TNT opens the NBA season on Tuesday with an opening night doubleheader: Boston at Cleveland at 6:30 p.m., followed by L.A. Clippers vs. the L.A. Lakers at the Staple Center.
TNT is going to carry 53 games, primarily Thursday nights. ESPN will have 75 telecasts, primarily Wednesday and Friday nights, ABC will have 15 games, Christmas on Sunday afternoon. NBA TV also will have 96 live games.
TNT announcers Doug Collins, Reggie Miller and Chris Webber discussed the upcoming season in a conference call. Here are a few of the excerpts:
Collins on how the addition of Shaquille O’Neal is going to help LeBron James and the Cavaliers: “(LeBron’s) game has gotten better every year and I love the energy he plays with. He’s in a good spot this year in that he’s in the last year of a contract and Shaq’s motivation to say that he’s won three championships with Kobe Bryant, one with Dwyane Wade and now one with LeBron. I think that Shaq will help on their frontline. They really got hammered inside last year and they didn’t have any answers for Dwight Howard. He’ll also take some of the pressure off of (James) in dealing with the media all the time. These are two very dynamic personalities. I don’t know who is going to be in charge of the pre-game introductions now so I can’t wait to see that.”
Collins on the competition between the Boston Celtics, Cleveland Cavaliers and Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference: “It’s going to be so exciting to see which of the top three teams (Celtics, Cavaliers and Magic) in the Eastern Conference will be able to get the best record and get that number one seed. That will be so important this year because that will prevent you from having to go through two of those teams to get to the NBA Finals. The three-horse race in the East is going to be really exciting to watch.”
Miller on the defending NBA Champion Lakers: “Who is going to step up and challenge the defending champs, the Los Angeles Lakers? The rich get richer; you basically have the same team with the addition of a former defensive player of the year in Ron Artest.”
Miller on the San Antonio Spurs: “San Antonio added the veteran presence of Antonio McDyess and Richard Jefferson, but the key will be the health of Manu Ginobili.”
Webber on the San Antonio Spurs challenging the Lakers in the West: “I’m somebody that I’m the biggest San Antonio fan in the world and I think ever year they are not given the credit they deserve. They usually come through but they do it in a methodical way so it’s not interesting or sexy. I’m really looking for them to challenge and dethrone the Lakers.”
Webber on the Portland Trail Blazers: “Portland is the most exciting team in the NBA and I’m looking for them to take a big step and make their mark in the NBA.”
Miller on the New York Knicks plans for the prized 2010 free agent class: “Everyone has their eye on the prize of the 2010 class from LeBron James to Chris Bosh to Dwyane Wade to Joe Johnson to Amare Stoudemire. If I’m (Knicks general manager Donnie) Walsh and the New York Knicks, we know that your focus is LeBron James. But if you could get two of those guys in New York, I think that would pay bigger dividends than getting one big fish in LeBron James.”
Collins on if the Los Angeles Clippers can make the playoffs: “When you look at the Clippers and you don’t play in paper but the key is Baron Davis. Is this the Baron Davis who played 82 games in Golden State; played so well and was such a leader? They’ve got a ton of talent but will they be able to put it together? When I look at the Western Conference, to me there are (already) six playoff teams and two open spots. Houston is vulnerable without (injured) Tracy McGrady and Yao Ming for a while and New Orleans is a team that has slipped. There are two spots and I think the Suns could slip in (to the playoffs) or Golden State or the Clippers, they have talent.”
Webber on the Sacramento Kings: “I still think Geoff Petrie is one of best GMs in the game. I think it makes it harder for guys to come together when there isn’t a system to rely on. Are you relying on defense or on pick and rolls? Of course, there’s experience from playing that style of ball. I think Tyreke (Evans) is going to be the Rookie of the Year and they are looking to grow. They are probably not going to make the playoffs and definitely won’t win a championship but if they are looking to grow, it’s great to have a teacher and that’s what they need in Sacramento. Someone who will teach them, let them build on something and not just waste a 82-game schedule.”
It’s a slow week for college football. The best game is in Provo, Utah, where BYU hosts TCU in a Mountain West showdown and ESPN’s “College GameDay” will be there.
With Thursday’s Latest Line.
1. No. 10 TCU at No. 16 BYU, 6:30 p.m., Versus (TCU by 2).
2. No. 25 Oklahoma at No. 24 Kansas, 2:30 p.m., KOCO-5 (OU by 7).
3. Auburn at No. 9 LSU, 6:30 p.m., ESPN2 (LSU by 8)
4. Tennessee at No. 1 Alabama, 2:30 p.m., KWTV-9 (Tenn. by 15)
5. No. 14 Oklahoma State at Baylor, 11:30 p.m., Versus (OSU by 9).
6. No. 3 Texas at Missouri, 7 p.m., KOCO-5 (Texas by 13).
7. No. 2 Florida at Mississippi State, 6:30 p.m., ESPN (Fla. by 23).
8. No. 13 Penn State at Michigan, 2:30 p.m., ESPN (Penn St. by 4).
9. Arkansas at Mississippi, 11 a.m., SEC (KSBI-52) (Miss. By 6).
10. Connecticut at No. 22 West Virginia, 11 a.m., ESPNU. (W.Va. by 7)
Also worth a look:
Minnesota at No. 18 Ohio State, 11 a.m., ESPN (Ohio St. by 18)
Air Force at No. 19 Utah, 3 p.m., Versus (Utah by 9).
Vanderbilt at No. 23 South Carolina, 6 p.m., ESPNU (SC by 12).
Iowa State at Nebraska, 11:30 a.m., FSN. (Neb. By 18)
Jim Nantz’s ugly divorce trial last week in Bridgeport, Conn., revealed intimate details about CBS’ premier sportscaster, including the fact he has a 29-year-old girlfriend and earns almost $8 million a year from CBS.
Nantz, 50, is claiming his 26-year marriage is over because of his wife’s lack of support for his career and her excessive spending.
According to reports in newsblues.com and connpost.com, Nantz said he started dating the 29-year-old girlfriend only because his marriage had “died” more than 10 years ago. That, apparently, was news to his wife, Lorrie, who later testified she was still going to counseling until 2008, trying to save their marriage, when Nantz told her he wanted a divorce.
In 2007, according to Jim Nantz, he was offered $7 million to host the CBS “Early Show” but turned it down because his wife opposed it. He says his wife, who early on accompanied him to major sporting events, now stays at home and spends vast sums of money on shopping sprees.
According to connpost.com, Nantz testified that early in their marriage his wife would accompany him to all the major sporting events he worked. But after that ended, he complained she showed no support for his career.
“In 2004, I got the Man of the Year award from the New York Athletic Club. Rudy Giuliani had been the previous year’s winner and it really meant a lot to me,” he said. “My mother flew in from Houston, but Lorrie wasn’t there.”
In 2007, Nantz became the first TV broadcaster to host a Super Bowl, the NCAA men’s basketball championship and the Master’s golf tournament in the same year.
“It was the triple crown. People told me I should write down my remembrances of the events, it was that big, but Lorrie didn’t care,” he said.
Testimony concluded Friday afternoon. Superior Court Judge Howard Owens says he will file a written decision on who gets what and how much. But, he promised, “No one is leaving this courtroom with zero.”
Nantz is hoping to protect much of his earning of nearly $8 million a year. His wife wants alimony and child support for their 15-year-old daughter in excess of $1.5 million a year. She also wants to keep their six-bedroom, six-bath house in Westport, Conn.
According to court records, Nantz earns $3.9 million a year from CBS and another $4 million in deferred compensation.
The nationally televised OU-Texas game tops a strong week for college football. ESPN’s “College GameDay” will be in Dallas to preview the matchup.
1. No. 3 Texas vs. No. 20 Oklahoma, 11 a.m., ABC (Texas by 3).
2. No. 4 Virginia Tech at No. 19 Georgia Tech, 5 p.m., ESPN2 (Va. Tech by 3).
3. No. 6 Southern Cal at No. 25 Notre Dame, 2:30 p.m., NBC (USC by 11).
4. No. 8 Cincinnati at No. 21 South Florida, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, ESPN (Cincy by 3).
5. No. 22 South Carolina at No. 2 Alabama, 6:45 p.m., ESPN (Alabama by 17).
6. Missouri at No. 16 Oklahoma State, 8:15 p.m., ESPN2 (OSU by 7).
7. Texas Tech at No. 15 Nebraska, 2:30 p.m., ABC (Neb. by 10).
8. No. 17 Kansas at Colorado, 6 p.m., FSN (KU by 10).
9. Arkansas at No. 1 Florida, 2:30 p.m., CBS (Fla. by 24).
10. No. 11 Iowa at Wisconsin, 11 a.m., ESPN (Wisconin by 1).
Also worth a look:
Minnesota at No. 14 Penn State, 2:30 p.m., ESPN (Penn St. by 16).
Virginia at Maryland, 3 p.m., ESPNU (Va. by 4).
Pittsburgh at Rutgers, 7 p.m. Friday, ESPN (Pitt by 3).
Georgia at Vanderbilt, 11:30 a.m., SEC (KSBI-52) (Georgia by 7).
Colorado State at TCU, 3 p.m., Versus (TCU by 21).
Kentucky at Auburn, 6:30 p.m., ESPNU (Auburn by 13).
Stanford at Arizona, 6:30 p.m., Versus (Arizona by 6).
Washington at Arizona State, 9:15 p.m., FSN (ASU by 5).
New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, who was born in Ardmore and played defensive end at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, will be featured on the next edition of the ESPN newsmagazine “E:60” at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Here is ESPN’s synopsis of the story:
Rex Ryan, son of legendary NFL coach Buddy Ryan, has hit the ground running in his first head coaching job. Both on the field and off… Off the field, his brazen personality and forthright way of speaking have come across as a breath of fresh air to some (the media, many fans) and contentious to others (the Patriots & Dolphins organizations and fan bases). He stated that he’s “not here to kiss Bill Belichick’s (Patriots head coach) rings” and engaged in a war of words with Dolphins linebacker Channing Crowder.
On the field, Ryan’s team has been emboldened by his tactics and approach, winning the first three games of the season.
And while Ryan is recognized as a creative and skilled coach, he had to fight a little harder to get there…as he suffers from dyslexia…a learning disorder characterized by difficulties with spelling and reading. Rachel Nichols reports.
The Florida-LSU showdown in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday night on CBS tops the week. LSU represents one of the biggest obstacles for defending national champion Florida in its goal of an unbeaten season. Gators quarterback Tim Tebow, recovering from a concussion, is questionable for the game.
(With Tuesday’s Latest Line)
1. No. 1 Florida at No. 4 LSU, 7 p.m., CBS (Fla. by 9).
2. No. 21 Nebraska at No. 24 Missouri, 8 p.m., Thursday, ESPN (Neb. by 2)
3. No. 3 Alabama at No. 20 Mississippi, 2:30 p.m., CBS (Ala. by 7)
4. No. 15 Oklahoma State at Texas A&M, 11:30 p.m., FSN (OSU by 7).
5. Baylor at No. 19 Oklahoma, 2:30 p.m., ABC (OU by 23).
6. No. 17 Auburn at Arkansas, 11 a.m., ESPN. (Auburn by 2).
7. Georgia at Tennessee, 11:15 a.m., SEC (Tenn. by 1)
8. Michigan at No. 12 Iowa, 7 p.m., ABC (Iowa by 7).
9. Colorado at No. 2 Texas, 6:15 p.m., ESPN (Texas by 32).
10. Wisconsin at No. 9 Ohio State, 2:30 p.m., ESPN (Ohio St. by 14).
Also worth a look:
Iowa State at No. 16 Kansas, 11:30 a.m., Versus (KU by 19).
Kansas State at Texas Tech, 6 p.m., FSN (Tech by 17).
Houston at Mississippi State, 11:30 a.m., ESPNU (Hou. by 3)
Wisconsin at No. 9 Ohio State, 2:30 p.m., ESPN (Ohio St. by 14).
Southern Mississippi at Louisville, 6:30 P.M., ESPNU (So. Miss by 3).
No. 22 Georgia Tech at Florida State, 7 p.m., ESPN2 (FSU by 3).
In a conference call this week, ESPN producer Jay Rothman and commentators Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworksi and Jon Gruden discussed the Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings telecast at 7:30 p.m. Monday on ESPN. Here a few excerpts:
Rothman on this matchup: “This one fell into our lap when No. 4 decided to come back. It’s a no-brainer what the meaning of the game is to him, to the Vikings, to the Packers. It’s one of the best divisions in football, certainly in terms of a ratings perspective, the NFC North … it always delivers.”
Tirico on the hype surrounding this game: “Talking to Favre a couple different times since he left Green Bay and being around the Packers a little bit, this is the game Brett Favre’s wanted to play. When the Packers essentially said, ‘We don’t want you to be our quarterback anymore,’ Brett Favre had an unbelievable clock ticking inside him to want to play the Green Bay Packers.”
Jaworski on how personal a game this is for Favre: “When you get an opportunity to go up against a team that basically got rid of you — you’re not good enough — you want to show what you can do … Brett Favre is going to approach this game and he’s going to be angry, he’s going to be vindictive and he will come out smoking.”
Jaworski on his pick as the NFC North’s top quarterback: “Right now I’d have to go with Aaron Rodgers. Last year he showed me an awful lot. He was able to handle all of the off-field distractions that took place when Brett Favre left and he had a terrific season. He will certainly have to play better this year. … He’s younger, which is certainly the positive. He has an outstanding repertoire of personnel to choose from in the running game and passing game.”
Gruden on his choice for the NFC North’s top quarterback: “Brett Favre has won and won and won. He is an ultimate winner and I like guys that win games. I liken the quarterback to a starting pitcher in baseball. He can manipulate a defense, he can rally his football team and he can excite a crowd. … I’d want Brett Favre with a very good football team at crunch time to win me a division title and help me advance in the playoffs — because I know what I’m getting, I know how he’s going to respond in crunch time situations. And if we don’t get it done, I’ll get on the plane and will have enjoyed the ride that’s for sure.”
The OU-Miami game tops the weekend. ABC will carry the 7 p.m. game to 81 percent of the nation. Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit and Lisa Salters will be the announcers.
Games are Saturday unless noted with Wednesday’s Latest Line:
1. No. 8 Oklahoma at No. 17 Miami, 7 p.m., ABC (OU by 7)
2. No. 4 LSU at No. 18 Georgia, 2:30 p.m., CBS (Georgia by 2)
3. Auburn at Tennessee, 6:45 p.m., ESPN. (Tenn. by 2)
4. Texas A&M vs. Arkansas from Cowboys Stadium, 6:30 p.m., ESPN2 (Ark. by 1)
5. Pittsburgh at Louisville, 7 p.m. Friday, ESPN. (Pitt by 6)
6. No. 3 Alabama at Kentucky, 11:21 a.m., SEC (KSBI-52.) (Ala. By 17)
7. Florida State at Boston College, 2:30 p.m., ESPN. (FSU by 5).
8. No. 15 Penn State at Illinois, 2:30 p.m., ABC. (Penn St. by 6)
9. Colorado at West Virginia, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, ESPN. (W.Va. by 17)
10. No. 21 Mississippi at Vanderbilt, 6 p.m., ESPNU (Ole Miss by 9)
Also worth a look:
Washington at Notre Dame, 2:30 p.m., NBC (N.D. by 13)
New Mexico at Texas Tech, 2:30 p.m., FSOK (Tech by 36).
Clemson at Maryland, 11 a.m., ESPNU (Clemson by 13)
N.C. State at Wake Forest, 2:30 p.m., ESPNU (NCS by 1)