One of basketball’s guiding lights is retiring from ESPN at the end of the month. The network announced Jackie MacMullan is calling it a career after 40 years covering the NBA and sports at large.
ESPN hired Jackie MacMullan as a senior writer in 2010 after a storied career covering the Boston Celtics for the Boston Globe. She got her start at the newspaper in 1982 and covered events outside of the hardwood like the 1986 World Series, the 1987 Stanley Cup Finals, and the 1988 Olympic Games.
ESPN featured MacMullan across their various platforms. From headline columns on ESPN.com to countless appearances on SportsCenter and Around the Horn. “Jackie Mac” has been there every step of the way to inform sports fans.
“I feel fortunate to have collaborated with so many incredibly talented people during my 10-plus years at ESPN,” Jackie MacMullan said in a statement released by ESPN. “Sometimes, you just know when you’re ready to dial it back, and this is the right time for me. I’m grateful for the memories, but especially for the friends, I’ve made along the way. Thank you to my ESPN colleagues for all of your support.”
Outside of writing, Jackie MacMullan is most well known for her almost 900 appearances on Around the Horn. The final time she appears on ESPN as an employee is fittingly during the show’s Aug. 31 episode.
“Jackie is a trailblazer not because she was one of the first women covering sports or the NBA,” ESPN senior deputy editor Christina Daglas said. “Rather, Jackie is a trailblazer because people talked about her without mentioning sex or gender. It was about the work, an incredible catalog of work, that has appeared on every ESPN platform. Simply put, Jackie is one of the greatest journalists ESPN has ever seen. And she did it all while providing mentorship to both editors and writers, ensuring whether she meant to or not, that pieces of her will remain here long after she exits.”
Russ Heltman is a daily news writer for BSM. He is the morning host and producer for 89.3 WMKV in Cincinnati, OH. He also works in gameday communications for FC Cincinnati and additionally contributes to the AllBengals blog for Sports Illustrated. Russ can be found on Twitter @RussHeltman11 or you can reach him by email at Heltmandm@yahoo.com.
Ray Didinger Thought NFL Films Aas Joking When Approached About Upcoming Special
“I’ve always contended that NFL Films could make anything interesting, and they actually managed to do that with me. So that’s the ultimate proof of it.”
Philadelphia media icon Ray Didinger has a career story worth telling, and that’s why NFL Films will be focusing on it for an upcoming edition of NFL Films Presents…
Didinger, who worked for more than two decades at NFL Films working his way up to the role of senior producer, told Dom Giordano on 1210 WPHT on Tuesday that he was actually surprised when producer Chris Barlow approached him with the idea.
“When NFL Films told me they wanted to do this, I thought they were joking,” Didinger said. “When (Barlow) sent me the email and said we want to do a show about you (and Tommy McDonald), I thought he was just pulling my leg.”
Didinger stated that he was fortunate to have the chance to have his story told. He’s looking forward to fans being able to check out the show, which airs at 12:30 a.m. on Friday on FS1.
“It really turned out well,” he said. “I saw the rough cut of it, and it’s really neat.”
“NFL Films, they are the state of the art in sports cinematography there’s no question about that,” he added. “I’ve always contended that NFL Films could make anything interesting, and they actually managed to do that with me. So that’s the ultimate proof of it.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
Kay Adams: Pat McAfee Has Built ‘The Dream’
“it’s interesting because he’s built himself to such a place that he does not need anyone and that is the dream.”
Many in sports media respect what former NFL punter Pat McAfee has accomplished in his media endeavors. You can add FanDuel TV host Kay Adams to that list.
“I’m just blown away by the success and by the leverage he has,” Adams said on the My Other Passion podcast. “It is uncanny, it is aspirational, and it is self-made, so it is a beautiful thing. I — of course — watch what he does. I don’t want to be just like him but I do think he is so disruptive.
“He has such a chip on his shoulder. It drives him but I almost wish I could see it relieved a little bit. He’s thriving, he’s happy, and I think the thing that sticks out to me about him is that he’s truly grateful. Truly is grateful for everything he has, his opportunities. He’s worked his ass off for it.”
Adams pointed to McAfee’s recent spat with the NFL over use of the league’s logos as an indicator of not only his success but his influence in the sports landscape.
“He is true to himself but he mostly leads with gratitude, which I think is the epitome of success. But he’s out there show you what can be done. He’s the first, but will he be the last to have that sort of platform? That sort of swing? What he does with the NFL the other week, I’m paying attention to that.
“Because I want to see: is the NFL going to bend the knee to Pat McAfee? Does the NFL care what he says? But it’s interesting because he’s built himself to such a place that he does not need anyone and that is the dream.”
The NFL did eventually “bend the knee” and reversed course on limiting McAfee’s use of league trademarks.
John Skipper: Bob Iger’s Return Won’t Effect ESPN
“If you’re going to win the streaming wars, you’re going to have to have sports.”
There have been many questions about what Bob Iger’s return to Disney will mean for ESPN, but former ESPN President John Skipper believes it won’t change much.
Skipper pointed to Iger’s relationships with powerbrokers in the sports world as a positive, and also believes that the “streaming wars” will be won by those who hold the rights to live sports.
“As a moat, to get the pay-TV fees and to get people to pay more money to subscribe,” Skipper pointed to Sportico as the reason for ESPN to still have an agreement with the NBA for linear TV. He later added “If you’re going to win the streaming wars, you’re going to have to have sports.”
Skipper also said the network used to invest in constant studio programming but said that’s no longer a necessity.
“We did that type of programming because the economics were different at the time,” Skipper said.