by Craig Kwasniewski
I’ve stumbled upon television gold last night! Channel surfing I thought I’d take a peek at the Mavs-Lakers highlights on NBA-TV and I came across NBA GameTime with Ahmad Rashad, Gary Payton and Chris Webber out-talking each other over last night’s highlights. My first thought, this is a train wreck but I’ll watch it because Stuart Scott is NOT involved. In literally 10 minutes I went from "this is absolute crap" to this is the best highlights show not on TNT!!!!
Here’s what I like about it:
1. No Stuart Scott! Someone really needs to explain to him that NOBODY watches ESPN because of him. Seriously, dial it down my man! DIAL... IT... DOWN!!!!!
2. Ahmad Rashad’s lack of preparation. Maybe it’s because he went from being THE sideline reporter of the NBA and best friends of Michael Jordan to hosting a highlights show on channel 601 on DirecTV, but Amad Rashad’s clearly is mailing it in MJ being the GM with the Wizards style! During the highlights he’s five seconds behind, he can’t ID the players until AFTER the play and his narrative consist of, “well…um here’s…. um D-Wade… well there was a dunk…” And it actually works well with the show. No seriously… it’s refreshing to hear someone roll through highlights without a catchphrase. The best part is when C-Webb and Payton kill his poor voice-over skills.
3. Chris Webber’s knowledge and respect of the game. Weather he’s at TNT for a guest spot or on NBA TV, I really like what C-Webb brings to the studio. He’s outspoken but not obnoxious, he’s funny and deferential and he’s got a good knowledge of the game’s history, especially 80’s hoops.
4. Gary Payton – You get the real Gary Payton on this show not some watered down over-produced vanilla version that would be on ESPN. He’s brash, he’ opinionated… he’s Gary Payton. Like last night, he spent a few minutes cutting down on PG’s who should not be on the All-Star ballot (Luke Ridenhour). He’s on NBA TV, this is a channel made to gloss, gleam and glow about all things NBA and Gary Payton is killing average players (and rightfully so).
5. The Studio Chemistry – Two vocal, opinionated ex-jocks and an in-studio host with zero preparation. Sounds like a train wreck, right? Not even close, the chemistry on the set is perfect! C-Webb knows the right buttons to push on The Glove, Payton knows when to be outrageous and when to dial it down (like when he complemented Kobe during an interview for finally learning how to wait for the game to come to him), Ahmad Rashard has the right kind of self-deprecating sense of humor to handle both guys (they were CONSTANLY killing him for his highlight reel voice-overs), and they all respect each other.
My one advice to the producers of the show: DON’T CHANGE A THING!!!!
Seriously, the worst thing that could happen is for some ego-enhanced producer to come in and change the dynamic of the show "to be more in tune with ESPN." Keep it the way it is and let the audience find the show.