Next month will mark 75 years since Jackie Robinson debuted as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking Major League Baseball’s color barrier. ESPN is celebrating the anniversary in multiple ways throughout the month of April.
“It is a natural opportunity I believe to not only recognize his legacy but to educate those who may not be as familiar as they should be with the impact he had on our way of life,” ESPN’s David Roberts said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
The initiative begins with the Jackie To Me video series. Starting on April 4, ESPN will debut a series of short videos featuring modern athletes and other leaders talking about the impact Jackie Robinson and his wife Rachel had not just on the sports world, but on society as a whole. Tim Anderson, Bobby Bradford, Ruby Bridges, Chuck D, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Billie Jean King, Willie O’Ree, Robinson’s son David are among those confirmed to appear in the series.
College baseball will also factor heavily into the celebration. On April 15, the network will carry five games. The finale will feature Robinson’s alma mater, UCLA, hosting Stanford at Jackie Robinson Stadium in Los Angeles.
This year is a big one for the Robinson family and ESPN is taking advantage of that. In addition to the 75th anniversary of Jackie’s MLB debut, it also happens to be the year that his widow, Rachel Robinson, turns 100. ESPN will celebrate on July 26 with Stephen A. Smith and Molly Qerim broadcasting live from the opening of the Jackie Robinson Museum in Brooklyn.
“She will also be a critical focal point not only in covering the legacy of her husband, but what Rachel Robinson has done to carry on his legacy is just spectacular,” Roberts says. “I just cant think of enough adjectives to say how important she is to the fabric of America.”
In addition to the video series and day of college baseball coverage, ESPN will also use its “Black History Always” initiative to create and distribute content related to Jackie Robinson and Rachel Robinson this year.
Doug Gottlieb On Praise For Pat Beverly: ‘What a Joke!’
“To be in the NBA and say things that are demonstrably false, outright mean, and oh by the way, obtuse to reality and turns people off to your sport.”
Pat Beverley of the Minnesota Timberwolves may have used his appearances this week on ESPN to set up a potential career in media, but some just simply weren’t impressed.
You can count Doug Gottlieb among them. Gottlieb said Wednesday that Beverley’s takes on Suns guard Chris Paul and words for Matt Barnes regarding James Harden’s contract didn’t do him any favors for the future.
“Pat Beverley, if you’re going to die on a hill, James Harden’s hill is not the one to die on,” Gottlieb said. “In a week in which you have a chance to carve out a potential career for yourself which is as good, or greater than your NBA career. What a joke!”
Gottlieb added that Beverley also lost people completely “acting like the arrogant NBA athlete that so many assume that NBA athletes are.”
“To be in the NBA and say things that are demonstrably false, outright mean, and oh by the way, obtuse to reality and turns people off to your sport,” he said. “Congratulations, hell of a week and you’re only in day two.”
While Beverley may not have Gottlieb singing his praises as an analyst, the T-Wolves journeyman did get the attention of Barstool Sports president Dave Portnoy. Portnoy said if Beverley wanted to do a podcast for the company, he would give him a blank check and hire him no questions asked.
Mick Hubert to Retire After 33 Years As Voice Of Florida Gators
“This wasn’t the end of a five-year plan. I don’t know if I can explain how I knew, but I knew.”
After more than three decades and more than 2,500 games called in Gainesville, Mick Hubert is retiring as the voice of the Florida Gators.
Hubert, 68, will call it a career after the Florida baseball team concludes its regular season this weekend.
Hubert, who’s called numerous Gators national championships across multiple sports in his tenure, said he had been thinking about retiring but finally had peace about it to make the decision.
“This wasn’t the end of a five-year plan. I don’t know if I can explain how I knew, but I knew,” he said. “I had been considering this for a little while. I just had to do some praying about it and enjoy every game.”
The longtime broadcaster is a 2019 inductee into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame.
Hubert said he poured his heart and soul into broadcasts and that hopefully fans recognized that.
“I hope they heard the enthusiasm, and the credibility is important to me,” he said. “You need to be factual and credible, but you need to be enthusiastic. That’s what I always felt. I always wanted to take my audience on a roller-coaster ride of emotions. I also wanted to give them enough information so they could paint that picture in their mind.”
Reporter Tells Kevin & Query About NBA Draft Lottery Security Measures
“By the time you’re watching the production on ESPN for the lottery, we already know.”
The NBA Draft is coming up towards the end of June, and the top half of the draft order was set this week in the NBA Draft Lottery.
The lottery adds a level of excitement to the mix because you never know if the team with the best odds for the number one pick will actually get it.
But it’s a whole process that actually unfolds well before it airs on ESPN. Pacers reporter Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files told Kevin Bowen and Jake Query on 107.5 The Fan in Indianapolis what it was like to have access to the lottery.
“By the time you’re watching the production on ESPN for the lottery, we already know,” he said. “It’s already happened. But we’re locked down, sequestered in a room, a ballroom, can’t leave.”
What was even more interesting to Agness was the fact that even people representing lottery teams were under an embargo until the results aired on TV.
“We had all that good info, but the person that won the lottery for instance couldn’t call and celebrate with their people,” Agness said. “None of us in the room could tweet it out because none of us had our devices.”
Agness added that the league had contingency plans in case the lottery drum failed, if the same team had its ping pong ball drawn, and just about every other scenario you could think of. He said he was very impressed with how the NBA did things.
“It was kind of cool to see how well-run everything was in the end,” he said.