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Isiah Thomas Surprised By Jordan’s Last Dance Comments

“Thomas adds that there was no feud between him and Jordan even though Jordan alluded to one during the documentary.”

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NBA legend and current TNT basketball analyst Isiah Thomas joined Marcellus Wiley and Jason Whitlock on Wednesday’s Speak For Yourself broadcast to discuss his impressions of ESPN’s The Last Dance documentary. During the interview, Thomas discussed his surprise over some of Michael Jordan’s comments, and how Jordan might have played a role in keeping him off of the 1992 Olympic Dream Team.

SFY co-host Whitlock posed the question to Thomas, “Michael Jordan has called you an asshole, said that he hates you, he has animus towards you for the lack of a handshake and a supposed lack of respect. We know how Michael Jordan feels about you. How do you feel about Michael Jordan?”

“I was shocked to hear that from him,” Thomas said of Jordan’s remarks. “His producers approached me and wanted me to be involved and I chose to. I did not know this was what was coming because he (Jordan) and I have been to dinner before and seen each other at different NBA functions and I never got any animosity or bad feelings from him toward me. I don’t have any bad feelings toward Michael Jordan nor have I ever had any bad feelings toward him. So my family and I were pretty surprised when we sat down to watch The Last Dance and hear those words come out of his mouth, especially following the apology I had given to him on national television.”

Thomas adds that there was no feud between him and Jordan even though Jordan alluded to one during the documentary.

“I’m going to call a timeout on the feud,” Thomas said. “Because really I wasn’t fighting him. I was winning all the time, well a majority of the time, so why am I mad at him? We were competitors and when you are winning most of the time, you ain’t mad at nobody. You’re happy.”

Wiley followed by asking Thomas if Jordan might have played a role in Thomas not being selected to represent the United States on the 1992 Olympic “Dream Team”.

“Up until The Last Dance, I didn’t think he did,” Thomas replied. “I took him at his word, but after listening to how he and Rod Thorn (the NBA executive who assembled The Dream Team) portrayed me, I kind of question it now. You have to.  But up until last week, I had not laid that card on him (Jordan). The way they were talking about me though, in his words, having me around made him feel uncomfortable, you know?…”

Some of Jordan’s uneasiness toward Thomas may have come from the fact that Thomas was a member of the hard-nosed Detroit Piston’s teams of the late ‘80s that earned the infamous Bad Boys moniker. Thomas contends however that Jordan and his Chicago Bulls teammates of that era were just as hard–nosed.

“Those same labels that were put on the Pistons as a team, the Bulls put on each other,” Thomas said. “Watching the documentary, there seemed to be a lot of dysfunction or dislike within that team which I guess that speaks to how great a player Jordan was to overcome all that and still win championships.”

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Former Hulu Exec Michael Schneider Hired To Run Bally Sports+

“Schneider previously was VP of brand and content marketing at Hulu, where he had involvement in various marketing efforts for Hulu + Live TV.”

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Sinclair Broadcast Group and Diamond Sports Group have tapped Michael Schneider as the chief operating officer and general manager of Bally Sports+ when it launches this year.

Schneider will oversee the direct-to-consumer platform that will also be the hub for Bally Sports live programming.

Schneider previously was VP of brand and content marketing at Hulu, where he had involvement in various marketing efforts for Hulu + Live TV.

“Throughout his career, Michael has successfully launched and developed DTC streaming and service platforms and created immersive engagement experiences,” said Sinclair COO and president of broadcast Rob Weisbord. “He is a terrific addition to the team as we build out the Bally Sports+ offering, its exclusive content and passionate fan community.”

Even before Hulu, Schneider had a hand in streaming. He was a founding member of the PlayStation Vue launch team.

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Marquee Sports Network Weighs Streaming Options Outside of Bally Sports+

“Marquee GM Mike McCarthy said to Sports Business Journal there’s no rush, but the network is hopeful they can have something in time for the 2023 season.”

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As Sinclair Broadcast Group prepares to launch Bally Sports+, its direct-to-consumer platform that will be home to Bally Sports live events, the Chicago Cubs are weighing their options for Marquee Sports Network, which the team co-owns with Sinclair.

Despite being under the Sinclair umbrella, Marquee is its own free-standing RSN from the rest of the Bally Sports networks across the country.

Marquee is readily available on a number of cable providers, but the only thing that’s really missing is its own standalone streaming platform for games. Marquee GM Mike McCarthy said to Sports Business Journal there’s no rush, but the network is hopeful they can have something in time for the 2023 season.

“We’re always interested in being on the cutting edge with the ultimate deliverable to our consumer,” McCarthy said. “But there isn’t any contractual clock ticking to make us feel that way. It’s how we’ve approached things from the beginning. Between our two ownership groups, there’s a lot of aggression to get it right. And I think you’ll see something along those lines shortly.”

The TV ratings will always be of top interest for MLB, especially regional ratings. But as the league has worked to embrace more streaming options for games, striking deals with Apple and Peacock for rights this season, it’s all about providing what the fans and viewers want.

“We now have the ability to do so much more, to properly tell the story of a 162-game season,” said Crane Kenney, Chicago Cubs president of business operations. Kenney was instrumental in the launch of Marquee. “We love baseball, we love the game, and we love the opportunity we have to share it with our fans in really deep ways.”

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Laura Rutledge Celebrates Chemistry Of NFL Live

“It is truly the absolute joy of my life to get their opinions and to sit with them every single day and hear what they have to say.”

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Laura Rutledge is very happy with where NFL Live is as the current lineup gets set to enter its third season together. She told The Big Lead that there is genuine chemistry between herself, Marcus Spears, Mina Kimes, and Dan Orlovsky and that is why she doesn’t feel the need to emulate any of sports television’s many debate shows.

“You don’t want to see people yelling at each other all the time and I’m really proud of the chemistry that we have struck and just letting that breathe on air and having so much fun. It is truly the absolute joy of my life to get their opinions and to sit with them every single day and hear what they have to say.”

The 2022 NFL season will have a very different feel for ESPN. The addition of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman for Monday Night Football adds new expectations to the network.

Rutledge said that the attention on the network means that she and her colleagues have to raise their respective games, but that shouldn’t be hard. There is always material to work with in this league.

“We’ve seen this offseason, we saw the previous offseason, how the NFL news cycle never stops. It’s funny because the news cycle becomes such a big piece of the story, but we’re like, we can’t wait for the games,” she said.

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