Last night, long-time Maverick Dirk Nowitzki had his jersey retired in Dallas. Not long after, a video surfaced of Charles Barkley years ago explaining how he actually tried to recruit the 7-footer to play for Auburn.
“I called Nike. I said, ‘Find about this kid. Tell him I’ll give him anything he wants to go to Auburn,’” Barkley said in June, detailing the first time he met Dirk. “Anything he wants, we’ll get it done.”
This occurred in 1997, when Nowitzki was a teenager in Germany playing a Nike exhibition game against NBA stars such as Barkley, Michael Jordan, and Scottie Pippen. Barkley’s reason for recruiting Dirk was most likely obvious to everyone in attendance that day.
“Dirk finished with like 52 (points),” said Barkley.
Instead of being disappointed in a teenager hanging 52 on the star-studded team, Barkley decided to work on recruiting the young Nowitzki to his former school which Barkley is now a very supportive fan of. However, Nowitzki elected instead to bypass college altogether and jump from a German pro team to the NBA.
Although Nowitzki passed on Auburn, it may have been Barkley who stopped Nowitzki from making a different career choice.
“I said, ‘Where you gonna play (college basketball) at?’” Barkley recalls. “He says, ‘I have to go in the Army.’ I said, ‘Dude, you can’t go in the Army playing like that.’”
As Barkley tells it, he called Nike again later in the summer to make one last run at having Nowitzki sign with the Tigers.
“(Nike) said, ‘Well, he’s got to go in the Army.’ I said, ‘That dude is 7’ tall, he’s not going to the damn Army. What’s he gonna hide behind?’”
Barkley’s love for his alma matter has been the source of a lot of jokes both on Inside the NBA and when he sits at the desk for Turner and CBS’s coverage of March Madness. He is also a regular guest of College GameDay when ESPN takes the show to Auburn.
Certainly all of those colleagues have a new pool to dip into for jokes now that Chuck has admitted he was willing to commit a recruiting violation on behalf of the school.
New York Mobile Sports Bets Likely to Pass New Jersey for No. 1 in U.S.
“The data tell us that New Yorkers are dumping illegal sportsbooks for the new legal options, and operators are also excelling at attracting first-time bettors.”
New York looks well on its way to become the new No. 1 in mobile sports betting. Bets from the state blasted off in the first two weekends they were available.
This could put New York in position to overtake its neighbor, New Jersey, for the top spot.
According to the Associated Press, Vancouver, Canada-based tech company GeoComply Solutions recorded 17.9 million transactions last weekend in New York. That’s up from 17.2 million the weekend before, when betting went live in the state.
The transaction numbers are related to sports betting activity from a specific location of a customer. Bettors are required to make bets within state lines where it is legal.
The company says 1.2 million new accounts were created in New York since mobile sports betting began on Jan. 8. Nearly 88% of those customers are new to legal sports betting, never having been verified before by GeoComply.
“The momentum of New York’s sports betting launch has continued and it is mostly home-grown,” GeoComply managing director of gaming Lindsay Slader told the AP. “The data tell us that New Yorkers are dumping illegal sportsbooks for the new legal options, and operators are also excelling at attracting first-time bettors.”
These numbers imply that the New Jersey market might be hurting as a result of New York surging. However, while the transactions show New York probably took more bets, they also indicate that New Jersey hasn’t lost any business to New York so far.
New Jersey averaged 12.6 million geolocation transactions in the two weekends before New York’s mobile launch, and 13.1 million in the two weekends since.
About 9.3% of bettors have accounts in both states, the company said.
“The growth in New York has been explosive,” said Rush Street Interactive CEO Richard Schwartz, whose company runs the BetRivers online sportsbook. “It is, by far, off to the fastest start of any of our sportsbook markets in terms of handle. Along with having the largest population of any state with legalized sports gambling, New York is one of the few U.S. states with multiple teams across all four major sports. It’s simply a recipe for long term success.”
Sports gambling company FanDuel is “very pleased” with how New York customers have embraced betting.
“While all markets are critical, it was especially important for FanDuel to do well within our home state,” said spokesman Kevin Hennessy.
While New Jersey is still thriving, it should be interesting to keep an eye on the market as more and more business pops up in New York. New Jersey casinos and sports books say at least 20% of their business has come from New Yorkers crossing over into New Jersey to make bets before New York opened up the market.
NSMA Announces Award Winners, Hall Of Fame Inductees
“The NSMA’s annual awards weekend and national convention is scheduled for June 25-27 in Winston-Salem, N.C.”
The National Sports Media Association (NSMA) will induct four new members of its hall of fame and honor its three national award winners in June, and the NSMA announced the full list of honorees on Tuesday.
Basketball analyst Hubie Brown and the late Stuart Scott will be inducted as hall of fame sportscasters, while Jackie MacMullan and Curry Kirkpatrick will go in as hall of fame sportswriters.
Scott passed away after a bout with cancer in 2015, but he will always be fondly remembered as one of ESPN’s greatest SportsCenter anchors. His catchphrases “Booyah!” and “Cool as the other side of the pillow” were just some that captivated audiences during his time at ESPN.
Additionally, there was a tie for national sportscaster of the year, as Turner Sports’ Ernie Johnson and ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt will share the 2022 award. ESPN baseball insider Jeff Passan was named the national sportswriter of the year.
The NSMA’s annual awards weekend and national convention is scheduled for June 25-27 in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Dan O’Toole Returns To Broadcasting With New Podcast, ‘Boomsies!’
“Talking to some former co-workers — some former bosses — and one of them said, ‘Well, Dan, I think you’re done in the industry.'”
Since being fired by TSN last year, Dan O’Toole has kept a rather low profile. But not by choice.
As the former SportsCentre and Fox Sports Live anchor explained to The Athletic‘s Sean Fitz-Gerald, no other media outlet was offering work. The lack of interest moved O’Toole to the point where he began to consider a different career. And he wasn’t getting encouragement from former colleagues.
“Talking to some former co-workers — some former bosses,” O’Toole told Fitz-Gerald, “and one of them said, ‘Well, Dan, I think you’re done in the industry.'”
It’s a realization that plenty, far too many, in media have faced in recent years as outlets make budget cuts or shut down altogether. Yet for someone as accomplished and popular as O’Toole was in his on-air partnership with Jay Onrait, such a situation must have been even more difficult.
So like many other broadcasters, O’Toole, 46, decided to give himself a platform. He started a podcast. Titled Boomsies!, the show is available where most audio content is found these days, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify. The podcast is also available on YouTube, in partnership with BetRivers Sportsbook. New shows will be posted every Wednesday.
The “Boomsies!” name came from a producer he previously worked with at FS1. Behind the scenes, the producer would yell “Boomsies!” in response to a big play or notable mistake.
Later in The Athletic‘s article, O’Toole went onto explain that he believes it’s been difficult to find work in Canadian sports television because of his rather public episode in July 2020 when he believed that his infant daughter had been abducted. The child was later found safe with her mother.
“Having a very public — essentially — mental breakdown, with a situation in my life,” O’Toole told Fitz-Gerald. “That probably entered my brain, where people don’t want this guy around.”
Losing his job at TSN provided O’Toole with the opportunity to help himself, which included a month-long stay in a treatment center last year. He’d like to get back on television, but is content with the podcast for the work-life balance it allows. The show also provides a platform to demonstrate to anyone who might be struggling with mental health that it’s possible to put a life back together.
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