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Adam Silver On NBA, China Relationship: ‘Engagement is Better Than Isolation’

Silver talked to “Time” in a wide-ranging interview concerning the state of the NBA.

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TIME featured NBA commissioner Adam Silver among other high-profile executives for their May issue touching on a wide range of topics. Namely, the league’s relationship with China following an eventful two-year stretch.

China’s state television CCTV and streaming service Tencent suspended all preseason NBA game broadcasts following an October 2019 tweet by then-Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey. The post showed support for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Over a year passed before China started showing the games again. CCTV brought back the 2020 NBA Finals because of the league’s assistance to China in fighting COVID-19. Silver said the league is still broadcasting games in the country after the incident.

“We continue to televise our games in China,” Silver said to TIME. “Our most significant television partner is Tencent, which is a streaming service in China. And we have hundreds of millions of fans in China who we continue to serve.”

Silver opened up further about his feelings toward calls to boycott China and cut them out of the NBA world.

“The political science major in me believes that engagement is better than isolation,” Silver said. “That a so-called boycott of China, taking into account legitimate criticisms of the Chinese system, won’t further the agenda of those who seek to bring about global change. Working with Chinese solely on NBA basketball has been a net plus for building relationships between two superpowers.”

When pressed about specific human rights issues and what basketball can change about China’s ways, Silver had this to say.

“While there are many differences between our society and Chinese society, there are enormous commonalities as well. One of them is to love a sport. And basketball happens to be the most popular team sport in China right now. We think that through that common love and appreciation of the game of basketball, that that’s a way to bring people together. It’s as simple as that.”

Sports TV News

Bob Jenkins Posthumously Given Myers Award By NMPA

He was the longtime voice of the Indianapolis 500 and anchored ESPN’s NASCAR coverage for nearly 20 years.

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National Motorsports Press Association has come to a decision on their annual Myers Brothers Award. They have announced that legendary motorsports broadcaster Bob Jenkins is the posthumous winner of the award.

Jenkins passed away back in August after a battle with brain cancer at 73 years old. He was the longtime voice of the Indianapolis 500 and anchored ESPN’s NASCAR coverage for nearly 20 years

Presented annually since 1958, the award, named in honor of former NASCAR competitors Billy and Bobby Myers, recognizes individuals and/or groups who have provided outstanding contributions to the sport of stock-car racing.

Bob Jenkins teamed with Larry Nuber and later with NASCAR Hall of Famers Ned Jarrett and Benny Parsons to form one of the sport’s most revered broadcast teams during his time at ESPN and is one of the pioneers for the sport of racing.

After leaving ESPN, Jenkins joined the staff at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, filling roles as a public-address announcer and press-conference emcee. He returned to the IndyCar broadcast booth with Versus and retained the role as chief IndyCar announcer when Versus was acquired by NBC Sports Group.

In 2019, Bob Jenkins was inducted into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum’s Hall of Fame.

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Sports TV News

Louis Riddick: ‘ESPN Knows I Am Interested In GM Opportunities’

“I will say my mindset has changed about it since I have left front office work, but the fire still burns. I know for a fact I can do it.”

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In over a month from now, one of the names you will start to hear for NFL general manager openings is ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Louis Riddick. He hasn’t worked for an NFL team in almost a decade, but that doesn’t mean he is not ready for another opportunity. He has interviewed for a couple of GM openings in the past. 

Before calling the Patriots-Bills matchup on MNF this week, Riddick was a guest on The Colin Cowherd Podcast and Cowherd asked him if he still has that itch to get back into being in an NFL front office.

“I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t. ESPN knows that,” Riddick answered. “They know it and I talk to them about it. That’s why those avenues have been explored like they were last year and then we’ll see what happens in the next month or two this year.”

While the competitive side of being in a front office has never left Riddick, he is still searching for the right opportunity to get back into the game.

“Right opportunity, right place, and it just matches up. Of course, it’s going to be one of those situations where you have to sit down and talk it over with your decision-making circle, talk it over with ESPN and you go from there. I will say my mindset has changed about it since I have left front office work, but the fire still burns. I know for a fact I can do it. I did it for 12 years. I know what it takes.” 

In fact, Riddick told Cowherd that he feels more prepared for the job now more than ever because of what he gets to do at ESPN and pick the brains of other coaches.

“I’ve learned so much more being on the outside now being able to talk to all of the different coaches in a different way. I’m really able to pick their brains and talk about team building, staff building, culture building, diving deep into the Xs and Os and comparing what teams do to one another…I am 10 times more smart about the game of football where it’s headed now than I was in 2012 when I was last in a front office….We’ll see what happens, but I am good either way.”

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Vince McMahon: ‘I Wish I Could Have Beaten Up Bob Costas’

“Apparently, Vince has an enemy in Bob Costas.”

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HBO

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that WWE Chairman Vince McMahon’s in-ring persona often is the same as it is in real life. Mr. McMahon can be brash, intimidating and command your attention. As a businessman, it’s also no surprise that he’s probably made a few enemies along the way, whether it be through business or in media.

Apparently, Vince has an enemy in Bob Costas. But that’s not earth-shattering considering part of his job is making enemies.

McMahon’s disdain for the former NBC broadcaster stems from a 2001 interview the two did on Costas’s HBO show, where Costas appeared to do everything right to push Vince’s buttons.

A transcript provided to the New York Post from a Jim Miller book called Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers details just how Costas managed to get under McMahon’s skin.

“Once we were doing the interview, he kept interrupting me and interrupting me, and bringing up topics that had nothing to do with what we were supposed to be talking about,” McMahon said.

Vince McMahon referred to Costas as “pompous” and was even quoted as saying he’d have laid hands on Costas had he not been so small.

“I wish he wasn’t 5-feet high and 140 pounds. If he was 6-5 and 295, he would deserve to get the shit beat out of him,” McMahon said. “I could have really given them some great television.”

The Post notes that the two were able to conduct a more civil interview a year later, but it seems like once you cross a boss like Vince McMahon, there’s no way to get back in his good graces.

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