Welcome to the 11th installment of a weekly mailbag that I will be writing about the world of sports media (and anything else you want to chime in on). Please email me any questions you have to Jimmy.Traina@si.com or send them via Twitter.
I did a bad job reminding you guys to send me questions, so we're a little light this week. I will step it up next week.
If you were running a tv network with nba rights and a huge budget and you could build multiple good booths, who would you hire— Gleyber (@GleyberGod) June 5, 2023
As I’ve written before, I think this is the golden Aae for NBA play-by-play broadcasters. ESPN and TNT have it right with Mike Breen and Kevin Harlan, respectively, as their lead announcers. So I’m fine with most of the booths those two networks give us.
I do think each network could use a little jolt when it comes to analysts. I’ve also written before that I’m a big fan of both Richard Jefferson and JJ Redick on ESPN. I'd like to see them work more high-profile games together.
I would also love to see Bill Walton, who was a lead analyst for NBC many years ago, work some NBA games again.
I think Candace Parker is great on TNT’s Tuesday studio show and I’d like to see her get a crack at doing games.
Since your question gave me a huge budget and I had to put together multiple booths, I’ll give you one outside-the-box idea I’d execute. I’d create a nontraditional three-person booth that would feature Ian Eagle on play-by-play and Bill Simmons and Ryen Russillo as the analysts. Those guys do a great job discussing the NBA on Simmons’s Ringer podcast, and that booth would be different and fresh.
Do you expect a Hard Knocks announcement soon? Last year’s preseason Hard Knocks was announced in March.— TJ (@TJRamsey44) June 5, 2023
I checked in with HBO on this and was told it doesn’t have any information yet on which team will be featured on Hard Knocks this season.
Will there be any new booths for CBS and or FOX for the NFL in 2023?— AEM2022 (@AEM20221) June 5, 2023
I know Greg Gumbel will no longer do PbP
Thanks for your time today.
CBS and Fox don’t normally announce new NFL broadcasters until late summer. You hit the most noteworthy question of the offseason with CBS needing a replacement for Greg Gumbel, who is still with the network, but now off NFL duties. CBS doesn’t necessarily need to hire someone for Gumbel’s spot. They could move up a guy like Andrew Catalon and then hire a play-by-player to work on a lower crew.
Just listened to pod… can you clarify a bit more on what this NFL announcing boot camp is?— Patrick Webb (@webb_02) June 5, 2023
Patrick is referring to Pat McAfee telling me on last week’s SI Media With Jimmy Traina that he was rejected from the NFL’s “broadcasting bootcamp” three times.
The annual program is actually called the Broadcasting and Media Workshop. It’s a three-day session where current and former players who have interest in becoming analysts when their playing days are over get to work on calling games and doing studio work.
This year’s workshop was held a month ago, and it featured 25 players. You can read more about it here.
Pat McAfee told you his show will air on ESPN TV 12-2. Why is This Just In being canceled then? Wouldn’t adding McAfee help that shows ratings?— Isles Mets Jets fan (@bigjimfan) June 5, 2023
There has been no word on This Just In being canceled. I’m not saying it will or won’t be. I’m just telling you ESPN hasn’t announced anything on it yet.
I'm not sure I fully understand the question, though. If you're suggesting ESPN hire McAfee to be part of This Just In, well, that's just ridiculous.
Why does ESPN/ABC even bother with a NBA Finals halftime show if it's just going to be ads for 95% of the time?— Matt (@Mchuck16) June 5, 2023
You just answered your own question. ESPN needs a show so they can sell ads for 95% of it.
I’ll try again to try to get my question answered: do you see Sal replacing Craig if he leaves the fan— x- Suffering JIM (@JIMfan523) June 5, 2023
I wasn’t snubbing you. Sal is one of my best friends and he does SI Media With Jimmy Traina with me every week, so it’s a weird question for me to answer. OF COURSE want to see him replace Craig Carton if Carton leaves the WFAN. Not just because Sal is a good friend, but because he’s highly entertaining and has paid his dues. Do I see it happening? I have no idea what the FAN’s plan is and I don’t know what management’s thinking is, so I can’t really offer any insight.
One email question this week.
If the ESPYs still exist, do you think ESPN should have Pat McAfee host them every year? Thanks! —Ty
The ESPYs still exist, and I think McAfee should absolutely host them once, but nobody should host them every year. You want to keep it fresh and bring in whoever is hot at the moment to host.