1. Before we get started with our regularly scheduled program, I have a little announcement. I’m going to be writing a weekly mailbag for SI.com that will run here every Tuesday. So send me any and all sports media (and nonsports media) questions you may have. You can email me questions via Jimmy.Traina@si.com or send them via Twitter.
“I hate what you two have done to sports television.”
That was Dan Le Batard to Stephen A. Smith last week when Smith appeared on Le Batard’s South Beach Sessions podcast.
Le Batard claims that he was referencing all the copycats who have tried their hand at the hot take debate format after seeing the success of Smith and his old First Take partner, Skip Bayless.
What ensued was a passionate defense from Smith, who also stated that Le Batard’s hands weren’t clean in making sports talk loud and confrontational and argumentative.
“You can say that all you want to,” said Smith. “I would say, ‘Who the hell are you? “To sit up there and say me and him. What about you? Where the hell were you? Living under a rock? Teaching at Miami U? You were part of it, too! You ain’t innocent!”
What made the exchange great was that Le Batard had the guts to make that statement to Smith. Very few people who do interviews have the power to do that. The other thing that made this compelling viewing/listening is that Smith fought back and gave it back to Le Batard.
Ironically, while arguing about the state of sports talk and the lack of journalism from today’s opinionists and the way the current game works with social media and using it for attention and building a brand, both men followed up the discussion by using their own platforms in their own distinct ways to keep the story line going.
Le Batard pulled off an outstanding Instagram video addressing the backlash to his statement.
“I told Stephen A. Smith that I hated what he and Skip Bayless had done to sports television and the reaction was hostile and swift on Elon Musk’s kind, gentle community app. People say that I’m a fat, ugly, hypocritical, jealous jerk, a--hole, moron, idiot. And I’d just like to defend myself against that. I’m not jealous.”
That’s an A+ from start to finish. So well done.
Smith, meanwhile, used the controversy for fodder on his own podcast.
So while debating the merits of sports television, the two titans showed you how to perfectly play the internet/social media/podcast game. Say something inflammatory on a podcast, then respond on social media, then respond on a podcast and get all the attention and clicks you can.
2. Depending on how you feel about LeBron James you will either find this hilarious or you will get infuriated. While discussing his foot injury Sunday, the King said he went to a doctor who was “the LeBron James of feet.”
3. Kyrie Irving had a fan ejected from last night’s Mavericks-Hornets game.
He tried to explain why after the game, but I literally have no idea what any of this means.
4. I thought I was watching an NFL game Sunday when Gene Steratore came on CBS to defend the refs for making an awful call at the end of the Creighton–San Diego State game. At least fans are now seeing that rules analysts are mainly just there to say the refs got every call right.
5. My colleague, Jon Wertheim, did a great feature on Charles Barkley for last night’s edition of 60 Minutes. As usual, Chuck was Chuck.
6. This week’s episode of SI Media With Jimmy Traina features an interview with the NFL Network’s Kyle Brandt.
Brandt discusses his busy schedule, cohosting Good Morning Football and hosting Kyle Brandt’s Basement five days a week, in addition to taking on other projects. He also talks about interviewing Josh Allen every week, cast changes at GMFB, auditioning for ManningCast and why it’s O.K. to say no to sports media jobs.
Among other topics covered with Brandt: the Aaron Rodgers–New York marriage, the NFL adding a Black Friday game next season, Monday Night Football getting flex scheduling next season, Las Vegas brothels offering Jimmy Garoppolo free sex for life, Anthony Richardson’s jumping ability, elevator etiquette, people who complain to you in stores and much more.
Following Brandt, Sal Licata from WFAN radio and SNY TV joins Jimmy for their weekly “Traina Thoughts” segment. This week, Jimmy and Sal discuss the World Baseball Classic, the NCAA tournament, MLB’s awful Apple TV+ deal and more.
You can also watch SI Media With Jimmy Traina on YouTube.
7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: WrestleMania takes place this weekend, so we’ll be featuring historic videos from the WWE’s Super Bowl in this space all week. We start off with Mean Gene’s WrestleMania I report. Great nugget from this clip: WrestleMania I, which took place on March 31, 1985, began at 1 pm. ET. Now, the spectacular is so big it takes place over two nights, with each night going four-plus hours.