Taylor Rooks is moving from the sidelines to the spotlight.
The 25-year-old anchor and reporter for SportsNet New York has sparked a popular Twitter meme after an April interview with Miami Heat player Dwyane Wade on her podcast, “Timeout With Taylor Rooks,” which airs on the SNY YouTube channel.
Almost as soon as it debuted, fans uploaded a screen-grab of Rooks — clad in a form-fitting outfit — and Wade, who appears to be trying very hard not to look at her.
“Dwyane Wade has played in 5 NBA Finals but none of which had more pressure than this right here,” captioned Twitter user @LakeShowYo.
“Dwyane Wade held it together so much better than I could’ve . . . that woman is too beautiful,” tweeted @tysnotfunny.
But there’s much more to Rooks than just her looks.
“When I’m trending and people are talking about these other things — it’s great that they feel this way, but listen to the interview,” Rooks, who started her podcast in 2016, told The Post. “The way I look is not even close to the best part about me.”
(Wade didn’t comment on the memes. Rooks said that Wade was a complete professional during the interview.)
She’s also not leaning on her connections. Although the Financial District resident says she’s proud to be the niece of both St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer Lou Brock and former Pittsburgh Steelers player Marv Woodson, she’s set on making her own name in sports.
Rooks has a talent for getting her subjects to talk. She got Wade to reveal how awkward it is to watch movie sex scenes featuring his wife, actress Gabrielle Union. The Heat’s Dion Waiters dispelled rumors that he got into a fistfight with the Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving. And recently, rapper Meek Mill opened up to her about how he taught Patriots owner Robert Kraft about race relations when Kraft visited him in prison.
“It sounds cliché, but every episode has been an accomplishment,” Rooks said. “I’ve been getting these athletes to open up so much — people have never heard them like this before.”
Growing up in Gwinnett County, Ga., Rooks always knew she wanted to be a sports reporter. Her father, Thomas, was a running back at the University of Illinois, and she studied journalism at his alma mater. Her mother, Stephanie, is the dean at Gwinnett Technical College, and Rooks has one younger sister.
‘So many people want to do what I do, so very early on I had to separate myself from everybody else.’
To stand out from her peers, she took internships with Comcast SportsNet Chicago and Fox Sports and even skipped classes so she could report on local and college basketball games.
“I felt like school was about setting you up for post-graduation,” Rooks said of her decision to cut class. She landed her break in 2014 as a reporter for the Big Ten Network in Chicago, where she reported on college sports.
But Rooks craved more.
“I wanted to have a bigger platform and more control over my stories,” she said. “Being a sports journalist is a huge task. So many people want to do what I do, so very early on I had to separate myself from everybody else.”
She moved to New York City in 2016. And while she’s forever a die-hard Falcons fan, she sees things looking up for the Giants.
“I think the Giants are going to have such an uptick from last year,” she says. “Saquon Barkley is going to become Rookie of the Year — he’s gonna be that good of a running back.”
But she’s not as hopeful about the Jets and their new rookie quarterback.
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