By Giancarlo Aulino
Host of The Waterboy Report, Luca Rosano made history a few months ago when he became the first Canadian to be chosen for ESPN’s First Take Your Take, where he had the chance to debate with First Take co-host Stephen A. Smith.
In addition to his podcast, Luca posts weekly comedic skits on his Instagram account as well as videos titled Waterboy on the Street, where he exposes bandwagon Toronto sports fans by testing their knowledge on their supposed favourite team.
In this episode of Beyond The Game, VIBE Correspondent Giancarlo Aulino speaks with Luca about his successful YouTube channel The Waterboy Report, forming partnerships with local businesses in Vaughan, Ontario and his much talked about First Take debate experience.
Giancarlo: Luca, before we get into your appearance on ESPN’s First Take Your Take, I want to give our listeners a chance to get to know you better. Can you talk to us a little bit about what inspired you to want to start a sports podcast and how did you come up with the name The Waterboy Report?
Luca: That’s a good question, I get that a lot. I’ve always been a diehard lifelong sports fan and back in December 2013 I was in my basement thinking “You know what, I have aspirations of getting big in the sports media world, and voicing my own opinion.” So I wanted to create an outlet that would give myself a chance to voice that personal opinion of mine. The Waterboy Report started off as an online blog in 2013 and at one point, I had a bunch of beat writers writing for me. We had a couple beat writers focusing on the NBA, NHL; pretty much all the major sports. Then, I kind of took a little bit of a break from that to focus on my final year of university over at the University of Guelph-Humber, and then relaunched The Waterboy Report as a social media brand in the summer of 2016. I primarily posted funny content that you see go viral nowadays, memes and stuff like that on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Then it was really this year, where I decided I really wanted to develop as an on-air personality—sports personality. So, I really focused on YouTube at the start of 2018 and now I post pretty much daily. I try to focus on relevant sports topics. I also have the podcast like you mentioned: Waterboy Uncut, I do that every Monday and I also have a specialty segment called Waterboy On The Street, where I engage with sports fans on the street and also expose bandwagon fans. I’m not sure how many people have seen that series, but I’ve done a couple of those. Right now, The Waterboy Report is primarily a social media brand and a YouTube brand. I got the name The Waterboy Report because I’ve always wanted to be an athlete and I was never good enough to play in the game, but I still wanted to be around the game. It wasn’t from the classic movie that everybody thinks it’s from with Adam Sandler. I tried to compare myself to a member/figure in the sports world and I kind of resonated with The Waterboy—he’s kind of in the game but not really—he kind of has that sideline perspective of what’s going on even though he’s assisting the players and giving them water. I’m assisting the public in giving them sports information, sports value and entertainment. That’s how I came up with the name The Waterboy Report and I continue to grow my brand and hope for the best.
Giancarlo: Luca, you were a part of history a few weeks ago when you became the first Canadian to be chosen for ESPN’s First Take Your Take, where you had the chance to debate the G.O.A.T Stephen A.Smith. How did that appearance on First Take Your Take all come about and what was that experience like debating Stephen A.Smith?
Luca: It was incredible. Definitely the defining moment in my young career so far. Incredibly humbling experience going up against the G.O.A.T as you called him (laughs) of sports media. He’s one of the most well known sports analysts out there. He was one of the first sports analysts I grew up watching over here, where we’re from in Vaughan, Ontario, and I never envisioned myself going one-on-one against Stephen A.Smith. To answer your question, the opportunity came about because ESPN has a great opportunity that they have been giving to their viewership on their Facebook page. So every week, they have a forum and they have a topic question in which the public, people like you and I, can submit their take and then in that particular week, their producers choose the best take from the public that they receive.
© The Waterboy Report | YouTube
It was two Fridays ago that I was selected as the best take for that given week, and I went up against Stephen A.Smith. My take beat out a bunch of other entries, and like you said I made a bit of history because I was the first ever Canadian to be featured on ESPN’s First Take Your Take and got to go up against the one-and-only Stephen A.Smith. As far as the conversation went, we talked about where LeBron James should play next season and my standpoint, just to summarize it, was I believe LeBron James should stay in Cleveland or his legacy would be negatively impacted, and we would always kind of look at LeBron as being a team jumper and a ring chaser, and taking the easy way out as opposed to doing it the hard-fought way. Now, my standpoint was from the premise that LeBron James was going to win the championship this year against the Warriors. Mind you, there’s still games to be played, and that is still a possibility, but in a perfect world that was my standpoint. I thought LeBron James could’ve gotten it done, which he still could and if he does, he will stay and I think he should stay and also recruit players to come play with him, versus leaving once again to further tarnish his image in that regard of being the guy who had to win championships with other teams, as opposed to doing it in one spot.