1. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst was the star of Twitter for a few days after this video of him talking about the Utah Jazz went viral last Friday.
Windhorst talked for two-plus minutes about what the Jazz were up to. But he did so in a methodical, deliberate and mesmerizing way, complete with hand signals, and people couldn’t get enough.
A few hours after the video took off, Utah traded Rudy Gobert to Minnesota, and then things went to a whole other level in terms of memes and tweets regarding Windhorst.
I asked Windhorst to give us a behind-the-scenes on the latest SI Media Podcast, which dropped Thursday.
“What I was doing in that discussion was basically trying to avoid aggregation,” Windhorst said on the podcast. “Definitely, I was having some fun with it because that particular moment had a nice little story line that I could maneuver, like I was writing a story or talking on a podcast. If I had come on there and said ‘League executives tell me Rudy Gobert might be getting traded soon,’ KABOOM! The next 11 shows, What is your Rudy Gobert information? What is the latest with Rudy Gobert? What is the latest? I was pretty sure he was getting traded but I wasn’t prepared to say that.
So my job is to deliver inside information, but not everything I say has the same weight, and there’s nuance. But that nuance is exploded by aggregation because everything can look like a headline.”
So, how did Windhorst feel about going viral?
“I know what people want,” he said on the podcast. “That I was tickled pink and dancing around. First off, life isn’t Twitter. It’s not real life. Second off, I was all over New York City, in airports—nobody I encountered in real life said one word. I have been on the other side of that. Maybe not that intently, but I said something during the Finals where I talked about how the Warriors’ payroll which was $300 million, the largest in the game, was a factor in the game. …
“I got getting skewered for saying that. Skewered. By the way, it was true. I stand by it. Just like I stood by what I said the Jazz were doing. I stand by it. I think both were equally accurate So just doing my job, I can’t let negative reaction about something i think is true affect me, so I can’t let overwhelmingly positive—it was nice, don’t get me wrong. I appreciate it.”
Did Windhorst find any of the memes funny?
“I laughed at some of them,” he said, “but I can’t remember which they were. What I have been saying because dozens of people are asking me this, Jimmy, so I have an answer. It’s not a serious answer, but since I’m pulling the curtain back I have an answer to give a satisfactory response to that that will get me out of the answer and people will get a little smirk.
“Between me and you, and not for anybody else to hear except for people listening to this podcast, I say the Target one. And if Target wants to contact me to offer an endorsement contract, I’m willing to listen. The reason I say that is because No. 1, I would like an endorsement deal, and No. 2, I know that was one of the biggest ones.”
Windhorst added, “I am very appreciative of the kind words everybody said. I’m thankful for it and I promise you, I know I’m being a sourpuss, it really does not change my life.
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“It’s not like ESPN reached out after that was like, ‘We’re gonna double your salary,’ just like ESPN, if I had a take that wasn’t popular, wouldn’t say to me, ‘We’re cutting your salary in half.’”
In addition to the discussion about Windhorst going viral, we also talked about his current relationship with LeBron James, whom he covered for many years in Cleveland, his thoughts on LeBron’s future, what’s up with Kevin Durant and whether Windhorst feels competitive with Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania.
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You can listen to the podcast below or download it on Apple, Spotify and Google.
2. This was a very good tweet.
3. Speaking of tweets, as I told you in Wednesday’s Traina Thoughts, Twitter had Thunder rookie Chet Holmgren in the NBA Hall of Fame after his Summer League Game on Tuesday night. Holmgren and the Thunder played again on Wednesday, but this time I didn’t see any tweets about the former Gonzaga star, so I looked up his numbers: 3-of-11 shooting for 11 points. Plus, some shaky defense.
4. SI’s Michael Rosenberg recently wrote a great piece of the art of the unfollow when it comes to athletes and teams. He may need to work on a new story about the art of an ex-teammate using social media to curse out a player who leaves via free agency after Jimmy Butler’s response to P.J. Tucker, who recently signed with the Sixers.
5. Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale wasn’t happy with his performance during a rehab start on Wednesday, and he got violent in the runway.
This is a good time to remind all of you about another Sale incident that is one of the more classic off-the-field baseball stories in recent years.
6. Pirates play-by-play man Greg Brown had the best three-word call you’ll ever hear on Giancarlo Stanton’s ninth-inning home run that gave the Yankees a 15–0 lead Thursday night.
7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: It’s been a while since I’ve posted a good news blooper in Traina Thoughts, so here’s a good one that took place yesterday on the BBC.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Google. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter, Instagram and TikTok.