For good or for bad, Kyrie Irving and his stance on the Covid-19 vaccine have been the talk of the NBA offseason with many analysts giving their views on what they believe Kyrie should do.
During halftime of the Brooklyn Nets season opener on TNT, the cast of Inside the NBA gave their takes on the issue.
Kenny Smith started, saying that he felt empathy for Kyrie’s position and that it comes down to how comfortable people are with “what you’ve read and what you understand.” about the vaccine.
Charles Barkley very visibly was grimacing at this, and argued saying “First of all, you don’t get the vaccine for yourself, you get it for other people.”
“I got vaccinated. I can’t wait to get the booster,” he continued. “You don’t get vaccinated just for yourself. Like Adam [Silver] said, you get vaccinated for your family first, you get vaccinated for your teammates second. I am proud of the Nets for putting their foot down, for saying no we aren’t going to deal with this half on and half off.”
Barkley then vehemently disagreed with those applauding Kyrie for standing up for what he believes in, and comparing what he is doing to the late boxer Muhammad Ali.
“People said he is like Ali, first of all don’t ever compare anybody to Ali. Ali went three years without boxing, he was the highest-paid athlete in the world. This guy is going to make $17 million for sitting at home.”
There were many people on social media on both sides of the fence, either agreeing with Barkley or condemning his comments.
Shaq then agreed with Barkley on his stance, saying “I had some second thoughts, but I said I’m not going to get Dr. Lucille O’Neal sick.” referring to his mother.
Barkley then gave a shout out to one of his former teammates, Cedric Ceballos who was in the hospital for 20 days with serious symptoms from Covid, but returned home in late September.
Reice Shipley is a daily news writer and social media assistant for BSM. He is a graduate of Ithaca University, contributor to the Syracuse Mets, and aspires to work behind the scenes in sports media in the future. He can be found on Twitter @Reice_Shipley18 or you may reach him by email at RShipley@ithaca.edu.
Chris Fallica Leaving ESPN for FOX
Neither FOX or ESPN would comment on the situation, but in the Awful Announcing report it’s believed that there will be a send-off of some sort for Fallica on Saturday.
A prominent sports betting voice featured on ESPN’s College GameDay will be heading to rival FOX and their Big Noon Kickoff show starting in 2023. According to Awful Announcing, Chris Fallica, affectionately known as “The Bear”, will make his last appearance on GameDay will be this weekend.
Fallica has been with ESPN since 1995. Since 2013, Fallica had been featured on GameDay making betting picks with his patented “Bear’s Board”.
Fallica joins Tom Rinaldi as the second former GameDay voice to jump over to FOX and be featured on Big Noon Kickoff.
Both shows have experienced incredible viewership growth this season. For GameDay, there have been several weeks this season that have seen some of the largest audiences in the show’s history.
Tim Brando Believes Executives Look For Familiarity, Not Great Voices For Announcers
“Executives are going more for people they think they audience knows from having been in the studio. As opposed to man that’s a great voice, that guy really gets it, and his judgement is fantastic.”
Tim Brando has seen the broadcasting industry has evolved in a lot of ways through the years, but one thing that’s remained constant is how infrequently some of the announcing gigs with major networks open up to younger voices.
That’s mainly because you have veteran talent already occupying those positions with no plans for the immediate future to step aside.
On a recent edition of The Sports Talkers Podcast, FOX Sports broadcaster and host Tim Brando spoke to Stephen Strom about the reality that many broadcasters face.
“Yeah there are a lot more jobs, but there are fewer great jobs,” Brando said. “A lot of guys are getting jobs, but it’s like a dead end.”
But in terms of hiring younger talent for network jobs, he thinks it’s become more about adding faces to broadcast booths rather than voices.
“There’s a tendency I think now in our business to hire more visible and perhaps more popular talent because they’ve been in the studio,” he said. “But they’re not ready to be in the booth. Not everybody can do both well.”
Tim added that there’s a nuance to calling play-by-play versus working studio coverage. Brando said that perhaps it has a lot more to do with young broadcasters bypassing getting their start in radio and going right into TV.
“It seems to me that in some circles anyway in our business, executives are going more for people they think they audience knows from having been in the studio,” he said. “As opposed to man that’s a great voice, that guy really gets it, and his judgement is fantastic.”
Brando did mention some of the younger voices at FOX who have risen to the bigger opportunities in the booth, and how they ultimately worked their way up. He said he’s had the chance to offer advice to a few of them and act as a mentor in a way, because that’s how it was for him breaking into the industry.
“I believe in pouring into the young broadcasters out there, I really do,” he said. “Because Curt Gowdy poured into me. I think there’s a responsibility and a level of accountability for the generation before to help those that are coming up that you really respect.”
MLB Network Airing 38 Hours of Winter Meetings Coverage
Coverage will begin on Sunday at 7 p.m. with MLB Tonight leading into the announcement of the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee’s election results for the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The annual winter meetings for MLB are set to take place in-person for the first time since 2019 next week, and MLB Network is ready to bring viewers all the coverage possible from San Diego.
The network is devoting 38 hours of live programming on-site, with shows like MLB Tonight, Hot Stove, High Heat, MLB Now and Intentional Talk emanating from the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel.
Fans tuning in to MLB Network can expect to see Greg Amsinger, Fran Charles, Brian Kenny, Stephen Nelson, Alanna Rizzo, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, Lauren Shehadi and Matt Vasgersian hosting their respective shows throughout the week. Sean Casey, Mark DeRosa, Al Leiter, Cameron Maybin, Kevin Millar, Dan O’Dowd, Steve Phillips and Harold Reynolds will contribute coverage as analysts.
MLB Network will also carry coverage of the inaugural draft lottery from the winter meetings on Tuesday, December 6 at 8:30 p.m.