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.”
Jacob Conley writes about news/talk radio BNM. He can be found on Twitter @GWUJake or reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FOX Doubles Ad Price For Premiere US World Cup Matches
FOX has capitalized by charging $600,000 per 30-second commercial during its coverage of USA/England.
The 2022 World Cup is underway and the opener received a gigantic ratings increase for FOX Sports. Now, according to a report from Front Office Sports, the network has doubled its ad price for the USA match versus England.
USA/England will air in a lucrative window, at 2:00 PM ET on Black Friday, and FOX has capitalized by charging $600,000 per 30-second commercial during its coverage of the match. That price, according to Front Office Sports reporters Michael McCarthy and Doug Greenberg, is double what the network had asked for from advertisers for other matches.
While the event opener saw a sharp increase, the first match featuring the United States saw a decline from previous World Cup openers for the country. 11.71 million watched the match in the US between FOX Sports and Telemundo. In 2014, 11.1 million watched on ESPN and in 2010 13 million watched the first US match on ABC.
Analysists have predicted FOX Sports could garner nearly $125 million in ad revenue for the duration of the tournament.
Telemundo’s Miguel Gurwitz Announcing World Cup, NFL Thanksgiving Games For 18 Straight Hours Thursday
With the game expected to end at 2:00 AM local time, that means Gurwitz will be announcing games for over 18 hours on Thursday.
With the World Cup happening at an unprecedented time, there were bound to be scheduling conflicts. The conflicts for Telemundo’s Miguel Gurwitz, however, might be the real unprecedented nature of the event being played in November.
Gurwitz works on Telemundo’s coverage of the World Cup while calling matches as the secondary play-by-play announcer. Beginning at 11:00 AM in Doha, Gurwitz will work the network’s coverage of the event.
But as the soccer day turns to tonight, Gurwitz will call Telemundo’s broadcast of the New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings game from Qatar. With the game expected to end at 2:00 AM local time, that means Gurwitz will be announcing games for over 18 hours on Thursday.
He will also do the feat again on Sunday, as he’ll broadcast World Cup matches for the network during the day and then announce the Packers and Eagles game for Sunday Night Football.
Kevin Burkhardt: ‘Honor To Be In People’s Homes’ During Thanksgiving Broadcast
“There were a couple on the calendar that I thought that it might hit me and be very, very cool.”
On Thanksgiving, Kevin Burkhardt and Greg Olsen will call their first Thanksgiving Day game for FOX when the New York Giants take on the Dallas Cowboys (4:30 PM ET). It’s been a memorable year for Burkhardt and Olsen in their first year as the A broadcast team for FOX that will end in the duo calling the Super Bowl in February.
Burkhardt was a guest on The Season with Peter Schrager podcast this week and talked about the honor of getting the chance to be on the call for a Thanksgiving Day game.
“The whole job is big and we are doing big games every week. There were a couple on the calendar that I thought that it might hit me and be very, very cool. One of them was Dallas-Green Bay, which turned out to be epic a couple of weeks ago.
“The playoffs and the Super Bowl will be great, but Thanksgiving Day. Growing up in a football family, it was kind of eating around both games. Catch the early game, halftime, go throw the football in the street, eat the meal between games, then the Cowboys game comes on, you watch that. Maybe halftime you watch or maybe you throw the football again. Watch the rest of the game, you have dessert after the game. That was the day.
“It is an honor because you are in a lot of people’s homes every week. I feel like you really are in people’s homes…. You are kind of like hugging everybody. I think it’s beyond awesome, I really do.”
Burkhardt mentioned to Schrager that he and Olsen knew they had big shoes to fill after taking over for Joe Buck and Troy Aikman (both now at ESPN) and it felt like walking in to a new job, but the A crew at FOX helped them and he liked that he and Olsen got to do it together.
“It’s been awesome. It really has. When you go into a situation like this, Joe and Troy were there for 2 decades, that’s a long time. People have long-standing relationships. Even though I’ve been at FOX for 9 years and Greg was there last year, we are the new guys essentially.
“You walk in, you don’t know how they are going to react to you, what they are going to think of you, if they think you are any good and all that stuff. From Day 1, it was like welcome to the family, we love you. I know that sounds kind of cheesy, but it’s been awesome. It felt like we’ve just fit right in. I think there’s been some cool symmetry, the fact that Greg and I got to do it together because we have such a bond.
“The fact that we got to jump in together I think has kind of been fun and helped us both because he knows me really well and I know him really well. Then, it was just getting everyone else to know us and vice versa.”
The one thing that Burkhardt did have to adjust to was a different style of show and that each production team has different viewpoint and creativity.
“The crew I’ve been on my whole life with Pete Macheska and Artie Kempner, they do a different show than Z (Richie Zyontz) and Russo (Rich Russo) do it. It’s not good, bad, or indifferent. Everyone has different viewpoints and creativity. I think it was just getting used to each other in terms of that, but it’s felt like I’ve worked with them for 25 years. It’s felt seamless. It’s felt fun.”
Even though Burkhardt is now the lead NFL play-by-play voice for FOX, that doesn’t mean he is going to change how he does a game.
“I’m not going to change my style or who I am. I’m not saying I’m not open to critiques and wanting to get better and to get coached. The basis of what I do and how I do it, I’m not going to change that now because I’m on the A crew. They liked me enough to put me here, so I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing. Maybe tweaks here and there, but if I radically changed now, I’d be a moron.”
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.