The pressure was on for Drake when he hosted the ESPYs, ESPN’s annual awards show honoring athletic performances, on Wednesday night: Throughout his 10-minute long opening monologue, the camera zoomed in on audience reactions, which frequently featured zoned-out, stone-cold faces.
Tag: ESPN (1-10 of 14)
As a gay American man, there are certain moments in recent history that will stand out to me. I remember exactly where I was when the Sports Illustrated cover story on Jason Collins came out last year, along with his own sexuality as the first major active American athlete to do so. And I will never forget the moment when the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down by the Supreme Court a couple of months later. Saturday marked another triumphant moment in LGBT cultural history, as Michael Sam became the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL. Where was I? Representing my entire community’s point of view on national television. I guess I should explain. READ FULL STORY
He began his new show with a little Jack Paar reference and finished with his Edward R. Murrow sign off, but in between, it was — for better and for worse — the old Keith Olbermann. (And most likely, the Keith Olbermann ESPN intended to hire.) Olbermann wrapped himself in the banner of the Worldwide Leader, reminiscing through archived video clips of his younger days and poking fun of his first go-around at ESPN2 by donning the same infamous jacket he wore back in 1993 and updating his nose-cutting “welcome to the end of my career” remark for embattled Jets coach Rex Ryan.
“As I was saying…” Olbermann began during the opening moments of his eponymous 11 p.m. show, a quick homage to Paar’s return to the Tonight Show in 1960 after his battles with NBC’s brass. In a somewhat odd choice, Olbermann then dug deep into the controversy that is dominating the sports world… Ryan’s decision to play quarterback Mark Sanchez in the fourth quarter of an exhibition game, in which he subsequently was injured. No? That’s not the top story by you? It’s actually not the top story here in New York either. But for Olbermann, it was part of a bigger, more important story: the latest sign that journalism is dying, if not already dead. He targeted Daily News reporter Manish Mehta for basically inventing the news — rather than doing any real reporting — that Ryan’s job is now in jeopardy as a result of Sanchez’s injury. It was the perfect opportunity for Olbermann to be the crusader that he loves to be, and to his credit, he also flicked ESPN’s Michael Wilbon (but oddly enough, not tonight’s guest Tony Kornheiser) for parroting the Rex-must-go line on Pardon the Interruption. But when Olbermann finally got around to saying, “Good evening from Times Square. There was a point to all that,” he’d been beating that drum — loudly — for 14 minutes! READ FULL STORY
Alex Rodriguez returns to play in Yankee Stadium tonight for the first time since a disastrous 2012 postseason performance and — even more ignominiously — since appealing his 211-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. Boos have rained down on him since he returned to the field during the Yankees recent road trip, but it will be interesting to see how the home crowd receives him. Rodriguez can take solace in the fact that Keith Olbermann returned to SportsCenter last night, 16 years after napalming his bridges there. Maybe you can go home again after all.
Olbermann’s first tour of duty at ESPN was defined by two things: (1) His star-making SportsCenter partnership with Dan Patrick that helped define the franchise, and (2) his impressive ability to insult and offend just about everyone that had to work with him. When ESPN hired him back last month — to host his own show on ESPN2 — observers couldn’t help but think back to the line in ESPN: Those Guys Have All the Fun, in which Rece Davis told authors James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales about the producer who said, “If we hire Olbermann back, he first has to stand in the reception area and everybody who wants to, gets to come up and punch him in the stomach.” READ FULL STORY
Statistician extraordinaire Nate Silver recently announced his departure from the New York Times, saying that his new gig with ESPN is a “dream job.” The numbers-man created FiveThirtyEight, a wildly popular blog that perhaps most famously predicted the 2012 Presidential Election results down to the state. In honor of his news-making move from the traditional news source back to his sports roots (he created the PECOTA system which can accurately predict a baseball player’s future performance), the author/ journalist/ mathematician answered questions directly from commenters in a Q&A on Deadspin Monday. Here are our four favorite responses from the chat:
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Nate Silver, the statistical analyst who confounded many political pundits by accurately forecasting the last two presidential elections, confirmed today that he was leaving the New York Times and taking his award-winning website, FiveThirtyEight.com, to ESPN. In 2008, Silver, who initially established his analytical expertise as a baseball statistician, dug deep into the sea of presidential-election polls and successfully predicted the results in 49 of 50 states. He brought his blog to the Times in 2010, and in 2012, he improved upon his 2008 record, nailing all 50 states.
At ESPN, Silver will be editor-in-chief of a new FiveThirtyEight site, similar to the arrangement that the company has with Bill Simmons and his Grantland website. In fact, Silver himself recently tweeted: “Grantland’s a model for what new 538 will look like. Independent editorial point-of-view. We’ll be doing some hiring, building a great team.”
ESPN is a natural home for the sports-minded Silver, who will also be a valuable resource for ABC during the election season. “This is a dream job for me,” Silver said in a statement. “I’m excited to expand FiveThirtyEight’s data-driven approach into new areas, while also reuniting with my love of sports. I’m thrilled that we’re going to be able to create jobs for a great team of journalists, writers and analysts. And I think that I’ve found the perfect place to do it. The variety and quality of the assets ESPN and ABC News presented to me was compelling and unparalleled. I can’t wait to get started.” READ FULL STORY
Welcome to the ESPYs! You know, that awards show that happens on a Wednesday on ESPN? Yeah, they give out awards to athletes who are like “Thanks, but I totally have an actual championship ring back at home.”
I’ve personally never felt the need to watch the awards show, or as host Jon Hamm calls it “the world’s largest gathering of people wearing sunglasses indoors,” but the idea of missing the Mad Men star hosting was too risky to pass up. Those of you who’ve seen Hamm guest on 30 Rock or make a cameo in Bridesmaids knows that the man with immeasurable beauty can crack a joke or two, and tonight’s awards were no different. Showing no mercy, Hamm poked fun at Dwight Howard, the city of Detroit, and swimmer Ryan Lochte. Some examples of his killer lines: “Honestly, I’ve always been a little wary of the BCS system. I just feel like you can’t completely trust something just because a computer says it.” and “Manti Te’o — fake internet girlfriend or a real girlfriend who goes to Notre Dame? Pretty much the same amount of sex.” Boom. (Check out Hamm’s full monologue.)
We were off to a good start, and thankfully, the show very rarely lost its steam, thanks to some on-point sketches shown in between the awards. Here are the top 10 things that I took away from it:
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The ESPY Awards are, by definition, a weird thing. Why hand athletes trophies that commemorate Excellence in Sports Performance? Don’t those athletes already get trophies for their excellent sports performances by… winning games?
That said, even those who don’t understand the show’s existence may find their interest piqued by this year’s host: Jon Hamm, modern-day renaissance man extraordinaire. His SNL appearances have made us laugh; his Mad Men performance has made us think; his car commercial voiceovers have made us listen in spite of ourselves; his pants have made us widen our eyes in amazement. We love him so much that we’d watch him read the phone book, provided phone books still existed.
But is all that enough to get legions of people who don’t care about sports — who take pride, in fact, in how little they care about sports — to pay attention tonight?
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Even if you’re not into sports, odds are you’d happily sit down with ESPN The Magazine‘s annual Body Issue. You might flip to the features, which include pieces on how a female athlete’s breasts can be an obstacle (p. 112) and why the 1,700-pound bucking bull Bushwacker “may just have the baddest body in all of sports” (p. 129). But you’re most likely headed straight to the nude photo spreads, which begin on page 51. (You’re welcome.) So you’re not “reading” alone, we’ll read along with you. READ FULL STORY
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