ESPN Responds To Johnson’s Departure

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson shocked the sports world this week when he announced that he had made the decision to part ways with ESPN.  He released a statement explinaing that his decision was based on his feeling that he was unable to balance his commitment to ESPN and everything else going on in his life.  He added in his statement that despite his departure, the split was amicable on both sides.  His official statement reads as follows:

“I love ESPN.  Unfortunately, due to the nature of my schedule and other commitments, I don’t feel confident that I can continue to devote the time needed to thrive in my role. I will always feel a strong connection to the ESPN family and I enjoyed working with them very much. I’d like to thank John Skipper, John Wildhack, Mark Gross, Kim Belton, Amina Hussein, Mark Summer, Adam Hertzog, Bob Rauscher, Stuart Scott, Mike Wilbon, Jon Barry, Jalen Rose, Bill Simmons, Chris Broussard and the many others at ESPN for the wonderful opportunity to talk about the game I love. They are the best in the business. “

John Wildhack, ESPN Executive VP of Production released a statement Thursday offering praise for Johnson and noting that the network has already started weighing its options for a commentator for the upcoming NBA season.  Wildhack noted in his statement:  Earvin “Magic” Johnson informed us today that he’ll no longer be part of our NBA coverage due to his other commitments. We appreciate Magic’s contributions and wish him well in his future endeavors. We are in the process of determining our NBA commentator roles for the upcoming season.

Jonson’s announcement comes only days after ESPN announced the signing of fellow NBA veteran Doug Collins to help cover its NBA broadcasts during the 2013-2014 season.  Collins is just the latest acquisition for ESPN’s NBA coverage.  A number of other veterans have already been signed, too.  More on this and other stories is available online at http://www.facebook.com/NBAonESPN and http://espn.com/nba.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Collins Signs New Multi-Year Deal With ESPN

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Another big name has inked a deal with ESPN.  Veteran NBA head coach Doug Collins has signed a deal with the “Worldwide Leader in Sports.”  Collins’ multi-year deal will have him serving as an analyst on ESPN and ABC’s NBA Countdown.  He will be in comfortable company when he starts his duties this season.  He will be working alongside fellow NBA legends Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jalen Rose, and Bill Simmons.  The terms of Collins’ deal also will see him serve as an in-game analyst for select ESPN broadcasts.  It also includes appearances on SportsCenter ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, and other ESPN programming.

Collins was enthusiastic about signing with ESPN in a statement released this week.  “ESPN’s NBA coverage plays a leadership role in the way fans experience the sport, so I’m eager to share my basketball insights with our viewers,” he said.  “Working with Magic, Jalen, Bill and the rest of my new ESPN colleagues will be a lot of fun.”

John Wildhack, ESPN Executive VP of Production was just as pleased with the new deal.  He shared his thoughts in a prepared statement.  “Doug Collins is a one of the most respected NBA voices and we’re thrilled to have him join NBA Countdown. Collins brings a contemporary coaching perspective, which will enhance the diverse discussion on Countdown. Additionally, Michael Wilbon will remain a leading authority for the NBA on ESPN while maintaining the flexibility to increase his in-studio appearances on our important Pardon The Interruption franchise.”

Collins has quite the resume on the court.  He served eleven years as a head coach in the NBA, most recently with the Philadelphia 76ers.  He reached the NBA playoffs seven times.  As a player, he played a combined eight seasons in the ABA and NBA and is a four-time All-Star.  His new deal with ESPN isn’t his first stint in front of the camera.  He was a contributor to NBC’s NBA game coverage and Olympics coverage and has also served as a game analyst for Turner Sports.  He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.  He received the prestigious Curt Gowdy Media Award in his induction.

NBA Countdown debuts Friday, November 1st at 7pm ET during a one-hour pre-game broadcast before ESPN’s season-opening doubleheader.  The doubleheader kicks off at 8pm with a matchup of last season’s NBA Champion Miami Heat and the Brooklyn Nets.  The second game features the San Antonio Spurs, last season’s runners-up taking on the Los Angeles Lakers.  That game is currently scheduled for a 10pm ET broadcast.

More information on this and all things NBA is available online at http://www.facebook.com/NBAonESPN and http://espn.go.com/nba.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.