On this episode of The HoopsHype Podcast, Alex Kennedy is joined by J.E. Skeets, who co-hosted “The Starters.” NBA TV canceled “The Starters” and didn’t renew Skeets’ contract, so he talks about moving on from the show, what the future holds for the gang (which includes Tas Melas, Trey Kerby, Leigh Ellis, Jason Doyle and Matt Osten), the incredible support from fans, his hometown Toronto Raptors winning the title, how far the group has come since starting their podcast and more. Time-stamps are below!
1:05: Before “The Starters,” Skeets used to manage Yahoo’s blog “Ball Don’t Lie and provided many young journalists with writing and podcasting opportunities (including Kennedy, who thanks him).
2:30: Skeets went from recording a podcast every morning at 5 a.m. before going to his day job as a physician recruiter to co-hosting one of the most popular shows on NBA TV. He discusses his career path to this point.
7:55: “The Starters” was on NBA TV for six years and there were over 1,000 episodes. Skeets talks about when the group learned that NBA TV was canceling the show and how it came as a shock.
11:00: Ever since AT&T purchased Time Warner, there was talk about NBA TV cutting costs and getting involved in the decision-making. Skeets shares the explanation that NBA TV gave for canceling the show.
13:00: Skeets talks about what this ‘free-agency process’ has been like, whether there’s a timetable to announce their next endeavor and what their next show/podcast/endeavor may look like.
15:30: During the NBA lockout, Skeets and Co. put together the “No Season Required” tour, which featured live shows in various U.S. cities. Skeets says they’ve done some live podcasts and the possibility of touring again has been discussed.
17:10: The timing of this cancellation was so strange with the group’s hometown Toronto Raptors winning their first title. Skeets discusses the crazy timing and how last month was an emotional roller-coaster.
19:45: Since the announcement, there’s been an outpouring of support from fans. People have reached out to discuss what the show meant to them and how it got them through difficult times. Skeets talks about what it’s meant to hear from so many fans and connect with their supporters.
26:30: When NBA TV initially hired The Starters, former players who were already at the network had no idea who the new guys were. Over the years, the gang was able to win everyone over with their hard work and talent.
28:45: The Starters were also able to win over NBA players who would come on the show, mainly by providing a really fun environment to talk hoops. Skeets discusses how much he loved having NBA players on and names players who were good sports over the years.
32:55: Skeets talks about what it was like transitioning from making podcasts to producing a daily television show on NBA TV.
37:40: When the Raptors won the championship, Skeets was in Jurassic Park to celebrate and he had a once-in-a-lifetime experience that he details.
41:25: Skeets reacts to Kawhi Leonard’s decision to join the Los Angeles Clippers, and shares his expectations for the 2019-20 Raptors without Kawhi.