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.

Boxing Veterans Take Center Stage In October 15th Edition Of 30 for 30

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s hugely successful 30 for 30 series rolls on through the month of October when it premieres the boxing documentary No Mas.  The documentary, which premieres Tuesday, October 15th, follows the rivalry between boxers Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Duran.  The documentary attempts to find out why Duran gave up in the second round of the second of the fighters now five legendary fights.

Leonard and Duran were two of the biggest names in the boxing world during the 1980s.  Leonard became a national hero after bringing home gold for America in the 1976 Summer Olympics.  The win led to Leonard earning a number of sponsorship deals for himself. But for years, the words “No mas” would echo in both fighters’ ears until Leonard traveled to Panama in the search for closure between the two men.

Each of the films in the 30 for 30 series will be available for download via iTunes and Amazon Instant Video online the day after its broadcast.  The current schedule of 30 for 30 specials is available below.

  • Tuesday, Oct. 15, 8 p.m. – No Más (Director: Eric Drath)
  • Tuesday, Oct. 22, 8 p.m. – Big Shot (Director: Kevin Connolly)
  • Tuesday, Oct. 29, 8 p.m. – This is What They Want (Directors: Brian Koppelman and David Levien)
  • Tuesday, Nov. 5, 8 p.m. – Bernie and Ernie (Director: Jason Hehir)

 

More information on ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 series is available online at http://www.facebok.com/espn30for 30 and http://twitter.com/30for30.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks.wordpress.com  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Announces Nominees For 2013 ESPYS, Voting Open Now

Courtesy: ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

The nominations are out and the voting has officially begun for this year’s annual ESPY Awards.  In preparation of the annual celebration, Pardon The Interruption hosts Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon will host The ESPY Nomination Special next Monday, July 1st at 8pm EST on ESPN2.  Among this year’s nominees are: Drew Brees, Miguel Cabrera, the Chicago Blackhawks, Olympic medal winner Gabby Douglas, Superbowl champion Joe Flaco of the Baltimore Ravens, and many, many more.

Voting for candidates is open now.  Voting for all categories except “Best Team” will close on the day of the show, Wednesday, July 17th at 9pm.  Fans can cast their vote for categories such as: “Best Male Athlete”, “Best Female Athlete”, “Best Championship Performance”, “Best Breakthrough Athlete” and many others.  Fans can vote online at http://www.ESPN.com/ESPYS up to the start of this year’s awards show.  The “Best Team” category is shifting this year to a Twitter exclusive vote at the beginning of the awards show.  Fans will be able to vote via Twitter throughout the show using hashtag #ESPYSBestTeam and the voter’s favorite team name.  vote from Twitter and ESPYS.com will be gathered at the show’s end to determine the winner of this category.

For more on the ESPYS, fans can go online to http://www.ESPN.com/ESPYS or the official ESPN Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/ESPN.

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.

In The Game With Robin Roberts Returning For Second Season

 

Courtesy:  ESPN/espnW

Courtesy: ESPN/espnW

In The Game with Robin Roberts presented by Lexus returns next week.  The sports based program is produced by espnW in partnership with ABC News.  It can be viewed online at http://www.espnW.com and http://www.abcnews.com, and on TV on ESPN’s SportsCenterGood Morning America host and former ESPN anchor Robin Roberts, will be joined by NASCAR driver Danica Patrick for a one-on-one conversation in next week’s season premiere. 

When asked about Roberts returning to host the program again, espnW  Vice President Laura Gentile shared her thoughts on having her return to host again.  “Robin Roberts is a respected journalist and life-long athlete,” Gentile said.  “In the Game enables Robin to connect with today’s athletes in an intimate setting and uncover insights and stories that truly illuminate them as people. It’s a unique platform and one in which only Robin could bring such power and meaning.” 

Roberts shared Gentile’s sentiment adding, “I’ll probably always be an athlete at heart,” she noted.  “I appreciate espnW bringing me back for a second season. There’s so much we can all learn from these top athletes. I also enjoy bringing out a side of them rarely seen. Teaming up again with espnW is a perfect fit.” 

Roberts’ interviews with her guests are expected to focus on “pursuit of perfection” in each athlete’s career and personal life.  U.S. Gold Medal winning gymnast Gabby Douglas and U.S. Women’s National Team forward Alex Morgan are both scheduled to appear this season on In The Game with Robin Roberts presented by Lexus along with even more guests to be announced at later dates.

Fans that miss any interviews will be able to check them out in full online at http://www.espnW.com/inthegame and http://www.abcnews.com/inthegame.  Fans can also go to these websites for bonus content including: additional clips, a video archive, and photos.  For all the latest news on what’s going on at espnW, fans can “Like” the espnW Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/espnW

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news, 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.

Czarniak Tapped To Lead 2013 Indy 500 Broadcast

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s Lindsay Czarniak will host this year’s Indy 500.  The SportsCenter co-host’s appointment to the broadcast marks the first time ever that the race broadcast has ever been helmed by a female broadcaster.  Czarniak co-hosts ESPN’s SportsCenter alongside John Anderson.  Before taking on co-hosting duties with Anderson was a pit reporter and feature reporter for broadcasts of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races on TNT and NBC.  She also hosted ESPN’s NASCAR Now previously. 

Lindsay got her start in broadcasting at WRC-TV (NBC 4) in Washington, D.C.  She worked at WRC-TV from 2005 – 2011.  During her time there, she covered the 2006 Winter and 2008 Summer Olympic Games as well as NASCAR broadcasts. 

Courtesy:  ESPN/ABC

Courtesy: ESPN/ABC

The Indy 500 pre-race show is scheduled to run from 11am – 12pm on Sunday, May 26th.  Czarniak will head the pre-race broadcast from the IMS’ famed Pagoda.  She will also help contribute to the race broadcast itself.  Former Indy 500 winner Eddie Cheever will also take part in calling the race.  He will serve as an in-race analyst in the broadcast booth for the race, and for the remaining five races that ABC will carry.

Cheever is a former Formula One racer who won the Indy 500 in 1998.  He made 132 starts in Formula One from 1978 to 1989.  That is the most by any American driver in the history of Formula One racing.  He returned to the U.S. and joined the former CART Series in 1990 and then the IndyCar Series in 1996.  He claimed five wins in his time in the IRL, including his win in 1998.  Cheever last raced in the IndyCar series in 2006.   He will be joined by lap-by-lap announcer Marty Reid and fellow analyst Scott Goodyear to call all six Izod IndyCar Series races broadcast on ABC this season.  Also on hand for the broadcasts will be pit reporters: Rick DeBruhl, Jamie Little, and Vince Welch.  Dr. Jerry Punch will join the broadcast team in the pits for the Indy 500. 

The Indy 500 is the first of six races that will be broadcast on ABC this year.  Each race will be produced by ESPN and broadcast on ABC.  ABC’s other races include: a doubleheader from Detroit’s Belle Island on June 1st and 2nd, a primetime broadcast from Texas Motor Speedway on June 8th, the series’ race from Iowa Speedway on June 23rd, and its return to the hills of Pocono, PA on July 7th at Pocono Raceway. 

To get all the latest news from the Izod Indycar Series on ABC and ESPN, viewers can “Like” the ESPN Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/ESPN and the ABC Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/ABCNetwork.

To keep up with all the latest news from the Izod Indycar Series, fans can “Like” the official Izod Indycar Series Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/IZOD-IndyCar-Series/181178948587654.

To keep up with all 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.

ESPN Debuts Latest Film in 30 For 30 Shorts Series

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN debuted the latest installment in its 30 for 30 Shorts series today.  Silver Reunion debuted today on Grantland.com.  The short—directed by 5-time Emmy Award winning director Rory Karpf—centers on the 1972 USA Men’s Olympic Basketball team and its controversial matchup against the Soviet Union.  Four decades after the team’s much talked about game which led the team to a silver medal finish, the team members reunited to either officially accept or once again refuse the medals for a game that each believes the team hadn’t actually lost.  The team had originally been awarded the Silver medal from the game.  But each member turned down his medal in protest.

This latest installment in the 30 for 30 Shorts series sees the team reunite for the very first time and discuss the choice whether or not to accept the medals that they believe were wrongly awarded.  The controversy stems from what is believed to be a series of bad calls that led to the then Soviet Union’s win.  It can be viewed online now at http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/9103152/the-unclaimed-medals-1972-us-men-basketball-team-stars-latest-30-30-documentary-series.

The 30 for 30 Shorts series is crafted by Blue Moon.  Other previous films in the series include:  Arnold’s Blueprint, Ali:  The Mission, Holy Grail:  The T206 Honus Wagner, and others.  They can all be viewed online at Grantland.com.

To keep up with the latest in ESPN’s 30 for 30 Shorts series and more, go online to http://www.espn.com/30for30 or its Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/espn30for30.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news, 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.

The Other Dream Team Scores Big Points Among Documentaries

Courtesy:  Lionsgate

Courtesy: Lionsgate

The Other Dream Team, the new basketball based documentary from Lionsgate, is a surprisingly interesting work.  It’s a story that will interest both basketball fans, history buffs, and even anyone who has any interest in political science.  While the story itself is based against a backdrop of basketball, it’s less about the sport in question and more about politics and a people’s struggle to escape the crushing hand of communism.  Together with its bonus Q&A session with Writer/Director Marius A. Markevicius and Writer/Producer Jon Weinbach, The Other Dream Team proves to be a surprise contender for one of the year’s best documentaries.

The Other Dream Team’s run time comes in at just over an hour and a half.  In that time, audiences are introduced to a work that’s not just another underdog story.  Rather, it’s a story of a group of men who represented an entire country in its struggle to break free from the bonds of communism.  It centers on a group of four Lithuanians who originally were forced to play for the Russian national basketball team, but then managed to break free and form a Lithuanian basketball team.  Even in their freedom from the Russian national team, the men still faced challenges, including one member of the team—Arvydas Sarbonis–being prevented from joining the NBA by the government of the then Communist Russia.  Even on this side of the Atlantic, Sarbonis was called Russian by NBA Commissioner David Stern when he was drafted by the NBA’s Portland Trailblazers, which he wasn’t.  And NBA fans here were none too pleased with the announcement, effectively making Sarbonis a man without a country so to speak.  Players on both sides of the ball explain in interviews how the game of basketball became less about playing a game and more of a political statement, and just how important that statement was.  Audiences who perhaps have never delved very deep into the political history of Communist and post Communist Russia will be amazed by just how important a single game could be to a whole nation.  That importance is highlighted even more through interviews with a number of people close to the game including former NBA great Bill Walton, ESPN’s Chad Ford, Fran Fraschilla and a host of others.  The program also features original footage of the conflict between Lithuania and Russia both on and off the court highlighting just how tense things were between the two nations in Lithuania’s struggle for independence.  It all comes together to make a documentary that anyone with a love of history, sports, or even politics will thoroughly enjoy.

The documentary itself is quite interesting to watch.  After watching it, viewers will also want to check out the feature’s bonus Q&A session with Writer/Director Marius A. Markevicius and Writer/Producer Jon Weinbach.  Viewers learn from the session’s opening moments that Markevicius’ interest in crafting this story came from his own Lithuanian roots.  He explains about growing up, watching the Lithuanian basketball team, trying to follow them, despite the general lack of information released about them when he was a child.  The session is highlighted by questions posted and followed by some very in depth answers from both men.  Sometimes those answers will move audiences.  Others, it will have them laughing.  It serves as a very good companion to the bonus audio commentary included with the film.  Along with the commentary in question, the vintage footage, interviews and every element that went into bringing this film to life, The Other Dream Team proves to be an unexpectedly impressive documentary, and one that proves to be one of the year’s best in the documentary category.  It’s available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct via the Lionsgate online store at http://www.lionsgateshop.com/product.asp?Id=27844&TitleParentId=8032

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.