As I’m watching CBC’s coverage of the Stanley Cup Finals on Hockey Night in Canada, I’ll provide some press releases then do some links later.
From one of the stranger stories I’ve ever seen and wondering what conflict of interest this brings up, but ESPN’s Chris Berman will give the presenting speech for Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson, Jr. when he is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August.
Buffalo Bills Owner Ralph Wilson, Jr. Names ESPN’s Chris BermanAs His Presenter for Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement CeremonyOn the news that Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson, Jr. has chosen ESPN’s Chris Berman as his presenter for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony in Canton, Ohio, on August 8th …“Fifty years in sports, there’s only one constant – Ralph Wilson is the owner of the Buffalo Bills. What Mr. Wilson has done for pro football and for the city of Buffalo and Western New York, it’s hard to put into words. He remains in it for the same reasons he got into it in 1959 – he loves the game of football, and that’s apparent in everything he does. It will be an honor to have a bird’s eye view to watch him be inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, especially this year, in the 50th year of the old American Football League. He’s a man I admire very much and I’m honored to just be there.”– ESPN’s Chris Berman, host of Sunday NFL Countdown and Monday Night Countdown
Next, NBC Sports will have lots of sports this weekend including the French Open men’s semifinals along with the women’s and men’s championships.
FEDERER SEEKS RECORD-TYING 14th GRAND SLAM TITLE AS NBC SPORTS PRESENTS LIVE COVERAGE OF THE FRENCH OPEN FINALS SATURDAY & SUNDAYNEW YORK – June 4, 2009 – Roger Federer looks to make history by tying Pete Sampras' record of 14 Grand Slam titles as NBC Sports presents live coverage of the French Open men's finals on Sunday beginning at 9 a.m. ET. Federer looks to complete the career Grand Slam by winning his first ever French Open in the men's final but he first must defeat the No. 5 seed Juan Martin Del Potro in the semifinals. On the women's side, No. 1 seed Dinara Safina is seeking her first ever Grand Slam title as she takes on No. 7 seed Svetlana Kuznetsova. Live coverage of the women's final begins Saturday at 9 a.m. ET. NBC Sports will provide coverage of the men's semifinals tomorrow 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (all time zones).
“It feels like history will happen on Sunday.” - NBC’s Carillo
“He is the Baryshnikov of our sport.” - NBC’s McEnroe on Federer
"Twenty straight Grand Slam semifinals is to tennis what Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak is to baseball." – NBC's Robinson on Federer's streak
Host Ted Robinson anchors NBC's coverage from Roland Garros, joined by analysts John McEnroe and Mary Carillo. McEnroe and Carillo combined to win the French Open mixed doubles title in 1977.
Federer is looking to make history as he seeks his first French Open title that would give him 14 Grand Slam titles, tying the record held by Pete Sampras. Federer, the world's No. 2 player had been the world's top ranked tennis player for a record 237 straight weeks from February 2004 – August 2008 before being surpassed by Rafael Nadal. Nadal, who lost to Sweden's Robin Soderling in the fourth round had won the previous four French Opens, beating Federer in the last three finals and in the semifinal round in 2005. Federer has won a total of 13 Grand Slam singles titles (five Wimbledon, five U.S. Open, three Australian Open).
For Federer, this marks the 20th consecutive time he has reached a Grand Slam semifinal extending his record. To put that into perspective, no player in history has ever reached more than 10 consecutive Grand Slam semifinals (Rod Laver, Ivan Lendl).
Federer will take on Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina who lost only one set on his way to the semifinals. The other semifinal match will have Soderling taking on Fernando Gonzalez of Chile. Gonzalez has not lost a set in the French Open this year dispatching No. 3 seed Andy Murray in the quarterfinals. Federer has dominated the remaining three men with a combined record against them of 26-1 with his only defeat coming to Gonzalez in a round robin format in Shanghai in 2007, an event that Federer went on to win.
TED ROBINSON ON FEDERER'S PLACE IN TENNIS HISTORY: "The biggest story of this last weekend is can Roger Federer climb the last mountain in tennis, the French Open. If he does he has an extraordinary case of being called the greatest of all time."
JOHN MCENROE ON FEDERER: "He is the Baryshnikov of our sport. His footwork is awesome."
TED ROBINSON ON FEDERER'S STREAK IN GRAND SLAM SEMIS: I believe 20 straight Grand Slam semifinals is to tennis what Joe DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak is to baseball. It's an extraordinary record that will never be touched in our lifetime. To play 20 straight slams is notable, to reach the semis in 20 straight is mind-boggling."
TED ROBINSON ON FEDERER'S CHANCES OF WINNING: "I would be shocked if Federer doesn't win. He's dominated each of the other players who are still alive so he has that track record going for him. His confidence has to be high. And, somebody else did for him what he has been unable to do himself at the French and that is defeat Nadal."
MARY CARILLO ON THE MEN'S SEMIS/FINALS: "There are three semifinalists with monstrous forehands, trying to get passed the classic, elegant, vastly more experienced Federer. Roger is three sets from another final and Nadal is nowhere in sight. It feels like history will happen on Sunday."
The women's final is set for Saturday morning with No. 1 seed Dinara Safina of Russia, the sister of former U.S. Open and Australian Open winner Marat Safin taking on the No. 7 seed and fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova. Safina, seeking her first Grand Slam title has dropped only one set so far this tournament and beat No. 20 seed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia in the semifinals 6-3, 6-3. Kuznetsova beat No. 30 ranked Samantha Stosur of Argentina in the semifinal round 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 after knocking off No. 2 Serena Williams in the quarterfinals.
This will be the 12th time these two women have played each other with Safina holding a 7-4 edge including winning five of their last six matches dating back to a straight set win in last year's semifinals at Roland Garros, 6-3, 6-2. Kuznetsova did beat Safina in the French Open semifinals in 2006 however, defeating her 7-6, 6-0.
MARY CARILLO ON THE WOMEN'S FINAL: Safina and Kuznetsova have been the two best clay courters all season. The boldest will win her first major on Saturday."
TED ROBINSON'S VIEW OF THE WOMEN'S FINAL: "Safina has been in two Grand Slam finals and hasn't won and Kuznetsova won the U.S. Open back in '04 and has had a lot of chances since and has come up empty. So somebody has to prove that they can handle the moment and become a champion."
COVERAGE ON NBC SPORTS: Following is the schedule for NBC Sports' coverage of the 2009 French Open, which culminates with live HD coverage of the women's and men's finals this weekend:
Friday, June 5, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. (all time zones) – Men's Semifinals
Saturday, June 6, 9 a.m.-Noon ET – Women's Final (Live)
Sunday, June 7, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. ET – Men's Final (Live)
FRENCH OPEN GOES MOBILE: Tennis fans that are on the go can once again watch the French Open live on their mobile phones through NBC 2Go and NBC Sports Mobile. Fans can also get live news and scores on their mobile devices through the NBC Sports Mobile site (http://m.nbcsports.com) or by texting "TENNIS" to 51515 to sign-up for NBC Sports Mobile tennis alerts.
NBC AND THE FRENCH OPEN: In 1975, NBC became the first American television network to provide coverage of the French Open when the network signed a three-year deal with the French Tennis Federation. The tournament was covered by CBS from 1980-82 and returned to NBC in 1983, where it has remained since.
ABOUT NBC SPORTS CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON: NBC Sports Championship Season ties together seven iconic championship events with a combined 769 years of history in a 65 day period starting with the Kentucky Derby on May 2 and culminating with Wimbledon on July 5. NBC Sports Championship Season also includes The Players, the Preakness Stakes, the French Open, the Stanley Cup Final and the U.S. Open.
NBC Sports also picks up coverage of the Stanley Cup Finals on Saturday night.
GAME 5 OF STANLEY CUP FINAL SATURDAY IN PRIMETIME ON NBC SPORTS“The problem for Pittsburgh is that Detroit is so poised, so professional, that Pittsburgh has to play an almost perfect game, particularly in goal, to beat them.” – NBC’s McGuire
Stanley Cup Final on NBC Up 21% Over Last Year; Best in 7 YearsNEW YORK – June 4, 2009 – NBC Sports will broadcast Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins, Saturday, 8 p.m. ET from the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit. In the first Stanley Cup Final rematch in 25 years, the defending champion Detroit Red Wings lead the series 2-1 with Game 4 in Pittsburgh tonight. NBC Sports, the network home of the National Hockey League, is broadcasting up to five games in the series, all in primetime (see schedule below).
Mike "Doc" Emrick (play-by-play), Eddie Olczyk (analyst) and Pierre McGuire (inside-the-glass analyst) call the action. McGuire will pull double duty in the on-location studio show alongside Mike Milbury and former NHL netminder Darren Pang. NBC Sports' coverage is produced by Sam Flood, the architect of the "Inside the Glass" analyst position.
The matchup features some of the NHL's greats, including Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal against Detroit's Marian Hossa, Henrik Zetterberg, and Nicklas Lidstrom. Hossa skated for Pittsburgh against Detroit last year. Detroit has won 11 Stanley Cup championships in their long history as an NHL "Original Six" franchise and the Penguins, two (1991 & 92). Twenty-one current Red Wings players (total of 40 times) have their names engraved on the Stanley Cup compared with just five for the Penguins.
PIERRE MCGUIRE ON THE SERIES: "If the Penguins win tonight, I think it becomes a home ice series and goes the duration."
PIERRE MCGUIRE ON THE PENGUINS: "They are much more mature both mentally and athletically than last year. They have better chemistry. But the X-factor is Jordan Staal. He has to be better."
PIERRE MCGUIRE ON THE RED WINGS: "The problem for Pittsburgh is that Detroit is so poised, so professional, that Pittsburgh has to play an almost perfect game, particularly in goal, to beat them."
STANLEY CUP FINAL ON NBC SPORTS DELIVERS HIGHEST VIEWERSHIP IN 7 YEARS: The Stanley Cup Final on NBC Sports is off to the best network start to the event in seven years in both viewership and in household ratings according to Nielsen Media Research. Games 1 and 2 on NBC Sports (Saturday and Sunday night) averaged 4.87 million viewers, the best since 2002 (Detroit-Carolina, 5.35 million, Games 3 & 4) and 21 percent ahead of last year (4.04 million, Games 3 & 4, Wednesday and Saturday night). The two-game 2.8 average rating and 5 share was up 17 percent over NBC's first two games in 2008 (2.4/4), and was again the best network start for the Stanley Cup since 2002 (3.4/7). NBC Sports' Game 2 coverage of the Stanley Cup Final ranked No. 6 (tied) among all primetime telecasts last week in Adults 18-49.
REMAINING STANLEY CUP FINAL BROADCAST SCHEDULE
Game 5 Saturday, June 6 Pittsburgh at Detroit NBC 8 p.m. ET
Game 6 * Tuesday, June 9 Detroit at Pittsburgh NBC 8 p.m. ET
Game 7 * Friday, June 12 Pittsburgh at Detroit NBC 8 p.m. ET
NBC also has coverage of the LPGA’s State Farm Classic.
NBC SPORTS TO BROADCAST WEEKEND COVERAGE OF LPGA’S STATE FARM CLASSIC
NEW YORK – June 4, 2009 – Paula Creamer, Christie Kerr, Natalie Gulbis and Michelle Wie headline a field that includes 49 of the top 50 players at the LPGA State Farm Classic from Panther Creek Country Club in Springfield, Ill., as NBC Sports broadcasts live coverage Saturday, 3-5 p.m. ET, and Sunday, 4-6 p.m. ET.
Dan Hicks, Dottie Pepper, Mark Rolfing, Jane Crafter and Bill Kratzert call the action.
And capping off the weekend, NBC has Track & Field as well as other action.
PREFONTAINE CLASSIC LIVE THIS SUNDAY ON NBC SPORTSNEW YORK- June 4, 2009- NBC Sports presents live coverage of the Nike Prefontaine Classic, this Sunday at 2 p.m.ET from Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. In the featured race, former world recordholder Asafa Powell will face off against Olympic bronze medalist Walter Dix.
Along with Powell and Dix, competitors include men's 1500-meter 2004 Olympic silver medalist Bernard Lagat, women's 100-meter hurdle Olympic gold medalist Dawn Harper facing off against bronze medalist Priscilla Lopes-Schliep and the reigning Olympic and Prefontaine Classic high jump champion Andrey Silnov.
In its 35th year, the Prefontaine Classic is a premiere track and field event in the United States and is the only stop in America for the World Athletics Tour. This year's events will showcase men and women's 100 and 800-meter sprints. Men will participate in the 300-meter sprints, mile, steeple, 400-meter hurdle, high jump, shot put and pole vault. Women will compete in the 400-meter sprint, 1500 and 2000-meter, 100-meter hurdle, long jump and discus and hammer throw.
Tom Hammond, Ato Boldon, Lewis Johnson, Dwight Stones and Bob Neumeier will provide commentary.JEEP WORLD OF ADVENTURE SPORTS, SATURDAY, 5 PM ETNBC Sports presents the Emmy Award winning Jeep World of Adventure Sports, an action and adventure sports series, this Sunday at 5 p.m. ET. The show highlights an array of adrenaline-inspired feats and adventurous sporting events from around the world. Featured sports include surfing, stand up paddling, the Red Bull Wake Lab and downhill skateboarding.
The Yukon River Quest is the longest annual canoe and kayak race in the world. Except for two mandatory rest stops totaling 10 hours, paddlers race non-stop over the 742 kilometers (460 miles) to Dawson City. The Red Bull Wake Lab is a groundbreaking event influenced by the design of the modern skateboarding skatepark and snowboarding snowpark. It includes a mix of hand and transfer rails, sliders, an elevated pool and 16-foot high wall ride/quarterpipe. Participants can also compete in the Olukai ho'olaule'a stand up paddle competition. This event couples high level competition with time honored customs of Hawaii including traditional sports, cultural activities, parties, food and music.
Commentary will be provided by Pat Parnell.
Fox Sports is going to spin its NASCAR ratings saying the races were the most watched events this spring, but one cannot deny the double digit percentage drops in viewing.
NASCAR ON FOX CONTINUES DOMINANCE AS SPRING’S MOST-WATCHED SPORT FOR NINTH STRAIGHT YEAR
Sprint Cup Regular Season Racing Leaves Competition In The Dust
– The 2009 NASCAR on FOX Sprint Cup season waved the checkered flag after an epic battle between two of the sport’s premier drivers, Jimmie Johnson & Tony Stewart, this past weekend from Dover International Speedway. From February through May, Sprint Cup racing on FOX concluded as the top-rated and most-watched regular season sport for the ninth consecutive year. New York
NASCAR Sprint Cup racing remains one of the strongest attractions in all of television and dominates its network sports competition. FOX’s 8.5 million viewers this season more than doubles ABC’s viewership for the NBA’s regular season (+124% vs. 3.8 million), and is 57% better than ABC’s NBA Playoff viewership of 5.4 million. NASCAR on FOX viewership outpaced the NHL’s regular season average by 431% (8.5 million vs. 1.6 million) and is 372% higher than the NHL Playoffs on NBC (1.8 million).
Among Men 25-54, NASCAR on FOX’s 4.8 is equal to the rating of hit Primetime shows such as NBC’s The Office and higher than CBS’s The Mentalist. Dating back to 2001, every Saturday night NASCAR race on FOX has won the key primetime demo, a remarkable 16 races over nine seasons.
Year-to-year, NASCAR on FOX posted a 5.1/11 compared to a 5.7/12 in 2008.
NBA TV’s David Aldridge had a chat with various bloggers in advance of the Finals and here is what transcribed.
David Aldridge Q&A
In preparation for the NBA Finals coverage on NBA.com, veteran NBA journalist and television analyst/reporter David Aldridge conducted an NBA Blogger Q&A session where he addressed the upcoming NBA Finals, key match-ups between the Lakers and Magic, pending NBA Draft and off-season, as well as colleagues at TNT and NBA.com. David has served as the TNT and NBA.com Insider for the network’s NBA coverage since 2004, appearing both in the studio as well as on the sidelines. Prior to his time at TNT, he spent eight years at ESPN reporting on the NBA and writing for ESPN.com. He has also written for the Washington Post and the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Q: What are your thoughts overall on the NBA Playoffs this year and what is your key match up for the Finals? (Rey-Rey from TheNoLookPass)
DA: “Well, I think the playoffs have been terrific, especially with Chicago and Boston. We’ve seen some incredible team performances, some incredible games with great last-minute shots, and a lot of dramatic series’. The Houston/LA series, which I don’t think anybody thought was going to be very competitive with Yao [Ming] out, was spectacular. Obviously, Denver and LA was very competitive and Orlando beating Cleveland; which I don’t think anyone really thought was going to happen. The playoffs have been terrific so far.
For the NBA Finals and match-ups, the keys are the obvious ones: [Pau] Gasol vs. Rashard Lewis, I think that is going to be a big match up; the two of them have their obvious strengths in terms of their individual games. Pau is going to have trouble guarding Rashard and vice versa. I think [Trevor] Ariza vs. [Hedo] Turkoglu is going to be a big, big match-up because Orlando has so much of a half-court offense with Turkoglu down the stretch. If Ariza can keep Hedo from being a distributor and get the ball to the other two good shooters; that will be a very important match-up.” (NBA.com breakdown of Howard vs. Bynum here.)
DA: “Obviously, I’m sure it’s difficult for anyone to cover something that his siblings are involved in. I’m sure it’s tough for Jeff, but he is a professional and I think he’s going to be fair. He’s done a very good job of calling it like he sees it and I have no doubt he will continue to do that. With Magic [Johnson], we have watched him over the years and he does not hesitate to criticize the Lakers when they play poorly and I have no doubt that if they play poorly he won’t hesitate to do it again. I believe both guys give a fair assessment as they should.”
Q: Earlier this week, we posted a piece about Adam Morrison and JJ Redick facing off in these finals. Can you remember another situation like this is NBA history, when two relative busts, linked so closely together, ended up being non-contributors during the league’s premier showcase? (Justin at SportsCracklePop)
DA: “I think those two guys are not where they want to be in their NBA careers, but I would say that J.J. Redick did play very well for the Magic this season and helped the team win games, especially in the Orlando/Boston series guarding Ray Allen. The shots just weren’t falling for him then. He’s coming along and helping them in some ways. Adam Morrison is not going to play in this series, and that just might be that he’s not in the right position right now. I am hesitant to call players busts, though, overall.”
Q: Obviously, next summer is the big free agent bonanza. Who will be the biggest signing of this off-season? Will it be Allen Iverson reuniting with Larry Brown in Charlotte? Ben Gordon coming home to New York? (Justin at SportsCracklePop)
DA: “I think Detroit is going to be really active this off-season whether it’s with Carlos Boozer or Paul Milsap, maybe David Lee. I think they are going to do something this off-season that puts them back into contention in the Eastern Conference. Think about some of the free agents: look at Lamar Odom who I think is going to have a lot of suitors this off-season because of the way he has played in these playoffs. I think Trevor Ariza is going to get a lot of attention as well, maybe from a team like Memphis that is going to have a lot of cap room to take a look at an Ariza. To get the players they want, they’re going to have to be aggressive and spend I think Boozer will have a lot of attention this summer. It seems like there are some things going on there and he may be on the move.
Q: How is it to work with Charles and company – would you ever wear any of Craig’s suits? Would he ever wear the outfits Craig Sager wears? (Lizz at Lizz’s Lockeroom)
DA: “[laughs] You know what? I think one night it would be great if we did a bizarro TNT night where he would were a charcoal tie and a black three-piece suit, and I come out in three-piece pink suit. I wouldn’t mind trying that once. Working with the Turner guys is so great in every aspect of the job from production to content to working with people like Marv [Albert] , Reggie [Miller] and Kevin Harlan. It’s such a treat. They do a great job and really like working there. I’ve come along way with them, they bring incredible amounts of intelligence and knowledge to the broadcast. I mean the proof is in the pudding with that show, you look at the Emmy Awards the studio show gets with Ernie [Johnson], Charles [Barkley] and Kenny [Smith]. They are the best in the business and wonderful to work with.
Q: What is the best NBA Finals you’ve covered in your career? (Lizz at Lizz’s Lockeroom)
DA: Great question. I guess for me it might have been last year’s because when I came to the NBA we had the whole Boston/LA rivalry so I’ve always had that. For me to jump back into the history of that rivalry 20 years later that was a lot of fun. It was really terrific to see Boston and LA competing for a championship, and with the history, that was a lot of fun. Watching the Bulls dominate those six championships. The Phoenix series in ‘92 was a great series. I really felt that series should have gone 7 games.”
Q: If Kobe captures his 4th NBA title, where does he stand amongst the League’s all-time greats? Can we start making a case for KB24 to “one day” surpass MJ as the G.O.A.T.? (Peter at PRC Hoops)
DA: “I don’t think right now you can put Kobe in the same category as Michael Jordan. If you look at Kobe’s years in the league, which is 12 or 13 years, that is incredible. But he has three titles and MJ has six, and I don’t think you can compare right now. I think Kobe is certainly the best player of his generation – no question. Like Bill Parcell says, its all about the [titles] and you know Mr. Russelll has 11 so no one is catching him and Michael has six, so I think those two guys have to be considered as No.1 and No.2 in greatest players ever.”
Q: There’s only room for one Superman on Twitter. Looking solely at content, whose Twitter game is superior: Shaq or Dwight Howard? (Peter at PRC Hoops)
DA: “I’m going to plead the fifth on this because I’m not a Twitter guy and Facebook is more than enough for me right now. I like to see the stuff that Shaq does here and there, like the meet-ups so I guess I’ll have to give it to Shaq. But, I’m old school and not on Twitter enough to make a good call.”
Q: Your Facebook profile indicates that you went to DeMatha High School. Did you play ball for Morgan Wootten? If so, what was that experience like? How does he compare to the elite NBA coaches? (Peter at PRC Hoops)
DA: “I did go to DeMatha, but I did not play for DeMatha. My game was not there [laughs]. But I do know Morgan Wootten well. He is as decent a human being as I’ve ever met, and he is a tremendous guy who is a very humble person. Even though I never played for him, I learned from him how to win with class and I’ve been fortunate to know him. I see him as one of the more successful high school coaches and he does it in a way that doesn’t call attention to himself. He is a class act through and through. I’ve gotten to know him in school, and after school, and am very lucky to know him. “
Q: What moves would you make if you were the Wizards in their situation?
DA: “Well, I think they have to do two things: they have to get a point guard – not because Gilbert [Arenas] can’t play PG, but they have to start thinking about playing Gilbert off the ball because that’s his strength – and I think a solid PG will do well somebody they can give the ball to – and somebody they can throw the ball to inside. They really struggle to score inside, and you can’t be a jump-shooting team and win in the playoffs at some point – and even Orlando is an example, but they have a guy you can throw the ball to. You have to have someone inside to get the ball. They have talent, but they need to strike a balance. Those are the two moves I would make.
I would look to trading that pick, I think they might be able to get something out of it but I’m not sure cause there are different views on how this draft is I think this draft is about as good as most but it’s not a great but it’s not horrible you can get good players out of this draft. I know they don’t want to trade one of those big three guys but maybe they have to get someone they like such as Amar’e Stoudemire – they have to look at that.”
Q: The Magic seem to have a more balanced attack while the Lakers are all about Kobe. What team do you see having the edge? Do you think it’s more important in the finals to have an insane scorer like Kobe Bryant or a low post presence like Dwight Howard? (Richie from MVN)
DA: “I think Kobe has tried very hard this year to add balance to that team. I think the Lakers are much more balanced than a couple years ago. I think he trusts Pau and needs Pau to do and play well. He needs Ariza and Lamar Odom to play well. In that sense, I think the Lakers are a very balanced team. They are a team that can score and their defense creates offense for them as well. I think LA has the edge; same reason LA has had the edge in every series thus far. Their size up front is so difficult for other teams to match up with. You have two seven-footers in Gasol and [Andrew] Bynum, and throw in Ariza at six-eight and Odom and six-ten. It gives Phil [Jackson] some real flexibility with lineups and who’s going to go in stretch of games. That’s why I think they have the advantage. Their interior defense is better than everyone else. Their guards and their bigs can single cover – playing help defense makes it difficult to score against.
Q: What are your thoughts on Obama picking the Lakers in Six?
DA: “I did see that and I concur. Actually, I said that before so Mr. President took my pick as Lakers in six games.”
Q: In the NBA Finals press conference today, you asked Dwight about the officiating – are you working on a story for it and what is your angle and/or thoughts?
DA: “I am working on a piece on NBA officiating, but I’m not sure when it will run or exactly figured out what I’m going to say and how I’m going to say it. It will definitely run during the NBA Finals, but it’s definitely a topic that everyone is talking about and I want to take a serious look at the officials because I did write a column on the NBA conspiracy theories and it will be along those same lines. I got a lot of response from that, and a lot of people have strong views on officiating in the league. I really want to address those things in a very serious column and that’s what I’m going to try to do.”
“Coming up on NBA.com, I’m going to have my picks tomorrow (Lakers in six). I think everyone at NBA.com is going to have their picks up tomorrow for the finals so you will see some of the other writers’ picks, too. Obviously, for the NBA Finals for NBA TV, we’ll be with Ahmad [Rashad], CWebb [Chris Webber], and [Gary] Payton for pre-game coverage at the Staples Center here in LA. After the game, me and Rick Kamla will be breaking stuff down and covering the pressers. Then, we’ll be on again with Ahmad, CWebb and Gary for post-game.
“When we go to Orlando for Game 3, we’re going to be having a lot of fun. We’ll have the NBA TV crew, plus Ernie, Chuck and Kenny so we’ll have so much new content on NBA.com and some great TV coverage both online and on NBA TV. It should be a fantastic series.”
And in the wake of Rodney Harrison’s addition to NBC Sports’ Football Night in America comes this release about his signing to the Maxx Sports and Entertainment agency.
MAXX SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT ADDS JUST-RETIRED NFL ALL-PRO RODNEY HARRISON TO ITS GROWING LIST OF BROADCAST TALENT, SIGNS HIM TO DEAL WITH NBC SPORTS
Outspoken All-Pro and two time Super Bowl champion joins NBC Sports “Football Night In America” Lineup As Analyst Alongside Fellow MAXX client Tiki Barber
(June 4, 2009) – MAXX Sports and Entertainment today announced that they have signed just-retired 15 year NFL veteran Rodney Harrison. Harrison’s first assignment will be as an analyst for NBC Sports Emmy winning “Football Night In America” broadcast team, as announced by NBC Universal Sports and Olympics Chairman Dick Ebersol on Wednesday. He joins fellow MAXX client Tiki Barber on the show.
“Rodney Harrison’s broadcast style will reflect his play on the field…hard working. honest, and outspoken,” said MAXX CEO Mark Lepselter. “We are very happy to have worked with NBC Sports to provide Rodney this opportunity and know that he will become a fan favorite.”
Harrison, who had his first taste of on-air work with NBC during last year’s Super Bowl and scored very high marks, retired from the NFL yesterday after a 15 year career in which he made three Pro Bowl appearances and reached the Super Bowl four times, twice winning titles with the New England Patriots. He is the only player in NFL history with at least 30 career sacks and 30 career interceptions during his time with the Patriots and San Diego Chargers. Off the field, his Patriot teammates honored him with the 2006 Ed Block Courage award for the player who best exemplifies the principles of courage and sportsmanship while also serving as a source of inspiration.
Harrison’s deal with NBC Sports is the latest in a series of prominent moves by MAXX clients. Others include Lawrence Taylor’s recently completed successful run on “Dancing with the Stars,” broadcaster Brandon Tierney securing the coveted midday talk show spot on 1050 ESPN Radio in New York as well as co-hosting SportsNet New York’s “The Wheelhouse,” while fellow MAXX client (and WFAN midday host) Joe Benigno co-hosts SNY’s “Daily News Live” show. Benigno and client Sid Rosenberg also recently signed literary deals with Triumph Books.
That’s going to do it.