What made it into this week’s column:
We corralled both Bill Walton and Dave Pasch before Wednesday’s USC-UCLA game, made them stand next to each other, and were intent on invalidating the myth that the two don’t get along.
“Dave, his name is Dave?” Walton continued to ask me, as he often does on the air with Pasch sitting right next to him. “Please introduce me to him.”
Walton wasn’t helping here.
Pasch not only knows Walton, going back to when they did NBA games for ESPN in 2006, but Pasch said during a game earlier this year at San Diego State, he finally got to visit Walton’s home and sit in his backyard teepee, put on a tie-dye shirt and shoot some promos.
Pasch said he admires all the prep work Walton puts into a game with his iPad out and an array of notes spread out across the table at courtside, information procured from practices and often right up to the time when players are warming up.
“If anything, Bill is prepared to do a six-hour game,” said Pasch. “If we ever did a game that was six overtimes, we’d never run out of material. However, if we had been doing that UCLA-Kentucky game (a CBS broadcast on Dec. 20, where the No. 1 Wildcats won by 39), that might have been bad for both our careers with so much time to fill and what we know of Bill’s thoughts on his alma mater.
“But really, there’s no other Hall of Famer out there in broadcasting with his personality. He’s played the game at the highest level and won championships, yet he has the passion to talk about things that have nothing to do with basketball, and not afraid to do it. He can get away with it. A lot of others can’t.”
The story is here after our own investigation as to how these two ever came to be a couple.
What is relegated to notes, for the record, in this place and time:
== NBC’s announcement this week that it was ready to leap back into the boxing prime-time world — 20 live shows this year — interestingly drags along Al Michaels for the ride as the host of what will be called “PBC on NBC.” The first Premiere Boxing Championships series show is Saturday, March 7. If only Marv Albert and the fight doctor, Ferdie Pacheco, could be around for this. The time-buy series, under the promotion of Haymon Boxing in Las Vegas, will have five cards in prime time and six on Saturday afternoons, with nine other shows on NBCSN. Will it work? The experts have a better idea than we do. But we’re in the same ring of thinking that just because Michaels is involved, and Sugar Ray Leonard is supposed to be the analyst on “some” fights, who’s going to watch if the contenders aren’t much more than what ESPN might put on its weekly Friday night card?
== And no matter how much backlash Michaels and Cris Collinsworth got for defending the honor of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell during an NBC playoff broadcast last week in New England, Collinsworth finally spoke up again to defend what he said. So, too, did NBC Sports chief Mark Lazarus.
worth is the focus of a feature on the next HBO “Real Sports” (Tuesday, 10 p.m.) with Mary Carillo doing the piece. Collinsworth’s TV career after he left the NFL started with HBO’s “Inside the NFL” show. Of his four kids, son Jac hosts a weekly football TV show at Notre Dame, and daughter Katie is an executive at Golf Channel.
== Michaels, meanwhile, will be the first guest of “Feherty” on the fifth season when it debuts on the Golf Channel on Monday, Jan. 26, the week that Michaels will be in Glendale, Ariz., prepping for the NBC coverage of the Super Bowl. David Feherty will also have live versions of his show on Wednesday, Jan. 28 and Thursday, Jan. 29, at 7 p.m. that week from the Orpheum Theater in downtown Phoenix. The PGA Tour happens to be in Phoenix with the Waste Management Open that week, which is Tiger Woods’ first tournament appearance of this season.
== ESPN’s “Outside the Lines,” relegated itself to the hinterlands of TV scheduling on Sunday mornings before the cock crows, can tout having the executive directors of the players union for the MLB (Tony Clark), NFL (DeMaurice Smith) and NBA (Michele Roberts) for the first time on camera together to talk about character and race-relation issues in a roundtable format headed by Jay Harris. The framework is the MLK holiday weekend. First airing is Sunday at 6 a.m. on ESPNEWS, and 7 a.m. on ESPN2.
A quote from Clark that ESPN released from the show already taped: “The idea that we’re all three sitting at this table and you’re (Harris) sitting at this table suggest it’s gotten better, but the underlying theme still exists, and that is, what did Dr. King say, I have a dream that one day that my kids will be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. We’re still a ways away from that, but we’ve gotten better.”
== Showtime has picked Saturday, Feb. 21 at 9 p.m. to air the documentary, “Kobe Bryant’s Muse,” which we alluded to in a recent column. Unless Bryant decides to sit it out.
== Anish Shroff will do play-by-play with Greg McElroy, Todd McShay and Quint Kessenich at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl from StubHub Center in Carson on Saturday at 1 p.m. for ESPN2. Practice sessions during the week have aired on ESPNU and will continue Thursday (9:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.).
= ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball schedule, which starts April 5 on EPSN2 with St. Louis at Chicago, has neither a Dodgers nor an Angels contest locked in through the first five weekends. The Yankees and Red Sox are playing each other twice in that time frame. ESPN’s Opening Day schedule on Monday, April 6 includes Yankees-Blue Jays (10 a.m.), Nationals-Mets (1 p.m.), Indians-Astros (4 p.m.) and Giants-Diamondbacks (7 p.m.)
== More response to the passing of ESPN’s Stuart Scott from Sports Business Journal media writer/columnist John Ourand, which is kind of the direction we were heading in our reflections last week.
== And finally:
ESPN’s Hannah Storm insists in a tweet that she gave a stiff arm to a makeup artist who got on camera by mistake “to protect her” because this “good friend … would have gotten in major trouble had she been seen on air.” But didn’t everyone already did see her by then? The stone-cold stare on Storm’s washed-out face didn’t seem all that endearing afterward.
NBC’s Jimmy Fallon mentioned the incident on Monday’s “Tonight Show” and added: “Probably not a good idea smacking your makeup artist. Take a look at Hannah later in the broadcast:” (Screen grab via Sports Business Daily)