JOHN 5 to Kick Off NBA Season with Live Music Performance from Tyla Yaweh and Tommy Lee on ESPN House’s Virtual Fan Experience This Saturday

ESPN’s NBA Digital Pregame Show Hoop Streams Returns with Five Episodes as the NBA Season Resumes

Hoop Streams Presented by Google Featuring Host Cassidy Hubbarth with NBA Champion Kendrick Perkins and Amin Elhassan Tips Off Friday Leading into ESPN’s First NBA Seeding Game

To celebrate the restart of the NBA season, ESPN House returns with a virtual fan experience for the tip-off of the NBA on ESPN. The experience will be anchored by a live musical performance from rapper and songwriter Tyla Yaweh with special guests Tommy Lee and John 5. The performance will be streamed on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and the ESPN app on Saturday, August 1 at 5:10 p.m. ET prior to Hoop Streams. ESPN House will also feature content from The Undefeated on ESPN.com surrounding social justice efforts. 

“I have a long time friendship with Tommy Lee and we have worked on some really great music together,” JOHN 5 says. “I really love how the remix turned out and loved working with new friends Tyla and Post Malone. I love this song and I’m proud to be a part of this.” 

Tyla Yaweh – the Orlando-raised, LA-based genre-bending star – launched his career with 2019’s critically acclaimed project Heart Full of Rage, which boasted equal parts trap, hip hop and rock. Along the way, the project, which included the break-out song “High Right Now,” and subsequent singles like “I Think I Luv Her” ft. YG and “Understand Me,” helped him amass over 351 million streams, He has collaborated with names like Wiz KhalifaFrench MontanaSki Mask The Slump GodJuice WRLD and PnB Rock. Tyla also joined Post MaloneSwae Lee and Jaden Smith on the 2019-2020 Runaway Tour across multiple continents and made rousing appearances at festivals such as Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Governors Ball, Firefly, Life Is Beautiful, Rolling Loud, Reading and Leeds and more. 

Aptly titled RAGER BØY, his upcoming debut studio album encapsulates the world in which Tyla Yaweh resides. With “Tommy Lee” as the lead single, the stage is set for star-studded features (including Post Malone on “Tommy Lee,” Tommy Lee himself on a remix, and DaBaby on the newly-released anthem “Stuntin’ On You”), new vibes and uncharted territory, musically. Tommy Lee’s new album, ANDRO, will be released on October 16, 2020. 

Hoop StreamsESPN’s digital NBA pregame show, returns for five episodes between Friday, July 31 and Monday, August 3 – as the NBA season resumes. Cassidy Hubbarth will host Hoop Streams presented by Google on July 31 from 6-6:30 p.m. ET at ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. studios, with analyst and NBA Champion Kendrick Perkins and fellow analyst Amin Elhassan appearing remotely. Hoop Streams presented by Google will lead into ESPN’s first NBA Seeding Game telecast as the Boston Celtics take on the Milwaukee Bucks at 6:30 p.m. ET. All editions of Hoop Streams are available on ESPN’s Twitter and YouTube platforms and via the ESPN App

The trio of HubbarthPerkins and Elhassan will return for Hoop Streams pregame shows on Saturday, August 1, at 8 p.m. ET and again on Monday, August 3, at 8:30 p.m. ET. Each edition of Hoop Streams will include special guest appearances, commentary on topical NBA news items, and a preview of the upcoming games on ESPN platforms. 

In addition, the Hoop Streams team of Christine WilliamsonOmar Raja and Gary Striewski will lead shows on Saturday, August 1, at 5:30 p.m. ET and on Monday, August 3, at 6 p.m. ET. Raja will participate from the NBA Florida Campus and the Walt Disney World Resort, while Williamson and Striewski will be located at ESPN’s Bristol Conn. studios. These shows will feature on-site updates from Raja and viral video content. For ESPN and ABC’s NBA Restart schedule, visit ESPN Press Room

Hoop Streams schedule July 31-August 3
Date
Fri, July 31

Sat, Aug. 1

Sat, Aug. 1

Mon, Aug. 3

Mon, Aug. 3
Time (ET)6-6:30 p.m.

5:30-6 p.m.

8-8:30 p.m.

6-6:30 p.m.

8:30-9 p.m.
CommentatorsCassidy Hubbarth, Kendrick Perkins, Amin Elhassan
Christine Williamson, Omar Raja, Gary Striewski
Cassidy Hubbarth, Kendrick Perkins, Amin Elhassan
Christine Williamson, Omar Raja, Gary Striewski
Cassidy Hubbarth, Kendrick Perkins, Amin Elhassan

Television/Streaming Review: ESPN 30 for 30 – “Long Gone Summer’

On September 8, 1998 my son Phillip, his friend Bobby and I drove from Kansas City to St. Louis to take in that evening’s Cardinals/Cubs match-up. We witnessed baseball history when J.D. Drew hit his first career home run. I’ve told this story for over two decades.

Most people know Todd MacFarlane as the creator of the popular SPAWN comics and his amazing toys. He is also a huge baseball fan. We learn that as the film begins with McFarlane bidding almost $3 million to purchase a baseball. But not any baseball. This is the ball hit by Mark McGwire for his 70th home run, at the time a new record. The summer of 1998 was a big one for baseball. After the players strike in 1994 caused the cancellation of the World Series for the first time in history, the game began to draw fans back in 1995 when Baltimore Oriole Cal Ripken, Jr. played in his 2131st consecutive game. But the summer of 1998 is the one that drew fans, old and new, to the game. It was the summer McGwire and Chicago Cub Sammy Sosa swung their way into the history books.

“Long Gone Summer” not only chronicles both players assault on Roger Maris’ then-record of 61 home runs in a season, but the effect the challenge had on America. People that had sworn off baseball after the strike left a bitter taste in their mouth began to pay attention to the game again, while people who had never shown interest began to watch. Having been in Camden Yards when Ripken set his milestone I was already a fan so I followed the exploits of McGwire and Sosa daily, ensuring that ESPN’s SPORTCENTER was a must-see every night.

As the film follows McGwire, Sosa and, for a time, Ken Griffey, Jr, it also talks with some baseball fans who are household names, among them Bob Costas and George Will. Also interviewed are Roger Maris’ sons, as well as Cardinal’s broadcasters Jack Buck (though archival footage) and Mike Shannon. The race had a personal feel to Shannon, who had been a Cardinal teammate of Roger Maris in the mid 1960s.

But the big voices here belong to the two players themselves. McGwire explains his lifelong desire to hit the ball far while Sosa talks about the fun he had. What they don’t talk about are the accusations that both were using performance enhancing drugs. In fact, in a show that runs almost 1 3/4 hours, PED’s are not mentioned until the 45 minute mark, when a container of Androstenedione is spotted in McGwire’s locker. He brushes the questions off, noting that Andro is available over the counter. It’s almost another 45 minutes before the subject comes up again.

Of the two players, McGwire comes off the best. He is insightful in looking back at what he describes as both the best, and worst, time of his life. Sosa, speaking perfect English – when he testified before Congress he had to have his attorney read his statement, as he felt his English wasn’t strong -is more concerned with relaying the fun times he had that summer. Archival interviews with both – again with Sosa speaking English like a native – gives a look into the love and respect Big Mac and Slammin’ Sammy had for each other. As the season ends, McGwire finishes with 70 home runs, Sosa with 66. Sosa would hit 63 the next year and Baroid Bonds would hit 73 in 2001. By then, the PED cat was out of the bag and, in the almost 20 years since Bonds, no one has hit 60 home runs in a season.

Given an opportunity to confirm whether or not he juiced, Sosa will only say that “Everybody was doing them.” After years of denial, in 2010 McGwire admitted to using PED’s. His admission and apology seemed sincere to me. So much so that I can tell you that, on September 8, 1998, my son Phillip, his friend Bobby and I drove from Kansas City to St. Louis to take in that evening’s Cardinals/Cubs match-up. We witnessed baseball history when Mark McGwire hit his 62nd home run of the season over the left field fence, directly below where we were sitting. No disrespect to J.D. Drew, but this story is more exciting.

“Long Gone Summer” airs this Sunday night at 8:00 pm EST on ESPN and will stream directly afterwards on ESPN+.

Television/Streaming Review: ESPN 30 for 30: BE WATER

I’m old enough to remember watching Bruce Lee as Kato on television’s “The Green Hornet” when it originally aired on ABC. T o me he was just a cool guy who wore a mask and kicked ass. But there was a lot more to Lee, as both an actor and a person, and those remarkable qualities are revealed in the latest ESPN 30 for 30 documentary, BE WATER.

We first meet Lee as he is completing a screen test in 1964. He is quite and soft spoken but, when he is asked to demonstrate some of his martial arts skills, he is a tornado. Even in these few minutes of film, you can see the legend that lie ahead.

Born in San Francisco (his father was a popular Chinese actor and opera performer), Lee’s family returned to Hong Kong shortly after his birth. Like most children, Lee had a mischievous side and his father allowed him to begin acting in films as a child in hopes of curbing his rambunctious attitudes. Finding his idea unsuccessful, his father sends him to Seattle to attend college. It is there that he begins the journey that most fans know. But there is also a lot they don’t and that is revealed here in Lee’s own words. Using archival interviews and quoting his letters, read by his daughter, Shannon, we learn that Lee was a very philosophical man who yearned to bridge the racial prejudice felt in America. He wanted to be able to share and express his culture and was tired of seeing such actors as Mickey Rooney, Marlon Brando and John Wayne portraying Asian characters on screen, usually in ridiculous make up.

Lee’s short-lived small screen stardom begins to fade and he is hopeful for the lead in an upcoming program to be called “Kung Fu.” When he is passed over for the role in favor of David Carradine – we hear the show’s producer proclaim that he could not find an Asian actor he felt could handle the role, he takes his family to Hong Kong,, where he will soon make film history.

BE WATER gets it’s title from a philosophy that Lee often shared in interviews. Water, he notes, is the softest substance on Earth, yet it is strong enough to penetrate rock. It takes the shape of whatever vessel it finds itself in. The film is full of amazing archival footage and the story is told through conversations with not only Lee’s daughter and widow, Linda, but various friends and former students, including Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

On July 20, 1973, Bruce Lee died. 10 days later, “Enter the Dragon” was released, making him an international superstar, ironically a term Lee disliked. His impact on pop culture and racial acceptance is still being felt today. With the current situation the nation, and the world, finds itself in, we could use a man like him today.

BE WATER airs this Sunday night at 9:00 pm EST on ESPN. It will stream afterwards on ESPN+. Don’t miss it!

Television/Streaming Review: ESPN 30 for 30 – LANCE

In 2008 I was driving through downtown Kansas City when I was amazed at the sight of a seven-story banner of Lance Armstrong hanging from the building where my wife worked.  I called her and asked about it and she informed me that her company – an investment management firm – had partnered with Armstrong to promote his LIVESTRONG investments.  Hearing this, I asked her “and what happens when it finally comes out that he was a cheater?”  “Hopefully that isn’t true,” she replied.

LANCE, the latest episode in ESPN’s brilliant “30 for 30” documentary series, is a two part look at the rise and the fall of one of the most celebrated athletes in American history.  Episode one begins with Armstrong telling director Marina Zenovich how he knows there are many people that, upon seeing him, just want to scream out “F**k you, Lance,” but seldom do.  He also recounts how, once when a group heading into a restaurant did just that, he called the restaurant, informed the manager that he would pay for their dinner and asked the manager to inform the party that “Lance loves you.”  Unfortunately, Lance also loves himself.

We are introduced to the young man that would go on to “win” seven consecutive Tour de France bicycle races, the most prestigious race in the world.  He played several sports as a kid but didn’t excel in any of them.  He tried swimming and developed a passion.  Entering triathlons introduced him to competitive cycling, which is where he found his calling.  Then, his life was dealt a blow when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.  Beating major odds, Armstrong not only survived his ordeal but returned to competitive cycling.  He also returned to a dark secret he had been hiding – taking performance enhancing doses of such banned (in competitive sports) substances as EPO and Andrial.  He admits this rather non-chalantly, falling back often on the old “everyone else was doing it” excuse.

However, in Episode two, which airs this Sunday night on ESPN (and will be available afterwards on ESPN+) the true Armstrong comes through.  Like many athletes, Armstrong was set on winning at any cost, allegedly going so far as to inform the anti-doping agency that a rival cyclist was juicing.  Like many people in denial, Armstrong was like a pit bull in his defense of his reputation.  Whether using his cancer as a sympathy ploy or slandering his accusers (while testifying in an inquiry he calls one woman who filed a deposition alleging his cheating a whore) or using his status and power to destroy other riders, he comes off as a man who still feels that he’s done nothing wrong.

Part two also looks at Armstrong’s effect on those close to him.  His son, who played college football, is asked if he would ever use performance drugs.  His reply – that he only wants to succeed through his own hard work – is heartfelt and honest.  That’s what all athletes want to do.  Asked if he still considers himself relevant, Armstrong declares, “I AM relevant.”  He also refers to former U.S. Postal Service team mate Floyd Landis – who was the rider that finally outed Armstrong’s doping – as a “piece of s**t.”  Other team members relate that Lance was fine with them as long as they kept his secret but, at the slightest hint of disloyalty they were gone.

On the positive side, the film also takes a look at the magnificent work that the Lance Armstrong Foundation and LIVESTRONG have done in support of cancer patients everywhere.  Thanks to Armstrong’s popularity hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised for these organizations (I’ll admit that I bought a LIVESTRONG bracelet when they came out).  And this achievement allows Armstrong to ask if the ends justify the means.  Would this money have been raised if not for him?

In the end, you come away with a man who still doesn’t accept responsibility for anything (except his divorce).  He also laments the hardship he endured having to date such celebrities as Cheryl Crow and Kate Hudson.  Wahh!

I’m not sure if I’ll ever run into Lance Armstrong on the street so let me just say here, for the record, “Hey Lance – F**k you!”

New Five-Part ESPN Series “Snoop & Son: A Dad’s Dream” Set for January 14

ESPN will televise a five-part documentary style series Snoop & Son: A Dad’s Dream beginning Wednesday, Jan. 14, with an unprecedented look at entertainment icon Snoop Dogg’s journey with his football star son Cordell Broadus. The series will air four consecutive Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN (re-airs on ESPNU) with a fifth and final episode airing in mid-February.

Cordell, 17, is a standout student and prep player, and one of the most sought after recruits in the nation with top schools from Notre Dame to USC vying for him to play for them. Snoop is a constant presence in his football life. He’s a regular attendee at practice and is in constant contact with Cordell’s head coach. When Snoop is on the road and can’t attend a game, he has the game streamed to him, no matter where he is in the world. Over 10 years ago, Snoop started the Snoop Youth Football League (SYFL) because of his passion for coaching kids. The League has provided thousands of young boys and girls a positive environment to learn skills for life – championing kids to be better citizens on and off the field. Cordell began his football career under his father’s guidance as a player in the SFYL.

With exclusive behind-the-scenes access to Snoop and Cordell as he prepares for the next level, the half-hour show will take viewers into the Broadus home for family dinners, on Snoop’s tour bus as he breaks down game film and on the sidelines for each game of Cordell’s senior season.

Rory Karpf, executive producer, said, “People will see a very different side of Snoop. They’ll see a man navigating the line between father and friend. They’ll see someone whose interest in his son’s life reflects what he himself never had. Above all, they’ll see a father extraordinarily proud of his son.”

“I’ve been known for my work in many industries, but what I am most proud of is my beautiful family. My son is an extremely talented athlete and my wife and I will be by his side wherever he chooses to play. I’m looking forward to the world watching me go through this journey with my family,” said Snoop.

About Snoop Dogg
An entertainment icon and with more than 20 years in the business, Snoop continues to pave the way in the hip-hop industry, serving as a mentor to many new and established artists. Being the trendsetter he is, Snoop stands at the forefront of popular culture with award-winning and multi-platinum albums and songs, critically acclaimed films and television shows, lifestyle products, philanthropic efforts and digital ventures, including his YouTube original series “GGN News.” Snoop defines hip-hop history and is set to spark the fire in the beginning of 2015 with his new album, ‘BUSH’, produced entirely by Pharrell Williams.

 

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