Photo of flowers with inductee name Michelle Smith McDonald

Michelle Smith McDonald was inducted into the Sports and Athletics Category in 2015.

My Story

Michelle Smith McDonald is an accomplished sports journalist and author whose writing has focused on telling the stories of women who have changed the face of sports. She developed a passion for sports at an early age and was a standout athlete at Arroyo High School in San Lorenzo, competing as part of the first generation of girls given equal access to sports through federal civil rights legislation known as Title IX. Michelle attended San Jose State University, where she served as editor of the Spartan Daily newspaper. After college she became a sports writer for the Hayward Daily Review and Oakland Tribune, covering professional and college sports. In 1996, Michelle joined ESPN and became the first regular women’s basketball columnist for She later worked for the San Francisco Examiner and Chronicle, AOL Fanhouse, before returning to ESPN to write feature stories about women in sports for the network’s ESPNw website. Michelle’s most notable accomplishments include her coverage of the Women’s World Cup soccer tournament and her annual coverage of the Women’s Final Four basketball tournament. She also has penned four books that have introduced girls around the country to top female athletes and their inspiring stories. Michelle’s path to success as a journalist and author has not been a leisurely stroll in the park. She has broken barriers and faced her share of resistance, doing her job in locker rooms where she was not wanted and enduring the barbs of readers who felt women had no place writing about sports. Today, women sports writers aren’t such a rarity, thanks to the path blazed by pioneers like Michelle.