Ernie Johnson was a guest on Dukes & Bell Friday ahead of the NBA’s All-Star Game in Cleveland. The Atlanta sports talk hosts opened the interview by asking Johnson about the All-Star Game Draft last week.
Mike Bell told Johnson that it was the perfect example of why TNT’s Inside the NBA works so well. He asked Johnson if needling Kevin Durant about not picking James Harden was some of the most fun he had on set.
“It’s just fun to kind of poke and prod a little bit and see how much fun these guys want to have,” Johnson said of talking to players.
James Harden had been traded from the Nets to the Philadelphia 76ers earlier in the day. Harden’s relationships on the team, including with Durant, had reportedly soured. Last year, Durant chose Harden as his first bench player. This year, Durant’s attitude was very different.
Ernie Johnson gave his Inside the NBA castmates credit for being able to make things awkward for Durant and fun for the audience in that moment.
“That’s the great thing about having Chuck and Shaq and Kenny in there too,” he told Dukes & Bell. “They’re gonna just poke the needle a little bit. That was a fun moment. That’s for sure.”
Johnson told the 92.9 The Game afternoon duo that that moment was a microcosm of the larger relationship TNT has with the NBA. The league trusts he, Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kenny Smith to put on a great show.
“The only thing they tell us is ‘Hey have some fun. You guys do what you do,’” he said. “They love any kind of banter we have, so if we can joke with these guys and make it as entertaining as we can, nobody wants a dry ‘Kevin?’ ‘I got him.’ ‘Okay LeBron, it’s your turn.’ ‘I’ve got him.’ You need some of that ribbing from our side of it to kind of move things along. They’re great about that. From our side of it, we’ve been together for so long they can say ‘just do what you guys do’ and they take the good with the bad. That’s a good thing to have.”
Dan Patrick: ‘I Want Buccaneer Tom, Not Patriot Tom On Fox’
“‘Buccaneer Tom’ is ‘Vacation Tom.’ That guy’s having a good time.”
A lot of people have compared the deal FOX signed with Tom Brady to the one NBC signed with Drew Brees before the former Saints quarterback finished his playing days. FOX is set to pay Brady $375 million for his services. That means the network better be right about their faith in the quarterback.
Drew Brees faced a lot of criticism this year. Some have speculated that the reason he is not joining Mike Tirico in the Sunday Night Football booth this season is that he is too boring to be the network’s league analyst.
Dan Patrick says he has a similar concern about Tom Brady. Landing the greatest quarterback of all time is a win for FOX, but we have seen two very different Tom Bradys in his career. If the wrong one shows up, Patrick says this investment could be a disaster for FOX.
“I worry sometimes that if we get ‘Patriot Tom’ instead of ‘Buccaneer Tom,’” Dan Patrick said on his Wednesday show. “‘Buccaneer Tom’ is ‘Vacation Tom.’ That guy’s having a good time. ‘Two-Drink Tommy;’ that I like. But if he does the Patriot Way, that’s not going to be good.”
As he has gotten older, Tom Brady has been more willing to show off his personality. Most famously, he cut loose at the boat parade celebrating the Tampa’s Super Bowl title in 2021.
Dan Patrick wondered if Tom Brady would be aware of the standard for succes in broadcasting. Would he know that entertainment matters? He pointed out that Brady’s social media accounts tend to be pretty funny, but they are likely either manned or at least aided by staff writers.
“Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you can tell us how to do it, and I think that is gonna be the interesting part,” Patrick said.
Travis Rodgers: ‘Celebrities At SoFi Stadium Make Rams A Better Primetime Fit For NFL’
“You go to a game and it’s, ‘Wow, there’s LeBron; there’s DiCaprio; there’s this.’ Damn, what more can you ask for from this franchise?”
Tuesday on 710 ESPN Radio Los Angeles, Travis and Sliwa discussed how the NFL is consistently able to fabricate non-game events into must-follow action, generating ratings and revenue during the nearly seven-month long offseason. The special promoting the release of the full 2022 season schedule is on Thusday night is a good example..
“I’m sure we’re going to be 10 weeks into the NFL season [and say], ‘Man, that team didn’t turn out the way we thought it would,’ [or] ‘Oh, that team is better than we thought it’s going to be,’” said show co-host Allen Sliwa. “That’s what kind of makes this part of the year sort of exciting – that you start finding out what the matchups are.”
Nonetheless, the NFL has been able to captivate fans through making a spectacle of offseason events. This includes the impending primetime television schedule release special by the league, rather than simply divulging the week-by-week matchups with minimal grandeur and melodrama.
“They’re so good at turning things that aren’t games into things,” said show co-host Travis Rodgers. “The draft is a huge thing; the combine is a thing; the schedule release is a thing; free agency is a thing; training camps are a thing.”
While the NFL schedule may not yet be fully released, some primetime matchups have been announced in advance, potentially to pique the interest of fans, media partners and the players themselves. It is safe to say that the defending Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams will receive much of the primetime action across the NFL’s remodeled slate of broadcasts during the 2022 season. In fact, it was recently announced that the Rams will be playing on Christmas Day against Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos on a game simulcast on CBS and Paramount+, along with the inclusion of a special viewing presentation on Nickelodeon sure to include the network’s signature slime.
Aside from the team’s success on the field though, there exist other reasons why the current moment is an opportune time to schedule the Rams to play games in primetime.
“I’m telling you – the Rams are really good,” said Rodgers. “They play in a place that’s got great visuals. There’s going to be celebrities in the stands. A brand new stadium. Everybody likes coming to L.A. This is the place you’re going to have people come over and over.”
It was not always guaranteed that the NFL would be willing to return to the City of Angels, and if the league would be welcomed back. Yet since the construction of the $5.5 billion-SoFi Stadium complete with NFL Network studios within new league headquarters combined with the early success of both the Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, the reincarnation of football in southern California has been largely prosperous thus far.
“It’s almost like icing on the cake,” said Sliwa. “The NFL is the NFL either way. But the brand the Rams have created over a short period of time, and… the visuals. You go to a game and it’s, ‘Wow, there’s LeBron; there’s DiCaprio; there’s this.’ Damn, what more can you ask for from this franchise?”
Tom Millikan Upped To APD of 97.1 The Ticket
“Listeners might not agree with my opinions or show content all of the time, but I genuinely try to produce shows that Detroit sports fans want every single day.”
Congratulations are in order for Tom Millikan. The executive producer of The Morning Show with Stoney and Jansen has been promoted to assistant program director of 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit.
“Tom has done an outstanding job as an executive producer and has played a vital role in the success of the station,” said Debbie Kenyon, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Audacy Detroit. “He is very deserving of this promotion and we look forward to even greater success with Tom in his new role.”
Millikan has been a steady presence in Detroit sports talk since 1998. He has been with The Ticket since 2012. In that time, he has served as an affiliate relations manager for coverage of the Detroit Tigers, Lions, Red Wings and Pistons. He has also been involved with Michigan Wolverines broadcasts on sister station WWJ AM.
“Throughout my twenty plus years in radio, I’ve been blessed with countless memories of championships and pure joy,” said Millikan. “I’m living out a dream. I wanted to work in sports radio since the format exploded in the early 90s and I’ve been blessed by the tutelage of all of my co-workers and peers. I was born and raised in Detroit and Detroit sports are part of my DNA. Listeners might not agree with my opinions or show content all of the time, but I genuinely try to produce shows that Detroit sports fans want every single day.”