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Frank Isola: Steph Curry Makes NBA Writers’ Jobs Easier

“He takes his profession seriously. He knows he has a great life; and he also knows it’s really not that important.”

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This week has been especially disconcerting throughout professional sports. It’s been a stark reminder that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is far from over.

75 positive COVID-19 tests for the National Football League in the span of two days, various postponed games across the National Hockey League, 37 players currently in National Basketball Association health and safety protocols, including Milwaukee Bucks all-star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brooklyn Nets all-star guard James Harden.

Thankfully, professional sports had a bright spot to look to on Tuesday, from “The World’s Most Famous Arena.” Golden State Warriors all-star guard Stephen Curry broke the NBA three-point record, knocking down his 2,974th shot from beyond the arc. When the moment happened, the world of sports media stopped and relished in the greatness of what had just taken place. It seemed like a storybook ending to the transformative impact Curry, 33, has had on the game since his debut in the 2009 season, as he surpassed the mark set by Hall of Famer member Ray Allen in 511 fewer games.

Unsurprisingly, Curry’s record-breaking shot was the talk of sports radio in some capacity all around the United States Tuesday morning, including in his home marketplace: the Bay Area. Murph & Mac on KNBR in San Francisco, in conversation with radio and television personality Frank Isola, spoke not only about Curry’s greatness on the court, but also his characteristics off the court that make him one of the most likable players in the game.

Isola is an experienced journalist who covered the Knicks for both the New York Daily News and The Athletic throughout his career, and called the Warriors’ organization “first-class,” including its communications team. The morning drive radio program referenced a Tweet from the Warriors’ Senior Vice President of Communications Raymond Ridler to put Curry’s understanding of the importance of the night into perspective.

For those keeping score, that’s seven – yes, seven – different media commitments Curry performed, and on a game day nonetheless. Translate that to basketball jargon, and it’s a three-pointer and a foul to make a four point play.

“Raymond is great, [and] his whole staff does a terrific job,” said Isola. “It also tells you again – the one thing about Steph Curry: He takes his profession seriously. He knows he has a great life; and he also knows it’s really not that important.”

From a media perspective, Curry’s professionalism and cooperation with the public relations team makes the Warriors organization stronger as a whole, allowing for the promotion of the team brand and star player without hassle. Moreover, it has rendered him into an easy player to root for and to cover, something of a rarity in today’s NBA, according to Isola.

“We know how it is in the media,” said Isola. “[The] greatness is what is going to attract you to Steph Curry. The fact that he’s so likable; how can you not root for a guy like that?”

Curry thanked fans at The Garden and from afar for making last night special in a video he posted to Twitter this morning, and hopes to keep playing long enough to extend his new record so it will not be broken.

For hosts Brian Murphy and Phil McCaffrey, having an athlete like Curry is “one in a million,” and the ability to have a New York journalist like Frank Isola on the show to discuss the feat is exactly what they were hoping for from the very beginning.

“So what I said to ‘Waterboy’ on Monday [is that] ‘Steph’s going to break the record. We need a great New York-based writer, somebody like a Frank Isola,’” reminisced Murphy. “I had no idea – ‘Waterboy’ says this morning: ‘Frank Isola at 8:35…’ [Isola’s] always good, and I knew he’d be a great guy to get, and props to ‘Waterboy’ for getting him.”

“I feel like I want to do a weekly hit with Frank. He was so damn good,” concurred MacCaffrey. “[That was a] really great conversation.”

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NBC Sports Names Al Michaels To Emeritus Role

The partnership will keep Michaels on for the Olympics and NBC’s NFL playoff coverage.

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Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

NBC Sports, which had been the home of Al Michaels since 2006, will still feature the veteran broadcaster despite Michaels’ moving to Amazon for Thursday Night Football.

The network announced that Michaels will still be a part of NBC Sports’ high-profile broadcasting properties including the Olympics and NFL Playoffs. Michaels’ last broadcast with the network had been Super Bowl LVI in February, his eleventh Super Bowl.

NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua said in a statement, “Revered by viewers and colleagues, Al has been the soundtrack for many of the greatest moments in sports television history. We are thrilled that he’s staying in the family and raising the stature of our events for years to come.”

“I’m looking forward to continuing my longtime NBC relationship while also launching the Thursday Night Football package on Amazon this fall. A special thanks to NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua and the folks at NBCUniversal for their help in making this happen,” Michaels said.

Michaels moved to Amazon Prime Video this season for their Thursday Night Football package. He will be paired with ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit. This season will mark his 37th NFL play-by-play campaign in primetime.

Following another historic broadcasting moment in which Michaels deftly demonstrated his expertise and versatility, he became just the second sportscaster in history to receive a News Emmy nomination for his coverage of the San Francisco earthquake during the 1989 World Series.

In addition to the 11 Super Bowls, Michaels has worked nine Olympics and called eight World Series.

In December 2020, Michaels was honored with the 2021 Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Michaels is one of only five distinguished broadcasters to be recognized with the baseball honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Award (Dick Enberg, Lindsey Nelson, Jack Buck, and Curt Gowdy).

One of television’s most respected journalists, Michaels has covered more major sports events than any sportscaster, including 20 years as the play-by-play voice of Monday Night Football. He is the only commentator to call the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals and host the Stanley Cup Final for network television. In addition, Michaels called the classic 1985 championship boxing match between Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns and “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler.

Among his many accolades, Michaels has captured eight Emmy Awards – seven for Outstanding Sports Personality – Play-by-Play and one in 2011 for the Lifetime Achievement Award, and has three times (1980, 1983 and 1986) received the NSSA Award from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association; he was inducted into the NSSA Hall of Fame in 1998. Michaels was named Sportscaster of the Year in 1996 by the American Sportscasters Association, and, in 1991, he was named Sportscaster of the Year by the Washington Journalism Review.

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Sports Radio News

Thom Brennaman Continues to Search for a Second Chance

Brennaman has been searching for a broadcasting gig since he spoke a homophobic slur in August 2020 on a Cincinnati Reds broadcast.

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USA Today

The last time Thom Brennaman sported the microphone for a major broadcast was August 19, 2020. It was game that featured a doubleheader between the Cincinnati Reds and the Kanasas City Royals and in between the two, Brennaman blurted a homophobic slur that has thus far kept him off radio and television.

Brennaman has struggled to find his footing since that error. Recently, Brennaman recorded an episode of Tell Me A Story I Don’t Know, a podcast hosted George Ofman. That episode was available Tuesday and in it, Ofman asks where Brennaman thinks he’ll be in six months.

Brennaman said, “I have no idea. I really don’t. There were a couple of times I thought that maybe somebody out there was going to give me a chance to broadcast again and then this same thing comes up again.”

Brennaman sounded baffled that he’s still searching for work, citing other influential local leaders and what they opined in the days after the incident. “You know what you find out George, the guy who’s considered to be the leading voice of the LGBT community here in Cincinnati, he’s a big executive with Johnson and Johnson, a guy named Ryan Messer. He had written, and I had never met Ryan Messer at this point in time, like two days after what I said, he wrote a letter to the editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer, local paper, that Thom Brennaman should not be fired. There is room for growth here in so many areas and a great opportunity for him, for the gay community, for the Reds, for our society.”

Brennaman added that the two met as well as did Brennaman with other leaders in the LGBT community at the time. “I reached out to the guy and made contact with him and he’s the guy who’s house we went to that I made reference to earlier in listening to a bunch of the stories with some gay leaders. But anyway, I said ‘if you have people there – and I know you do – that are gay that work there, I would put up the amount of hours that I have spent in the gay community in some form or fashion over the last year against anybody you have that works in that office that’s gay’.”

Despite his efforts, the broadcasting veteran is dismayed that it’s failed to sway opinion, “it’s almost like in some cases it just falls on deaf ears.”

Regardless of where he is at now, he’s confident that eventually he’ll be afforded another opportunity. “But I ‘d like to think there’s somebody out there – and there will be and all it takes is one – is just to say ‘you know what, this was a mistake. Here’s the documentation of what the guy’s tried to do since then. We’re going to take a chance – answer some tough questions – and take a chance and get him back in the booth.”

And if another opportunity doesn’t present itself? “If it doesn’t happen, it’s not going to be the end of my life.”

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Sports Radio News

The Rundown With Jeff Michael Coming To SportsMap Radio

“The Rundown with Jeff Michael will debut on June 6.”

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Jeff Michael is getting a promotion at SportsMap Radio. He is moving from the part-time staff into a new midday show.

The Rundown with Jeff Michael will debut on June 6. The network describes the new two-hour show as energetic and fast-paced.

“Sports talk radio always meant the world to me,” Jeff Michael said in a press release. “Having an opportunity to reach such a large national audience is something I do not take lightly. While I’m so grateful for the opportunity, my focus will always be on creating captivating and informative content.”

Michael has been with SportsMap Radio since 2020. He has also been a prolific host in the podcasting space.

“I feel this is a perfect format for Jeff to excel,” CEO David Gow added. “From listening to fill-in appearances, you can tell he has tremendous command of his audience. You cannot easily teach what Jeff Michael already possesses.”

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