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NBA Legends & Entertainers Talk Last Dance With Stephen A Smith

“The special began with Smith talking to Magic Johnson about Jordan’s competitiveness and the Lakers facing the Bulls in the 1991 NBA Finals, a series that the Bulls won in 5 games.”

Ricky Keeler

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Over the last five weeks, The Last Dance documentary was appointment television for sports fans as they watched the story of Michael Jordan and the 1997-1998 Chicago Bulls that won the franchise’s sixth NBA title. 

On Tuesday night, Stephen A Smith was the executive producer and hosted a one-hour special on ABC called After The Dance, which looked back at the memorable moments from the documentary and allowed different guests to reflect on that time period. Smith brought on guests from both the sports and entertainment worlds to talk about their favorite Jordan moments. 

The special began with Smith talking to Magic Johnson about Jordan’s competitiveness and the Lakers facing the Bulls in the 1991 NBA Finals, a series that the Bulls won in 5 games. Magic would end the show with Smith discussing the Jordan-LeBron James greatest of all-time debate. 

Then, the conversation shifted to more of Jordan’s impact off the court. Smith spoke with Whoopi Goldberg from The View about his influence on the world of pop culture.

“I see someone who has taken a brand and pulled it up and through, who took the idea of us and animation and made it totally different,” Goldberg said of Jordan. “He touched everything on the planet and everyone wanted to get next to him.”

One of the more emotional parts of the documentary for people was Episode 5 when the 1998 All-Star Game was brought up and you saw the interview with the late Kobe Bryant about facing MJ. Smith had Shaquille O’Neal on the show to talk about both of their mentalities on the court.

“It’s pretty much equal. Kobe made a great point. We all look at players before us and we take a little bit from them. I am glad they had a relationship,” O’Neal said. “A lot of people always said who is the greatest in the game: Jordan or Lebron. I think you must respect Kobe’s name and add it to the conversation.”

From the broadcast side, we got to hear from Robin Roberts, who was an anchor on SportsCenter during MJ’s run and is now on Good Morning America. Roberts brought up her favorite memories of being around Jordan.

“The press conference before the 1992 Olympics. All of the legends are there,” she remembered. “MJ just kind of scratched his head and all of  the cameras were flicking. It was amazing to see the reaction. I loved people watching him.”

Many characteristics of Jordan were emphasized in the documentary, including his competitive nature. That competitiveness showed on the court and it once occurred in a game of dominoes with Anthony Anderson from Blackish: 

The documentary itself had a great ending, but Smith’s special reflecting on Jordan’s career and getting the thoughts from different perspectives was a good way to continue the conversation and reflect on all of the footage that we saw. As usual, Smith had a good way with words to wrap up the night. 

“Jordan didn’t dance, as in dance around at all, He gave his take on the dynastic era through his lens and we all should love him for it… You can still indeed appreciate today’s greatness while still acknowledging it isn’t the good old days. Jordan did that for us at a time at a time when the sports world desperately needed it.”

Sports TV News

FanDuel TV Strikes Deal With ONE Championship Martial Arts

“We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

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FanDuel TV and ONE Championship Martial Arts have struck a deal that will see the MMA, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and submission grappling series air weekly events on the newly launched channel.

“We’re eager to continue expanding the variety of content we’re offering at FanDuel TV to introduce our audience to emerging sports,” said FanDuel Chief Commercial Officer Mike Raffensperger. “We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”

ONE Championship is a top-five global sports property for digital viewership and engagement according to Nielsen measurements.

“We are thrilled to join the FanDuel TV lineup and give our passionate U.S. audience yet another way to engage with ONE Championship,” said ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. “Having a quality partner in FanDuel will help raise the profile of our company in the region and provide their viewers with action-packed martial arts events like they have never seen before.”

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Bob Costas Re-Lives First Announcing Assignment For NBC

“My biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979.”

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Legendary sports broadcaster Bob Costas appeared on KNBR’s Tolbert & Copes Thursday to discuss the death of Baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. But before the conversation turned to the recently departed pitcher, the show asked Costas about what he has announced that would surprise someone. He reminisced about his first time on the air for NBC.

“My very first assignment for NBC, my biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979,” Costas recounted. “There was a program on NBC then called Sports World. It was an anthology series that was their answer to the gold standard, ABC’s Wide World of Sports.

“So they traveled the globe, like Wide World of Sports did. So they sent me, wearing a red NBC jacket, to Tokyo to cover a sumo wrestling tournament with seven-time world power-lifting champion Larry Pacifico as my color man. Now, this is all the Japanese I learned as we came on the air: ‘Minasan kon’nichwa watashinoamaeha Bob Costas’, which means ‘Hello everyone, my name is Bob Costas’. If ever there was typecasting, when they sat and looked at their roster of announcers and went ‘Who should we send to the sumo wrestling? It’s gotta be Costas, who’s entire body weight would constitute one meal for the sumo wrestling champion.”

Costas departed NBC Sports in 2019 after 40 years with the network, announcing MLB, NBA, and the Olympics, in addition to his work with the network’s sumo wrestling coverage.

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Matt Leinart, Alex Smith Make Wager Over Pac-12 Championship Game

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous. I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.”

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FOX Sports analyst Matt Leinart and ESPN analyst Alex Smith have made a friendly wager over the upcoming Pac-12 Championship Game.

USC, Leinart’s alma mater, is slated to play Utah, where Smith attended, in the game Friday evening on FOX from Las Vegas.

The two agreed to don the other player’s jersey. “At least it will be 11,” Smith said, noting he and Leinart both wore the number during their playing days.

“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous,” Leinart said when presented with the offer. “I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.” Smith jokingly responded by calling USC “Free Agent University”. He added he would overnight Leinart a jersey to ensure he had one if the Utes were victorious.

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