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Volume 24 No. 157

Events and Attractions

The National Sportscasters & Sportswriters Association last night held its 55th annual awards banquet at Catawba College in Salisbury, N.C., honoring SI’s Peter King as Sportswriter of the Year and NBC’s Mike Emrick as Sportscaster of the Year. The evening culminated in the inductions of TNT’s Marv Albert and ESPN’s Rick Reilly into the NSSA HOF. Reilly, who said that his column running today on is his last as a sportswriter, used his 12th appearance at the NSSA lectern to crack jokes about his career highlights and future plans. He gave out his own faux awards for everything from best quote he had heard from a sports figure -- Yankees SS Derek Jeter for, “Dude, I’m not going down that Miss Universe road again” -- to best hate mail he had received, which came from a cheerleader who wrote “I hope you die” with a heart over the “i.” Broncos Exec VP/Football Operations John Elway introduced Reilly, saying, “For 30 years Rick has told me about me, so for once let me tell you a little bit about him.” He called Reilly “the best in the world at what he does” before raising a glass to his longtime friend. NBC’s Bob Costas, a ’12 inductee into the HOF, presented Albert for what he called an “overdue induction.” Costas said that when a big moment happens in a basketball game, “You want Marv Albert’s voice to be the narration of that moment.” CBS "Late Show" host David Letterman offered Costas an assist by recording one of his famous “Top 10” segments, titled “Top 10 Things You Never Knew About Marv Albert.” The crowd cracked up when Letterman revealed that Albert “has two poodles named ‘Yes’ and ‘It Counts.’” In accepting his honor, Albert reflected on calling games he watched on TV as a child for WMPA, a fictitious station with call letters based on his initials. He also touched on the significance of being objective as a sportscaster because “fans are not stupid.” Albert: “Be true to your audience and true to yourself.”

MONDAY NIGHT QB: King in accepting his third Sportswriter of the Year award stressed the importance of originality in a crowded sports media landscape, noting that while he was one of about 15 reporters at the ’99 NFL Combine, the league issued 941 credentials for the ’14 event. King: “One of the things that I told our new staff is 'I don't care about volume. I only care about originality.'” He used a story from The MMQB in which he embedded himself with an NFL officiating crew as an example of finding unique ways to capture and tell stories. King also shared that he recently received a death threat from a reader, and that when he told his wife, she responded, “Only one?” King: “Our world has changed. People are going to know you because of social media, because you put yourself out there. … It's a small price to pay for what it is that we do.” Meanwhile, Emrick accepted in absentia his first NSSA award, as he was calling Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final. In a prerecorded acceptance speech from inside Staples Center, he thanked Albert for helping him land his first NHL gig -- as Albert’s backup calling Rangers games on the radio in the mid '80s.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS: More than 60 Sportscasters and Sportswriters of the Year from 40 individual states also were on hand to accept their trophies, while the Boston Globe’s Bob Ryan was introduced as the NSSA’s incoming President. Ryan, an ’11 HOF inductee, gushed about the impact the organization has had on his career and expressed excitement about the opportunity to give back to it. ESPN Coordinating Producer Jose Morales received the Story of the Year award for “Carry On,” a follow-up to a ’09 piece produced by Lisa Fenn. The bond Fenn formed with the two high school wrestlers featured in the original segment was the focus of Morales’ story and, as such, she was retroactively awarded the ’09 Story of the Year Award. Fenn said of the ethical line regarding forming relationships with subjects, “The good stuff, the stuff that really matters, is often on the other side of that line.”

America's Cup officials have “reduced the prospective venues for the next regatta from four to three, and it appears San Francisco has been eliminated,” according to Bernie Wilson of the AP. Oracle Team USA CEO Russell Coutts “wouldn't confirm which city is out,” but it has been “known for months that San Francisco -- the hometown of Oracle Team USA -- hasn't offered terms as attractive as those offered by San Diego, Bermuda and Chicago to host the final rounds” of the ‘17 regatta. Unified Port of San Diego Board of Commissioners Chair Bob Nelson “confirmed that his city's bid has advanced.” Although the ‘13 America's Cup was “troubled in many ways, racing on San Francisco Bay was spectacular.” But America's Cup officials have been “unhappy that San Francisco officials aren't offering the same terms as last year, including free rent for piers as well as police, fire and other services.” S.F. “probably has the best sailing conditions, but Coutts has made it clear that commercial considerations are important for the next America's Cup.” If Bermuda is chosen, it could be a “controversial decision,” as it would be the “first time a U.S. defender held the America's Cup outside” the U.S. It is believed that Bermuda's bid “contains an income tax break for those participating in the America's Cup, similar" to what Valencia, Spain offered for the '07 and '10 events. Bermuda is “closer to Europe than the other potential venues, an important consideration for TV and potential sponsors.” Meanwhile, Chicago “remains a mystery candidate,” but neither side has commented due to “confidentiality agreements” (AP, 6/10).

ARM WRESTLING: In Chicago, Blake Schuster writes for a city to host the event, the nearby body of water on which the race would occur must be on the sea or "an arm of the sea." An '84 New York Supreme Court decision ruled that “under this criterion, a boat from Chicago could challenge for the Cup because Lake Michigan is considered to be an arm of the sea.” If Chicago were selected, it would be the “first time the race would be held on a lake.” Nelson: "The America's Cup is now all about arena racing, having the races occur within sight of the shore so you can have a much broader part of the public enjoy the sport. The shoreline in Chicago is obviously very interesting in terms of that." Chicago Yacht Club BOD member Lou Sandoval “speculated that if Chicago does host the race” in ‘17, the city would also be “awarded the America's Cup World Series” from ‘15-16 and the Louis Vuitton Cup, which is the America's Cup qualifying race (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/10).

CBS Sports Network yesterday announced that it has partnered with the Naval Academy to create the “Veterans Classic at the Naval Academy,” which will be "held annually through 2017 and bring some of the nation’s top" men's basketball programs to the academy, according to Bill Wagner of the Annapolis CAPITAL. The inaugural event takes place Nov. 14 with Michigan State-Navy at 9:00pm ET, while Tennessee and VCU, "both of which made the NCAA Tournament last season, will meet in the opener at 6:30." Navy will "host and participate in every Veterans Classic with the other three teams changing from year-to-year." Navy coach Ed DeChellis said that the goal is to "hold the event on Veterans Day if the calendar allows." Wagner notes DeChellis "sold the idea" to AD Chet Gladchuk, who "in turn presented it to CBS." Gladchuk said, "CBS was very enthusiastic about the event and that was critical. Without the support of CBS, we would not have been able to pull this off." He added, "I doubt that Michigan State, Tennessee and VCU would be involved with this without the endorsement of CBS." Plans call for MSU, UT and VCU to "arrive in Annapolis a day beforehand to tour the Naval Academy, observe the noon meal formation and eat lunch alongside the Brigade of Midshipmen in King Hall" (Annapolis CAPITAL, 6/10).'s Matt Norlander wrote if all "goes well, this could be a longstanding college basketball tradition: two games held around Veterans Day to honor American military service." In that vein, it "replaces the fleeting concept of holding games on aircraft carriers." In fact, it was the "aircraft carrier games that sparked Navy's idea to host this event" (, 6/9).