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George Karl Fires Back At Mark Jackson Over Carmelo Comments

“There seems to be bad blood between Karl and Jackson going back to 2013 and Andre Igoudala leaving Denver for Jackson’s Warriors team.”

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Carmelo Anthony has had a career resurgence in Portland. The ten-time All-Star’s playing days seemed to be over after playing just ten games for the Houston Rockets last season. This season though, he has a renewed sense of energy and is starting and averaging over 32 minutes per game for the Trail Blazers.

During Game 2 of Portland’s first round playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers, ESPN analysts Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson discussed not just what Melo has become, but what he was in the heyday of his career. The two agreed that this is the first season in a long time Melo seems to be making an effort on defense.

Van Gundy said it is clearly a change in attitude by Carmelo Anthony. He said that Melo was “putting more into the defense. Maybe before he didn’t play as hard defensively.”

Jackson didn’t think the explanation was that simple.

“Okay, then I’ll tell you this. Then it’s a shared responsibility for whoever allowed that defense to be played, because for some reason, he has bought into this culture and he’s committed to it.”

The analyst didn’t single out anyone, but Jackson seemed to be implying that former coaches and players made it easy for Carmelo Anthony to get away with less than his best effort on the defensive side of the ball.

One of Melo’s former coaches took exception to the implication and came out guns blazing on Twitter. George Karl didn’t defend his reputation or his work with Carmelo Anthony. He instead took shots at Mark Jackson’s tenure as coach of the Golden State Warriors.

There seems to be bad blood between Karl and Jackson going back to 2013 and Andre Igoudala leaving Denver for Jackson’s Warriors team.

After learning of Karl’s comments on social media, Jackson responded, making it clear that his criticism was aimed elsewhere. He did throw a jab back at the former coach though for calling out his track record.

Karl was Carmelo Anthony’s coach for six-and-a-half seasons in Denver, beginning one year after the Nuggets made Melo the 3rd overall pick of the 2003 NBA Draft. With that much influence that early in Anthony’s career, maybe it explains why Karl would take Jackson’s words so personally, but no one else that coached Anthony took to social media with such an extreme reaction.

Sports TV News

Al Michaels: Condensed Prep Time For Thursday Night Football ‘A Downside’

“It’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us.”

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There were bound to be unexpected hiccups and unintended consequences as Al Michaels moved to Thursday Night Football with Amazon Prime Video.

He told The Boston Globe Thursday that one of the downsides of the week’s schedule is less prep time with the teams playing in the game.

“When we go to see the teams, it’s not that they don’t want to be with us, but they’re condensed too, so there’s less time to give to us,” Michaels said. “And all the time I’ve been doing this, I’ve built some great relationships with coaches and players and GMs and owners and you name it, and I don’t get that much time to spend with them anymore. That’s a downside part of it for me. Some of the best stories you get come from those relationships.”

Michaels has raised eyebrows this season while not being shy about his disdain for some poor matchups early in the schedule. However, he now understands that there are quality games as the season approaches its close.

“The schedule was a little leaky with the Carolina-Atlanta game and a couple of other games that we’ve had, but now we’re positioned for a nice run down the stretch,” said Michaels.

The 78-year-old was also asked how he remains energetic and passionate for the job he’s held for so long.

The games are exciting. I love sports. You don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no script. And unscripted television is the greatest.”

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Sports TV News

Jimmy Pitaro: Reaching Younger Audience A Priority for ESPN

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience. As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

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Many in the media industry have voice concern that millennials and Gen Z aren’t consuming traditional media outlets like previous generations. ESPN President Jimmy Pitaro said it’s a priority for the network.

“The thing that keeps me up at night is how do we reach the younger audience,” Pitaro said, quoted by Morning Consult sports business reporter Mark J. Burns. “As an industry in general, we need to figure out how to be more relevant to younger people.”

Pitaro made the comments at Sports Business Journal’s Media Innovators conference Wednesday. It is a continuation of comments he has made in recent years.

In 2018, Pitaro said at ESPN’s upfront “I think we are doing a fantastic job serving the sports fanatic,” said Pitaro. “What about the casual sports customer? Are we doing all we can to serve him or her?”.

In 2019, Pitaro said it was “all hands on deck” to reach a younger audience and women. “We have to be open and go to where our customers are,” he said in regards to reaching younger viewers on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Earlier this year, Pitaro added that ESPN won’t be leaving linear television anytime soon.

“What I will tell you is that as I sit here right now, that business is still incredible,” Pitaro said. “We serve the sports fan anyway and at any time. I know there are a lot of people that still want ESPN in that traditional ecosystem.”

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Sports TV News

Don Mattingly Joining Blue Jays Staff After YES Network Courtship

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

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The New York Yankees regional sports network can take Don Mattingly off its talent wish list. Mattingly was announced Wednesday as a bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays starting in 2023.

The former Dodgers and Marlins manager had been mentioned as a someone YES Network was interested in potentially hiring to be an analyst.

But Mattingly told Andrew Marchand of The New York Post this week that he had another opportunity in the works but wouldn’t elaborate.

YES also has been considering luring Yankees legend and Hall of Famer Derek Jeter into broadcasting. But no formal talks have taken place.

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