HoopsHype Media rumors

March 18, 2014 Updates

Fans have bailed on the Los Angeles Lakers during their miserable 2013-14 season, with local TV ratings down sharply from last year. Looking at Nielsen’s “Live plus same-day” ratings for the 2013-14 season, the 57 telecasts of Lakers games on Time Warner Cable SportsNet have averaged 199,000 viewers — down a whopping 49% from last year at this time (390,000). The team has been without stars Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash for just about all of the season, and has one of the worst records in basketball at 22-44 this season. Variety.com

March 17, 2014 Updates

The National Basketball Association's (NBA) San Antonio Spurs have expanded their partnership with local broadcaster KENS-TV. The CBS free-to-air Texan affiliate has agreed a multi-year extension to its deal with team owner Spurs Sports & Entertainment that will allow it to screen up to 14 of the team's games each season. The partnership between the two parties dates back to the 2000/01 NBA season. Sportspromedia.com

OK, Peter—since you’re as blunt a writer as they come, I’m going to be blunt. I attended the Basketball Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies when you were honored in 2011. I sat for your speech the night before—and I hated it. I just hated it. I thought it was mean, arrogant, condescending … etc. It wasn’t as bad as Michael Jordan’s brag-a-thon, but it was (in my meaningless opinion) petty. That said, I thought about it later, and wondered whether, perhaps, you were uncomfortable, nervous, whatever. You’d spent much of your career covering those in attendance, and maybe the moment didn’t work for that reason. Tell me, Peter. Am I off? Am I being too harsh? Or, in hindsight, were you like, “Um, that sucked?” PETER VECSEY.: It sucked, no debate. A rambling wreck. Shame on me for being so ill prepared and for careening out of control and jumping the divider on tangents into traffic. Still, not a single lie was told. I probably should have listened to instincts and rejected induction, on principle. As stated, in all immodesty and objectivity, induction was ten years or more overdue. Vindictiveness reigned behind the annual selections by a decision maker(s) with an ax to grind and wield. Many (some anyway) enshrined before (and after) greatly devalue the ‘honor’. I was pissed and made no attempt to hide it. Jeff Pearlman

Athletes struggle terribly in retirement. T-e-r-r-i-b-l-y. You left the Post in 2012. How have you adjusted to no longer having the column? No longer being on TV? Are you bored? Fidgety. How do you fill the time? Peter Vecsey.: Retirement is a mind trip. I do not miss deadline pressure and the everyday grind, or the travel. I do miss the process of compiling info and breaking stories. I miss most being able to salute the old timers while they’re alive and when they die. I tried to do that as much as possible and was really proud of the finished product. I left a cavity in that area that will never be filled. I also miss the paychecks, a lot. I don’t miss TV a bit. I don’t know how doing it for 20 years, while writing a column three times a week, didn’t kill me. Or I didn’t kill an editor or eight. My wife and I keep rather busy caring for rescue animals, horses, dogs and cats. Total currently is down to 21. Jeff Pearlman

In 1998, you applied to be the general manager of the Denver Nuggets—while working for the Post. This has always struck me as a conflict of interest. Tell me why I’m wrong. And do you think you would have/could have had a fruitful career as a GM. Peter Vecsey.: I was always told, you’ve got to have at least two conflicts of interest to be successful. Pro sports has plenty of former sportswriters-turned executives. The Knicks were started by Ned Irish. The latest example was John Hollinger leaving ESPN to become VP of basketball operations of Memphis. Why shouldn’t we be allowed to pursue front office or coaching, as long as it’s during the off-season? I tried to put together group to buy the Nuggets in the early ’80s … tried to get Rick Pitino to hire me as GM when he was running the Celtics … approached Larry Brown about helping him in Washington when he was close to coaching the Wizards … had an interview on tap as Hawks’ GM just before Stan Kasten left … and had a very brief interview with James Dolan to be Isiah Thomas’ GM. I am positive I would’ve been an asset to one and all. Jeff Pearlman

March 14, 2014 Updates

Let Noel talk to the media. Per a policy agreed upon by the NBA and professional basketball writers, Noel is not obligated to talk until he is practicing full time with the team. The Sixers have held true to that for the whole season. But with interest in this organization sinking to alarming levels, why not have the 19-year-old talk about how excited he is to put on the uniform and predict what he can do in the league? Really, what is the harm? Without Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes, there aren't any players in the locker room comfortable talking to the media, so no one who can really relate to the fans. Let Noel talk. Philadelphia Inquirer

March 13, 2014 Updates

It will be a fascinating culture clash: Dolan’s paranoid, iron-fisted autocracy vs. Jackson’s free-spirited individualism. Dolan is intolerant of dissent and known for profanely upbraiding anyone who challenges him. Jackson is candid, unfailingly outspoken and headstrong. No one tells him how to run his team—or when he can speak to the media. Dolan isn’t likely to be the first. Bleacher Report

March 11, 2014 Updates

Whether it’s a lack of playing time in the fourth quarter or the reality that his contract could be amnestied this summer, there seems to be a disconnect lately between Carlos Boozer and the media. Case in point: Asked to talk to awaiting reporters after a recent practice, Boozer declined and said loudly, “I don’t give a damn.’’ Chicago Sun-Times

March 10, 2014 Updates

"There weren't a lot of 'us' in the locker room," Johnson said. "Whether it was Earvin or Bob Lanier or Julius [Erving], we tended to get the opportunity to get more time with these emerging stars, and also get better quotes. We had an opportunity, once the conversation went past the game, we'd talk about life. Again, we were all the same age. A lot of these conversations happened over a meal. I remember Buck Williams calling me in the hotel -- what are you doing tonight? It wasn't just Earvin. It was a lot of emerging black stars, like Isiah [Thomas], who just gravitated toward us. These were smart guys who went to college, maybe just one or two years, but they were smart." NBA.com

The NBA of the early '80s barely resembled today's league. But not always in bad ways compared to today. With far fewer media covering the games and teams, players were much more comfortable with writers, inviting them to their homes for interviews. Johnson was the same age as many of the guys he covered, which just happened to be the vanguard of the generation that helped save the league. "We had tremendous access at the time," Johnson said. "Most of us traveled with the same team, on the same buses, on the same flights. The Knicks were one of the first teams to use charter flights, and the writers were allowed on the team plane. We would write especially fast on game nights, so we could get on the plane." NBA.com

March 8, 2014 Updates
March 7, 2014 Updates
March 5, 2014 Updates

Charles Barkley says he has a solution for tanking in the NBA. Don’t reward teams who tank. Give every team in the lottery one ping pong ball, instead of rewarding teams based on who has the worst record. “My suggestion — the NBA is too stupid to listen to me — I said just give teams one ball,” Barkley said Tuesday on ESPN’s Mike & Mike Show. “Don’t give teams extra ping polls by the more they lose. I think only twice in the 20 years has the team with the worst record and the most balls got the No. 1 pick. Only twice in like 25 years. So don’t give teams extra balls because they’re losing games. Just give every team in the lottery one ball. That would be the easiest way to handle it.” ZagsBlog.com

Janis Carr: Worthy: "Thats the big elephant in the room right there." He was referring to defense. "It was some ugly, ugly defense out there." Twitter @janiscarr

March 4, 2014 Updates
March 3, 2014 Updates

Dick Vitale turns 75 in June. He has been around so long that sports viewers born in 1979, when he began at ESPN, are veering toward middle age. Yet Vitale, the former college and NBA coach, has no intention of getting off the thrill ride that has been his sportscasting career. And why should he? When he walks into arenas, the first sight of the familiar bald head sparks cries of "Awesome, Baby!" and "PTPer" from college kids who still devour his shtick the way their parents did at that age. Vitale absorbs the energy that comes his way as if it would allow him to turn back the clock. "I never have had a problem relating to young kids," Vitale said. "I love being around them. They keep you young. If you didn't tell me I was 74, and if I didn't look in the mirror, I wouldn't even know it." USA Today Sports

March 2, 2014 Updates

It’s obviously impossible to talk about in a vacuum because Kareem’s life experiences that molded his temperament also would’ve been different in these comparatively more progressive times, but how do you think his surliness — i.e. telling a young autograph seeker to “go fuck himself” — would be perceived by today’s hyperconnected media and fans? Hmm … another interesting one. Kareem would not fit in well in 2014. I actually saw him at the most recent Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, and it was pretty painful. He’s awkward and distant, and somewhat incapable of enjoyable small talk. He also hasn’t helped himself. I haven’t told this story before, but Kareem was very hard to get for this book, and ultimately I had an intermediary ask him the questions I needed answered. He has a publicist who works for him, and she serves as his Plexiglass shield. She kept rebuffing my efforts and rebuffing my efforts, and I finally gave up and had to rely on someone who knew Kareem to ask my questions. I’m not even sure she told Kareem about my inquiries. The Big Lead

Anyhow, I’m at the Hall of Fame, and his publicist texts me something like, ARE YOU HERE? I said I was, and she wrote something akin to, WE NEED TO TALK. I HAVE GOOD NEWS. I was psyched … figured Kareem would supply some time. Well, the publicist and I meet, and she says she has this great opportunity for me and Sports Illustrated, something about this being the 50th anniversary of Kareem’s first SI cover, and the magazine could put all his trophies on a new cover. And I was stunned. A. Because I haven’t been on staff since 2003; B. Because … what in the world was she talking about? The point: He’s brutally bad at connecting with people, and the people around him also seem bad. Back in the day, he was protected. Now, he’d be exposed. The Big Lead

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