Sports TV News
Lakers TV Analyst In a Tricky Spot Critiquing Head Coach
James Worthy steeled himself, then offered a blunt assessment.
The Lakers, in the midst of a losing season, had reached their nadir with a 48-point loss to the Clippers. The Hall of Famer glared into the camera and did what many other analysts would have.
He blamed the coach.
“(Mike) D’Antoni’s got to get into these guys a little bit more,” said Worthy on that night nearly two years ago. “He’s got to make them really a little bit more responsible, maybe call guys out.”
Worthy, an analyst with Time Warner Cable SportsNet, said the Lakers’ problems could be traced to the locker room, that they should practice only defense and that an offense focused on pace of play and 3-pointers simply wasn’t working.
Such frank analysis was welcomed by fed-up fans begging for a change on the bench. It’s also the sort of criticism from which Byron Scott, a teammate of Worthy’s from 1983-93, has recently been spared during an 11-43 season.
Worthy is one of four former “Showtime”-era Lakers navigating the potentially murky waters of analyzing a team coached by a close friend.
While sports analysts frequently call games involving former teammates, coaches and rivals, the dynamic gets more complicated when the analysts are day-to-day observers of the team.
Former Kings guard-turned-analyst Bobby Jackson turned heads last week when he called for a coaching change in Sacramento.
Scott has been under a microscope since he was hired in 2014 after D’Antoni resigned at the conclusion of a 27-55 season.
In Scott’s tenure, the Lakers are 32-104.
Bashing Scott is fashionable among fans and he has been widely panned by national media. He appears at or near the top of any list of coaches on the hot seat.
The Lakers are not believed to be considering a mid-season coaching change, but it is a results-driven league. Five NBA coaches have been fired since the start of the season, including former Lakers guard Derek Fisher with the improving New York Knicks.
Worthy is aware of a perception that he has taken it easier on Scott than he did his predecessor
He even agrees.
“People have opinions based on Byron and I being close,” Worthy said after a recent Lakers practice, “but that has nothing to do with it.”
Instead, he argued, D’Antoni’s Lakers were built to win with Dwight Howard, Steve Nash and a healthy Kobe Bryant.
“I had an opportunity to be more critical then,” Worthy said. “But I see what Byron’s doing. I’m in the film room, I see the practices, I see the guys buying into it. They just haven’t been able to transfer it out to the court yet.”
When Scott made the unpopular decision to move D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle out of the starting lineup on Dec. 6, Worthy initially recoiled with surprise.
By the end of that night’s broadcast, he had come around.
“I think Byron’s right,” Worthy said. “Sometimes you have to allow younger players to watch from the bench.”
Video of the segment was posted on the network’s Facebook page. The first comment, from a user named Lynne No, said, “James Worthy was always so candid about D’Antoni. Where’s your truth now James regarding Byron?”
When Worthy has called out the Lakers this season, he has typically focused on players rather than the coaching.
“We expect effort and we criticize (the team) for that,” Worthy said. “We criticize them for points in the paint. But for decisions made by Byron right now, going through this experimental growth period, there’s nothing to be critical of.”
To read the rest of this article visit the OC Register where it was originally published
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Sports TV News
Chris ‘The Bear’ Fallica To Make FOX TV Debut on Belmont Coverage
“Everyone I’ve worked and interacted with at the company has been so helpful and open to someone who has spent his entire professional life elsewhere.”
As the college football season was winding down, fans found out one of the foundational members of the College Gameday staff would be leaving ESPN. Chris “The Bear” Fallica left the network and has been working for FOX since the new year. This weekend during the network’s coverage of The Belmont Stakes, he will finally make his TV debut for his employers.
“It’s been great. This will be my first TV appearance, so I’m excited,” Fallica said in an interview with FOXSports.com. “But we’ve been cranking out content on the digital side since January, and I’m very happy with how the USFL picks have been going (4-0 last week for those of you counting at home). Everyone I’ve worked and interacted with at the company has been so helpful and open to someone who has spent his entire professional life elsewhere.”
Fallica, who worked for ESPN for nearly three decades, is going to be a major presence in FOX’s gambling content both on air and online. Making picks is nothing new. He had been doing it on College GameDay for years prior to his exit.
In addition to making football picks, horse racing is going to be a major part of what The Bear does for FOX. While this will be his TV debut on FOX, Fallica put the spotlight on one of his colleagues.
“It was a great decision to bring Tom [Durkin] back for this call. His voice is synonymous with the sport for a generation of racing fans, so it will be a treat to hear him call a race again.”
Durbin is coming out of retirement to call the race. This is the first year that the Belmont is airing on FOX as part of a rights deal with the New York Racing Association.
Sports TV News
FOX Reportedly Considering Replacing Reggie Bush on Big Noon Kickoff
“Marchand writes that the favorite to replace the 2005 Heisman Trophy winner is the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner. Mark Ingram II is expected to retire from the NFL and join FOX.”
It looks like changes are coming to FOX’s college football coverage. Andrew Marchand reports that the network is considering replacing Reggie Bush on Big Noon Kickoff.
Bush and the network reportedly argued over money before the 2022 season. FOX kicked the tires on multiple options, including Desmond Howard and Robert Griffin III of ESPN. Eventually, it decided to bring Bush back on a one year deal. With that deal set to expire and the two sides again at an impasse, FOX is eyeing other options.
Marchand writes that the favorite to replace the 2005 Heisman Trophy winner is the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner. Mark Ingram II is expected to retire from the NFL and join FOX.
If Ingram does join the show, he would be the first analyst from outside of the conferences FOX carries. Ingram played his college football at Alabama. He has since amassed more than 8000 yards over 13 seasons in the NFL.
FOX declined to comment on the report. Marchand reports that with no deal finalized, there is an outside shot that Ingram returns to the NFL, Bush returns to FOX and there is no change at all. That, however, is considered a long shot.
Sports TV News
ESPN, Omaha Productions Launching Alternate Formula 1 Broadcast
“The Grandstand with Daniel Ricciardo and Will Arnett will air on ESPN2 while the traditional telecast of the race airs on ABC.”
ESPN and Omaha Productions are following the ManningCast playbook once again. They are launching an alternate broadcast for ESPN’s coverage of Formula 1 racing.
Titled The Grandstand, the coverage will feature F1 racer Daniel Ricciardo and celebrity fan Will Arnett, star of Arrested Development and The Lego Movie. ESPN will rollout the telecast for three races, starting with the Formula 1 Pirelli Canadian Grand Prix on June 18.
“This is going to be a hoot!” Ricciardo said in a press release. “As you’d expect Will and I are going to have some fun with the show, but we’re hoping it just feels like you’re watching F1 with your mates. We will have some amazing guests, plenty of laughs and with some luck, bring fans another step closer to the sport I love so much. Buckle up America!”
Formula 1 has gained plenty of new fans thanks to the Netflix series Drive to Survive. Arnett admits that he is one of them. He has gone all in with the sport, even hosting a podcast with legendary F1 driver Mika Häkkinen.
The Grandstand with Daniel Ricciardo and Will Arnett will air on ESPN2 while the traditional telecast of the race airs on ABC. Following the Canadian Grand Prix, Ricciardo and Arnett are scheduled to return in October for the United States Grand Prix and in November for the Las Vegas Grand Prix.
“It’s great to be partnering with ESPN to expand the ‘megacast’ format into F1,” NFL legend and founder of Omaha Productions, Peyton Manning said. “We are excited to do this project with Daniel and Will. They are good friends who will bring expertise and fun to the broadcast.”