The Media Learning Curve(s): Aug. 6-13

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There’s a profile of Jerry Buss by NBA.com’s Scott Howard-Cooper , a former Laker beat writer at the L.A. Times, from the official league site (linked here) that begins:

“Standard bearer is how (Buss) will be inducted, in the Contributor category because he was innovative in marketing his team as more than a night of basketball, because he correctly envisioned that the Lakers could become pop culture, because he participated in the birthing of the relationship between sports and cable television, because he became such a respected and level voice that he was twice voted president of the Board of Governors.

“Greedily controlling the distribution of championship trophies in only occasionally letting others take one home is obviously part of an amazing story. It’s just not why Buss is being enshrined.

“‘Jerry brought so many new ideas, original ideas, to the game in terms of marketing, it was incredible,” said former Suns owner Jerry Colangelo, himself a Hall of Famer. “He was ahead of his time. He really was.’

“‘Jerry, quite simply, was a pioneer in understanding what the value of entertainment was in a community,” commissioner David Stern said.

“Buss as The Establishment. Yeah, everyone really saw that coming.”

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His creation of Prime Ticket, launching it nearly 25 years to the date of his Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement tonight (3 p.m. with the red carpet show, 4 p.m. with the ceremony on NBA TV), is chronicled in today’s media column (linked here). Simply put, before George Steinbrenner could launch his own YES network to feature his New York Yankees (it came about in 2002 only because of a contract dispute with Madison Square Garden network), the plan had been put in place by Buss’ cable TV venture for the West Coast in 1985.

If only Prime Ticket had the ceremonies tonight. That would be poetic. The best they could do: Have Bill Macdonald trail the Buss party in the private jet and post a video blog about it (linked here), along with a written blog (linked here), that mentions KCBS Channel 2′s Jim Hill made the trip as well.

More poetry not in motion, with an excess of media notes:

== NBA.com will stream today’s news conference with the Basketball Hall of Fame honorees at 7 a.m. Matt Winer, David Aldridge and Rick Kamla handle the NBA TV network coverage of the ceremonies.

== If you need to know more about Golf Channel reporter Jim Gray sticking his finger in Corey Pavin’s face and giving him a piece of his mind, this piece on CBSSports.com does a nice job (linked here).

== Did Deadspin cross the line in trying to defend itself against a post by the Poynter Institute that was trying to point out that Deadspin crossed a line in reporting on a story about Brett Favre and his alleged sexting episode with another poser journalist? (linked here)

== An MLB produced documentary series about the game’s greatest rivalries focuses on the Dodgers-Giants tussels over the years, airing on Versus (Tuesday, 8 p.m.) after the first two episodes focused on the NL-AL All-Star games and the Cardinals-Cubs series. Following up are episodes on Mets-Phillies (Aug. 24) and Yankees-Red Sox (Aug. 31).

== Matt Vasgersian narrates an hour-long documentary on the rise and fall of the Montreal Expos in an MLB Network special that airs Sunday at 7 p.m. The focus is on the 1994 Expos, featuring Pedro Martinez, Larry Walker, Moises Alou and John Wettland, poised for a post-season appearance before the players strike cut the season short and eventually set the stage for the franchise’s downslide, as key players were traded and the team moved to Washington D.C. 10 years later. Those interviewed include Gary Cater, Steve Rogers, Rusty Staub, Felipe Alou and former GM Dan Duquette, who says in the piece: “It was a personal tragedy for these players who missed their chance to shine. It was a tragedy for the baseball fans in Montreal because this was the best team that they ever had.”

== The Associated Press sports has started its own Twitter account with breaking headlines. Find it at http://twitter.com/APressSports, with more AP news available at http://associatedpress-sportsnews.blogspot.com

== DirecTV has announced it will have more than 300 live soccer matches, including up to 28 exclusive European matches a week, taking them from TV partners who cover the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europe League and Spanish first division La Liga. They’re on the DirecTV soccer channel mix (Channel 480), which includes finding games on Fox Soccer Channel, Fox Soccer Plus, Fox Sports Net and Fox Deportes. More details: www.directv.com/soccer.

== ESPN also announced this week that it has sublicensed U.S. rights to up to 74 Premier League games in each of the next three seasons from Fox Soccer Channel.
Last season, ESPN televised 46 Premier League matches under a sublicense from Fox, which has been broadcasting the EPL in the U.S. since 1998. ESPN’s U.S. coverage begins Saturday with the Premier League opener — Manchester City at Tottenham — starting at 4:45 a.m.

== NBC has live coverage of the Dew Tour Skateboard tour from Portland on Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. USA Network ads late-night coverage from the BMX Vert on Saturday at 9 p.m.

== In light of Chris Berman’s induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Ken Fang of Fang’s Bite blog does his best lay out why we “hate” the ESPN NFL highlight guy (linked here) . We didn’t think it was really that complicated. Like, those who tuned into HBO’s “Hard Knocks” and were confused to hear Jets coach Rex Ryan curse.

== AND FINALLY:

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== The promos airing this week on KLAC-AM (570) about the new configuration of the new “Loose Cannons” show starting Monday — Steve Hartman and Vic “The Brick” Jacobs will be joined by former CBS Sports reporter and “Access Hollywood” and “The Insider” dropout Pat O’Brien – brings to mind a book that O’Brien wrote more than 10 years ago, poised on telling anyone how he has managed to pretend to know about the sports of the day without really knowing anything.

In “Talking Sports: A B.S.er’s Guide” (1998), O’Brien, who was at the height of his Hollywood TV personna, was letting the common person in on a secret — you don’t have to know sports to talk about sports.

The book description that’s still there on Amazon.com says:

Why should politicians get to do all the lying? Yes, sports fans can spin, especially with a little help from Pat O’Brien, a guy who can convincingly expound on any game, even if he doesn’t know the rules.

It’s not that O’Brien isn’t up to speed–he’s a veritable encyclopedia of sports lore–it’s just that even he gets cornered sometimes and needs to get out fast.

What if a fan asks about that big trade between the Maple Leafs and the Canucks? Instead of saying “Huh?” you can sound erudite: “You know, the great thing about hockey is that it’s always changing.”

What do you do when the office smart aleck starts blathering about that Monday Night Football game you couldn’t bear to watch? Blindside him: “That was nothing compared to the fourth-quarter drive the Jets ran in 1967 against Oakland–remember?”

Perfect for anyone who wants to shoot it like one of the pros–Talkin’ Sports is for every sports fan who wants to win the battle of the bull.

Sorry, P.O.B. but you may be D.O.A. The secret’s out. The smarter sports-talk show listeners are now hoping you’ll put some substance over style.

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