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Volume 24 No. 115

People and Pop Culture

The central figures in the Heat's NBA Championship run are in day two of their run on the talk-show circuit, as LEBRON JAMES, DWYANE WADE and CHRIS BOSH all appeared on ABC's "The View" this morning. Co-host BARBARA WALTERS said, “We’ve never had this much testosterone on the show.” Looking at the Larry O'Brien trophy, James said, “This right here is the reason why we all came together in the first place two summers ago. We knew it was going to be tough, not quite this tough.” Walters asked, “Are you really this close? Tell us the truth, no one’s listening.” Wade: “We’re brothers. Each of us is different and away from the game, each of us like to do different things. But we always come back together. On the court, we’re as close as it gets.” Co-host JOY BEHAR asked the players if it bothers them "when people, outside of South Florida, let’s say, really can’t stand you and they hate you because you’re good, I guess?” Bosh: “You have to get really numb to it because when we first got together, I think it shocked us all how different it was and really everybody was coming out.” Behar noted, “Just pure jealously.” Bosh: “It’s a part of the game.” James said of winning the title, “It was like a relief. It was like a weight off our backs. It was definitely a weight off my back personally” ("The View," ABC, 6/27).

James kissed the Larry O'Brien championship
trophy last night on "Late Show"

THE VIEW FROM THE TOP: James last night appeared on CBS' "Late Show," where he received a standing ovation from the studio audience. Host DAVID LETTERMAN said, “I haven't had a standing ovation in my life. Well, now that you got this out of your system, you ready to go back to Cleveland and play some ball?” James replied, “Right now, I'm going to play no ball.” Letterman said of James' decision to leave the Cavaliers and join the Heat, “I was furious at you. I just thought … you don't care, do you?” Letterman: “I just thought the opportunity was there, ‘By God, I'm going to stick it out in Cleveland and lift that city.’” James: “I heard all that too from you, and I thought we were friends.” Letterman responded, “We are friends!” James noted last night marked his fifth appearance on the show, and Letterman said, “You must have got tired of punks like me wising off. ... Here's another Cleveland question,” eliciting a laugh from James and the audience. Letterman asked, “There's no way to know this, but what would it have felt like if you were still in Cleveland and had won the championship there?” James: “I think the feeling that I had on Thursday, I could have been on Mars and won that championship. It felt amazing. It was better than what I expected.” Letterman handed the Larry O’Brien Trophy to James, who embraced the trophy and kissed it. Letterman said, “You kids get a room” (“Late Show,” CBS, 6/26).

Wade (l) helps Fallon practice his intellectual
pose during last night's show

TAKING OFF THE GLASSES: Wade appeared on NBC’s “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” last night and host JIMMY FALLON asked, “Is the adrenaline wearing off yet?” Wade: “Well, I'm tired.” Fallon said, “You've been partying since you've won.” Fallon said Wade “brought us some of your trademark glasses here.” Wade put on a pair and said, “These are intellectual right here.” When asked how James has changed since winning his first NBA Championship, Wade said, “He stopped talking about that. But man, I thought he did an unbelievable job this year really coming in and just taking everything that he did wrong and saying, ‘Listen, I take all blame for everything that was done wrong, that was said wrong by me and I'm going to get back to enjoying what I do.’” Fallon: “He gets critiqued on everything he does.” Wade: “I've never seen nothing like it before. ... No other sports icon can really say they deal exactly with what he deals with or has dealt with” (“Late Night With Jimmy Fallon,” NBC, 6/26).

DON'T YOU FORGET ABOUT ME: Bosh yesterday appeared on “Live! With Kelly” and said losing in the NBA Finals last year “was very tough.” Bosh: “A lot of people just see it as playing basketball, but we put everything into it and it can really give you a lot of pain and a lot of pleasure at the same time. But last year was really rough, but it was really great to win it this year.” Bosh added, “I got to meet OPRAH. It was pretty great.” Host KELLY RIPA replied, “Wait! Where was this?” Bosh said that he “can’t remember which day, I think it was Thursday we won and then Friday they said --” Guest co-host TYLER PERRY interjected, “You can’t remember which day you won?” Bosh said, “I didn’t know what today was. But they were like, ‘Okay, we’re going to do the parade and then do this and do that. Oprah’s going to be there and you’re going to talk to Oprah.’ I was like, ‘What?’” Ripa: “So you’re wife is freaking out, like, ‘What should I wear?’ Right?” Bosh replied, “I’m freaking out” (“Live! With Kelly,” 6/26). Bosh also is scheduled to appear on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live" tonight (THE DAILY).

Sports can be an unpredictable business but the one constant for many years at signature sporting events has been NBC's BOB COSTAS. One month from today, Costas will return to his prominent role as the longest-tenured sports host for the Olympic Games. Costas took some time to reflect on his career, the change in the industry and NBC's merger with Comcast, as well as share his thoughts on social media. 

Q: How has the sports broadcasting landscape changed since you first entered the industry?
Costas: I think the most obvious thing is the proliferation of outlets -- radio, television, online -- just the proliferation of places where sports is covered and the sheer tonnage of it. The number of hours, the number of events; all-sports radio didn’t exist when I broke into the business. Now there’s coverage coming from every direction. Some of it is good. But almost by definition, when you have that much, a good deal of it is mediocre or worse. I think that while these added avenues have given opportunities to a lot of talented people, they’ve also given a voice to a lot of people who have no particular insight and have no particular fidelity to facts or fairness and that hasn’t been a good thing. So it’s pulled in both directions.

Q: What has been social media’s affect on reporting?
Costas: Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but an opinion is not the same things as reporting. And not everyone’s opinion carries the same level of credibility, nor should it.

Q: What has been the biggest change for you since Comcast took over ownership of NBC?
Costas: The emergence of the NBC Sports Network, which used to be Versus, and now has been relabeled. In my case, that gives me a chance to replicate some of what I did at HBO with the kind of programming -- long-form interviews and commentary and whatnot -- the kind of programming that network television is generally not well suited to do but which cable television can do. So that’s been the biggest change for me. It’s actually gratifying to me that on the broadcast side, there haven’t been any major disruptions. MARK LAZARUS, who succeeded DICK EBERSOL, is a very personable guy. I’m sure over time he’s going to be putting his own stamp on it, but he’s also been smart enough and secure enough to recognize that when certain things are running extremely well, there is no need to tinker with them.

Q: What has the transition in leadership been like from Dick Ebersol to Mark Lazarus as your boss?
Costas: Nothing could ever replace the relationship I have with Dick because it spans so much of my career. He had a personal and professional impact on me that’s singular, that will never be duplicated. I’ve been very, very happy with the transition to Mark. Mark’s been very supportive, very helpful. I like his demeanor. I think that one of the biggest parts of his legacy, if that’s the word, will be what happens down the road in terms of rights acquisitions. What properties do we retain? Right out of the box, we were in the process of making the pitch when Dick resigned, but we went to Lausanne and NBC came away with several Olympic Games so that reaffirmed their commitment to sports. Then they extended the “Sunday Night Football” packages as well and added a Thanksgiving night game and added a playoff game. We expanded our coverage of the NHL. ... So that’s always part of how you evaluate someone in Mark’s position or Dick’s position. Not just the quality of what goes on the air, which is important, but also what do you acquire and retain to put on the air.

Q: What’s the best advice you give to people who are interested in entering your field?
Costas: I’ve always said -- and I think it’s still true -- get as well-rounded an education as you can. Don’t confine yourself only to sports. Be honest with yourself: you can be intelligent, dedicated, hard-working and yet there’s a knack to this and you have to find out whether you have that knack. And if you have it, it still takes time to develop it and polish it. From there my advice would be that even as the way people receive information and entertainment changes because of technology and the speed with which they receive it may change, there still ought to be -- unfortunately it isn’t always the case -- certain values that are timeless. A commitment to what’s fair and accurate ought to be part of that. It ought to be possible to cover the drama, the excitement and the fun of sports, but still have a journalistic aspect to your coverage. ... There’s a difference between being irreverent and being mean-spirited and I think sometimes that’s lost in today’s media world.

Q: If you were MLB Commissioner for a day, what would be your first order of business?
Costas: I’d expand replay in the postseason. I’d do it judiciously, but I would expand it so that baseball can avoid in a postseason situation obviously blown calls that influence the outcome of games of that importance.

Q: What’s one sports business story you’re watching?
Costas: As a baseball fan, I’ve got my eye on the sale of the Dodgers and what that does to other franchise values and local cable revenues, which have burgeoned in some places but which probably don’t have as high an upside in other places. The Kansas City Royals can’t duplicate what the Texas Rangers just did. Will that create widening imbalances in the game, which baseball has worked hard to narrow? Baseball has had some success in narrowing those revenue gaps in recent years, is there another widening of the gap around the corner or can they manage this?

NFL Network promoted JENNIFER LOVE to VP & Coordinating Dir. The net also promoted MIKE MURIANO and KENT CAMERA to Senior Dir & Senior Coordinating Producer (NFL Network)....LA Marathon LLC named NYRR Dir of Business Development & Strategic Partnerships PATRICK BYERLY Dir of Sales & Marketing (LA Marathon)....The Univ. of Wisconsin named JASON KING Associate AD for Capital Projects & Operations (UW)....The Univ. of Mississippi named Univ. of Arkansas Dir of Facilities JOE SWINGLE Associate AD for Facilities & Game Operations (Ole Miss)....The Univ. of Colorado named Hornets Senior VP/Marketing & Communications MATT BIGGERS Chief Marketing Officer. Biggers previously worked for the Magic from '99-07 (CU)....Georgia State Univ. named GamePlan Financial Marketing LLC Dir of Field Marketing MATTHEW NEWHOUSE Assistant AD for Marketing (Georgia State)....Bowling Green State Univ. promoted JERMAINE TRUAX to Assistant AD for Compliance (BGSU)....The Univ. of California-Berkley promoted JAY JOHN to Assistant AD for Basketball Development (Cal)....The Univ. of Detroit Mercy named MATT ZIELINSKI Dir of Ticket Operations & Special Events (UDM)....Kennesaw State Univ. promoted LISA CHERRY to the newly created position of Creative Services Coordinator, and hired MIKE YOUNG as Dir of Sports Medicine, BOBBY LINDSEY as Dir of Ticket Services & Operations, and AL BARBA as Dir of Athletic Communications (KSU).

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Golf agent CHUBBY CHANDLER appeared on Golf Channel's "FEHERTY" Monday night and said, "One thing I try to implore on a player (is) it's all about us trying to help them reach their goal." Chandler said his background as a golfer is a "comfort to a player when he knows at the other end he's got somebody that understands what he's going through." He added, "It's not all about cash. The cash can come later. You explain to a guy, 'This deal's bigger than that deal, but if we take this deal it's better for your game and in three years time you might have won a couple of majors.' That's the way I try and play it, rather than say it's all about trying to make some dollars now." Chandler said of his influence on his clients' schedules, "The idea that I don't like the PGA Tour is just ridiculous because the guys are trying to play here as much as they can. What they're trying to do is be able to play everywhere and play the best tournaments if they can" ("Feherty," Golf Channel, 6/25).

HEADED TO THE HALL: LOCOG Chair and British Olympic Gold Medal-winning runner SEBASTIAN COE is among the 24 inaugural members of the IAAF HOF (AP, 6/25)....Late N.C. State Univ. men's basketball coaches EVERETT CASE and JIM VALVANO, and late NCSU women's basketball coach KAY YOW are among the 10 inaugural members of the school's HOF. The inductees will be honored on Oct. 5 at Reynolds Coliseum (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 6/27).

AWARD-WINNING PERFORMANCE: The National Council of La Raza, a civil rights and advocacy organization, will present "JESSE" JAMES LEIJA with its Roberto Clemente Award for Sports Excellence on July 10 during the NCLR's convention in Las Vegas. The organization said that the award is presented each year to a headline sports figure who works for the "advancement of Hispanic Americans" (, 6/26)....The ECHL named Ontario Reign President JUSTIN KEMP recipient of its '11-12 Exec of the Year award and Colorado Eagles Communications Manager J.P. PUMA recipient of the Award of Excellence for Media Relations (ECHL).

NAMES: HarperCollins Publishers has acquired the rights to two books by paralyzed former Rutgers football player ERIC LEGRAND. His adult memoir, "BELIEVE: MY FAITH AND THE TACKLE THAT CHANGED MY LIFE," and a young readers version, "BELIEVE: THE VICTORIOUS STORY OF ERIC LEGRAND" are scheduled for publication in September (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 6/27)....Boxing HOFer MUHAMMAD ALI will attend a Sports for Peace gala benefit in his honor two days before the start of the London Games. The July 25 event in London will honor Ali's humanitarian work and status as a "role model on civil rights, humanity and in opposing war" (AP, 6/26)....S.F. Mayor ED LEE before last night's Dodgers-Giants game presented Giants P MATT CAIN with the key to the city in honor of his perfect game June 13 (, 6/26)....Oilers overall No. 1 draft pick NAIL YAKUPOV through yesterday has accumulated 19,983 Twitter followers. Oilers Dir of Communications J.J. HEBERT said that the club "has no intention of muzzling their Russian sensation" (EDMONTON JOURNAL, 6/27)....Former Florida State Univ. football coach BOBBY BOWDEN will serve as the Grand Marshal for Saturday's Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Daytona Int'l Speedway (DIS)....U.S. Olympic Gold Medal-winning decathlete BRUCE JENNER will report on-air and online for E! News during the London Games. Jenner appears on the net's "KEEPING UP WITH THE KARDASHIANS" (E!).