The NBA Playoffs and much of the sports world came to a screeching halt on August 26. The Milwaukee Bucks refused to take the floor for a first round game against the Orlando Magic in protest of the Kenosha, Wisconsin police shooting Jacob Blake in the back.
While the rest of the NBA slate followed suit, pausing play for two days, many fans also remember the moment a television personality joined in. Kenny Smith walked off the set of TNT’s Inside the NBA that night, saying that he was emotional and tired and didn’t know how to do the show.
His friend and Inside the NBA co-host Charles Barkley talked about that moment this week and said he didn’t like it in the moment.
Barkley was a guest on The Ringer’s podcast Winging It with Vince Carter. Co-host Annie Finberg asked Barkley what his thoughts were that night. He said that he thought Smith owed him, Shaq, and Ernie a heads up of what he was thinking and what was about to happen.
“He should’ve told us in advance. Because I had just said that it was bogus what the Milwaukee Bucks just did to the Orlando Magic. They didn’t tell them. And then like 30 seconds later, he did the exact same thing,” Barkley said. “I had no problem with him walking off. He should’ve told us so we could’ve prepared. The show was like, ‘Uh-oh.'”
Being fair to Smith here, it is possible that he didn’t know what he was going to do until it was too late to give his team an off-camera heads up. Awful Announcing’s Ian Casselberry writes that the surprise of that that moment is what made it so memorable.
“Smith walking off the set was also a more powerful moment because of its apparent spontaneity. Had it been more organized, the moment likely wouldn’t have been as notable. Ultimately, the show didn’t have to suffer because Smith left in protest.”
Barkley is under some fire from social media for saying that he wouldn’t put the killing of Breonna Taylor in the same category as the murders of Ahmaud Arbrey or George Floyd. While he did note during the podcast that he thought the Bucks put the rest of the NBA in a position where they all had to refuse to play, his beef with Kenny clearly isn’t about Kenny’s position on the police shooting a man in the back. It seems that this is one co-worker telling another that his actions left the team in an awkward situation.
Charles Barkley did not say if he and Kenny Smith ever addressed the situation. He only said “I got nothing but love and respect for Kenny.”
FanDuel TV Strikes Deal With ONE Championship Martial Arts
“We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”
FanDuel TV and ONE Championship Martial Arts have struck a deal that will see the MMA, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and submission grappling series air weekly events on the newly launched channel.
“We’re eager to continue expanding the variety of content we’re offering at FanDuel TV to introduce our audience to emerging sports,” said FanDuel Chief Commercial Officer Mike Raffensperger. “We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”
ONE Championship is a top-five global sports property for digital viewership and engagement according to Nielsen measurements.
“We are thrilled to join the FanDuel TV lineup and give our passionate U.S. audience yet another way to engage with ONE Championship,” said ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. “Having a quality partner in FanDuel will help raise the profile of our company in the region and provide their viewers with action-packed martial arts events like they have never seen before.”
Bob Costas Re-Lives First Announcing Assignment For NBC
“My biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979.”
Legendary sports broadcaster Bob Costas appeared on KNBR’s Tolbert & Copes Thursday to discuss the death of Baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. But before the conversation turned to the recently departed pitcher, the show asked Costas about what he has announced that would surprise someone. He reminisced about his first time on the air for NBC.
“My very first assignment for NBC, my biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979,” Costas recounted. “There was a program on NBC then called Sports World. It was an anthology series that was their answer to the gold standard, ABC’s Wide World of Sports.
“So they traveled the globe, like Wide World of Sports did. So they sent me, wearing a red NBC jacket, to Tokyo to cover a sumo wrestling tournament with seven-time world power-lifting champion Larry Pacifico as my color man. Now, this is all the Japanese I learned as we came on the air: ‘Minasan kon’nichwa watashinoamaeha Bob Costas’, which means ‘Hello everyone, my name is Bob Costas’. If ever there was typecasting, when they sat and looked at their roster of announcers and went ‘Who should we send to the sumo wrestling? It’s gotta be Costas, who’s entire body weight would constitute one meal for the sumo wrestling champion.”
Costas departed NBC Sports in 2019 after 40 years with the network, announcing MLB, NBA, and the Olympics, in addition to his work with the network’s sumo wrestling coverage.
Matt Leinart, Alex Smith Make Wager Over Pac-12 Championship Game
“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous. I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.”
FOX Sports analyst Matt Leinart and ESPN analyst Alex Smith have made a friendly wager over the upcoming Pac-12 Championship Game.
USC, Leinart’s alma mater, is slated to play Utah, where Smith attended, in the game Friday evening on FOX from Las Vegas.
The two agreed to don the other player’s jersey. “At least it will be 11,” Smith said, noting he and Leinart both wore the number during their playing days.
“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous,” Leinart said when presented with the offer. “I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.” Smith jokingly responded by calling USC “Free Agent University”. He added he would overnight Leinart a jersey to ensure he had one if the Utes were victorious.
Garrett Searight is the Editor of Barrett Sports Media and Barrett News Media. He previously was the Program Director and Afternoon Co-Host on 93.1 The Fan in Lima, OH. He is also a play-by-play announcer for TV and Radio broadcasts in Western Ohio.