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Stephen A. Smith To Max Kellerman: Nothing You Say ‘Is Remotely On My Level’

The commentator maligned having to talk basketball with Kellerman last month.

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: Mikey Reeves / ESPN Images

Stephen A. Smith doesn’t like talking basketball with Max Kellerman. A month after saying “I deserve a raise” for having to talk about the sport with his First Take co-host, Smith’s feelings haven’t changed.

The two discussed Giannis Antetokounmpo’s historic run through the NBA Finals and whether or not he is now the best player in the league. The 50-point barrage from the Bucks’ star cemented him alongside Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only players in league history to win league MVP, Finals MVP, and Defensive Player of the Year in a career.

Smith emphatically said, “HELL NO he’s not” to the question and quickly grew frustrated with his co-host. Kellerman didn’t declare the two-time MVP as the best player on the planet, but he felt Antetokounmpo has a case.

“I just think that America needs to know, the only reason I’m having this conversation with you is because I’m obligated to do so for First Take,” Smith told Kellerman. “If you were somebody on the street that brought up the same argument, I’d walk the hell away from you.” 

“He’s not on KD’s level, it’s not even there,” Smith said of Giannis. “Giannis is phenomenal, he is great, but he ain’t Kevin Durant. He’s NOT THAT GUY.” 

Kellerman agreed Durant has more skill than Giannis, but wouldn’t cave on KD being the best player. “Best means the most effective,” Kellerman described. “And the most skilled player is not the most effective if someone else can impose their physical will.”

Smith couldn’t hold back his frustration by the end of the discussion with Kellerman.

“Now you’re lying to the American public,” Smith continued as his frustration grew. “Because when it comes to basketball, there’s nothing that you utter out of your mouth that’s remotely even on my level.”

Check out the full clip from First Take above.

Sports TV News

Kevin Warren: Big Ten Not Closing Door On ESPN Forever

Jordan Bondurant

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This summer the Big Ten Conference inked new media rights deals with FOX, CBS and NBC that will be worth $7 billion per year over seven years. With the agreement, ESPN will no longer have rights to broadcast conference contests.

But to those saying that the conference will never again be partners with the Worldwide Leader, Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren believes that isn’t the case.

“I’m constantly in a state of perpetual negotiation and relationship building,” Warren said in an interview at the Sports Business Journal Intercollegiate Athletics Forum on Wednesday. “I have incredible respect and admiration for (ESPN president) Jimmy Pitaro and (ESPN programming and original content president) Burke Magnus and (ESPN programming and acquisitions vice president) Nick Dawson. And now with the change from (former Disney CEO) Bob Chapek to Bob Iger, I have great respect for Disney as a company – and what its meant to our country – and for ESPN.”

Despite losing out on the Big Ten, which is shaping up to be one of the nation’s first college super conferences with the addition of USC and UCLA in 2024, ESPN will carry on with America’s other emerging super conference in the SEC, which will add Texas and Oklahoma as members in 2025. ESPN/ABC and the SEC have a 10-year media rights deal in place worth $300 million per season that will go into effect in 2024.

But Warren continued that with things being set in stone for at least the next decade in terms of media rights, there’s no reason to believe that the conference and the network can’t find ways to work together in the future.

“I’m a great believer that life is long, and I will continue to have communications with ESPN,” he said. “I have great respect for them. They’re incredibly important to this institution that we call college athletics. I stay in close contact, and opportunities do present themselves in unique ways.”

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Sports TV News

Netflix CEO: ‘We’re Not Anti-Sports, We’re Just Pro-Profit’

“He characterized expensive media rights as a “loss leader” in the streaming world and noted that Netflix doesn’t view sports as a necessity to grow.”

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Netflix will not join Apple and Amazon in the rush to gobble up live sports rights. Co-CEO Ted Sarandos addressed the streaming giant’s disinterest at the UBS Global Technology, Media & Telecom Conference on Wednesday.

He characterized expensive media rights as a “loss leader” in the streaming world and noted that Netflix doesn’t view sports as a necessity to grow.

“We’re not anti-sports,” Sarandos said according to Deadline. “We’re just pro-profit. We have yet to figure out how to do it. But I’m very confident we can get twice as big as we are without sports.” 

Questions about the interest the company has in carrying live sports have come up several times in the past. Sarandon made similar comments last year when asked about it.

Reed Hastings, Sarandos’s co-CEO at Netflix, has a slightly different view. In 2021, he indicated that Netflix could be interested in F1 rights someday thanks to the success of its documentary series Drive to Survive, but that would be a special case. Any league interested in doing business with Netflix, he said, would have to allow Netflix to control all of its content.

Ted Sarandos echoed that sentiment in his most recent comments. He said that the company does not see a way to profit by “renting big-league sports.”

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Sports TV News

FOX Sued for Patent Infringement Over NFL Scheduling

“Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.”

Jordan Bondurant

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An analytics company is suing FOX over claims that the network developed a mapping tool using their patented technology to create a season slate of NFL games.

Recentive Analytics filed suit against FOX in a Delaware federal court on November 29 according to Yahoo Sports.

The lawsuit claims FOX used access to Recentive’s predictive analytics tools to develop a resource of their own that would create optimal schedules for its 1 and 4 p.m. NFLwindows.

The company is seeking a declaration that FOX infringed on two of its patents. Recentive is also suing for damages and wants an injunction keeping FOX from using Recentive tech and preventing the network from “selling, offering for sale, marketing or using any internal network and mapping analytics tool for the scheduling and regionalization of events covered by the patents.”

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