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Richard Jefferson: ‘I Hate First Take’ Because ‘I’m Not Good At It’

“The show is amazing. I’m just not good at that.”

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Richard Jefferson

This season, Richard Jefferson and JJ Redick have worked together on NBA games as analysts with Ryan Ruocco calling the action for ESPN. It’s been a different media journey for Jefferson compared to other retired athletes.

Jefferson was a guest on The Old Man and the Three podcast with JJ Redick and Tommy Alter and he said right before he retired from the NBA, he was encouraged by Gerry Matalon, who was the senior coordinating producer in charge of talent at ESPN, to keep getting reps behind the microphone:

“I started doing tons of it. That’s where my podcast, Road Trippin’, started because I was like ‘how do I get more reps behind the mic and get more comfortable?’.

“When I retired, I said I wanted to work for everybody. I worked for the Pac-12, CBS, ESPN, YES Network. Anybody that would have me on, I said yes to. Then, slowly and surely, I started to build up a little bit of rhythm.”

When Jefferson is not an analyst on Nets broadcasts on YES, you find him on ESPN either calling a game or as part of the panel on NBA Today. Even though there are sports shows that have gone mainly to debate formats, Jefferson said that those shows aren’t his thing unlike Redick who has excelled on First Take:

“You get after people on First Take in a great way. I love it. That’s why I think people are starting to see how intelligent and prepared you are, which I love,” Jefferson said to Redick. “I hate First Take. The show is amazing. I’m just not good at that… I’m not great at the debate show style like you, Stephen A, Kendrick Perkins, Ryan Clark. You guys are great at it. That’s not my thing.” 

During this conversation, Redick mentioned that he hears from people that he always thinks he is right on every topic he debates and he wanted to make it clear that’s not always the case.

“There are many days on First Take or even on the podcast where I’ll say something and I’ll think about it. I’m self-critical. I’ll think about it and be like I think  I was wrong about that, I could have done it a different way. I don’t always think I am right.” 

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Stanley Cup Playoffs: First Round NHL Games on ESPN Up 65%

The Washington Capitals-New York Rangers game, which the Rangers won 4-1, is now the most-viewed Game 1 of a first round NHL playoff series ever on cable.

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The Stanley Cup playoffs got underway this weekend in the NHL and ESPN is off to a hot start in terms of audience. Sunday’s first round games on ESPN and ESPN2 averaged 1.04 million total viewers, up 65% over 2023’s Game 1 average.

The Washington Capitals-New York Rangers game, which the Rangers won 4-1, is now the most-viewed Game 1 of a first round NHL playoff series ever on cable, averaging 1.3 million viewers. The game peaked at 1.5 million viewers.

The Colorado Avalanche and Winnipeg Jets played their first game on ESPN with the Jets taking a wild 7-6 win over the Avalanche. That game is now ESPN2’s most-viewed first round NHL playoff game ever and the third most-viewed Game 1 of a first round NHL Playoff series ever on cable, averaging 1.1 total viewers and peaking at 1.4 million viewers.

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Report: ESPN, TNT Have NBA Matching Rights

“Although the exclusive negotiating period has ended, we are still in discussions with Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery regarding our media deals.”

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As the NBA’s exclusive negotiating period came to an end last night, new information about the agreement has come to light. Sports Business Journal’s Austin Karp is reporting both ESPN and TNT have matching rights for any deal presented to the NBA. The report says this goes for the linear broadcasts as well as streaming.

A source at the NBA told Karp, “Although the exclusive negotiating period has ended, we are still in discussions with Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery regarding our media deals.”

Alex Sherman of CNBC had reported last week the exclusive negotiating window, which started on March 9, would most likely expire without a deal in place. Karp’s report says he believes the deal was 75% done prior to the window beginning.

Numerous reports have indicated that the league is looking to add a streaming element into its next deal and is looking for an increase in rights fees. Amazon, Apple, YouTube TV, Comcast (NBCUniversal/Peacock) and Netflix have all expressed potential interest.

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Tegna, Indiana Fever Partner for Local TV Package

“This is an exhilarating moment for women’s sports. The WNBA and Fever are leading the charge with this groundbreaking local broadcast rights agreement.”

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Logos for Tegna and the Indiana Fever and a picture of Caitlin Clark
Photo Courtesy: ESPN

The Indiana Fever and superstar Caitlin Clark will be seen on television a lot, both nationally and now locally as well. The Fever and Tegna announced a partnership earlier today to air 17 games between local NBC affiliate WTHR and MeTV affiliate WALV.

“So many new fans are tuning in to watch the world’s best basketball players compete in the WNBA, and the Fever have built a roster of incredible young talent that has caught the attention of basketball fans all over the globe,” Rick Fuson, CEO of Pacers Sports & Entertainment, said in a release. “Tegna and WTHR have been amazing local partners for years, and we are excited that more fans than ever before will get the chance to watch these amazing athletes play.”

The release also noted Tegna was working on expanded access outside of Indianapolis.

“This is an exhilarating moment for women’s sports. The WNBA and Fever are leading the charge with this groundbreaking local broadcast rights agreement,” Dave Lougee, President and CEO of Tegna, said in a release. “The remarkable journey of Caitlin Clark and her teammates has captured the hearts and minds of millions. We’re thrilled to deliver all the Fever action to every household in the Indianapolis region.”

The national TV package for WNBA games, which is aired on ABC, ESPN, Prime Video, CBS Sports Network, NBA TV and Ion will carry 36 of the Fever’s 40 games. The four games not being carried will be covered by the local package with Tegna. Several games will air on both a national and a local station.

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