Shaq Reportedly Will Join Turner as NBA Commentator

Fresh from the “We never saw this coming” department is the report that Shaq will join Turner as an NBA commentator. CNBC’s Darren Rovell wrote Saturday that the surefire Hall of Fame center has agreed in principle to join Turner not ESPN, which means we will likely see him on TNT’s Inside the NBA show in the future.

There are very few professional athletes who crave attention more than Shaquille O’Neal, with maybe Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens ranking slightly ahead. Shaq will do anything from dressing up like a girl to talking about fighting in MMA, to announcing his retirement with a twitter video to gain attention. There was no way we would have been able to avoid him in retirement, but I was optimistic we’d see less of him. Guess I was wrong.

Not sure what’s responsible for my disdain for Shaq? Read this list.

Now you’re telling me we have middle fingers and sombrero wearing from Shaq and Charles Barkley to look forward to the next five years? Oh joy.

NBA.com Working to Eliminate Pictures and Videos of Players from Team Websites

The NBA just had one of its most successful seasons of the new millennium. Ratings were sky-high, fan interest spiked, and everyone seemed to take enjoyment in bashing the big villains of the basketball world — the Miami Heat. So what do you do to follow up such a great season? You cue up a lockout as your encore if you’re David Stern.

Though the NBA has many wage and salary cap issues to address in its CBA discussions, there is another problem on its hands. According to a story by Kevin Arnovitz at True Hoop, NBA.com and all the team websites affiliated with it are scrambling to prepare for the lockout. These details are enough to make any programmer go mad:

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Craig James Launches ‘Texans for a Better America’ Political Movement

Craig James is a college football analyst who played running back for SMU and the Patriots. You’re probably used to hearing him provide commentary during college football season when he’s not trying to get coaches fired. Now we’ve learned through Bryan D. Fischer that he’s also launched a political movement called “Texans for a Better America.” Here’s part of the movement’s mission according to its website:

“Texans for a Better America is about reconnecting people with the values, ideas, and founding principles that have not only made Texas the envy of our nation, but would transform our country. We hope you’ll join in this essential conversation to engage, learn and share the values that guide and ideas that transform.”

Texans for a Better America supports the constitution, a free market economy, and it believes in American Exceptionalism saying “America is the greatest nation this earth has ever known.” The party emphasizes “freedom, hard work and personal responsibility.”

At this point it’s unclear what political office, if any, James aspires to be elected for, but there have been past reports that he’s interested in running for a Senate seat. We’re told James informed his bosses at ESPN about his decision to launch the site.

Bill MacDonald and John Ireland Are New Lakers Announcers, Spero Dedes to Knicks

The Lakers announced Tuesday that they are making changes to their play-by-play announcing teams on radio and TV. Bill MacDonald, who has been with Fox Sports West since it began in 1985, will be the new TV play-by-play voice, replacing Joel Meyers. Stu Lantz will remain as the team’s television color commentator.

On radio, John Ireland will be the team’s play-by-play voice, joining former Laker Mychal Thompson who is the analyst. Ireland has covered the Lakers as a TV sideline reporter since 2002 and he serves as a talk show host on 710 ESPN Radio in LA. Ireland informed LBS he will continue in his role as co-host of the Mason & Ireland show.

Spero Dedes was expected to become the team’s new TV play-by-play man and replace Meyers. Lakers spokesman John Black said “We had a verbal agreement with Spero to be our new TV play-by-play announcer. … He had a change of heart.” Tom Hoffarth of the LA Daily News reports that Dedes has accepted a job as the Knicks TV play-by-play announcer. Hoffarth adds that Dedes will be allowed to continue his play-by-play duties for CBS. Kevin Ding of the OC Register reports that Dedes wouldn’t have been able to continue with his national jobs if he accepted the Lakers position.

Matthew Barnaby Arrested for Domestic Violence in Amherst, New York

The last time we mentioned ESPN NHL analyst and former Buffalo Sabres winger Matthew Barnaby, it was to note he was dating ESPN personality Michelle Beadle. This time around we’re passing along news that is not as positive.

WIVB reports that Barnaby was arrested and charged with domestic violence Friday in Amherst, New York. From their report:

Amherst Police responded to a location at 6:15 p.m. and found serious damage to property. The location is being kept private to protect two female victims, who police say were not injured.

The former right winger was arrested and charged with second degree criminal contempt, harassment, second degree criminal trespass, and second degree criminal mischief. Police say after leaving the location, he made angry phone calls, and Barnaby has also been charged with aggravated harassment via a cell phone.

Barnaby will spend the night in jail and be arraigned in court in the morning, according to WIVB. Barnaby is divorced so this may have been an incident related to his ex-wife. It was only back in February that he wrote on twitter “Can anyone tell me why divorces are so expensive?? A wise man told me- because they are worth it!!!!!!”

He did mention on twitter during the week that he was headed home to Buffalo this weekend to spend time with his children. It seems like the incident was unrelated to Beadle. Who knows, maybe he rumbled with someone at his father-daughter dance!

Forearm bash to Mark Kohn for the tip

Marv Albert Could Replace Gus Johnson at CBS on March Madness, NFL Games

Sure we’ve taken our jabs at Marv Albert over time, but that’s all in fun. The reality is we love when Marv Albert calls games. It doesn’t get much better than his signature “yes!” calls on NBA games, and as SI’s Jimmy Traina frequently notes, Marv means big games.

Though many sports fans were saddened to learn that Gus Johnson was leaving CBS for FOX, the folks at the Eye may be making it up to us.

Bob Raissman at the NY Daily News reports that Marv could be hired by CBS to replace Gus. Raissman writes “Industry sources say Albert, TNT’s voice of the NBA, is talking to CBS about joining the network to work both NFL football and college basketball.”

Doing March Madness games for CBS is natural synergy for Marv because CBS and Turner (which owns TNT) are part of the same family of networks. As for calling football games, you’ve probably heard Marv doing Monday Night Football for Westwood One. He’s one of those guys like Al Michaels who has a golden voice that fits on any sport. I would love to hear Marv calling more games, so make it happen CBS.

Gus Johnson Out at CBS, Could Head to FOX for College Football (UPDATE)

It’s rare that an announcer not reaching a deal with his employer becomes major news, but that just shows the massive appeal of Gus Johnson. SI’s Richard Deitsch reported that Gus is out at CBS after the two sides were unable to agree on a new contract. Not only is Gus out at CBS, but he also did not get the NFL Network play-by-play job many people expected him to land. Instead, that job went to Brad Nessler.

Deitsch reported that “industry sources said Johnson has spoken with Fox Sports about a role in its college football coverage,” so you may be able to hear him calling Pac-12 games in the future. The bad news for many fans is that we won’t be hearing Johnson during March Madness any longer. It was during the NCAA Tournament that Gus developed his following amongst viewers due to his enthusiastic announcing style.

I know this is going to sound sacrilege to my fellow bloggers and readers, but I’ve never been a big Gus Johnson fan. Part of the reason is because I felt people went way too overboard with their praise of him, but another bigger reason is because I felt like some of it was an act and not genuine. I used to hear Gus call Knicks games on the radio and he had very little enthusiasm and excitement during those games. For someone who was used to his energy, that was highly disappointing. So when I hear him losing his head on CBS doing football and March Madness, it seems to me like he’s just playing up for his national audience. Still, I’d much rather hear Gus do games than many other boring announcers. I’ll take that any day, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him land another gig quite soon.

UPDATE: The New York Daily News reports that Gus may not be out at CBS.

“According to an industry source Johnson, whose CBS contract expired after the Final Four, received a written offer from Fox earlier this week. The offer includes both NFL and Pac-12 football play-by-play roles. However Johnson’s reps have not presented the offer to CBS execs. When they do, probably next week, CBS will have one week to match or say adios to Johnson.”

Sounds like Gus’ agent/rep may have leaked the story to Deitsch at SI with the hope that there would be public outcry putting pressure on CBS to keep Gus. The good news for Johnson fans is this may not be a done deal.