After dominating sports media during his son Lonzo’s rookie season in Los Angeles, LaVar Ball has faded away from headlines over the last year. Lebron signing with the Lakers, poor PR for the Big Baller Brand and middle son LiAngelo getting arrested in China were likely all factors in LaVar’s retreat from the limelight. However, after a stint in Lithuania, LaVar is back stateside and once again making his presence felt.
LaMelo, the youngest of the Ball sons, currently plays for Spire Institute in Ohio. The team was slated to play in the annual HoopHall Classic over MLK weekend, but was replaced with another high school after a “consultant” demanded a $10,000 appearance fee for the team. Naturally, Spire entered the Big Baller Beatdown tournament in Kentucky instead. Local media outlets were allowed to shoot the games, but any Spire footage would cost them a $3,500 fee.
17-year-old LaMelo is in the first round of almost every 2020 mock draft board, but his path to the NBA could be a rocky one. He’s said he would like to play college hoops, but after a professional stint in Lithuania, his involvement in Big Baller Brand and his father’s public disdain for amateur basketball, that doesn’t seem likely.
Jack Ferris writes feature stories for BSM and serves as an update anchor for iHeart Radio in San Francisco and as a freelance contributor for the PAC-12 Network. Previously he has worked as a sports anchor for KXLY-TV in Spokane and as the co-host of the Don West Show on KPQ in Central Washington. You can find him on Twitter @JFerris714 or reach him by email at FerrisJack54@gmail.com.
Omaha Productions Building College Football Simulcast Around Pat McAfee
“Manning joked that the network doesn’t want McAfee. It wants Omaha Productions and Omaha wants McAfee.”
ESPN is bringing its alternate broadcast strategy to college football. Peyton Manning appeared on The Pat McAfee Show Thursday to announce that McAfee and his crew would anchor six alternate broadcasts of major games for Omaha Productions on Saturday nights this season.
“We have officially agreed, alongside Omaha Productions, to simulcast six big-ass college football games this season,” McAfee said. “We will be on ESPN2. The main cast will be on ESPN. Omaha is obviously helping us along the way and we will be running it.”
McAfee said that when he was first approached by Manning he expressed shock that ESPN wanted him on the air. Manning joked that the network doesn’t want McAfee. It wants Omaha Productions and Omaha wants McAfee.
The shows have not yet been scheduled. Most games in college football’s power 5 conferences are not scheduled until the prior week. With the AP Top 25 and CFP Top 25 both changing regularly, they too will play a role in determining what goes into the primetime slot.
Pat McAfee and his crew will be live in their Indianapolis studio. The former punter at the West Virginia University said that the majority of people appearing on the alternate broadcast each week would be in studio, but there would be occasional guests.
“There’s gonna be give aways. There’s gonna be a lot of action I think during this,” he added.
Omaha Productions adds college football to the NFL and the US Open on its roster of alternate broadcasts. The company is also working on a future MMA alternate broadcast.
“I’m honored to be your teammate again, if you will,” Peyton Manning said in response to McAfee thanking him for the platform and opportunity. “You will kill this. You know this. Everybody is fired up to watch. I guarantee it!”
ESPN Announces Bill Walton ’30 for 30′ Documentary
The Basketball Hall of Famer is viewed as one of the more eccentric figures in sports history.
ESPN Films announced Thursday that production has begun on a new 30 for 30 documentary focused on Bill Walton.
The Basketball Hall of Famer is viewed as one of the more eccentric figures in sports history. Combined with his basketball prowess in both college and the NBA, and his love of The Grateful Dead, politics and activism, Walton is often a divisive figure in the sports broadcast world.
ESPN says Larry Bird, Julius Erving, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Artis Gilmore, World B. Free, Robert Parish, Jim Gray, Luke Walton, Jamal Wilkes, Brent Musberger, and Bob Ryan have all been interview subjects for the story.
The documentary will be directed by Steve James, who also directed Hoop Dreams, as well as Abacus: Small Enough to Jail.
No release date was revealed by ESPN. Walton has worked as a college basketball color commentator for the network since 2012. He had previously worked on ESPN’s NBA coverage from 2002-2009.
Bob Costas Gets Choked Up While Telling a Vin Scully Story
“Just the pure love and connection was so touching,” Costas said.
The sports world was saddened to learn of broadcasting legend Vin Scully’s passing on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, tributes across sports media to the Dodgers icon came pouring in. Some could only hold in their emotions to the news but so well.
Bob Costas appeared on High Heat on MLB Network to remember his friend, and when talking about a particular memory that stood out in his mind, Costas got choked up.
The memory was from November 2016 when Scully received the Presidential Medal of Freedom by then President Barack Obama. Costas said Scully invited him and his wife Jill to attend the ceremony at the White House.
After the ceremony, and following an interview for CBS Sunday Morning, Costas said something wonderful happened.
“When Vin Scully walked back out of the Rose Garden and back into the White House, the conductor of the Marine Corps Band spots him and immediately he cues the band to play Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” Costas said. “But then he hands Vin the baton and Vin steps up on the podium and he’s at least figuratively conducting the Marine Corps Band.”
Costas said Scully’s wife, Sandy, photographed the moment, and then Costas started tearing up.
“Just the pure love and connection was so touching,” Costas said.
In the moment, Costas caught himself and tried to regain his composure.
“I can’t believe I’m choking up,” he said. “You’re not supposed to do that. Be professional, Bob.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett News Media. He also works for ABC8 News and Newsradio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond, Virginia. His prior experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and iHeartradio Richmond. He can be reached by email at Jordan.E.Bondurant@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.