Weekly media notes version 12.03.15 — The Kobe Farewell Media Tour, started on his terms

The illustration Jim Thompson did for L.A. News Group on The Players' Tribune.

The illustration Jim Thompson did for L.A. News Group on The Players’ Tribune. Did Kobe Bryant write his own obit?

What’s worth posting at this point in the week:

proxy== Considering what was reported last October to be a “significant investment” financially that “Editorial Director”  Kobe Bryant made with ThePlayersTribune.com, there’s little surprise the Lakers star used that particular platform instead of going to any other media outlet last Sunday to announce his retirement at the end of the season.
Penning a  “Dear Basketball” poem that apperaed under a black-and-white pensive photograph of him probably wouldn’t have had the same effect elsewhere.
He controlled the message.
The media was left to distribute it — more than 1,000 sites eventually linked to it — then react to it, then beg for interviews to elaborate on it.
And so many clicked on it that the site crashed for a time.
So many more mainstream media outlets decided it was time to follow up on the site because, maybe, they weren’t aware of the power of the platform, which we examined on the site’s one-year anniversary in October.
Monday, ESPN’s “Outside The Lines” dedicated a half-hour to how the site provides the athlete’s a media-free forum to tell their stories on Monday’s episode. Here is the audio of that show.
Considering that Bryant did what David Ortiz and Steve Nash have already done — use the site to tell the world they were leaving the sports stage — why wouldn’t it be logical to expect Peyton Manning to use it next?

i== Taking the Bryant retirement a step further, ESPN.com’s Darren Rovell reported that Bryant’s company, Kobe Inc., has filed applications with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office to secure the phrase “HeroVillain,” and “HV” logo and the “KB20” designation for his 20th season in the NBA.
Rovell writes: “The logo first appeared on Bryant’s retirement poem, published on The Players’ Tribune on Sunday, and distributed to fans at the Lakers game on Sunday. Limited quantities of gear with the ‘HV’ and the ‘KB20” logo were on sale at the Staples Center, but a more expansive selection of merchandise appeared on Bryant’s official website.”

== So maybe what Kevin Durant (ThePlayersTribune.com “Deputy Publisher”) is saying that if the media treated Bryant better, he might have stuck around?

== As part of this week’s coincidental East Coast trip for the Lakers, making their only visit to cities such as Philadelphia, Atlanta and Toronto this time, Bryant has a sit-down with Ernie Johnson for tonight’s TNT NBA studio show. TNT subs in Lisa Leslie for Shaquille O’Neal on tonight’s episode as well for a night that has Oklahoma City-Miami and San Antonio-Memphis begining at 4 p.m. Bryant, who already appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” this week, will be on with ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike” at 5:30 a.m. (8:30 a.m. ET) on Friday morning (still heard on KLAA-AM 830, which does it live from 3-6 a.m., then repeats it from 6-to-9 a.m.)

lebron-james-pushing-cover== Meanwhile, Sports Illustrated has done a swell job promoting the fact that LeBron James agreed to do an indepth piece with Lee Jenkins for its Dec. 7 issue, which also got pushed out early on SI.com on Tuesday.
It certainly doesn’t hurt that the James-SI relationship goes back to Feb., 2002 when “The Chosen One” first graces the cover.
Jenkins also did “exclusive” cover stories for SI on James for the 2012 Sportsman of the Year, and another one in 2013.

tigerd picture== And then there’s Tiger Woods. He has always had his various ways of making “exclusive” announcements about his career plans and projects, but the fact he granted time to a Canadian golf writer from Time magazine for what became a revealing sit-down this week was enough for Golf.com to investigate. All the reporter did was ask, and Golf.com asked him how. Hmmm.
It all gave Jason Whitlock an opportunity to analyze how the media helped “kill” Woods: “We, the media, and Tiger’s corporate business partners, Nike and the PGA Tour, wanted Tiger to be proudly black. It made for a far better $tory. We wanted Cliff Huxtable at Augusta National Golf Course making all the blue bloods squirm. Tiger grudgingly went along. He married a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, bikini-wearing Claire Huxtable and uncomfortably stood as a symbol of the post-racial American Dream.
“Here we are two decades later. Cliff Huxtable is disgraced. The media focus on fomenting racial division with social-media-pandering ambulance chasing.”

== Dan Shulman and Jay Bilas call ESPN’s coverage of No. 1 Kentucky’s first visit to Pauley Pavilion to face UCLA (with the brutal 6 p.m. tipoff). SI.com’s Richard Deitsch had Bilas on as a recent podcast guest.
Former UCLA coach Steve Lavin will be the analyst on the Pac-12 Network coverage of the Bruins’ playing host to Long Beach on Sunday at 6 p.m. Lavin also did the Gonzaga-Washington State game for FS1 on Wednesday.

== You may have stumbled onto KFWB-AM (980), aka “The Beast,” officially naming Chris Myers and Wes Clements to handle the noon-to-3 p.m. shift, as  Fred Roggin recently made the move from middays to drivetime.
myers-and-wes-770“Adding Chris and Wes to our daily lineup further underscores our goal to be the only radio station super serving L.A. sports fans,” said Beast 980 program director Tom Lee in a statement. “Throughout the day sports fans now get an unprecedented dose of local coverage from the top sports talent here in L.A.”
After months of fiddling around with different matchups, Lee’s decision to use the nationally known Myers with the relative newcomer Clements seems a safer choice than what has been tried by the station.
There is already a well-established Steve Mason and John Ireland at KSPN-AM (710) in this tough-to-program time slot, but it should easily crush the lack-luster “L.A. Today” with Bill Reiter and Leeann Tweeden on KLAC-AM (570), which continues to become a bit of an embarassment pre-empting the Fox Radio national show featuring Jay Mohr based on the Dodgers’ edict to have more local programming to talk up its news. The KLAA-AM (830) offering of generic ESPN Radio programming barely registers.

== Week 14 of the college football season for L.A. viewers:
== The final Top 25 College Football Playoff Committee poll — revealing the top four teams that will play in the New Year’s Eve semifinals — comes during a four-hour presentation Sunday on ESPN starting at 9 a.m.
The network insists the final four will be revealed by 9:30 a.m.
Rece Davis hosts it with Joey Galloway, Kirk Herbstreit, Danny Kanell and David Pollack from Bristol, Conn.
5457094e-a372-4886-8b31-03d480d1473f_26991_CUSTOM== ESPN’s Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe have the USC-Stanford Pac-12 Championship game from Santa Clara on Saturday at 4:45 p.m. ESPN Radio’s national broadcast has Adam Amin and David Norrie on the call.
== ESPN’s “College GameDay” will go to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship, but Herbstreit will have to jet out of there to join Chris Fowler, Heather Cox and Tom Rinaldi assigned to the Clemson-North Carolina ACC Championship game in Charlotte, N.C. (5 p.m., Channel 7).
== Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson have the Alabama-Florida SEC Championship game in Atlanta (1 p.m., Channel 2). The studio show with Adam Zucker, Rick Neuheisel, Brian Jones and  Arkansas coach Brett Bielema is at noon.
== Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt call the Michigan State-Iowa Big Ten Championship game from Indianapolis (5 p.m., Channel 11). The studio show has Rob Stone, Matt Leinart, Dave Wannstedt and Penn State coach James Franklin starting at 4 p.m.
== The rest of ESPN’s schedule includes Friday’s Bowling Green-Northern Illinois MAC Championship from Detroit (5 p.m., Dave Flemming and Mac Brown) and games Saturday involving Temple at Houston in the American Championship (Channel 7, 9 a.m., Sean McDonough, Chris Spielman), Texas at Baylor (ESPN, 9 a.m., Dave Pasch, Tom Luginbill), Southern Miss-Western Kentucky in the Conference USA Championship (ESPN2, 9 a.m., Bob Wischusen, Brock Huard), Grambling State vs. Alcorn State in the SWAC Championship (1 p.m., ESPNU, Mark Neel, Jay Walker) and Air Force at San Diego State in the Mountain West Championship (4:30 p.m., ESPN2, Mark Jones, Rod Gilmore). The FS1 schedule includes Saturday’s West Virginia-Kansas State game (1:30 p.m., Joe Davis, Brady Quinn).

== You were watching last Sunday night’s Broncos-Patriots game from Denver and could actually see the yard markers on the field through the snow? That’s NBC magic as their PR department Tweeted out:


== Week 13 of the NFL season lays out this way for the L.A. TV screeners:
= Both CBS and the NFL Network have tonight’s Green Bay at Detroit (5:25 p.m., Jim Nantz, Phil Simms)
= CBS has only a single game on Sunday, and Los Angeles is betrothed with San Diego playing host to Denver (Channel 2, 1:05 p.m. Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon). The CBS games that aren’t available are Oakland hosting Kansas City (1:05 p.m.) as well as the games in the 10 a.m. window: N.Y. Jets at N.Y. Giants, Houston at Buffalo, Baltimore at Miami and Jacksonville at Tennessee
= The Fox doubleheader starts with Seattle at Minnesota (10 a.m., Channel 11, Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch, Pam Oliver) instead of San Francisco-Chicago, Cincinnati-Cleveland, Atlanta-Tamp Bay or Arizona-St. Louis. The 1:25 p.m. game is Carolina-New Orleans (Joe Buck, Troy Aikman) instead of Philadelphia-New England (Thom Brennaman, Charles Davis, Tony Siragusa).
= NBC takes Indianapolis at Pittsburgh (Sunday, Channel 4, 5:30 p.m., with Al Michaels and Cris Colinsoworth).
= ESPN takes Dallas at Washington (Monday, 5:30 p.m., with Mike Tirico and Jon Gruden).

== Fox Sports West’s Mark Rogondino, Chris Rix and Rahshaun Haylock call Saturday’s 8 p.m. CIF Southern Section Pac-5 championship game at Angel Stadium between St. John Bosco and Centennial of Corona. On Friday, Rogondino, John Jackson and Haylock call the West Valley Division final between Mission Viejo and Vista Murrieta on FSW at 7:30 p.m., followed by Sam Farber, Rix and Lindsey Thiry on a delayed broadcast of the Southwest Division final between San Clemente and La Habra at 10:30 p.m. 081814-West-FOX-Sports-West-logoFriday’s games streaming on the PrepZone website: Isaac Lowenkron and Lorenzo Booker on the Eastern Division final between Serrano at Oakl Hills, Mark Heller and Chris Hale on the Inland Division final between Citrus Hill and Heritage, Paul Westphal and Mike Karney on the Mid-Valley Division final between Sierra Canyon and San Dimas, David Caldwell and Tony Moskal on the Northern Division final of Thousand Oaks at Camarillo, and Fred Salas with Jeff Tolcher calling the Southern Divsiion final between Canyon of Anaheim and Brea Olinda.
Saturday’s streaming games: Caldwell and Moskal have the Western Division final between Palos Verdes and Calabasas, Heller and Booker do the Central Division final between San Marino and Charter Oak, Westphal and Karney have the East Valley Division final between Grace Brethren and Saddleback Valley Christian, Salas and Tolcher do the Southeast Division final between La Serna and La Mirada, and  Farber and J.T. Rogan call the Northwest Division final of Notre Dame (Riverside) and Linfield Christian.
All PrepZone streaming games kick off at 7 p.m.

== ESPN’s Adrian Healey, Taylor Twellman and Monica Gonzalez call Sunday’s 20th MLS Cup at 1 p.m. when Columbus plays host to Portland. Max Bretos and Alejandro Moreno have the pre-game, halftime and post-game.

== JP Dellacamera, Cat Whitehill, Tony DiCicco and sideline reporter Jenny Taft are at the U.S. Women’s National team friendly against Trinidad @ Tobago from Aloha Stadium in  Honolulu on Saturday at 5 p.m. for FS1.

== HBO announced the Peter Nelson, the network’s VP of programming since 2013, has been promoted to Executive VP of Sports. What prepares one for this gig, which primarily gives him the reigns to set up the network’s boxing schedule as he begins his “new era”?
Nelson, a native of Newton, Mass., graduated from Harvard magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in Ancient Greek.

== If you’re entralled with the whereabouts of Rachel Nichols, go here.

== For the first time since 1981, CBS Sports has given someone on the logo payroll something to do: Screen-Shot-2015-11-30-at-10.08.58-AMThe new look comes with CBS’ coverage of Super Bowl 50 in February.

== TWC SportsNet’s last of a six-part doc series on “Sports Shrines of L.A.” came out with the history of Staples Center this week, with many repeats coming up. Narration includes broadcasters Bill Macdonald, Bob Miller, Stu Lantz and Al Michaels. The other venues in this series: Dodger Stadium, the Forum, the Coliseum, the Rose Bowl and StubHub Center.

== Ted Robinson, Rowdy Gaines and Carolyn Manno call the USA Swimming Winter Nationals on Sunday (10 a.m., Channel 4) from Federal Way, Wash., which include races involvoing Michael Phellps, Missy Franklin and Natalie Coughlin.

== Because sports media feuds are what we secretly pine to read about whenever possible, especially the “best” ones of 2015.

== One of our favorites, Dirk Hayhurst, author of four books about his professional baseball playing days, has a new job. In the media. He explains as only he can: “I’m still very much a player, a competitor, an achiever. I’m still trying to do big things, just in a new league, on a different roster, playing a different position. Oh… and If you need a good cloud-based payroll solution, come talk to me.

== Another “affinity” website financed by a major media player goes down again, but this one really hurts.

== And finally: That’s former Angels FSW TV analyst Rex Hudler, doing his job for the World Champion Kansas City Royals, who employs him these days:

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