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Mike Stone Offers Tearful Tribute To Jamie Samuelsen

“Samuelsen passed away Saturday, just five days after he announced he was battling colon cancer.”

Brandon Contes

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To say Monday was a difficult day for Detroit’s 97.1 The Ticket would be an understatement as the station mourned the loss of longtime sports radio host Jamie Samuelsen. 

Having to carry a radio show without your partner can prove to be a challenge, but having to do so after your co-host passed away less than 48-hours prior is unimaginable. That’s what The Ticket’s Mike Stone was confronted with Monday morning. After losing Jamie Samuelsen to cancer over the weekend, Stoney got behind the mic on Monday and offered a four-hour tribute to his co-host which included laughs, tears, frustration and celebration.

Samuelsen passed away Saturday, just five days after he announced he was battling colon cancer. For 19 months Samuelsen kept the diagnosis private, but he decided to publicize his fight as a way of encouraging others to get tested. Several friends, including Stone, visited Samuelsen last week to say goodbye. 

“We were in his bedroom,” Stone said. “We were telling some jokes. He was having a good time. Obviously didn’t look well. And it was tough for him. Obviously, it was tough for us. And he told us each that he loved us.”

The Bay Area born Samuelsen entered Detroit’s sports radio market in 1994 by way of WDFN, later joining The Ticket in 2012 where he was paired with evening host and longtime friend Bob Wojnowski. Then in 2016, Stone and Samuelsen partnered in morning drive where the duo enjoyed immense ratings success.

“We’ll all get through this eventually,” Stone said shortly after reading lyrics from the Beach Boys’ God Only Knows. “It’s going to be hard. It’s going to suck. Don’t worry about us. We’ll figure it out,” Stone continued as his voice began to break near the end of the four-hour tribute. 

“Thanks to all the listeners, thanks to all the support that this community has showed him since last Monday, the Lions, the Tigers, the Pistons, the Red Wings, Michigan. We had Matt Patricia on today and Dave Revsine and the love for this man is overwhelming,” said Stoney. “Jamie, I loved you, still love you. Christy, Josh, Catherine and Caroline, and we can throw Wojo in there because he’s part of their family. 

“God, Jamie was the greatest. When Wojo asked one word to describe Jamie, I said ‘inclusive.’ Jamie was good to everybody, God Bless you, James K. Love you, love your family, and gonna miss you so much,” Stone said in closing as he broke down in tears, and undoubtedly, many of his listeners did too. 

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Jay Williams Calls Listener, Forces Him To Pay Their $1000 Lakers Bet

“Don’t get me on national TV and radio and then not pick up the phone when I call.”

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If you owe Jay Williams money, he is going to find you. Just ask Rob, a listener in Orlando who bet the ESPN Radio morning man that the Lakers would advance to the NBA Finals.

Last week, Rob called Keyshawn, JWill and Max and bet Williams $1000 the Lakers would eliminate the Denver Nuggets. Williams said if that happened, he would pay Rob $1500.

Obviously, that is not the way things played out. On Tuesday morning, Jay Williams called Rob demanding payment.

“He owes me my money,” he said. “So you know what we do? We got Detective Pat on the call today. Pat, let’s give this man a call. See if this guy picks up, trying to run away from giving me my money.”

The show’s associate producer Patrick Costello called the number Rob left last week. On the first attempt, the listener did not pick up. Williams vowed to keep up the pressure on social media and national radio and television until he got paid.

“Don’t get me on national TV and radio and then not pick up the phone when I call.”

“You know, getting that money is a wrap, Jay,” Keyshawn Johnson said through laughter. “I told you that.”

The show made one more attempt to connect with Rob before having to turn things over to Greeny. This time, the Lakers fan picked up and acknowledged that he had to pay. He offered to make a donation in Williams’s name.

“I’ll send you my bank account here privately, and then I will send it to the charity of my choice,” Williams agreed.

Rob agreed to the arrangement. Williams asked him if he wanted to apologize for doubting the basketball analyst’s prediction of the Lakers’ demise.

“Apologize? I need the Lakers to apologize to me after that performance,” Rob said. “Because Jesus Christ, that was horrible. That was bad.”

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Stoney & Jansen on LeBron James Retirement Talk: ‘NBA Needs Offseason Stories’

“I think we pick and choose with him. I think I’ve been too hard on him and I’m kind of realizing that.”

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As the Los Angeles Lakers exited the court after being swept by the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals on Monday night, a grim reality set in across the basketball world regarding the future of forward LeBron James. Widely regarded as one of the best players to ever suit up, James is the NBA’s all-time scoring leader, a 19-time All Star selection, four-time MVP, and four-time NBA champion.

During his postgame media availability on Monday, he stated that he had to seriously think about his future, undoubtedly referencing retirement. James just completed his 20th season in the Association and continues to play at a high level, but is going to think about walking away from the game after falling short of the NBA Finals this year.

“He’s been a pretty good soldier for the game,” said Tom Milikan, morning show producer and assistant program director at 97.1 The Ticket. “There’s been some things I haven’t agreed with him [on] that he’s liked or tweeted or whatever. I think he’s had some ignorance, but I think that applies to every single athlete out there that’s great.”

Throughout his NBA career, James has been the subject of criticism. The ESPN special he participated in titled The Decision saw him reveal he would be leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat. He is also a frequent subject across the network’s programming, including on Get Up, First Take and NBA Today.

“I think we pick and choose with him,” Millikan said. “I think I’ve been too hard on him and I’m kind of realizing that.”

Show co-host Mike Stone read messages from the 97.1 The Ticket text line during the show, many of which criticized James for being a “flopping” player desperate for any semblance of attention since he will not be in the NBA Finals. One text suggested his revelation of weighing retirement was done intentionally, surmising that he has a film documentary crew around him and coming back stronger than ever would make for a great story.

“The league needs some offseason stories,” Millikan said. “From what I know, the free agency class is not all that great this year – and one of the big names is Kyrie Irving, and that’s toxic. It’s sort of like, ‘Hey, maybe they’re generating buzz or trying to do the whole Brady thing.’ So be it – I’ve seen it 15 times in my life.”

Stone recognized that athletes like James are genuinely once-in-a-generation type talents, and that his time in the NBA has been defined by more than what he has done on the court. James has also been an immense advocate for greater causes, including social issues, youth education and community affairs. Whenever he decides to call it a career though, fans should rest assured that James has truly given the game everything he has.

“I want to see the best that they have for as long as possible,” show co-host Jon Jansen said of star athletes. “If they end up playing too long, so be it. I don’t care. Then I know I’ve [seen] it all.”

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Danny Parkins: NFL Teams ‘Don’t Really Care About Your In-Stadium Experience’

“In one year of Al Michaels complaining about the games, they’ve changed two huge rules around it.”

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On Monday at the NFL Owners’ Meetings, flex scheduling for Amazon Prime Video’s presentation of Thursday Night Football was approved 24-8. Games can only be flexed between Weeks 13 and 17 with 28 days notice required. Additionally, a maximum of two games can be flexed per season, with the entire operation being on “a trial basis.”

“In one year of Al Michaels complaining about the games, they’ve changed two huge rules around it,” said Danny Parkins on 670 The Score as the news broke Monday. “[The] first rule already happened, and the Bears are one of the teams that either benefit or are victimized by the rule depending on your interpretation. You can play on multiple Thursdays this year. You can’t play multiple road Thursdays, but the Bears have two Thursday night games – in Washington and home against Carolina.”

In an effort to broadcast compelling action on a national stage, the National Football League did not give all of its 32 teams at least one game on national television this season. Conversely, the New York Jets, complete with star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, will be featured on national television for the maximum of six times, including two matchups on Thursday Night Football. The Jets, along with the Chicago Bears, dissented from voting in favor of flexible scheduling, but Parkins assumes it has nothing to do with the fans.

“My guess is [it is] because they already have two Thursday night games,” Parkins said. “Maybe they’re just altruistic and they care about fans and travel and all that, but I bet you that they said, ‘Well, we’re playing in Week 5 in Washington and Week 10 at home against Carolina. We don’t want to risk Bears-Browns or Bears-Falcons being flexed into Thursday Night Football later in the season and end up with three Thursday night games.’”

Many football fans and media professionals have pushed back on granting the property any type of flex scheduling because of the negative impact it has on injury prevention, something that is not as pronounced with other properties solely because of the day of the week. Sunday Night Football on NBC was previously the only property with flex scheduling ability, and Monday Night Football on ESPN is being granted that ability between Weeks 12 and 17 with at least 12 days notice.

“They don’t really care about your in-stadium experience – they don’t,” Parkins said of the league. “As long as you watch on TV, they’re thrilled because that’s where they make a huge, ungodly percentage of their money – more so than any of the other sports.”

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