Connect with us
Jim Cutler Demos

Sports TV News

Shannon Sharpe: Stephen A. Smith Believed in Me When Others Wrote Me Off

“A lot of people wrote me off, but he called me to say, ‘Big boy, you’re not done yet. I got big plans for you.'”

Barrett Sports Media

Published

on

Shannon Sharpe
Courtesy: Richard Shotwell, Invision, The Associated Press

ESPN’s First Take hit the road for its first two episodes this week, visiting the alma maters of Shannon Sharpe and Stephen A. Smith for special “HBCU Homecoming” editions of the show.

The Monday program started at Savannah State University with a two-minute ovation from a packed crowd in the gymnasium for Sharpe, returning to the school as an alum. As he took in the environment, he was cheering with the crowd and appreciative of the warm reception from current students and alumni on campus. After nearly one minute, he took to the stage with featured commentator Stephen A. Smith and host Molly Qerim to start the show. 

Qerim, recognizing the magnitude of the moment though, acknowledged the crowd and gave them another opportunity to applaud Sharpe. She then proceeded to ask Sharpe how it felt to be back on campus and what the opportunity to return meant to him.

“It’s really hard to put into words,” Sharpe replied. “If I had a thousand tongues, I couldn’t say ‘Thank you’ enough to everybody that showed up. To have some of my teammates that came in with me in 1986; to have some of my instructors that taught me, and to see this crowd – to see these young men and young women – to show up to support us and to support me.”

Sharpe had an illustrious professional football career as a tight end in the NFL and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011. Five years later, he started working at FS1 on its morning debate show, Undisputed, with Shannon Sharpe. In the spring, Sharpe left the program after reaching a buyout with FOX Sports and considered his media future.

Smith wanted Sharpe to join him on First Take and was part of the recruiting process to bring him to ESPN for two days a week, part of a larger media move that also involved taking his hit podcast, Club Shay Shay, to The Volume. Being back on campus as a media professional, he surmised, is something he is more proud of than returning as a former athlete because of the circumstances he had to face to garner such an opportunity.

“Another HBCU alum believed in me; this man sitting right next to me, Stephen A. Smith,” Sharpe said, compelling the audience to applaud his ESPN colleague. “….This man believed in me, (and) gave me an opportunity when a lot of people wrote me off. A lot of people wrote me off, but he called me to say, ‘Big boy, you’re not done yet. I got big plans for you.’ He, Disney, ESPN; the big bosses from Dave Roberts all the way up – Burke Magnus; Jimmy Pitaro; Bob Iger – thank you guys, but thank you,” Sharpe said to Smith, “because you made it possible.”

Shannon Sharpe has been appearing on First Take since the beginning of the NFL season to debate topics opposite Smith on a weekly basis. The Monday and Tuesday appearances have helped the show sustain monthly year-over-year growth for 14 consecutive months, along with other contributors such as Ryan Clark, Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo and Kimberley A. Martin.

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Sports TV News

Sports Media Reacts to Charles Barkley Retirement Announcement

“We’re looking forward to another fantastic NBA on TNT season and further discussion of our future plans with him.”

Barrett Sports Media

Published

on

Screengrab from Charles Barkley on Club Shay Shay
Screengrab: Club Shay Shay on YouTube

Charles Barkley said on NBA TV after Game 4 of the NBA Finals that he will retire from television after next season, no matter what happens with TNT and the league. Near the conclusion of the NBA TV postgame show, Barkley said:

“There’s been a lot of noise the last few months and I just want to say, I’ve talked to all of the other networks, but I ain’t going nowhere other than TNT, but I have made the decision myself, no matter what happens, next year is going to be my last year on television. And I just want to say thank you to my NBA family, you guys have been great to me, my heart is full with joy and gratitude.”

Barkley went on to say that he wants to turn the baton over to someone like Jamal Crawford or Vince Carter should Inside the NBA continue with Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal.

TNT put out a statement that said, “Charles is a Hall of Famer and broadcasting icon who is and will always be a beloved member of the TNT Sports family. We’re looking forward to another fantastic NBA on TNT season and further discussion of our future plans with him.”

Several in sports media took to social media to post about their thoughts on Barkley’s career with TNT or wondering if Barkley’s ‘retirement’ is real:

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading

Sports TV News

Charles Barkley Announces He Will Retire From TV After Next Season

“Next year, I am just going to retire after 25 years, and I just wanted to say thank you and I wanted y’all to hear it from me first.”

Barrett Sports Media

Published

on

Screenbrad from NBA TV with Charles Barkley
Screengrab: NBA TV

Charles Barkley is not waiting. After voicing his frustration several times with the way the media rights negotiations have been handled by his current employer, Warner Bros. Discovery/TNT, Barkley is no longer waiting for them to make a decision, he has announced his own decision.

After Game 4 of the NBA Finals concluded between the Dallas Mavericks and the Boston Celtics, Barkley took time on the postgame show on NBA TV to announce no matter what happens, he will retire as an NBA commentator after next season, which will be his 25th with TNT.

“I’ve been thinking guys,” Barkley said “I want to say this, because you guys are my family. I really love TNT, all the people who work here, NBA Television. You guys have been great to me for 24 years and I just want to say thank you to my entire NBA family. I love you guys.

“There’s been a lot of noise the last few months and I just want to say, I’ve talked to all of the other networks, but I ain’t going nowhere other than TNT, but I have made the decision myself, no matter what happens, next year is going to be my last year on television. And I just want to say thank you to my NBA family, you guys have been great to me, my heart is full with joy and gratitude.

“But I am going to pass the baton at the end of next year. I hope the NBA stays with TNT, but for me personally, I wanted you guys to hear it from me, because I am not doing any more interviews, don’t y’all be calling me, nobody calling me, I am not talking about this again. But I wanted to tell my NBA TV and TNT family that I am not going to another network, but I am going to pass the baton to either Jamal Crawford, Vince Carter or you Steve [Smith]. Next year, I am just going to retire after 25 years, and I just wanted to say thank you and I wanted y’all to hear it from me first.”

The NBA’s current media rights agreements with Disney/ESPN and WBD/TNT expire after next season. Many reports have said the NBA will soon sign agreements with Disney, NBCUniversal and Amazon to be the league’s new broadcasting partners beginning with the 2025-26 season. The Wall Street Journal has reported the total value of the new media rights packages is expected to be $76 billion over 11 years.

Rumors of a possible fourth media package being made in order for the NBA to keep its 40-year relationship with Turner Sports going have surfaced, but it looks like either way there will be changes coming to Inside the NBA, the award-winning show Barkley is a part of along with Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal.

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading

Sports TV News

FOX Sports Moving UFL Games to Friday Nights in 2025

“The regular season average television audience of 816,000 was more than 30% higher than the pace from the previous year.”

Barrett Sports Media

Published

on

The United Football League logo

FOX Sports CEO Eric Shanks recently confirmed a report from Deadline last month that said United Football League games would move to Friday nights in 2025. The Deadline report had said FOX planned to replace WWE Smackdown with sports coverage from college football and basketball as well as games from the UFL.

Shanks’ comments were made during a Zoom with reporters about the news of their new agreement with the NTT IndyCar Series. SI’s Mike Mitchell reported that the UFL worked with FOX to move the games so they could complete their auto racing deal.

Shanks said many of FOX’s UFL games would be moved to Friday night when asked about the change but did not provide more detail.

The UFL was split between FOX and ABC/ESPN this season. The regular season average television audience of 816,000 was more than 30% higher than the pace from the previous year and the recent conference championship games were up 57% over the averages from the USFL and XFL last season. According to Mitchell, the league saw a large increase in the 18-49 demographic on FOX compared to USFL programming in 2023.

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Advertisement

Upcoming Events

Barrett Media Writers

Copyright © 2024 Barrett Media.