A lot of public personalities live in deathly fear of the @OldTakesExposed Twitter account. Not Nick Wright.
“If you’re afraid of showing up on it, you’re going to mute your opinion,” says Wright, the Kansas City native who co-hosts Fox Sports 1’s morning show, First Things First. “The keys to success in this business: You have to be authentic, you have to be honest, you have to be consistent, you have to be your true self and you also have to be unafraid of being wrong.”
Wright grew up in south Kansas City, where his dad worked as a firefighter and president of the local firefighters union.
“My dad will tell you there was a moment when I was a little kid where I finally realized I was not going to be a professional basketball player,” Wright says. “And from that moment on, I always just wanted to talk about sports for a living.”
That’s a big, hazy dream, but it started to become more clear when Wright attended a benefit dinner with his mother and met the emcee, legendary sports broadcaster Bob Costas.
“I walked over to him and introduced myself and asked him where he went to school and what he did, and he told me he went to Syracuse and worked at WAER, and from that moment forward I decided that’s what I was going to do,” Wright says. “I bought a Syracuse flag and put it above my bed. It was the only school I applied to.”
Today, Wright lives in a Harlem brownstone and, for now, still records his show from his living room—for our Zoom interview, the blue wooden backdrop you see on TV was off-kilter in the background. His day starts at 5 am when he gets up and readies himself for his show’s morning meeting. He records his show, then, a few days a week does a podcast with his twenty-three-year-old son. After family time, meals and napping, he settles in to watch sports until midnight or so.
And when he’s watching, he’s not trying to mute his rooting interests. “I felt it was important to not pretend I’m not a fan—I’m still a fan,” he says. “I don’t think it’s my job to be unbiased. It’s my job to be honest about the biases I have. Being a Chiefs fan on TV was a little easier when Wright began his TV career—the team went from 1993 to 2015 without winning a playoff game. That kid Patrick Mahomes was still at Texas Tech. So Wright began talking about the Chiefs on TV.
Wright’s fortunes rose with the team. He’s had a number of viral clips related to the Chiefs—including a few that aged poorly during the slow start to the 2021 season. Wright had argued after Mahomes’ week one win over pick-tossing Baker Mayfield that it was time to “seriously consider” whether the Chiefs might go 20-0, as former receiver Tyreek Hill had predicted.
“People were enjoying clowning me when they were 3-4 and people thought they were going to miss the playoffs,” he says. “I enjoyed being someone who never abandoned ship, and I was totally right that Mahomes was going to get it together and turn it around.”
Wright has of late been beefing with Kevin Durant on Twitter (full disclosure: I have also beefed with @easymoneysniper) and continues to be bullish about the Chiefs even with Hill headed to Miami.
“I trust Mahomes enough that I think the offense is going to be an A-minus offense at worst and probably an A-level offense almost no matter who’s around him,” he says. “The offense will be fine.”
But, then again, he might be wrong.
“Nobody actually claims they can see the future, so all of our predictions are just that: predictions,” he says. “Nobody knows what’s going to happen.”
Anthony’s Restaurant on Grand: “I kinda grew up there. It’s not blood family that owns it, but it’s family.”
Arthur Bryant’s: “The best barbecue in the world. Jack Stack is also really spectacular, but it’s almost in a different category.”
Bo Ling’s: “I’ve lived all over, I’ve traveled a lot, and I live in New York City. I have yet to have a Chinese food dinner that’s better than Bo Ling’s.”
Martin Cizmar is the editor of Kansas City magazine.
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