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Scott Van Pelt Reflects On One Year Anniversary of NBA Shutdown

“That night, I remember that there was a permanence. We were the ones that got to document it.”

Ricky Keeler

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One year ago on Thursday, the whole sports world changed and our new normal occurred due to COVID-19. During this week, some sports shows will look back on what they were doing on their shows at night when the news broke that the NBA season was suspended.

Here is a clip from that night’s SportsCenter broadcast: 

For Scott Van Pelt, SportsCenter with SVP was going to be a lot different than a normal Wednesday night. This week, Van Pelt and Stanford Steve were joined on the SVPod by NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski, reporters Malika Andrews and Royce White (White was in Oklahoma City for Jazz-Thunder), producer Marco Alfandary and director Joe Iuliano to reflect on the events from that night. 

The show began with Alfandary talking about what was going on as the news started to break that the season was going to be suspended and that the night wasn’t going to be the same as Van Pelt was set to due a cut-in with Wojnarowski at halftime of the Nuggets-Mavericks game. 

“I can remember walking into the control room maybe a little bit early. There were some early rumblings that maybe something unusual was afoot at the Thunder game. We were watching Woj’s timeline very closely. I remember being in the control room and the rest of it was an out-of-body experience as things started to cascade.”

For Andrews, at the time she thought she was missing out on covering a game without fans, but she thought back to how she feels now compared to a year ago when she got the call to get off the road. 

“To think about that now versus what ended up happening. It is amazing to think back at how quick the dominoes were falling.” 

Woj admits that before the night that the NBA halted play, the virus was on his mind and even predicted he would be writing more about health and safety than assists and rebounds.

“The NBA was preparing its teams in a way that the United States government wasn’t preparing its citizens to be quite honest,” he said on the podcast. “I remember saying to Cristina Daglas at some point in that week before, we are getting to a point where I think all I should be doing is writing about this virus. I don’t think there is any basketball stuff I should be worried about now. To the extent it did,  I don’t think anyone else was prepared for that.”

Van Pelt mentioned that he thinks about that night, which he called the most memorable night of his career and how the control room helped him in a big way.

“That night, I remember that there was a permanence. We were the ones that got to document it. It wasn’t because we were good, we were on the air. What you guys did in that control room allowed me to be the anchor that hopefully didn’t throw the ball out of bounds. I always knew you were not going to put me in harm’s way. I just remember being so grateful we had a great room that we can trust. It’s what I think of now.”

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Bomani Jones: I’m Better At Talking About Political, Social Issues Than Most In Sports Media

“I personally am better at talking about those things than most people who work in this industry. Like I feel like I can say that fairly and then it not really be an arrogant thing.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James found himself in a few headlines last week when he questioned reporters for not asking him about the recent Washington Post story and photo surrounding Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, and ESPN commentator Bomani Jones took the opportunity to discuss the revelation.

Jones was pictured as a 14 year old among a crowd during an early stage of integration of public schools in Arkansas during the civil rights movement.

LeBron pointed out that he would field questions when there’s a controversy surrounding a Black person and spoke about the situation with former Cavaliers teammate Kyrie Irving, but he found it curious that no one had asked his opinion on the Jerry Jones story. LeBron had long considered himself a Cowboys fan, but in recent years he’s stopped supporting the team over Jones’ mandate that Dallas players stand for the National Anthem.

On his ESPN podcast The Right Time, host Bomani Jones talked about LeBron and circled it around to how he and other ESPN personalities caught a ton of flack for speaking about political or societal issues that often don’t fall within the confines of sports.

Jones said that being able to talk about political and societal issues comes easier to him than it does to most members of the sports media.

“I personally am better at talking about those things than most people who work in this industry,” Jones said. “Like I feel like I can say that fairly and then it not really be an arrogant thing.”

Jones said it comes down to the fact that there’s a bias at play. Are people going to take offense to what you’re saying because they disagree, or are they going to like what you’re going to say because they agree?

“They’re reinforcing the fact that you’re reinforcing what it is that you want to hear,” Jones said. “But the truth is that most people are not qualified to talk about these things before the world, because talking about these things before the world is very, very difficult.”

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John Jastremski Fires Back After Craig Carton Criticism

“I’m not listening to a crook. So you know what? Go take a f—ing hike. How about that.”

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Earlier this week, WFAN afternoon host Craig Carton said John Jastremski — a former WFAN host now hosting a podcast for The Ringer — “shunned” his radio career advice.

During his New York New York podcast Thursday, Jastremski strongly condemned Carton’s remarks.

“I don’t like going here with this stuff, ’cause I know this plays right into what this guy likes to do,” Jastremski said. “This is his M.O. This is what he’s done his entire career. It’s what he’s done for his entire career and he’s had success doing it. He lives for this stuff. But it really set me off. It set me off because I gotta see it on Barrett Sports Media while I’m on vacation. Like I wanna be bothered with this shit, number one. Number two, it’s just tone-deaf, insulting, and flat-out rude every which way.

“Number one: going after people who work at McDonald’s? Who the hell are you to do that? Number two: You’re insulting a multi-billion dollar company where I work. I have a great job, a great platform, a great producer. I have two great jobs, I might add. And you’re insulting both of them. By the way, you’re on that network. Five days a week. And you’re insulting that network. How stupid are you? Taking shots at people of the network you’re on, I’m on. And I could tell you, it pays well. I do ok.

“As for career advice? Guess what? I listen to legends. Bill Simmons, you ever hear of him? Worth a lot more than you. Mike Francesa? My boy Adam Schein? I listen to those guys. I’m not listening to a crook. So you know what? Go take a f—ing hike. How about that.”

Calling Carton a crook harkens back to the WFAN afternoon host’s stint in federal prison for participating in a ponzi scheme that scammed investors out of $5.6 million that he in turn used to pay off gambling debts. Carton was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison before serving just over a year in prison before being released in 2020.

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The Dan Le Batard Show With Stugotz Moving To New Studio

The show continued to be recorded inside the studio at the Clevelander after it departed ESPN Radio’s national lineup in 2021.

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Dan Le Batard Show

The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz is leaving its home at the Clevelander hotel on South Beach in Miami and moving into a new studio next year, according to a report from The Big Lead.

The show continued to be recorded inside the studio at the Clevelander after it departed ESPN Radio’s national lineup in 2021. It has remained the home for the show since Le Batard and John Skipper formed Meadowlark Media.

After a $50 million distribution deal with DraftKings was secured, the Meadowlark podcast network has grown in both reach and talent, allowing for an expanded studio space.

No immediate details were given on where the new studio space would be located.

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