Curt Menefee: Chemistry the Key to FOX NFL Sunday’s Pregame Show Success

LBS had the pleasure of speaking with Curt Menefee, the host of the FOX NFL Sunday pregame show, recently. We talked about what makes the pregame show so successful, and what makes football shows work. He also gave us a behind-the-scenes look at the show and its hosts. Our conversation follows.

LBS: When you were hired for the pregame show to replace James Brown, what were your thoughts then and what are your thoughts now?

Menefee: Being 100% honest, I never looked at it that I was hired to replace James Brown. I was hired to be Curt Menefee. There’s always an opening somewhere, and I was hired to be me, not to replace someone. So that was my approach from day one — to try and fit in with the unit that was there, and to be the perfect teammate to make the team successful.

Going into it, obviously with James Brown having been there before, and knowing JB, I talked to him and he was helpful giving me some insight with what they were looking for. There was a relationship that helped me along, but I never looked at it that I was replacing him. I viewed it that I was hired for a great gig and that I had to do what I needed to do.

LBS: The pregame show has had a lot of success over the years. In your eyes, what goes into making a successful pregame show?

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Wake Forest’s Tom Walter Talks with LBS About Donating Kidney to Kevin Jordan

A little over two months ago we told you about Wake Forest baseball coach Tom Walter who donated a kidney to his player, Kevin Jordan. We were stunned by the generosity behind the move and the decision for Coach Walter to give up an important organ for a player he hardly knew.

Ever since donating his kidney, Coach Walter has been helping to raise awareness for kidney disease and organ donation. He says he’s feeling great and that Kevin is progressing well in his recovery. We had a chance to speak with Coach Walter on behalf of National Donation Life Month and we encourage you to visit www.kidney.org for more information on organ donation.

Our conversation with the heroic Coach Walter follows.

LBS: How has your life changed since you donated the kidney to Kevin?

TW: Well it’s certainly changed in terms of recognition. People are still sending emails and letters and calling, which has been great. Often times they share their stories of how organ donation has affected their lives in a positive manner, so that’s been an unexpected but very nice side effect to all this.

And then personally I’m more aware of organ donation as a whole and the need to increase awareness. My desire to be involved has grown exponentially.

LBS: Do you think it’s changed the team at all, like in a way that it brought people together more?

TW: We were a pretty close-knit group before this, but if anything, it made us more aware of the value of sacrificing for one another.

LBS: How is your recover coming along since the surgery?

TW: Everything has been pretty seamless. I’m back to exercising, my diet hasn’t changed, I’m not on any medication, so I’d say I’m 100% back to normal.

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Gordon Hayward: Deron Williams Trade Makes you Realize the NBA Is a Business

Larry Brown Sports got the chance to visit with Utah Jazz rookie forward Gordon Hayward on Tuesday. Last year Hayward led five-seed Butler to the NCAA Tournament Championship Game against Duke as a sophomore. Hayward, who says he eats Subway on gamedays, is offering to buy 5,555 meatball pepperoni subs for Subway customers if a five-seed can win it all this March Madness. The odds are against the fives, but we visited with Hayward to hear his thoughts on who could get it done, how his rookie season is going, the changes with the Jazz, and whether he’s cooperating with the rookie hazing. We really started getting warmed up towards the end of the interview so make sure you read the whole way through.

LBS: I know you’re repping the five seeds for Subway, which one do you think has the best chance to advance?

GH: I played Kansas State last year and they’re very long and athletic, and they have a great guard in Jacob Pullen who can lead them down the stretch. That’s the five I think that has the best chance.

LBS: You were really able to build your draft stock in the tournament. Take me back to last year when you were thinking about entering the draft. How tough of a decision was that for you?

GH: It was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make. Coming from a program like Butler where they do things the right way, there’s great people there, it’s 20 minutes from my house and I had my friends and family there, so it was a very difficult decision.

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Larry Johnson on Grand Ma Ma’s Sweet Tea, UNLV, Converse, Nike, and Coaching

Former UNLV All-American and NBA All-Star Larry Johnson was the inspiration for the famous Grand Ma Ma character Converse marketed. Starring in the commercials that promoted “React Juice,” Grand Ma Ma was easily one of the most successful sneaker campaigns the NBA has seen. Years after Johnson’s NBA career came to an end, the Grand Ma Ma character is still beloved by basketball fans. Larry has used it promote a new line of Sweet Teas his beverage company is producing. Folks on the East Coast can begin to look for Grand Ma Ma’s Southern Sweet Tea on the shelves, and before long the hope is to have it in stores across the country.

Larry Brown Sports was lucky enough to talk with the former UNLV, Hornets, and Knicks star and we covered a wide range of subjects including the National Championship Game against Duke, his association with Converse and how a slight from Nike began that relationship, his feelings on coaching, and much more.

Larry Brown Sports: Recently Paul Silas said that Michael Jordan could still score 20 points a game in the NBA, what about you, how’s your game?

LJ: No, I can’t get two rebounds or score any points now. I left it all on the court when I played, my back is so bad.

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Ty Murray: We Won’t Rest Until Bull Riding Is on SportsCenter Regularly

LBS had the pleasure of speaking with legendary bull rider and co-founder of Professional Bull Riding, Ty Murray, during Super Bowl week. We talked to the King of the Cowboys about his experiences with Super Bowls, bringing the PBR to Cowboys Stadium, and how impressed he is with Jerry’s big screen HD TV. You’ll be surprised to hear in which cities the PBR is most popular (hint: it’s not cities in Texas). I asked Murray if he was surprised with how well the PBR has done and how much its grown, and we talked about prize money and how it’s made some sports less competitive. He also said compared to bull riders, football players are wussies.

But what really got Ty chapped was the lack of coverage of PBR on the four-letter network. PBR is televised on rival networks NBC and Versus, but he still feels it should be on SportsCenter with all the other sports. I know I wouldn’t mind seeing a few bull riding highlights mixed in.

Here’s a sample of what Ty had to say, and you can listen to our interview below.

“We’re not going to rest until you turn on SportsCenter and can see something on a regular basis that has to do with the world of Professional Bull Riding. The fact that the ESPYs don’t even consider us in the ESPYs, I feel like that’s something that has to be changed. I don’t know how you can claim to understand sports and what’s involved in athletics and not see us in that realm. You’re trying to take something that’s physically and athletically speaking very hard, but you couple in the fact that it’s the most dangerous sport, from an athlete’s perspective, that really makes something that’s difficult already even more difficult when you factor in how dangerous it is.”

To hear more from Ty, listen to our interview below:

Interview Part I

Interview Part II

Apolo Ohno for Subway on Running NYC Marathon, Work Ethic, Michael Phelps Bong

LBS had the pleasure of speaking with two-time gold medalist and eight-time Olympic medalist speed skater Apolo Ohno Thursday. Ohno is in the Fort Worth area for Subway and announced he will be competing in the upcoming NYC Marathon, accepting Jared’s challenge. We talked about a number of subjects including preparing for the marathon, preparing for the Olympics, and of course we had to ask him his thoughts on the Michael Phelps bong pictures that came out two years ago.

Ohno has a busy upcoming schedule — he’s in Ft. Worth, going to New York, Las Vegas, and then he has a few other stops on the West Coast all in the next few days. He said he’ll be rooting for the Steelers on Sunday because of his trainer, John Schaeffer, who’s a Steelers fan. During our conversation, what stood out most to me about Ohno were his values of hard work and being a proper role model.

I was curious how much being an Olympian was the product of talent and how much came from working hard. Ohno told me it’s a combination of both, saying “talent can get you on the right track, but it doesn’t mean you’re doing it the right way.”

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LBS Exclusive: Oney Guillen Takes the Fall in Twitter Controversy

Oney Guillen is best known as the son of outspoken White Sox manager, Ozzie Guillen. Oney was drafted by the organization in ’07, played two seasons, and then began working in the team’s scouting department last season. He was looking forward to his second season in the team’s front office until a twitter controversy arose, leading to his resignation on Friday.

Talking with Oney on Saturday, you could sense his frustration in what he called a contradiction with the White Sox organization, “You want to keep stuff private but you approve a reality show for the team. You say you want to keep stuff in-house but you agree to do a reality show. It’s contradictory, don’t you think?”

Oney was confused because he never felt he was critical about the organization on his twitter account and because he had been posting tweets for over a month without the team telling him to stop. While he did concede that the organization probably wouldn’t want him to influence decisions with his tweets (he made several positive remarks about Andruw Jones and even advocated for re-signing A.J. Pierzynski), he was disappointed that they never approached him to talk about the issue.

“I didn’t tweet anything bad at all,” Guillen lamented. “I only heard stuff through the grapevine. If they had asked me to close down the account I would have but they never said anything.” Oney said he felt there was a double-standard because other members within the organization have twitter accounts and that didn’t seem to be a problem. He felt he was being watched under a microscope because of who his dad was, not because of what he was writing.

Tension seemed to have been brewing within the White Sox organization the past few months. First, the team grumbled when Ozzie Guillen signed up for a twitter account. Then, when Ozzie had plans to expand his thoughts onto a website, the team nixed the plans. Oney’s resignation seemed to be the culmination of mounting problems that could last into the season, but it’s his final words that will ring true for most Sox fans, “Why are we worrying about what a 24-year-old kid is twittering instead of winning games?”

Opening day is only two weeks away and suddenly a reality show doesn’t look like the best of ideas for a club that’s already engaged in a soap opera.