The Media Learning Curve: Spare the ‘Rod,’ save the Laker audience

More from Hot Rod Hundley, who we featured in today’s media column (linked here) as he sits in for Stu Lantz on the Lakers’ TV coverage this week:

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== First a few “did you know” facts about him:

a) He has a 3-0 record as “coach” of the Lakers.
During his playing days with the team — the 1957 No. 1 overall draft pick out of West Virginia was taken by the Rochester Royals but then dealt to the Minneapolis Lakers in a six-player deal on draft day — he had to take over coaching duties when regular coach Fred Schaus was ejected. Schaus was his coach at West Virginia and trusted Hundley with the team. They won each time Schaus was kicked out — “but all those games were on the road,” Hundley wrote in his autobiography. “I always wanted Schaus to get kicked out at home once so I could have the L.A. crowd cheering me on.”

b) Hundley’s No. 33 has been retired by the Lakers – after it was worn by Kareem Abdul Jabbar. After ’63 season he refused a trade to San Francisco because he’d just bought a house in Malibu and his first daughter was born. He would have got a bigger pension if he extended his career a couple more years but he gets a pension now that’s more than when he got playing.
“I still remember that address: 2151 Seahorn Drive in Malibu, right off Sunset Terrace,” said Hundley. “Bought it for $45,000. I wrote letters back to West Virginia with that Malibu address just so they knew I was doin’ OK.”
When Hundley first moved to L.A., he had a one bedroom apartment that he shared in the MacArthur Park area of towndown with teammate Rudy LaRusso.
“We had just the one room, with a bunkbed on San Marino Street,” said Hundley. “That saved us money.”

c) On working with Chick Hearn: “When the Jazz moved from New Orleans to Salt Lake City, Chick visited me and said, ‘I got friends in Salt Lake City and they’re telling me you’re stealing some of my lines.’ I told him, ‘Not some of ‘em, all of ‘em.’ I used everyone of ‘em. Even putting the game in the refrigerator. He was the best, the master.”

And from the rest of the sports media world this week:

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== More from Stephen Colbert during his appearance on Dan Patrick’s syndicated radio show Wednesday:

*On where he’d like his image to be placed among US Olympic speed skaters: “I would love to have my picture on Apolo Ohno’s butt cheek. Wouldn’t that be nice? You can snap a pool cue over that thing. That would make a great cover of Sports Illustrated, me snapping a pool cue over Apolo Ohno’s butt.”

*On what advice he’d give Tiger Woods: “Destroying his life? I think that’s a bold strategy. I’m down on Accenture and Gillette for dropping him. I can understand Gillette because if you look at some of the women that he slept with, that may not be the best a man can get. But Accenture, they’re a consulting firm. Tiger was just taking risks. You’ve got to be able to play from the rough. And clearly he’s been playing rough. … I would advise him to come on my show to talk about it. Wouldn’t you advise him to come on your show to talk about it?”

*On what he thinks of Keith Olbermann, Patrick’s former ESPN “SportsCenter” partner and current MSNBC left-wing pundit: “Keith’s insane. Like really-dangerous-to-himself insane. Save-his-urine-in-a-jar insane. But I watch him. I watch him every night. He’s hide-under-your-desk kind of crazy. That being said, I’m a big fan. I don’t want him to take that the wrong way….The nice thing is he doesn’t have an overblown sense of himself. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, so that’s what’s nice. He doesn’t feel like he’s changing the world. That’s what’s nice. You know, it’s the humility he brings to his job, that’s what I love.”

*On what he think of Glenn Beck, the Fox News Channel pundit: “Every day Glenn Beck climbs the genius tree, puts that rope around his neck and jumps right off.”

== The San Diego Chargers say enough tickets have been sold to lift the TV blackout for Sunday’s home game against the Cincinnati Bengals, meaning it will be the 46th consecutive regular-season and postseason Chargers game to be televised live in the market — the longest streak in team history.
As for the game (Channel 2, 1 p.m.), CBS studio analyst Boomer Esiason wonders how the Bengals will be affected by the death of receiver Chris Henry: “Can they once again find the strength, in unity, as one of their family has passed away? They did it already once this year versus Baltimore when Mike Zimmer, the defensive coordinator, lost his wife. His defensive unit probably played their best game. What will be telling here will be whether or not the Bengals come out and play an inspired first quarter? It would be understandable if they came out flat after dealing with the death of a teammate. They’re going against a team in my estimation that is presently playing the best overall football in the AFC.”

== ESPN is touting its Michigan-Kansas college basketball game on Saturday (9 a.m.) as a “green” contest — there will be a bunch of recycled on-air graphics about conservation, stories about how each school is using alternative energy sources (Kansas, by the way, is using elliptical machines to generate energy for campus power and creating bio diesel fuel from the cooking fat used in dining halls), ESPN is using LED lights for lighting the on-air personalities during segments and rechargeable batteries in various equipment … it’s all pretty minor stuff, but it adds up. It beats normal ESPN treatment of a game — where they can suck the electricity out of it for the sake of overpromotion.

== ESPN has also declared that, for its upcoming NASCAR Sprint Cup race coverage in 2010, Dr. Jerry Punch will return to pit reporting and Marty Reid will replace him as the main race caller with Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree.

== Chris McGee, Mike Pawalawski and Courtney Jones will call the Prime Ticket coverage tonight of the CIF state small-school division title game (Francis Parker vs. Modesto Christian) at 4 p.m., followed by the Division I championship (Oceanside vs. Bellamine Prep) at 8 p.m.
On Saturday, those three do the Division III title game (Serra vs. Marin Catholic) at noon, while Jim Kozimor, Petros Papadakis and Christine Nubla do the Division II title game (Servite vs. Rocklin, 4 p.m.) and the Open Division championship (Crenshaw vs. De La Salle, 8 p.m.)

== AND FINALLY:

== How to end the year?

HBO’s “Real Sports” has a roundtable for Edition No. 153, Tuesday at 10 p.m., with Bryant Gumbel, Mary Carillo, Frank Deford, Jon Frankel, Bernard Goldberg and Andrea Kremer talking about the year that was (but mostly about the stories they covered).

Versus’ 2009 Sports Soup Countup Countdown hour-long show, with host Matt Iseman plus Snoop Dogg and former Lakers guard Gary Payton, airs Sunday at 7 p.m. (repeats Tuesday at 8 p.m.). Also, a special appearance by Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp.

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On the same date, same time, same one-hour window, Charles Barkley, Dennis Eckersly, Kyle Petty and Spike Lee will be helping HLN with a roundtable discussion on the biggest issues of ’09 in a show called “With All Due Respect.”
Already taped, the show has been leaking quotes from those involved, especially when it comes to Tiger Woods.
Barkley is crying that Woods has changed his phone number and is refusing to converse with his “famous” friends.
“I think when you have these fires in your life, as I call them, you need to talk to somebody else who is famous who [has] been through things in their life,” says Barkley.
Or, you stay away from friends who got you there in the first place.
Lee believes Woods can find advice from Michael Jordan.
“If Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan can’t get to him, and those are his boys, then other people are making bad moves,” said Lee.
Already looks like a bad “Caddy Shack” sequel waiting for Ice Cube to fill our the foursome.

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