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Kenny Smith, Chris Webber Steal Show In Inside The NBA Special

“Wiping sweat from his brow and tears from his eyes, Webber said that he wanted to speak about the night, “because I feel like we always have the same couple voices talking during these times.”

Jacob Conley

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TNT aired a special edition of Inside the NBA on Wednesday evening in response to players boycotting Wednesday’s playoff games to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

“Today players and coaches made a resounding and unified statement by refusing to take the court,” host Ernie Johnson Jr. said. “There are moments that have happened during my 30 years in this chair: Magic’s announcement in ‘91, Adam Silver addressing the Donald Sterling situation in 2014, banning him for life, and then today. There is no podium involved, just simply we are not going to take the floor.”

Charles Barkley says he is not surprised by the decision not to play.

“You heard guys talking about it (not playing) yesterday. That started the fire,” Barkley said. “Then the Milwaukee Bucks, who were scheduled to lead off today, cancelled. If the Bucks hadn’t cancelled, I don’t think anybody else would have cancelled. They should have given the Magic a heads up, but I do think it was appropriate that the Bucks did it because it happened in their home state. I think after that, you had to cancel the rest of the games. I think you need to cancel the games tomorrow also just so the different set of teams can let them know that they are standing with them. My question is what the game plan is after that?”

An emotional Kenny “the Jet” Smith said he had a difficult time processing his thoughts over the incident before abruptly leaving the set.

“I feel like my head is ready to explode,” Smith said. “I don’t think I can say anything that is appropriate for what players are thinking and feeling.  As a Black man and a former player I feel it is important to support the players and not be here tonight.”

Shaquille O’Neal adds that a unified stance among the players was key.

“If everybody wasn’t unified, we would be talking about something not nearly as important (who played and who did not play) instead of the real issue,” he said.  “I respect the decision. I respect the guys and how everybody deals with certain things differently. African-Americans are fed up and something has to change.”

Shaq then broaches the subject of boycotting the rest of the season.

“I’ll support whatever the players decide to do. Right now the games are just postponed,” he said. “Something like this is going to happen next week, next month and next year. Canceling one game is not going to make a racist person say, ‘oh, they canceled one game. I’m not going to be racist anymore.’ We have to identify certain areas and certain problems and we have to systematically take these things down.”

O’Neal adds that a good way to begin that process is to vote in the upcoming election.

“Make sure you get a new D.A. (District Attorney). Make sure you get a new Chief of Police. Make sure you get a new mayor and make sure you get a new president. It’s in our hands. We need to put people in place that understand our language and frustrations. That would be a good place to start.”

Former NBA player and TNT analyst Chris Webber joined the show from the arena in Orlando. His emotional reaction to the moment and the police shooting of another unarmed black man garnered a lot of attention and reaction across the media.

Wiping sweat from his brow and tears from his eyes, Webber said that he wanted to speak about the night, “because I feel like we always have the same couple voices talking during these times.”

“I keep hearing the question ‘What’s next?, What’s next?’. Well, you gotta plan what’s next. You have to figure out what’s next,” Webber continued. “Very proud of the players. I don’t know the next steps. Don’t really care what the next steps are, because the first steps are to garner attention, and they have everybody’s attention around the world right now. Then leadership and others will get together and decide the next steps.”

Webber said that he wanted to speak for the people in the neighborhoods “that we tell to vote and then just walk away.” He then spoke about conversations he has had to have with younger family members and asked “if not now when?” in reference to the need for police reform.

The powerful message, which ended with Webber praising young people for boycotting games and crying out for change, earned praise for the five-time all-star from the media, former teammates, and current players.

Sports TV News

Gus Johnson: ‘Nobody Ever Told Me I Was Doing It Wrong’

“I just want to delight in the excellence of these young men and women that I have the chance to call because I know it’s so important to them because it’s important to me.”

Ricky Keeler

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Gus Johnson

While fans get to hear Gus Johnson call big college football and college basketball games and get to see his reactions to memorable moments, he unfortunately never gets to see his own reaction, but he just enjoys being a part of sports, such as when he called Michigan-Ohio State for FOX this past Saturday.

Johnson was a guest on The Rich Eisen Show last week and he said while calling a game, he never wants to be too controversial and he appreciates that people choose to watch him during their times of relaxation.

“They say you never see yourself, you only see a reflection. You’ve never seen your face. You’ve only seen a reflection of your face as a human being. I can’t see myself. I would love to see myself during those moments because I sometimes don’t really understand the reaction. To me, I’m just watching the game, I’m a fan. I’m a journalist and I take that seriously, but more than anything, I’m just a fan of sports. Thank God for sports.

“People for the last almost 30 years have allowed me to come into their homes during their times of relaxation, rest, to spend time with their families. That’s important to me. When I call the game, I don’t want to be too controversial. I’m not trying to be 60 Minutes. I just want to delight in the excellence of these young men and women that I have the chance to call because I know it’s so important to them because it’s important to me. It connects you to great moments in your life and in your mind.”

Before he got to FOX, Johnson was at CBS Sports from 1995-2011 calling some memorable NCAA Tournament games and NFL games that went down to the wire. In an era where criticism can be found easily, Johnson told Eisen that he never received criticism about his broadcast style from any of his bosses:

“Nobody ever told me that I was doing it wrong. That’s one thing I loved about the CBS experience. At CBS Sports, we had different kind of broadcasters. Our leader back then and still is Jim Nantz. He had his own style. We had Verne Lundquist, we had Dick Enberg there during that time. Don Criqui was there during that time. Not one time did anybody ever tell me that I wasn’t doing it right. Nobody ever said ‘Gus, don’t do it that way’. I would get negative criticism when the Internet started, but not from my bosses.”

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Sports TV News

Scott Hanson Clarifies NFL RedZone Missteps During Raiders/Seahawks

Hanson believed in the moment that CBS was airing the overtime period to a national audience. But due to NFL broadcasting rules, the game was only available on select stations.

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NFL RedZone host Scott Hanson ruffled feathers for many football fans Sunday when he told viewers to switch from the channel to their local CBS affiliates to see the conclusion of the Las Vegas Raiders and Seattle Seahawks game.

Unfortunately, for both viewers and Hanson, the game was only being shown in a small portion of the country, with the rest of the nation’s CBS affiliates already airing 60 Minutes. The game was also available to NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers.

Hanson took to Twitter Sunday evening to explain what happened on the air and to apologize for the miscalculation.

Hanson believed in the moment that CBS was airing the overtime period to a national audience. But due to NFL broadcasting rules, the game was only available to stations in the Las Vegas, Fresno, Sacramento, Reno, Eugene, Portland, Boise, Seattle, and Spokane markets on the west coast. Additionally, the game was available in Chicago, Tampa, Atlanta, and Charlotte.

He apologized for the mistake and said he would have more details at a later date.

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Sports TV News

ESPN Creates ACC/SEC Challenge

The series will begin for the 2023-2024 season, launching with 28 games played between the two sports.

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ESPN, in conjunction with the ACC and SEC, is slated to announce the creation of the ACC/SEC Challenge for men’s and women’s basketball.

The series will begin for the 2023-2024 season, launching with 28 games played between the two sports. That number will grow to 30 contests when the SEC expands for the 2025-2026 season.

Every game in the challenge will be aired on an ESPN platform, with each side hosting the same amount of home games.

“The future ACC/SEC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Challenges will be outstanding events for our student-athletes, member institutions and fans,” said ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips, Ph.D. “The SEC, led by Greg Sankey, and our partners at ESPN have been terrific, and there’s great excitement for the first annual ACC/SEC Challenge next season. As part of this announcement, we’d like to acknowledge the Big Ten for its partnership on the ACC/B1G Challenge that spanned more than 20 years.”

“We are excited women’s and men’s basketball student-athletes will have the opportunity to compete with their colleagues from the ACC as we initiate a new Basketball Challenge experience,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “I appreciate the collaboration of Jim Phillips and the ACC members, along with our broadcast partner ESPN, to make possible the SEC/ACC Basketball Challenge which will provide our fans with exciting basketball early in the 2023-24 season. I also thank the Big 12 for the many great challenge games we experienced together in past years.”

The creation of the event comes on the heels of the Big Ten’s new media rights deal with FOX, NBC, and CBS, ending a nearly four-decade relationship with ESPN. The ACC/Big Ten Challenge began in 1999, with the SEC/Big 12 Challenging beginning in 2013. Both events will cease to exist following this season.

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