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Stephen A Smith Calls NBA Players ‘Soft As Putty’

Ricky Keeler

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With The Last Dance documentary airing early on ESPN during the Coronavirus pandemic, it has opened up the debate on the mentality of 1990s NBA players against the players of today. 

On Wednesday, that discussion was continued on Get Up when Stephen A Smith talked about the way some of the players in the NBA interact with the media on a night-in, night-out basis and referred to some NBA players as soft as putty: 

This quote was part of an interesting discussion between Smith and Jalen Rose moderated by Mike Greenberg about how today’s players would do in the era of basketball where Michael Jordan won 6 NBA Championships with the Chicago Bulls. Rose was a part of the 1998 Indiana Pacers squad that forced the Bulls to a Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Finals that season. 

You don’t get the full exchange in the video, but the conversation further dove into how much social media has played a factor in the generational divide for players in this era compared to the 90’s. Remember, today’s players have to deal with criticism constantly as the 24/7, 365 media cycle keeps churning along. 

Before Smith gave the soft as putty comment, Rose talked about how social media can play a factor for today’s athlete: 

“Having multimedia and social and all of these different platforms that your family, friends, staff, managers, agents have access to the information that is said about you, they become instigators in their own way,” Rose said. “Did you see what such and such said about you, wrote about you, posted about you? Now it’s almost like I got to defend myself and you forget you are a professional and it becomes a part of what you do for a living and why you make the big bucks.”

It’s safe to say that whenever you hear Stephen A Smith speak, you are going to get the passion and information in any topic he talks about, as headlined in Demetri Ravanos’ article on what we can learn from Smith earlier this week here at Barrett Sports Media. In addition to that, he can throw advice in there to help others as well: 

“To the players themselves, do what you can to cultivate relationships with people that you would like to disseminate your message as opposed to relaying on your hanger-ons who no one in the media will trust anyway,” said Smith on Get Up.  

“To the media, be fair, be human, and outside of that don’t give a damn about what anyone has to say. Move on. Period. I do it everyday and I do it quite well.” 

This topic is one that ESPN could do a whole hour on and cover all sports, but it was good to see a former athlete and a prominent media member talk about the contrasts in era while also trying to help today’s players in the process.

Story provided by BSM contributor Ricky Keeler. Follow him on Twitter @Rickinator555.

Sports TV News

Ian Rapoport: I Have Never Thought It is Me vs Adam Schefter

“I don’t even think that, it’s just I report what I know, and he reports what he knows.”

Jordan Bondurant

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In terms of NFL insiders, Ian Rapoport and Adam Schefter are the two biggest names out there. And sometimes it can be a race between the two to get the biggest scoops first. Especially now with the NFL coaching carousel in full swing.

This week two teams hired new head coaches – the Broncos traded two first round picks to the Saints to acquire the rights to Sean Payton and the Texans signed DeMeco Ryans.

Rapoport tweeted that Denver had pursued Ryans up until the day they announced the trade for Payton.

Not even 15 minutes later, Schefter appeared to clarify the information out there with the two teams.

On The Pat McAfee Show on Thursday, Pat McAfee referred to the conflicting information as a “source off.”

Ian said he stood behind what he put out there.

“I know it’s fun to call it a source off or whatever, but for me I reported what I had based on the best information I can get – based on talking to many, many people throughout the course of the last month,” Rapoport said from the Senior Bowl. “And then whatever happens as a result of this I don’t really mind.”

In terms of any sort of rivalry between him and Schefter, Rapoport doesn’t view it as a head-to-head matchup.

“I don’t even think that, it’s just I report what I know, and he reports what he knows,” he said. “And everyone can sort of judge for themselves whichever way to go.”

McAfee gave kudos to Rapoport for his reporting on the Ryans situation. He also said it’s a good thing Rapoport doesn’t worry himself too much about what other insiders are doing.

“I think you should feel good about it, but I do like a good source off,” McAfee said. “And I appreciate the fact that you don’t view it as you versus Schefter. But you two are at the top of the game. So that’s a compliment more so than anything.”

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Sports TV News

AEW Considers Launching Streaming Service

“It’s possible an AEW streaming service could be independent, but many are hopeful AEW’s offerings would be available on HBO Max or Discovery+ akin to how WWE Network is now available on Peacock.”

Jordan Bondurant

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All Elite Wrestling is looking into launching its own streaming service.

According to reporting from Bloomberg, a source “familiar with management’s thinking” said AEW is looking to strike a deal with broadcast partner Warner Bros. Discovery.

Since launching in 2019, AEW now puts on two weekly shows on Warner channels TBS and TNT and airs two shows on YouTube.

Last year AEW acquired Ring of Honor from Sinclair Broadcast Group. As part of that deal, AEW took ownership of RoH’s extensive content library Honor Club. So much like WWE did with WWE Network when it launched in 2014, AEW could launch its streaming service and have all of Ring of Honor’s content in a one-stop shop.

It’s possible an AEW streaming service could be independent, but many are hopeful AEW’s offerings would be available on HBO Max or Discovery+ akin to how WWE Network is now available on Peacock.

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Sports TV News

NBC Officially Unveils Noah Eagle, Todd Blackledge as New Big Ten Booth

“With their collective college football experience and great enthusiasm for the game, Todd, Noah and Kathryn join a production team that can’t wait to kick off the Big Ten season.”

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It’s officially official: Noah Eagle, Todd Blackledge, and Kathryn Tappen will join the Big Ten on NBC booth when the network begins airing the conference’s football package in 2023.

NBC made the announcement Thursday, after weeks of speculation about the moves.

“We are excited to showcase Big Ten Saturday Night on the NBC Sports’ primetime marquee,” said NBC Sports Executive Producer Sam Flood. “When you hear Todd’s voice, you know it’s a big college football game. It has been that way for decades.

“Noah is one of the industry’s rising young play-by-play commentators, who has excelled calling numerous sports across multiple platforms for a wide range of audiences. We are thrilled to pair him in the booth with Todd.

“Kathryn has told the stories of so many memorable Notre Dame Football moments over the last decade in her on-field reporting and interviews,” Flood continued. “With their collective college football experience and great enthusiasm for the game, Todd, Noah and Kathryn join a production team that can’t wait to kick off the Big Ten season.”

Blackledge joins NBC after working as a college football analyst for the network for the past 17 seasons. Previously, he was the an analyst for CBS and ABC, making 2023 his 30th consecutive season covering college football as an analyst.

Eagle is the son of broadcasting legend Ian Eagle, and currently serves as the radio voice of the Los Angeles Clippers. He comes to NBC after calling college football games for FOX Sports in 2022.

Tappen has spent the past nine seasons working NBC’s college football coverage with Notre Dame. Eight of those nine seasons were spent as the network’s sideline reporter before anchoring the studio coverage from South Bend in 2022.

2023 will mark the beginning of a seven-year contract for NBC to air Big Ten football games in primetime. The move is one of the biggest notable expansions in the college football arena for the network since its partnership with Notre Dame began in 1991.

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