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ESPN the Book Likely to Become a Movie

The ESPN book ESPN: Those Guys Have All The Fun was a big success following its release in May. It rose to 256 on Amazon’s bestseller rankings and was second in their TV and sports broadcasting categories. The book became so popular that movie studios reportedly are fighting over its film rights.

According to Deadline.com, 20th century FOX is closing a deal for the screen rights to the book. Deadline reports “The studio will develop a feature about the formation of the 24-hour sports network. The pic will be produced by Michael De Luca, Trigger Street’s Dana Brunetti and Julie Yorn.”

Deadline writer Mike Fleming adds that “The book created a stir in the film community when ICM began shopping it in recent weeks. I’m told there is interest from scribes and directors, and the studio and producers will start right away looking for someone to figure out the movie.”

Film producers reportedly envision the movie being similar to The Social Network for its aspects of back-stabbing and ego-driven characters. We could easily see that happening. However, it is important to keep in mind that not all scripts or film rights that are purchased end up being created; nothing really came of the Colin Cowherd sitcom.

Still, people love intra-office drama and gossip, and the book was loaded with it. It wouldn’t be surprising to see this turned into a movie. At least it should be more appealing to the sports crowd than Moneyball, which is only about a decade too late.

Thanks to Joey Kaufman for the tip

Hard Knocks Reportedly Canceled by HBO

Hard Knocks on HBO has become one of the most popular sports shows on TV, but SI’s Peter King reported Saturday that it will be canceled for the upcoming season. King wrote on twitter No “Hard Knocks” this year. I repeat: No “Hard Knocks.”

HBO spokesman Ray Stallone recently told Sporting News “We are monitoring (lockout) developments and remain hopeful of presenting a new season of ‘Hard Knocks.’ Beyond that we are not going to speculate.”

Hard Knocks has given us great looks inside the training camps of the Jets, Cowboys, Chiefs, Bengals, and Ravens since debuting in 2001. The bright side is we won’t have to hear any more complaints about the amount of cussing by Rex Ryan. The downside is missing out on awesome moments like this.

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