the best at anything he did. This included school and especially sports where Stephen was an All-State and honorable mention All-American basketball player in high school and led his team to the state tournament. All of his hard work and dedication paid off when he received a scholarship from the University of Illinois.

At Illinois, Stephen started all four years at point guard and helped the Fighting Illini reach the NCAA tournament each season. During his successful collegiate career Stephen was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the year and made all conference twice. He led the "Flyin' Illini" to the Final Four in 1989, one of the most memorable teams in NCAA history.

After graduating from Illinois, Stephen was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in the 1990 NBA draft (2nd round, 41st pick overall). All had gone according to plan to this point, but this is where Stephen's professional life really began. He was devastated one night during the preseason when he was called into the coaches' office to learn he had been cut from the team. In shock, and not once had he given any thought that he would not make it straight to the NBA, Bardo regrouped and played in the CBA (developmental league for the NBA). He soon returned to his winning ways and led his team to Game 7 of the CBA championship, only to lose in the final seconds during his rookie season.

A year later he played his way onto the Dallas Mavericks, realizing yet another dream. Stephen went on to have a 10-year career with stops in the NBA (including Detroit, Dallas, and San Antonio), the CBA, and overseas in France, Italy, Japan, Spain, and Venezuela. His very last game of his career, Stephen walked off the floor with a championship, a winner!

During the off seasons of his playing career Stephen worked with television stations and ran his own sports marketing company, preparing himself for the day the ball stopped bouncing. Once the ball stopped, he didn't miss a beat. A college basketball analyst for ESPN since 2005, Stephen made the move to the Big Ten Network in 2013. "The Big Ten is home for me," says Bardo. "When I was playing in the Big Ten, it was the best college basketball conference in country, and I don't see why it can't be the same today." A successful author and speaker, Stephen is also the proud father of two sons.

  • Stephen Bardo Interview "Basketball will Pay you Back" - Coach Godwin Ep: 151

    Stephen Bardo Point Guard Vision

Don't Let the Stone Stop You: Overcoming Adversity in Business and Life:
Stephen Bardo's message "Don't Let The Stone Stop You" fits well for today's turbulent economic times. His emphasis that you control your destiny regardless of unsettled world issues rings true whether his audience includes CEOs, entrepreneurs or coaches. Among the stories that Bardo shares are his challenges en route to his road to playing in the NBA. His is a story of overcoming personal and professional adversity, something with which most audiences identify in some way.



Keynote: 60-90 Minutes
Workshop or Breakout: 60-120 Minutes

The workplace can be a challenging environment without the proper attitude among employees and co-workers. Whether your organization has experienced recent success or your team has missed their quarterly mark, we all need inspiration and a positive push from time to time.

Stephen Bardo will inspire your organization and take them on a personal growth journey. He shares techniques for personal development from working with some of the top professionals in the world of sports and broadcasting. Stephen will challenge your team to become more intentional about professional development. He will demonstrate how some of the top teams in the world “never settle” and are always striving to become better.


Why personal and professional development is critical in business.

3 steps that separate average and peek performers.

How to stay focused on controllables.

Why the fundamentals of personal development will never go out of style.


Improved organizational culture among employees.

Higher levels of commitment to improve company's direction.

Employees will have more confidence when facing future challenges.


Keynote: 45-60 Minutes
Workshop or Breakout: 60-120 Minutes


The demands on college student-athletes has never been higher! The scrutiny and pressure for college athletic programs to win and win big trickles down to the student-athlete. These challenging times require innovative strategies designed specifically for today's student-athlete.

Stephen Bardo's “POINT GUARD VISION!” program illustrates the risk/reward factors involved with athletic participation and how to take advantage of these opportunities. Stephen was the Defensive Player of the Year, All Big Ten selection, and starting point guard for the “Flyin' Illini” that reached the Final Four in 1989. His past playing experiences and current commentating duties for the Big Ten Network and Fox 1 Sports gives him a unique perspective on success for today's college student-athlete. This is a must have for any students trying to understand any college program recruiting them today.


Student-Athletes will learn to leverage their heightened exposure on campus.

Student-Athletes will learn the importance of networking for success after sports.

Student-Athletes will understand to focus on areas they can control.

Student-Athletes will develop their own identity outside of being an athlete.



Keynote: 45-60 minutes
Workshop or Breakout: 60-120 minutes


There has never been a more exciting time to enter sports broadcasting than now! There are many sports media outlets via television, radio, and internet that are available for college students with the confidence, drive, and skills to seize them.

With over 20 years of experience in the sports media world, Stephen Bardo knows what it takes to be a successful sports commentator. His “How To Break Into Sports Commentating” program shows aspiring commentators how to set themselves apart from their competition. This program stresses the importance of networking and relationship building for entry and career mobility once in the sports commentating world.


To equip interested students with the knowledge and skills needed to thrive in sports commentating

To educate students how to create their unique positioning

To inspire students to improve their craft daily

To illustrate the current opportunities available to aspiring students






Our students face challenging times. Developing leadership is one of the vital pieces for their success. Students that have a better understanding of self development, decision-making, and life mapping stand a much better chance to flourish.

In his highly popular “POINT GUARD VISION!” program, motivational speaker Stephen Bardo will inspire students to embrace personal growth and he will challenge students to make intentional choices to apply their own personal leadership skills. The direction: create confident student leaders with the ability to take advantage of opportunities that impact their world.


To motivate today's youth to CREATE their own unique path.

To inspire youth to use their talents to MAKE OTHERS BETTER.
To encourage students to FAIL their way to successl.

To help kids make BETTER CHOICES that will positively affect their future.

Don't Let The Stone Stop You!

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    Steven Bardo was the keynote speaker at a community health fair that was hosted by the sophomore class at Niles New Tech. Steven did a fantastic job. He really connected with the students and the adults in attendance as well. It was so well received we hope to have him back next year. I would highly recommend him.

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