Reggie Miller, left, listens to Ernie Johnson and Kenny Smith during Wednesday’s Game 2 Western Conference Finals preview show for TNT at Staples Center.
From today’s media column (linked here), more from Reggie Miller and his new(ish) career as a TV talking head, on the set during TNT’s Western Conference Finals coverage from Staples Center and wherever they play in Phoenix:
== On the reception he’s received on his recent documentary, “Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. the New York Knicks,” done as part of ESPN’s “30 For 30” project, and produced by Miller’s Boom Baby Productions company: “Everyone loved it. It was a good history lesson. When we first showed it in Utah at Sundance, standing ovation. Then a big premiere — 8,000 in Indiana (in February), so that was a hometown crowd. The scariest thing to me was having to go to New York and show it to New Yorkers because, you know, they’re gonna tell you the truth. Standing ovation there. All three markets loved it, so I knew it was a hit.”
== On not being included in the new movie, “Just Wright,” where Marv Albert, Kenny Smith and Mike Fratello play themselves as NBA broadcasters: “I’m too big for ‘Just Wright’ (laughing. It was a scheduling conflict. They did want me there, but I mean, it still worked out. Sure it was (believeable). Kenny does some game analysis sometimes. It’s all right.”
== On whether he’d have any thoughts of wanting to be a Lakers’ broadcaster: “Obviously, they were my team growing up. And Chick Hearn, with the eggs in the cooler, all that. I was a huge Lakers, and Magic (Johnson) and Jamal Wilkes fan. But I like talking about the whole league instead of just one team. You sometimes gotta be a homer when you do one team. I never want to be expected to pat someone on the back.”
Is that how he perceives someone like Lakers’ radio analyst Mychal Thompson?
“He won championships. I can understand where he’s coming from. He has the right to be a homer here.”
More to note:
== A stat that you might not otherwise know unless it was sponsored by a men’s undergarment company that pledges comfort: TNT’s Craig Sager took a tape measure to Lakers coach Phil Jackson’s seat on the team bench. It sits 26 inches off the floor, for starters. With nine inches of padding on the seat. “No wonder Phil looks so calm and comfortable during games,” said Sager, perhaps feeling some sort of revenge for all the times Jackson has questioned his wardrobe during those mantatory TV interviews between the third and fourth quarters of every game at Staples Center.== Showtime ramps up for its coverage of the fourth meeting between Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez from Staples Center (Saturday, delayed at 9 p.m.) with a replay of their previous three matches at 4 p.m. Gus Johnson and Al Bernstein call it with Antonio Tarver as the analyst and Jim Gray as aspiring reporter.
Bernstein, in his 30th year doing TV fights, started writing for Boxing Illustrated in 1978, joined ESPN’s “Top Rank Boxing” series two years later, and was on his first major PPV fight — Marvin Hagler vs. Roberto Duran — in 1983. He did NBC’s Olympic boxing in ’92 and ’96 and joined Showtime in 2003.
Showtime has this list of “by the numbers” to consider:
2,703: Fights Announced on television
54: Ringside announcing partners
17: Years as analyst or host on the Top Rank Boxing Series on ESPN
8: Tuxedos owned
66: Broadcasts as analyst on the Showtime Championship Boxing series
32: Assignments covering Major League Baseball for Sportscenter
67: Championship pay per view telecasts
532: Times asked “Is Bonnie Bernstein related to you?”
3: Mixed martial arts shows hosted on Showtime
2: Musical albums/CD’s released
1: Saw a fighter who forgot to put his trunks on under his robe before entering the ring:
== Tennis Channel and ESPN2 start coverage of the French Open tennis tournament on Sunday, leading up to the early June finals. ESPN2 (Sunday, 9 a.m.) has Cliff Drysdale, Darren Cahill, Mary Carillo, Mary Joe Fernandez, Brad Gilbert, Patrick McEnroe and Pam Shriver, with Chris Fowler as host and calling matches for the first week before leaving for South Africa and ESPN’s coverage of the World Cup). ESPN3.com actually begins its coveage Sunday at 2 a.m.
Tennis Channel has about seven hours a day of live match play from 2 a.m. to 9 a.m. through the mens’ and womens’ quarterfinals. It uses John McEnroe, Martina Navratilova and Lindsay Davenport with Ted Robinson, Ian Eagle and Leif Shiras on the calls, plus Katrina Adams, Justin Gimelstob, Barry MacKay and Corina Morariu and appearances by Bud Collins and tennis journalist Jon Wertheim.
== Do we need a 90-minute show to announce which city will get the 2014 Super Bowl. Because the NFL Network can, and New York wants it, that’ll be the case, with the winner (either NY/New Jersey, South Florida or Tampa Bay winning) getting to stick its tongue out at the loser (why isn’t Chicago involved in this?) The show airs Tuesday at noon from the league meetings in Dallas. Rich Eisen, Michael Irvin, Moose Johnston, Jason La Canfora, Steve Wyche and Kara Henderson will give viewers “an inside look into the process of determining the Super Bowl host site,” the network promises. We presume that doesn’t mean a cellphone camera with Jerry Jones at a Cowboys bar explaining all the innerworkings from the inside.
== NFL Network also has Kurt Warner as an analyst on its coverage tonight of the Arena Football League’s Iowa-Arizona contest (5 p.m.). The three-time NFL Super Bowl quarterback will be inducted into the Iowa Barnstormers Hall of Fame as its first member during the broadcast.
== Golf Channel’s “The Haney Project” with Ray Romano resumes Monday (6 p.m.), after the comedian (Romano, not Hank Haney) had to take some time off to be with his father, who passed away in March. The last episode aired in April.
== The first gig that Craig Kilborn got after he spanked his career as an ESPN “SportsCenter” anchor was to take this new Comedy Central series called “The Daily Show” and see what he could do with it.
Jon Stewart thanks you for giving up.
Fox is ready to test a new half-hour show with Craigermeister called “The Kilborn File,” starting June 28 with a run on the Fox-owned stations in L.A. (KTTV-Channel 11), as well as those in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Phoenix, Austin and Detroit, according to Broadcast & Cable Magazine and website (linked here).
Kilborn hasn’t had a show in six years, since he left a late-night CBS spot now filled by some guy with an Irish accent.
“The last few years of triathlons and charity work have been fulfilling, but fulfillment is overrated. Let’s get it on,” said Kilborn, at ESPN from ’93-’96 and also had a role in a movie playing a creepy dude in “Old School,” following that up with “The Shaggy Dog,” “The Benchwarmers,” “Cursed,” “Full of It” and “The Great Duseldorfer.”
And, it’s not good when your Google search instantly pops up words behind your name like “fired” or “drunk.”