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Shaq, Charles Barkley Debate Players’ Obligations To Press

The 76ers have blown two straight big leads to the Hawks.

Russ Heltman

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courtesy: TNT

Joel Embiid and the 76ers have been on the wrong end of an historic two-game stretch. According to ESPN, they became the first NBA team in the past 25 years to blow an 18-point lead in back-to-back playoff games. Their biggest cushion over the Hawks on Wednesday was 26 points, the third-largest blown playoff lead over the past 25 years.

It’s been a brutal time to be a Sixers player, and that prompted Joel Embiid to skip his media availability after Game Five. It was something TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal debated on Wednesday’s Inside the NBA.

“I wanna say this one thing, and I’m not mad,” Barkley explained on the show. “I wanna say this about Joel Embiid. I think he’s a great player and a good kid, but I don’t like it when players don’t talk to the press. Cuz if you have a great game, you run to the microphone. I don’t like it when any player in any sport does this; you should always talk to the press. Because they’re not paying you $35 million to just play basketball.”

Shaquille O’Neal has been in Embiid’s spot before and had empathy for the All-NBA level player. He bandied back at Barkley by saying it’s not part of a player’s contract, but his TNT teammate was undeterred.

“The reason those guys are making that money is because TNT and ESPN, we’re paying them a lot of money,” Barkley said back to Shaq. “I think these guys do have a responsibility. You know, these guys get all bent out of shape. Listen, you should say, ‘Hey, you know what, we let one get away,’ like Doc Rivers said after Game Four. I would love to see Joel Embiid say, ‘You know what, I’ll take responsibility, I’m the best player on this team.’ Like I said, I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed. You don’t get to talk to the press just when you win. I don’t like that.”

Sports TV News

FanDuel TV Strikes Deal With ONE Championship Martial Arts

“We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

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FanDuel TV and ONE Championship Martial Arts have struck a deal that will see the MMA, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and submission grappling series air weekly events on the newly launched channel.

“We’re eager to continue expanding the variety of content we’re offering at FanDuel TV to introduce our audience to emerging sports,” said FanDuel Chief Commercial Officer Mike Raffensperger. “We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

ONE Championship is a top-five global sports property for digital viewership and engagement according to Nielsen measurements.

“We are thrilled to join the FanDuel TV lineup and give our passionate U.S. audience yet another way to engage with ONE Championship,” said ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. “Having a quality partner in FanDuel will help raise the profile of our company in the region and provide their viewers with action-packed martial arts events like they have never seen before.”

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Bob Costas Re-Lives First Announcing Assignment For NBC

“My biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979.”

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Legendary sports broadcaster Bob Costas appeared on KNBR’s Tolbert & Copes Thursday to discuss the death of Baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. But before the conversation turned to the recently departed pitcher, the show asked Costas about what he has announced that would surprise someone. He reminisced about his first time on the air for NBC.

“My very first assignment for NBC, my biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979,” Costas recounted. “There was a program on NBC then called Sports World. It was an anthology series that was their answer to the gold standard, ABC’s Wide World of Sports.

“So they traveled the globe, like Wide World of Sports did. So they sent me, wearing a red NBC jacket, to Tokyo to cover a sumo wrestling tournament with seven-time world power-lifting champion Larry Pacifico as my color man. Now, this is all the Japanese I learned as we came on the air: ‘Minasan kon’nichwa watashinoamaeha Bob Costas’, which means ‘Hello everyone, my name is Bob Costas’. If ever there was typecasting, when they sat and looked at their roster of announcers and went ‘Who should we send to the sumo wrestling? It’s gotta be Costas, who’s entire body weight would constitute one meal for the sumo wrestling champion.”

Costas departed NBC Sports in 2019 after 40 years with the network, announcing MLB, NBA, and the Olympics, in addition to his work with the network’s sumo wrestling coverage.

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Sports TV News

Matt Leinart, Alex Smith Make Wager Over Pac-12 Championship Game

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous. I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.”

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FOX Sports analyst Matt Leinart and ESPN analyst Alex Smith have made a friendly wager over the upcoming Pac-12 Championship Game.

USC, Leinart’s alma mater, is slated to play Utah, where Smith attended, in the game Friday evening on FOX from Las Vegas.

The two agreed to don the other player’s jersey. “At least it will be 11,” Smith said, noting he and Leinart both wore the number during their playing days.

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous,” Leinart said when presented with the offer. “I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.” Smith jokingly responded by calling USC “Free Agent University”. He added he would overnight Leinart a jersey to ensure he had one if the Utes were victorious.

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