Over the last five weeks, The Last Dance documentary was appointment television for sports fans as they watched the story of Michael Jordan and the 1997-1998 Chicago Bulls that won the franchise’s sixth NBA title.
On Tuesday night, Stephen A Smith was the executive producer and hosted a one-hour special on ABC called After The Dance, which looked back at the memorable moments from the documentary and allowed different guests to reflect on that time period. Smith brought on guests from both the sports and entertainment worlds to talk about their favorite Jordan moments.
The special began with Smith talking to Magic Johnson about Jordan’s competitiveness and the Lakers facing the Bulls in the 1991 NBA Finals, a series that the Bulls won in 5 games. Magic would end the show with Smith discussing the Jordan-LeBron James greatest of all-time debate.
Then, the conversation shifted to more of Jordan’s impact off the court. Smith spoke with Whoopi Goldberg from The View about his influence on the world of pop culture.
“I see someone who has taken a brand and pulled it up and through, who took the idea of us and animation and made it totally different,” Goldberg said of Jordan. “He touched everything on the planet and everyone wanted to get next to him.”
One of the more emotional parts of the documentary for people was Episode 5 when the 1998 All-Star Game was brought up and you saw the interview with the late Kobe Bryant about facing MJ. Smith had Shaquille O’Neal on the show to talk about both of their mentalities on the court.
“It’s pretty much equal. Kobe made a great point. We all look at players before us and we take a little bit from them. I am glad they had a relationship,” O’Neal said. “A lot of people always said who is the greatest in the game: Jordan or Lebron. I think you must respect Kobe’s name and add it to the conversation.”
From the broadcast side, we got to hear from Robin Roberts, who was an anchor on SportsCenter during MJ’s run and is now on Good Morning America. Roberts brought up her favorite memories of being around Jordan.
“The press conference before the 1992 Olympics. All of the legends are there,” she remembered. “MJ just kind of scratched his head and all of the cameras were flicking. It was amazing to see the reaction. I loved people watching him.”
Many characteristics of Jordan were emphasized in the documentary, including his competitive nature. That competitiveness showed on the court and it once occurred in a game of dominoes with Anthony Anderson from Blackish:
The documentary itself had a great ending, but Smith’s special reflecting on Jordan’s career and getting the thoughts from different perspectives was a good way to continue the conversation and reflect on all of the footage that we saw. As usual, Smith had a good way with words to wrap up the night.
“Jordan didn’t dance, as in dance around at all, He gave his take on the dynastic era through his lens and we all should love him for it… You can still indeed appreciate today’s greatness while still acknowledging it isn’t the good old days. Jordan did that for us at a time at a time when the sports world desperately needed it.”
Lauren Shehadi: Ernie Johnson Is The Model For Studio Hosts
“To me, he’s the greatest in-studio host. What he does best is facilitate greatness.”
In addition to her job at MLB Network being a host on MLB Central, Lauren Shehadi is hosting TBS’s Tuesday night baseball coverage each week with Jimmy Rollins, Curtis Granderson, and Pedro Martinez. The Tuesday night games are new for Turner Sports this year after doing only Sunday games during the regular season in addition to the network’s postseason coverage.
Shehadi was a guest on The Kyle Koster Show this week and she was asked what the goal was for her with the MLB on TBS Tuesday broadcasts. She takes a lot of inspiration from what she sees on Inside The NBA on TNT.
“I always think about Ernie Johnson in the same building. To me, he’s the greatest in-studio host. What he does best is facilitate greatness. He gets the most out of Shaq and Kenny [Smith] and Charles [Barkley]. If there’s no ego involved, it’s all about how the show can be so great.
“You look at him and you think how can I be like that? You want to be authentic and be yourself, but in the sense of getting the best out of your guys and girls that you talk to every day. That was my goal going in, Be authentic.”
Shehadi said she gets to spend a lot of time with Johnson and the rest of the Turner Sports crew. Tuesday nights tend to be something of a corporate family reunion.
“On Tuesday nights, we all sit in a room and we all watch NBA, MLB, and NHL when it’s on. We get Shaq’s reaction to Sandy Alcantara’s slider in real-time. What we see from Inside The NBA is when they do demos. When they get up and walk and they are casual and they do little bits, that’s what we try to take to our show, but we want it to feel authentic.”
When Shehadi isn’t hosting Turner Sports’ baseball coverage, she is a part of MLB Central every weekday on MLB Network with Robert Flores and Mark DeRosa. On that show, the goal for her is how to make baseball relatable to everyone:
“That’s the sweet spot of MLB Central. No question is silly. Nobody is smarter than the other. We laugh at ourselves. We laugh at each other. It is just a fun 4 hours, grab your coffee, let’s talk the game, let’s laugh because life is short and baseball is fun.”
AT&T Sportsnet’s Kelsey Wingert Shows Off Stitches After Being Drilled Line Drive
“The veteran reporter is expected to get married in June. Doctors are “hoping” the scar doesn’t effect her big day.”
Baseball reporters at the regional level have some of the toughest jobs in all of sports. Not only do they cover each for all 162 games, but there’s always the potential for getting drilled by a foul ball.
While all MLB ball clubs have expanded their netting this season to protect fans sitting close to the field, Rockies sideline reporter Kelsey Wingert suffered a nasty injury via a foul ball earlier this week.
A scary incident took place on Monday’s outing against the Rockies and San Francisco Giants at Coors Field in Denver. In the ninth inning, Giants outfielder Austin Slater hit a foul ball off Daniel Bard, with the ball heading straight to the dugout, right where Wingert was standing while reporting for AT&T Sportsnet.
After getting attended to by the Rockies medical staff and walking it off, giving fans a “thumbs up,” Wingert ended up having to go to the hospital where she received multiple stitches to her forehead.
The 29-year-old reporter took to Twitter on Wednesday to express her gratitude towards the Rockies organization and AT&T Sportsnet general manager David Woodman, who along with his wife Paula, stayed by her side at the hospital.
“I had a CT scan to make sure there was no internal bleeding or fractures and all came back clear. Thank God,” Wingert said on Twitter Wednesday. “The stitches will have to come out in a week. I’m very lucky it wasn’t worse. It was just really scary and bummed me out given the circumstances.”
You would think this was the first time Wingert got hit by a ball but back in 2018 while working for Fox Sports and the Atlanta Braves she was struck by a foul ball while standing near a camera past the Braves dugout, resulting in a fractured eye socket.
Wingert retweeted a photo taken of her black eye after returning home where she made light of what could’ve been an awful occurrence.
While recovering from her wound, Wingert will be taking a few games off. The veteran reporter is expected to get married in June. Doctors are “hoping” the scar doesn’t effect her big day.
Greg Olsen To Partner With Kevin Burkhardt For Super Bowl LVII
“Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.”
The deal isn’t done yet, but Andrew Marchand of The New York Post reports that Greg Olsen is on his way to joining Kevin Burkhardt in the top NFL booth at FOX. Although Tom Brady will take over that role after he retires and leaves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Olsen will spend at least this season on FOX’s A-Team.
Last season was the first Burkhardt and Olsen worked together. They largely won rave reviews.
Earlier this year, the former Panther told The Mac Attack on WFNZ in Charlotte that he was disappointed he didn’t get to call a postseason game. He will more than make up for that in 2023. As Burkhardt’s partner, Olsen is in line to be the analyst for Super Bowl LVII.
Marchand writes that we could get a taste of what is to come in February. He speculates that if the Buccaneers are not in the Super Bowl, it is possible Tom Brady could make his FOX debut, either in the booth alongside Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen or as part of the network’s studio show.
Now, FOX has to make a decision about it’s number 2 NFL booth. According to Marchand, Drew Brees is a candidate to be the analyst. Adam Amin and Joe Davis have emerged as candidates for the play-by-play role.