The hosts of First Take are no fans of Milwaukee, and it seems the feeling is mutual. On Wednesday morning, Stephen A. Smith answered “hell no!” when asked if he was looking forward to go to the Cream City for the NBA Finals. By the afternoon, a petition had been launched to ban the show from the city.
Host Molly Qerim then piled on. She said that the last time she did not go to the Super Bowl was the year it was played in Minneapolis. Now she doesn’t believe she and Max Kellerman are headed to the NBA Finals and declared that both events she missed were in “terrible cities”.
“I don’t believe either of them will win their series, but I have never been rooting harder for Atlanta and the Los Angeles Clippers in my life,” Smith said.
Clearly Querim and Smith have never seen Wayne’s World. Otherwise they would know that Milwaukee has certainly had its share of visitors. The natives called it “mee-lee-wah-kay,” which is of course Algonquin for “The Good Land.” It’s not a nickname a city earns by accident.
Jen, Gabe and Chewy welcomed one of the offending parties to their show on ESPN Milwaukee on Wednesday morning. Stephen A. Smith didn’t change his mind over being excited to see the city, but he did note that he expects Bucks fans to be very happy.
“I think there’s a better than 60% possibility that the Milwaukee Bucks will win the championship at this stage and point,” he said before adding “I don’t believe there’s anyway in hell you win that series if Kyrie Irving hadn’t twisted his ankle.”
Also dropping by for a conversation was Smith’s partner Max Kellerman. Unlike Qerim and Smith, Kellerman said he had no issues with the city. When Lada asked if there was a reluctance from the national media to embrace the Bucks, Kellerman said yes but not because Milwaukee isn’t a Cosmopolitan city. It’s more due to the team’s ownership group, which features a couple of New York City hedge fund guys, becoming cheap after they acquired the franchise. Kellerman added that the team’s ability to win a championship depends more on other teams having star players injured and catching them at the right time, rather than the Bucks being the best team.
With Bucks fever sweeping across the city, ESPN Milwaukee has increased playoff programming to capture the excitement. The station announced today the launch of ‘Bucks at 6’, a show featuring former Bucks player Tony Smith and former Wisconsin basketball player and ESPN Madison host Ben Brust.
Peter King: ‘Tom Brady Needs To Study Cris Collinsworth’
“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is.”
Peter King dedicated a not-insignificant portion of his “Football Morning in America” column this week to advice for Tom Brady. FOX announced last week that the Buccaneers’ quarterback will become the network’s lead NFL analyst upon his retirement.
Brady’s decision and his reported salary have been the source of much speculation and prediction amongst his soon-to-be colleagues.
King is optimistic that Tom Brady will be entertaining and informative when he makes his FOX debut. He did offer the GOAT a little bit of advice about what he should be doing in the months leading up to calling it quits on his playing days and starting his new career.
“I think what I’d do if I were Brady is study Cris Collinsworth—and honest to goodness, I don’t say that because I work for NBC,” he wrote. “I say it because Collinsworth knows how to talk X’s-and-O’s conversationally, he’s an easy listen, and he can criticize when the time comes.”
Interestingly, last week, Collinsworth says he hears from most former players that are getting ready to make the jump to broadcasting. He was surprised he never heard from Tom Brady before FOX announced their deal.
King had two other suggestions. The first was that Brady watch multiple games from start to finish so that he can hear what the give-and-take between a broadcaster and analyst sounds like. The other is that he has to commit to being interesting and not censoring himself. King has faith that Brady will be able to do that.
“He’ll know that to be good, he has to get out of his comfort zone of all niceties and tell it like it is. On that LeBron James show last year, Brady said, ‘Ninety percent of what I say is not what I’m thinking. There’s a part of me that doesn’t like conflict, so in the end I always just try to play it super-flat.’ That has to end once he’s on TV if he wants to be any good.”
Nick Wright Critical Of ABC Crew As Giannis Antetokounmpo Struggles In Game 7
“He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo started hot in Game 7 on Sunday. By the time the game ended though, the Boston Celtics were on their way to Miami for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals and the defending champions were headed back to Milwaukee.
The Celtics’ defense gave the Milwaukee Bucks fits in the second half. The ABC broadcast put a special spotlight on Antetokounmpo, who got multiple drives to the basket that he could not finish.
“The best has got to show up when the best is needed, and Giannis has been disappointing,” said Mark Jackson over a package of highlights of Giannis missing shots. “As great of a player as he is, given credit to the Celtics’ defense, but he has struggled offensively time and time again.”
Nick Wright of FS1 noticed and he didn’t appreciate it. He reminded his followers on Twitter that the two-time MVP has put together some amazing performances in this series.
Mike Been, Mark Jackson, and Jeff Van Gundy were not particularly hard on Giannis. The trio made the typical comments we hear when things aren’t going a great player’s way.
Wright did not harp on the issue beyond the single tweet. The outcome was not in doubt as the clock winded down. He gave credit to the Celtics rather than tweet about the Bucks or Giannis.
Stephanie McMahon: WWE Is A Better Advertising Investment Than Sports
“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys.”
Everyone knows that professional wrestling is scripted. The storylines, the outcomes of matches, all of it is predetermined. But in the eyes of WWE, that’s what makes their product so different, and better than traditional sports.
WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon told Deadline that when it comes to pitching advertisers, sports entertainment allows room for a range of different approaches to make something work.
“We can script the buzzer-beater moments, we can script the Hail Marys,” she said. “We have a leg up on sports. … You may object to what we do, but you’re never going to be bored.”
McMahon added that WWE has a much easier process in dealing with sponsors. Everything is handled in-house.
“We own all of the IP,” she said. “When brands deal with us, they just deal with us. We create something together.”
WWE is coming off a positive Q1 earnings report, which had the company up 27% in total revenue. Its two weekly primetime shows, Monday Night RAW and Friday Night SmackDown, continue to do well in ratings, and all special and pay-per-view events, in addition to its streaming platform WWE Network, are all housed on Peacock.