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Mark Jackson Never Thought He’d Do the NBA Finals for 15 Years

“Never would I have imagined that we’d be doing it at this point and have so many under our belt, but It’s a credit to the greatness of those two guys, the friendship that we have on-and-off the court.”

Ricky Keeler

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Mark Jackson has been calling NBA Finals games on ABC with Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy for 15 years. As with many iconic booths, people inside and outside the industry might ask what is the key to being successful for that many years in the booth.

Jackson was a guest on The Dave Pasch Podcast last week and he told Pasch that what people see and hear when they call a game is similar to what you would see with them when they aren’t at the arena.

“What you see and what you hear during the course of a game is the same thing as you’d see and hear over the course of dinner with all of us. We get along incredibly well and they are family for life.”

Jackson mentioned that when he learned that he was going to call the NBA Finals with Breen and Van Gundy, he thought it was incredible and the three of them along with Lisa Salters have a great relationship.

“When I got the opportunity to call NBA Finals with Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy, it was an incredible thing to learn knowing the history of the game, knowing the history of incredible booths not just in basketball but in sports in general. Never would I have imagined that we’d be doing it at this point and have so many under our belt, but It’s a credit to the greatness of those two guys, the friendship that we have on-and-off the court. I’m honored to be in a booth with those guys along with Lisa Salters. It’s an incredible grouping.”

So, what is the key to their success? Jackson says it’s because none of the three of them have an ego and they don’t care if one person gets more attention or gets to say more than the other.

“Even though I would say I credit us knowing each other beforehand has a lot to do with it, I would then crazy as it sounds say that it has nothing to do with it. What I mean by that is there are people that have been in booths and known each other longer than we’ve known each other and known each other as much as we know each other. But, the thing is we have no ego. I’ve seen booths get torn apart because of egos, because somebody said something or somebody doesn’t have enough time, or somebody gets jealous of the attention.

“We could care less about who gets the attention. We are there to call the game and cover it and do the best that we possibly can do. There is nothing that Jeff Van Gundy or Mike Breen can say to me that I would take offense to because I know those guys love me and they know I love them. It’s a unique situation, a unique booth where family trumps all.”

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Sports TV News

LIV Golf Nearing TV Deal With The CW Network

“LIV Golf television analyst David Feherty had hinted that the upstart league could potentially have a deal in place with The CW Network for American television rights.”

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LIV Golf

According to a report from Front Office Sports, LIV Golf has laid out a deal with The CW Network for television carriage in the United States.

The deal is a multi-year agreement that will see the tour own real estate in lesser-viewed time slots on the network. A revenue-sharing relationship between the tour and the television network is expected to be struck.

LIV Golf television analyst David Feherty had hinted that the upstart league could potentially have a deal in place with The CW Network for American television rights.

After a standup comedy show in West Palm Beach last week, Feherty reportedly told the crowd “Have you heard of CW? I might get fired for this, but…,” according to report from Tom D’Angelo of The Palm Beach Post.

Sports Business Journal reporter John Ourand had previously reported a deal between the Saudi-backed breakaway golf tour and the network was likely.

Nexstar Media Group — the nation’s largest television owner — is the majority owner of The CW Network. There are around 220 affiliates of the network on over-the-air television stations. Rumors of an acquisition of LIV Golf’s rights come on the heels of The CW Network being linked to the potential launch of a college football bowl game that would air exclusively on the network.

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Stephen A. Smith: ‘I Don’t Feel Obligated To Agree With Black Community’

“I want the Black community to always know that they have somebody in me that’s going to at least tell the world what we’re feeling and why, whether I agree with it or not.”

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Stephen A. Smith is out promoting his new memoir Straight Shooter. He recently sat down for a conversation with Men’s Health magazine.

Interviewer Rachel Epstein covers a wide variety of topics with Smith. Some are about what can be found in the book. Some are about the First Take star’s public perception.

She asked how Smith balances the responsibility of representing the Black community with his brand. On ESPN, Smith is known for being unique and unapologetic for his sometimes over-the-top persona.

“Number one by being fair,” he said. “By trying to gather as much information and educate myself on issues as much as I possibly can.”

He added that he has never felt pressure to think a certain way or say a certain thing. Even if pressure existed, he prides himself on not giving in to it.

“I never feel an obligation to agree with my community. I believe we all have a right to think the way we want to think. But I do feel a responsibility to make sure that the perspective emanating from my community is heard, even if I disagree.”

Stephen A. Smith is one of the highest-paid and most visible employees at ESPN. He said that a certain responsibility comes along with that status. He wants the Black community to know that even if he doesn’t agree, he will make sure people know what he is hearing when he is on TV talking about an important subject.

“I want the Black community to always know that they have somebody in me that’s going to at least tell the world what we’re feeling and why, whether I agree with it or not.”

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Kathryn Tappen Joining NBC’s Big Ten Coverage

“Tappen was in line to replace Michele Tafoya as the sideline reporter for Sunday Night Football but was passed over by the network in favor of Melissa Stark.”

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NBC has tabbed Kathryn Tappen as its sideline reporter for the network’s upcoming coverage of Big Ten football, according to a report from Andrew Marchand of The New York Post.

According to Marchand, Tappen was in line to replace Michele Tafoya as the sideline reporter for Sunday Night Football but was passed over by the network in favor of Melissa Stark.

Tappen has hosted Notre Dame football’s studio coverage and Peacock Sunday Night Football Final. She also worked as NBC’s lead interviewer for its coverage of the PGA Tour, but left that broadcast team at the end of 2022 as part of the network’s larger shakeup of its golf coverage.

The appointment of Kathryn Tappen conceivably concludes the Big Ten on NBC broadcast crew. Noah Eagle and Todd Blackledge are expected to pair as the network’s play-by-play announcer and color analyst, respectively. NBC has yet to officially unveil its coverage plans for the 2023 college football season.

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