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Isiah Thomas Surprised By Jordan’s Last Dance Comments

“Thomas adds that there was no feud between him and Jordan even though Jordan alluded to one during the documentary.”

Jacob Conley

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NBA legend and current TNT basketball analyst Isiah Thomas joined Marcellus Wiley and Jason Whitlock on Wednesday’s Speak For Yourself broadcast to discuss his impressions of ESPN’s The Last Dance documentary. During the interview, Thomas discussed his surprise over some of Michael Jordan’s comments, and how Jordan might have played a role in keeping him off of the 1992 Olympic Dream Team.

SFY co-host Whitlock posed the question to Thomas, “Michael Jordan has called you an asshole, said that he hates you, he has animus towards you for the lack of a handshake and a supposed lack of respect. We know how Michael Jordan feels about you. How do you feel about Michael Jordan?”

“I was shocked to hear that from him,” Thomas said of Jordan’s remarks. “His producers approached me and wanted me to be involved and I chose to. I did not know this was what was coming because he (Jordan) and I have been to dinner before and seen each other at different NBA functions and I never got any animosity or bad feelings from him toward me. I don’t have any bad feelings toward Michael Jordan nor have I ever had any bad feelings toward him. So my family and I were pretty surprised when we sat down to watch The Last Dance and hear those words come out of his mouth, especially following the apology I had given to him on national television.”

Thomas adds that there was no feud between him and Jordan even though Jordan alluded to one during the documentary.

“I’m going to call a timeout on the feud,” Thomas said. “Because really I wasn’t fighting him. I was winning all the time, well a majority of the time, so why am I mad at him? We were competitors and when you are winning most of the time, you ain’t mad at nobody. You’re happy.”

Wiley followed by asking Thomas if Jordan might have played a role in Thomas not being selected to represent the United States on the 1992 Olympic “Dream Team”.

“Up until The Last Dance, I didn’t think he did,” Thomas replied. “I took him at his word, but after listening to how he and Rod Thorn (the NBA executive who assembled The Dream Team) portrayed me, I kind of question it now. You have to.  But up until last week, I had not laid that card on him (Jordan). The way they were talking about me though, in his words, having me around made him feel uncomfortable, you know?…”

Some of Jordan’s uneasiness toward Thomas may have come from the fact that Thomas was a member of the hard-nosed Detroit Piston’s teams of the late ‘80s that earned the infamous Bad Boys moniker. Thomas contends however that Jordan and his Chicago Bulls teammates of that era were just as hard–nosed.

“Those same labels that were put on the Pistons as a team, the Bulls put on each other,” Thomas said. “Watching the documentary, there seemed to be a lot of dysfunction or dislike within that team which I guess that speaks to how great a player Jordan was to overcome all that and still win championships.”

Sports TV News

The NFL Still Considering Multiple Offers For Sunday Ticket

The NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has not bid for the package but has stated it is willing to partner with the new rightsholder for a potential deal.

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Sunday Ticket Negotiations

DirecTV currently has the rights to Sunday Ticket. That deal expires at the end of this upcoming football season. The NFL is expected to make a boatload of cash when they decide which media organization gets the next rights to the package. The only question is… who will that be?

Alex Sherman of CNBC reports that the NFL has had the respective bids of Disney, Apple and Amazon for weeks now. DirecTV has decided not bid for the package. However, they are interested in partnering with the new rightsholder for a potential deal. DirecTV knows that Sunday Ticket is a staple in bars and restaurants and is interested in maintaining those relationships.

Outside of the bar/restaurant industry, success has been limited for the satellite provider with the football package. Fewer than two million subscribers signed up for Sunday Ticket each year which made the package a money-loser for the satellite TV provider.

According to the report, the NFL wants more than $2 billion for the rights and a stake in NFL Media, which is being packaged with Sunday Ticket. Also on the table is the NFL’s mobile rights. The league’s previous mobile agreement with Verizon has ended.

An interesting piece of the negotiations is Sunday Ticket price. According to the report, a buyer would have limited flexibility on pricing. The NFL signed contracts with CBS and Fox and within the framework of those deals, language mandates Sunday Ticket have a premium price. That’s to prevent loss of viewers from the networks that feature local market Sunday afternoon games. So essentially, the price is the price for the consumer.

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F1 Renews With ESPN For U.S. Media Rights

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

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F1 ESPN

The racing series F1 has decided to stick with ESPN through 2025.

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

The reported value of the three-year contract is set to pay F1 $75-90M per year for the U.S. media rights. Amazon had offered to pay roughly $100M per year, with the right to sublicense to a linear broadcast network. Comcast’s offer was similar to ESPN’s in terms of value and the structure. They also wanted to put select races on it’s streaming service, Peacock.

Netflix was in on the negotiations, as well. The makers of Drive to Survive, the streaming series that many credit with the sport’s explosion in popularity in recent years, wasn’t close on on their financial offer. Also, it seems F1 executives were not ready to put all of its races on a streaming service just yet.

Currently, F1 receives $5M per year for ESPN to broadcast it’s races. ESPN has grabbed about 1.0 million viewers per race. That makes F1 a more than viable option for the network to invest into again. ESPN will be able to put a small number of races on its ESPN+ streaming service exclusively. The vast majority being on ABC or ESPN.

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Skip Bayless Says He And Stephen A. Smith ‘Sorted Out’ Their Disagreement

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

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Skip Bayless

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were locked in a war of words last week following the First Take host’s appearance on JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.

The origins of their partnership were discussed and Bayless admitted he did not like the way Smith characterized the state of First Take before he arrived on set. Smith insisted that Bayless simply misunderstood what he meant by saying that he was told the show needed him.

Over the weekend, Skip Bayless says he and Stephen A. Smith got together at the Bayless home in California to talk things out in private.

“He was in LA, he came over, we sat by the pool,” he said on the latest episode of The Skip Bayless Show. “It wasn’t the easiest conversation for a while, but we slowly but surely sorted it out. We got through it, and we have been through so much together.”

Bayless reiterated that he considers Smith a brother. They love each other. That doesn’t mean they are always going to remember events the same way or see eye-to-eye all the time.

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

Fighting doesn’t mean the relationship is fractured. In fact, Skip Bayless was adamant that he remains closer to Smith than he is to most people in his life.

“I don’t trust easily because of the way I was raised, but I do trust Stephen Anthony Smith. Trust him with my life. Always have and always will. I trust he will always be there for me, and you better believe I will always be there for him.”

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