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Adrian Wojnarowski Broke James Harden Trade News On NFL Live

“They could have waited until SportsCenter, or directed fans to another one of their platforms for info on the Harden trade, but instead, the network decided to put their top NBA reporter on NFL Live.”

Brandon Contes

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Adrian Wojnarowski

Despite claims that the NBA’s popularity is in a downward spiral, Wednesday afternoon saw basketball news that was so big it surpassed the NFL for a moment. 

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Romana Shelburne co-broke the story on Twitter of James Harden being traded to the Nets. But at the time, ESPN was airing NFL Live ahead of this weekend’s Divisional Round of the playoffs. They could have waited until SportsCenter, or directed fans to another one of their platforms for info on the Harden trade, but instead, the network decided to put their top NBA reporter on NFL Live.

Wojnarowski seemed excited to make the unprecedented appearance on NFL Live as he discussed the Rockets dealing Harden to Brooklyn.

Following Woj’s appearance, the show continued its James Harden discussion, led by hosts Laura Rutledge, Marcus Spears, Dan Orlovsky and Keyshawn Johnson. With NBA TV airing a replay of Monday night’s Raptors-Blazers game, basketball fans were left with limited options of finding instant reactions to the Harden trade on cable TV. 

While everyone on NFL Live is certainly capable of discussing topics outside of football, it usually takes time for an audience to trust hosts and analysts with a new sport. But in the unique circumstance for NFL Live, they had instant credibility with Keyshawn Johnson, a longtime morning radio host, well-established as a versatile sports talker. 

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ACC Network Adds Justin Walters as Host

“I’m grateful to ESPN and ACC Network for this opportunity and thrilled to be a part of the team. I’m ready to put in the work!”

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A photo of Justin Walters at the Super Bowl
(Photo: Justin Walters)

Justin Walters is the latest member of the ACC Network and its roster of hosts, ESPN has announced.

Walters previously worked for PIX11 News in New York City and served as a college football and basketball reporter for CBS Sports over the past three years. Walters will debut on Wednesday, Dec. 6 anchoring halftime coverage of the ACC Network’s men’s college basketball doubleheader. He will also host the network’s signature basketball show Nothing But Net.

“We’re excited to add Justin to our ACC Network team. He is both talented and versatile, an ideal combination for this role, which will include hosting shows in studio and on the road, as well as reporting and conducting interviews in the field,” said ESPN Senior Vice President of Production Michael Shiffman.  

Born in Brooklyn and raised in Mount Vernon, N.Y., Walters graduated from La Salle University with a Bachelor of Arts in broadcast journalism. He is an active member of The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. 

Prior to PIX11, Walters was the sports director and anchor for WRNN-TV/Fios1 News in the greater New York City area, where he covered both high school and professional teams throughout the tri-state area. His most memorable assignments included the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor fight in Las Vegas and Mariano Rivera’s unanimous Hall of Fame induction in Cooperstown, N.Y. He started his career in 2013 with WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee.

“Joining ESPN is truly a dream come true,” Walters said. “Growing up watching some of the greatest and recreating a broadcast as a kid…this is a full circle moment. I’m grateful to ESPN and ACC Network for this opportunity and thrilled to be a part of the team. I’m ready to put in the work!”

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ESPN Officially Re-Signs Mina Kimes to Multi-Year Contract

Kimes originally joined ESPN in 2014, where she has since made her stamp on the company in multiple disciplines.

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Mina Kimes

Get ready for more Mina Kimes on your ESPN airwaves. The company officially announced it re-signed its star NFL correspondent to a multi-year deal, shattering the hopes of Dan LeBatard Show fans everywhere.

Kimes originally joined ESPN in 2014, where she has since made her stamp on the company in multiple disciplines. She started as a writer for ESPN The Magazine and various ESPN websites before moving to an on-air personality for NFL Live, Around the Horn, and First Take. Kimes also hosts a podcast that also recently launched a YouTube channel to provide video content.

2023 has been a busy one for Mina. Earlier this year, Kimes agreed to terms with Meadowlark Media, LeBatard’s media company, to make sporadic appearances on his weekly podcast, while also agreeing to a new deal with ESPN. There’s been no word whether that deal is the same one that is being announced now or involves something different for Kimes.

Mina Kimes also allegedly turned down a lucrative offer from NFL Network to stay at ESPN, albeit on new terms. She also announced the birth of her first child, a son, fittingly during a Monday Night Football contest between her beloved Seattle Seahawks and the New York Giants.

Kimes said the familiarity with ESPN personalities was a key factor in her decision to stick around at the Worldwide Leader. “The biggest reason is I just really love the people that I work with, especially my family on NFL Live,” Kimes told Awful Announcing.

“It’s a little cliche to call them family, but they really are to me. They’re not only wonderful human beings and amazing to work with every day, but they challenge me, we push each other, and we make what I believe is one of the best shows on television. So just for me, probably the biggest appeal was just working with the people that I love so much there in particular.”

Mina Kimes also returns to ESPN today following her maternity leave.

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Greg Olsen: I’m Not Chasing an NFL Head Coaching Job

“This is not something I’m actively pursuing. I would call the A game at FOX for 30 years if that was what was in the cards.”

Ricky Keeler

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Greg Olsen
Courtesy: FOX Sports

With his former team, the Carolina Panthers, in search of a new head coach this offseason, there was a report last week from Joseph Person of The Athletic that the man who was the Panther tight end for 9 years and current FOX broadcaster Greg Olsen would be interested in the position if he was approached for it.

Olsen was a guest on The Rich Eisen Show on Thursday and he told Eisen that being a coach is not something that he is actively trying to pursue at this time.

“This is not something I’m chasing. This is not something I’m actively pursuing. I would call the A game at FOX for 30 years if that was what was in the cards. We all know how this world works. People come and go. Opportunities come and go. I’m never a believer in slamming the door on anything that you love.”

“That became kind of a big story this week. Obviously, there’s a lot of speculation and rumor and whatnot. I think the best thing I would say is ‘Who wouldn’t?’ This is a city that I love,” Greg Olsen admitted. “This is a team that I played the bulk of my career for. I want to see them have success. I live here, my kids are here.”

He continued by noting that he would listen to the offer if approached, despite not angling for the job.

“I would be crazy to entertain and take that conversation. This is a game I love. This is a game that I have been involved in my entire life. How that all plays out, I don’t know.

“I love doing what I do now. Calling games, studying games, I love doing this. How that future unfolds, a lot of this is out of any of our control.”

Greg Olsen took that question and used it to bring out a larger conversation as to why people overreact if a former player without as much coaching experience gets immediately dismissed as an idea for an open spot such as what happened when Jeff Saturday went from ESPN to being the interim coach of the Colts last year.

“What I will say is a larger conversation that has nothing to do with me, we saw it last year with Jeff Saturday taking over. I think there is an instant reaction that unless you have lived the NFL lifestyle in that ladder, you can’t be successful. I think we have to be careful saying experience leads to competence in all industries.

“Look at John Lynch. John Lynch had no experience in personnel and I’d say he has done a good job. We have to be careful thinking experience is the only prerequisite to be good at anything, coaching, broadcasting. Why do we just dismiss that as a pathway? Other sports don’t dismiss it. I don’t have the answer, but I think it’s an interesting conversation.”

As for answering the question itself, Eisen thought it was great because it showed how genuine Olsen is without trying to dismiss the question the second it was asked to him despite how difficult it is to answer. 

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