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ESPN ‘Crossover’ Puts Walton Back on an NBA Broadcast

Brandon Contes

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If you were up late watching ESPN Wednesday night, you were treated to Bill Walton as part of the broadcast team for the Trail Blazers vs. Warriors matchup. In 2012 Walton rejoined ESPN as a game analyst for Pac-12 basketball, but it was the NBA where Walton became a unique and popular broadcaster during the 90’s and early 2000’s.

When I flipped to ESPN and heard Walton, I quickly checked Twitter to see if others were as surprised and excited to hear Walton back on an NBA broadcast. Walton’s jump back to the NBA for one game was part of an ESPN promotion, “The Crossover,” which began in 2014.

“The Crossover” sees NBA and college basketball analysts’ switch sports for one game. Walton and Dick Vitale joined NBA broadcasts, Hubie Brown and P.J. Carlesimo did a college game. The former Trail Blazer joined Dave Pasch and Doris Burke on the call.

Walton joined NBC in 1990 following a Hall-of-Fame basketball career, he left for ESPN in 2002, retiring in 2009 due to a back injury suffered in college. While at NBC, Walton was often paired with analyst and former Trail Blazer teammate, Steve “Snapper” Jones who passed away last November at the age of 75.

Walton has been back with ESPN since 2012 covering the Pac-12 which doesn’t require as much travel as when he regularly did NBA games. He was grateful and excited about the opportunity to join Pasch and Burke for Wednesday night’s NBA broadcast.

“It was fantastic. The guys could not have been nicer,” Walton said. “They have to do this every day. But they could not have been more accommodating from top to bottom with the entire franchise. This is their job, but they are inspirational and incredibly rewarding. I learned a lot. But that’s why they’re the standard of excellence in today’s NBA, from the top to everybody.”

NBA fans weren’t the only ones excited to hear Walton back on an NBA broadcast, “Behind the mic, whether you love him or hate him or whether you want to go into that wild journey he always takes you when he’s calling the games,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said, “it’s always fun.”

“He’s obviously a little nuts in a really good way,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said with a smile. “He has a really good outlook on life. He has a lot of spirit and a lot of joy. He’s fun to be around.”

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

Sports TV News

Shaquille O’Neal: ‘Would’ve Supported’ Charles Barkley Leaving TNT For LIV Golf

“If he had accepted it, I wouldn’t be mad. And if Charles had left? You’d still have me.”

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After flirting with LIV Golf, Inside the NBA‘s Charles Barkley reaffirmed his commitment to the show and TNT, but a colleague would have supported him if he left.

Shaquille O’Neal told USA Today, during an interview about his upcoming show Secret Celebrity Renovation on CBS, that he would have been in Barkley’s corner had he decided to join the LIV Golf broadcast crew.

“I would’ve supported him every which way,” O’Neal said. “Charles is one of those legends, like Bill Russell, who didn’t make a lot of money playing. So if a chance comes up like this at this age that’s legal – controversial but legal – you’ve got to look at it. If he had accepted it, I wouldn’t be mad. And if Charles had left? You’d still have me.”

While Inside the NBA would still have O’Neal, it was Barkley, Ernie Johnson, and Kenny Smith that took the show to new heights for a decade before O’Neal joined the show after his playing career ended in 2011.

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WWE Reveals Vince McMahon Made More Hush Money Payments Than Previously Reported

Days after McMahon announced he was retiring from the company, WWE discovered McMahon had made two other payments totaling $5 million in previously unknown cases from 2007 and 2009, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

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After announcing last month that WWE would go back to 2019 and account for $14.6 million of payments chairman Vince McMahon is alleged to have paid to silence sexual misconduct allegations, the company has announced the amount is larger than original estimated, according to a report from Variety.

Days after McMahon announced he was retiring from the company, WWE discovered he had made two other payments totaling $5 million in previously unknown cases from 2007 and 2009, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company admits those payments should have been recorded in their statements for those fiscal years. They had previously hoped to have their revised statements available by Monday, August 9th, but the unearthing of additional payments made that goal unrealistic.

McMahon remains a shareholder of WWE with controlling interest. His daughter, Stephanie, was named co-CEO along with former television department head of CAA Nick Khan.

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Sports TV News

Report: Amazon Prime Video Adding NFL Black Friday Game in 2023

Amazon, the largest retailer in the world, is expected to pay in the neighborhood of $100 million for this single game on Black Friday, one of the largest retail days on the calendar.

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Thanksgiving weekend is getting another NFL game.

Per a report from John Ourand of Sports Business Journal, Amazon’s Prime Video will add an exclusive game on Black Friday to their NFL package, beginning with the 2023 season.

Amazon, the largest retailer in the world, is expected to pay in the neighborhood of $100 million for this single game on Black Friday, one of the largest retail days on the calendar.

The NFL’s antitrust exemption prohibits the league from broadcasting games in primetime on Fridays during November, so, in all likelihood, it will be an afternoon game.

It has long been speculated this was on the table for Prime Video. Football Morning in America’s Peter King deduced the possibility was more probable than not when Prime Video became a player for NFL rights.

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