Combining quirkiness, comedy and unrestrained energy into Golden State Warriors analysis, “Warriors Outsiders” has developed a strong fan base among sports fans throughout the Bay Area. As the the Warriors look to defend their Larry O’Brien Trophy, BHS alumni Drew Schiller and Grant Liffman are beginning the second year of their NBC Sports Bay Area show, providing die-hard Warriors fans with insightful observations and light-hearted, free-wheeling entertainment after every game. The longtime friends combine Grant’s Hollywood-bred skills in front of the camera with Drew’s fountain of basketball knowledge while answering their audience’s questions on Facebook to appeal to their youthful viewership.
An illustrious athletic career that included a baseball and football CCS championship, as well as appearances in three straight CCS basketball title games, propelled Schiller into the BHS Athletic Hall of Fame and San Mateo Sports Hall of Fame. After turning down Division 1 football scholarship offers, Schiller chose to attend USF on a basketball scholarship for his freshman season. When a new scholarship opportunity arose, he transferred to his dream school, Stanford, where he played in the backcourt for three years. However, a devastating hip injury prevented Schiller from pursuing a professional playing career overseas. Armed with a competitive spirit and an innate drive to succeed, Schiller was determined to build an off-the-field career out of his love for sports.
A Stanford diploma, strong networking skills and a radiant personality helped Schiller land a job calling Stanford and Santa Cruz Warriors G-League basketball games in November 2010. He soon moved to NBC Sports Bay Area in June 2011 and the fledgling PAC 12 Network during its inaugural year in August 2012. While working on the NBC Sports website in 2016, Schiller collaborated with Liffman to come up with a new project idea.
“We would talk about the Warriors almost daily and we were having a phone conversation one day and he said ‘Hey, man, we should have a show about the Warriors’ and I was like ‘yeah, that would be awesome,’” Schiller said.
After deliberating and negotiating with their superiors at NBC Sports, the friends initially launched the show on Facebook but soon extended it to television as their ratings grew. The idea of two analysts talking about their team while answering questions from viewers on Facebook has caught on, as networks around the country have launched shows such as “Giants Outsiders” and “Blazers Outsiders.”
“It’s cool to see it grow and we obviously care a lot about it and we want it to be successful,” Schiller said.
Considering the Warriors’ recent success (three championships in four years) and a major metropolitan TV market that will consistently provide good TV ratings, the “Outsiders” could easily ride their early wave of success and keep the show exactly the way it is. However, the two former competitive athletes are not inclined to get complacent with their current product.
“You are always looking to grow...you have to be versatile, you have to be able to adapt and do different things, you can’t just be someone who is stuck in their ways. I definitely think that new opportunities will arise and stuff that we can’t even imagine right now we’ll be doing in a couple years,” Schiller said.
Even amidst his current success, Schiller acknowledges how the Burlingame community provided him with endless support as he pursued his endeavors.
“Burlingame was a tremendous place to grow up and I have nothing but fond memories because of the people,” he said.