ESPN NBA Analyst Bob Myers answered questions on Monday to preview the 2023-24 season and discuss his new role with ESPN. ESPN’s coverage of the 2023-24 season tips off on Wednesday, October 25. For more on ESPN’s NBA coverage, visit ESPN Press Room.
Q. When you’re in the Warriors and in the front office, how much do you pay attention to what the media says and does from your position?
BOB MYERS: Quite a bit. Nice to meet you.
But quite a bit because it’s part of the fabric of the league now. If I decided to ignore it, which I don’t, the players certainly don’t, the owners certainly don’t, and the coaches don’t.
So, you have to be aware, and the tougher part is how — when to engage in response to the media. When is response required. Certain times, it’s obvious. Many times, you have conversations in private about what is said publicly about a team’s situation.
The media is so good now, and so — so present. Certainly, around the Warriors, certainly there, there was a high scrutiny on that team, understandably so.
I watched that grow to the degree of this idea that you could exclude the media or ignore the media was not a wise choice.
So quite a bit of media awareness, responsibility to respond, and certainly conversations stemming from media reports.
Q. And secondly, how much training did you do or talking to players do you do? There’s a lot of reactions in the NBA to the shows, ESPN and FS1 in the mornings, and other shows, as well. How much did you consult with your players and advise them in terms of dealing with that part of their job?
BOB MYERS: Well, I have kids, so it’s kind of teaching your kids about social media. We’re all human beings, so you can’t say ignore it. I think that’s a naïve approach. I would ask the players how often they are on social media. By the way, they are all on it. More than you may understand. I don’t if you’ve been in the locker room, but this is what people are doing all the time (holding up mobile phone).
What I can’t know is how much it impacts them. I know it impacts them. Everybody feels it differently. Some players, maybe the younger players, feel it more, process it more. Whereas a guy like Curry has been living in that space for so long; he has a way to distill it that works for him.
But look, whether it’s a trade rumor, a report on something sensitive; my approach was always to — if it was delicate, approach that person privately and say, do you have any questions about this, or if it wasn’t true, I would often say, listen, that’s not entirely true.
But the media’s good. This idea that there’s wild lies out there is — people aren’t really making stuff up. They may take an angle that serves them. But at the same time, there’s usually a shred of truth in all the reports, so that’s what requires response.
Q. Wondering in your new role, I know that sometimes when executives come over to networks that they have a chance to maybe ease up a little bit or not be frank or, you know, not be as critical. How do you kind of view your role?
BOB MYERS: Honest, right. You can be critical and honest at the same time and empathetic. There’s way to criticize someone, maybe for the game they played, but not for who they are, and I think that’s a line that gets blurred sometimes.
I would be careful not to criticize someone that I don’t know as a human being because they played a bad game, right. I’m not going to say somebody is a bad guy because they make more money than they should and aren’t performing well. That’s that line I think people have to be careful not to cross.
Look, being around it allowed me to see how hard it is. And so, not that fans and media don’t understand that, but front row seat to the difficulties of trying to win in the NBA: When you’re expected to win and when there’s pressure to win, losing Game 7 of the NBA Finals, winning the NBA Finals.
At least in basketball, there’s not a higher level of tension than the Finals, and to have seen that six times and over a various amount of games, you get to really find out how hard it is to perform in those moments, or even in regular NBA game, Game 52 in whatever month it is where there’s the dregs of it, understanding that there’s a fatigue to it; that’s an effort that maybe fans and media don’t quite see.
If you’ve been a beat writer, you’ve followed a team around, and you feel how exhausted you are and you’re not playing. And so, I could be critical but also respectful of what these guys are trying to do. That would be my approach.
I wouldn’t be afraid to criticize someone that I thought was deserving but I would try to be careful to also respect the effort part of it all, if that makes sense what they are trying to do.
Q. And then just wondering, since you did it 20 years ago with UCLA, kind of with calling games and postgame, how much do you think that experience will help as you do this?
BOB MYERS: I wish I could say more. It was radio. It was 20 years — it wasn’t national TV. I could argue, but I won’t, that radio analyst is a little bit tougher because nobody can see what’s going on. So, you kind of have to get in and out quicker.
But the truth is, I have a lot to learn. I’m excited to try and learn it. I met with Doris Burke yesterday for a while who is one of the best, Dave Pasch and I went to dinner last night, who is obviously the guy I’ll be working with, I think, who I couldn’t find a better partner.
And so, I’m lucky to get some tutors in this whole thing but I think it’s going to be really hard at the start, and maybe for quite some time. Because finding the right rhythm, finding the right cadence, finding what the audience might want to hear, what they might not want to hear.
The UCLA stuff was a lot of fun but other than it was a basketball game, I think there’s not a commonality there. I wish I could tell you that there was more.
Q. So we see right now, every off-season, seemingly big moves in the NBA, whether it’s a contract or a trade. With your background as a sports agent, how are you looking to include that in the broadcast? Obviously, you’re focused on the game, there’s a whole lot of stuff happening off the basketball court.
BOB MYERS: Yeah, well, look, we all choose, I guess, if we’re lucky, get to choose these different career paths that they choose. And I started out and dabbled in that radio stuff, I was going to law school at night; and then I did the agent thing; and then I got involved with the front office, and now I’m back doing what I’m doing now.
I think any time you can live in the shoes of a job, it allows you to understand it better.
So just having been an agent for 14 years helps me understand what an agent’s perspective is on things.
I’d be lying if I understood what your perspective is on what you do or anybody on this call. I don’t even know what I’m doing yet because I haven’t done it. But when you’ve actually experienced a job, it allows to you understand it better.
So, if you’re talking about all the movement, I can certainly see that — the agent’s job was and always will be to represent the player. I think what’s shifted a little bit is the staying power of these players in organizations has changed. There’s just a fluidity to it now where people are moving around so quickly and abruptly and that is different. That is a little bit different than it was.
I remember when I was an agent, Jermaine O’Neale signed a contract in Indiana for seven years. There were six-year deals. There were seven-years deals. You sign that deal and you thought, that’s where the player is going to be for seven years.
Now obviously they have limited the lengths to five and four. The rules don’t even allow those lengthy deals. It presents a different mindset of, even if I sign a four-year deal, well, maybe I have a player option in the fourth year. Well, I can get out of here in two years if I want because I’ll just say I have one more year on my deal and I want to leave.
So, whether that’s — there’s an impatience to the business now, whereas I think maybe there was a little bit more patience and perseverance.
From an agent’s perspective, you’re involved probably more in that part of the job. Even the GMs, everybody who covers the league, you see how fast things change. Not that they didn’t before but it’s faster now. Things are moving a lot quicker.
Q. I wanted to follow up on that impatience that you were bringing up. I cover the Utah Jazz and they are in a situation where obviously move on in Donovan Mitchell and move of on from Rudy Gobert, and the assumption becomes, it’s going to be a several-year process of accumulating assets and whatnot. And then instead you see them get off to the fast start last year before tanking down the stretch. Now it seems like there’s a confusion about, okay, how long do they spend kind of going back to that asset accumulation mode, do they chase a playoff spot. Kind of what’s your philosophy in terms of how long does a process like that take, or should it take, or how do you know when to kind of move the process ahead, I guess?
BOB MYERS: Well, look, any GM, if you were one, I was one, you have these best-laid plans, but the truth is you don’t really know.
I don’t think the Jazz knew how good [Lauri] Markkanen was going to be out of the gate, but you’re absolutely thrilled by the fact that it happened. I don’t know if they knew Walker Kessler could come in and be what he was. That’s a good issue. That’s a good — I wouldn’t call it a problem. That’s just a good result.
So, the idea that the Jazz have maybe gone quicker isn’t a bad thing. It just means the players they have are maybe better than they thought.
But I don’t have — I’m not in the mind of Ryan [Smith] or Danny [Ainge] or Justin [Zanik] to say, “Wow, this is going too fast, we have got to slow it down.”
Looks like they made some great draft picks this year. Looks like the fans — you’re in the market, I think. I mean, there’s got to be a good feeling and vibe around the team.
Tank, whatever you want to call it, losing, is hard on a fan base, it’s hard on the organization, it’s hard on the coaching staff. It would be hard on a young coach like Will Hardy, who did a tremendous job last year.
I think the Jazz are positioned extremely well, and I think for an organization like that, what you want to do is have talent on affordable contracts, and then have the ability to pounce when the opportunity presents itself.
The Jazz are in a great place, almost as good as any team in the league, to go out and grab what might be the next great player. So, I don’t think they are sitting there thinking, and you may know better, that, wait a second, this is — I thought we would be worse. I would imagine they are pleasantly surprised at what they are going through because it’s hard to get good players. It really is.
This idea that, let’s just lose and draft great players, even if you try that, there’s many teams that have done that. And there’s no guarantee if you pick fifth or third or second or seventh that those players are going to be great. Probably hard to identify and hard to draft.
I think the Jazz, at least to me, pivoted extremely well from [Donovan] Mitchell and [Rudy] Gobert. I mean, think about, one might have said, well, if they get rid of those guys, they are going to be in purgatory for five, six, seven years, and that’s not the case at all.
So, if I’m a fan of that, I’m living in that market, I’d be pretty happy about the product they have been able to develop.
Q. Kind of two-parter. The first is, you obviously went through it as an agent, becoming a GM. Kind of ask you in the vein of Leon Rose and the Knicks, what is that like, how hard is that, and just kind of what have you thought of the job he’s done? And after that, I’d like to ask you a second part.
BOB MYERS: Look, I could say the same thing. They have done a great job, too. Because if you want to evaluate a front office, look at what it was when they got there and what it is now.
I don’t think anybody would disagree that the Knicks are a much better place than they were prior to Leon, [William Wesley] and [Tom] Thibodeau showing up. They made the playoffs. They had, what is it, fifth seed, I think? Was it fifth seed?
That’s a big improvement. Pretty close to home court in playoffs. I think they would have hoped for a better playoff run. But still, I mean, pretty darn good.
And Thibodeau, one thing Thibodeau is great at is he will make sure that you’re getting the most of what you have. Some might say, well, of course, that’s obvious. I think he’s one of the best in the league at getting the most out of his players and the most out of each regular season game. He coaches every game like it’s a playoff game, and I think that works well in that market, that kind of effort.
And the Knicks, again, like the Jazz, are positioned extremely well. I think what has shifted from being an agent, from being in the league, there was a time where I felt like people may not have wanted to play in that city, and I think that’s changed.
I think now you’re looking at murmurings, hearing things, hey, what about the Knicks and the draft capital they have allows them to — it’s a realistic thing, right. It’s not just some layperson saying, “Well, the Knicks should go get this guy.”
Now it’s viable. It’s possible. They have what it takes with the first-round picks in their cabinet to go do it. They have got a lot of good, young players on pretty affordable contracts.
So just another team that you’re kind of waiting for the next big thing, and the next thing they do, I think, will define them over the next four or five years. I think that they want to go from good to great. They are good and trying to get to great, and that’s probably harder than going from bad to good, which I think they have already done.
So now the question is: How do you get from that, you know, 5-4 seed to the 1-2 seed, and that’s going to be the challenge for them.
But again, they are in a good spot to make that happen, and I don’t know how they are viewing it, but I think they are realistically in play for quite a bit of shuffling if they want to.
Q. How tough is that when you’re in that spot to be patient? They have been patient. They haven’t gone after the just-good player. They are waiting for that great guy. How hard is that, especially in this market where people obviously want to win the title, and the Knicks haven’t won one in so long. How hard is it to stay patient?
BOB MYERS: Well, maybe harder there than anywhere, I suppose. They probably have more scrutiny than maybe any team in the league, which is great. Because I think if you’re in the business, you want people to care about what you’re doing.
The worst thing would be to have an apathetic fan base and the New York fan base is anything but that. So, you’ve got to take the criticism with the praise and all of it. But at least you’re in a market where there’s a great amount of caring going on around that team and has been for many, many years. It’s an amazing brand, amazing arena, amazing history.
Look, it’s hard because there’s windows of time but you can’t control the deals that present themselves to a certain degree. But when the one that comes up does, you have to get that deal done, whatever that is. Whatever you identify as this is the thing that’s going to make us great, you just have to make sure that happens.
Look, back to the Warriors. To be truthful, I didn’t know that [Andre] Iguodala was going to be such a piece for what the Warriors became. But worked extremely hard to make sure we got Iguodala, and he ended up being the Finals MVP for the year we won it.
It doesn’t maybe have to be that superstar, but you hope you get something that unlocks everyone else or amplifies the rest of your team. And I think the Knicks have been patient, and at least they haven’t done anything irrational in my mind. They haven’t had a big misstep where you would say, hey, look, they blew it on the wrong guy and that can set you back for years.
So, I think there has to be a healthy amount impatience but not imprudent, and so I think that’s what the Knicks are looking at.
Q. There’s new attention on Joe Lacob as the newest WNBA team owner. How do you characterize his style of play?
BOB MYERS: Very, very involved. Very passionate. Super engaged.
He has been involved or was involved with women’s sports many, many years ago. So, this is not a brand-new thought for him. He spends to win, and he cares about product. He cares about the facilities. He cares about the people, and as a fan base, you can’t ask for much more than that.
And so great the WNBA is in the Bay Area market. I think it’s long overdue, and I think it’s great he knows how to put an organization together. Interesting to see, I think they are going practice, looks like in Oakland. Where they are going to play; I don’t think they even have a name yet, but they are in good hands.
It’s been exciting. The Bay Area, I always tell people before the Warriors became what they are now, it was this volcano waiting to as a fan base. It was just waiting, and I think it will be the same with women’s, and they are lucky in that fans of women’s basketball, or just basketball in general, are lucky that he’s going to own that team.
Q. The NBA is aiming for around $75 billion for its next media deal. How do you think that influx of cash is going to change the league going forward?
BOB MYERS: I think some of that thinking is built into some of the decisions that are being made now. As far as what it will mean, the splits will still be the same for the revenue with the players and the owners.
It may mean you’re seeing more money I guess move through the league as far as revenues, which means more spending on players.
But it’s been going that way for a while, and I think the thing that will be interesting is more what the system rules will do to the league as far as the second apron and things like that than the TV deal money can do.
There can be more money but there’s this idea that there’s system penalties when you hit that second apron might shift how people roster build, and I think that’s more something to watch than this new influx of money.
Yes, because it’s 75, whatever it is, billion, more. You’re just making the pie bigger but it’s still split 50/50 players and owners. So, I don’t think it changes the metrics too much. You might see bigger contracts and things like that, but as far as changing the way things are done, that’s more the system rules that have been put in place.
Q. If I can sneak in a follow-up. How do you think those new CBA rules are going to shape your reshaped rosters in terms of being more top-heavy or less top-heavy or whatever?
BOB MYERS: I can see instead of the big three model going more towards a big two because it will be so hard with three players making what three-star players make to put anything around them.
I could see teams more focused on let’s get the best two guys that complement each other, and work around that possibility. I mean, I think that — back to the Warriors, people call it a big three or whatever it was, when it was Durant, but it might have just been Curry and Durant as the big two, and everybody else was really good around them. But this idea that you need three stars might be harder with the new system rules.
So, I think teams might say, Look, let’s spend maybe it’s even 50 million per player on two guys and then work around the roster in that capacity. Whereas I think the idea, maybe came from the Heat, that the big three is necessary to win, and I don’t know that that’s true. That will certainly be harder and harder as these new rules come into place.
Q. As someone who has covered the Knicks for a while, I always appreciated for afar how often you talk to the media because we have not gotten that much in this market, and I think it’s great when the executive does fill in the gaps. Just one for you.
Do you look at this as kind of your last stop until retirement, or if an opportunity presented itself to go back to the team side running a team, would you consider it?
BOB MYERS: Yeah, thanks. I think my answer to that would be not right now.
I can’t say. The only conviction that I have is that I was done for how with what that job required. And what that will mean in two years, three years, I just honestly don’t know.
I guess I’ve got to be okay not knowing. I don’t really need to know now. It might be harder as things are presented to me to make those decisions. I’ve had some things presented and pretty easily said, No, thank you. I’m flattered but no thank you.
But I want to do this. I have three young kids. The Warriors thing, I’ve used this example before, it was like trying to hold on to the tail of a dragon. It was ton of fun, but a ton of work, and I admire any executive that can kind of keep it going for 20 years. I did 12, and I just felt like for me, I had to stop.
I don’t have a great answer for, is that forever or not, but I know it’s not right now. So that’s kind of what I’m thinking.
Q. You may have answered a little bit what I was going to ask, but I think with the new CBA, how much did it impact your decision a little bit? Obviously, jobs change, especially the Warriors being a team that was pushing the second apron, how much did that affect your thinking? And I have a follow-up to that, too.
BOB MYERS: Sure.
It was okay. You know, if you and I were playing a game, the rules got changed but the game is still basketball. I really do love basketball.
You just work in different confines, and the rules have shifted over the years even back to being an agent. The league, the CBA has evolved and reshaped itself many times.
The one common factor is it keeps going up, which is great. Fans keep watching. Media keeps spending so that’s a positive.
It wasn’t really a factor in my situation. What my factors were was what I kind of touched on, it was just time and I wish I had a clear version of what that felt like. But maybe you or anybody watching understands that you made a career change, and you just felt like: I have to do something else.
It kind of was as simple as that for me.
Q. And to follow up on that, what the Suns are doing with the three, their big three. How rare is that going to be forward in your opinion? You touched on it.
BOB MYERS: It’s an interesting experiment. Look, they are seemingly saying, I don’t care to that second apron, for now. Although the Ayton trade I think unloaded some of that. So, they are cognizant and aware of the fact that they were tipping over that line.
Look, it’s a copycat league. If it works, people will try to do that. I just think even they would admit sustainability of that is going to be difficult.
Meaning, go back to the Warriors, 12 years, you might get away with that for one two, three, but in that window of time you have to try to win a championship because the spending is so prohibitive that, sure, if you can justify it with a title. But if you can’t, how long are you going to run that out, and that will be the question.
But it’s a fascinating experiment from an owner’s side as far as, hey, we are all in, completely and we’ll deal with that apron when we have to deal with it. Whereas I think a lot of other owners are looking at it saying, “We have to plan for this and be ahead of this. We can’t get caught with this.” That’s just, if you own a team or I own a team, that’s how approach it. Everybody is going to have a different approach to it.
Q. Sorry to load another question on you. But I saw you the other night and I was impressed by the Klay Thompson answer you gave. How comfortable/uncomfortable was that moment for you? You said, “Hey, this is not a move, but a person involved.”
BOB MYERS: Look, they told me they might ask me that.
Talking about the Warriors is hard because I have such relationships there. I want everybody to do well. I want Joe to win a title. I want Steve to keep coaching and Curry to keep winning, and I want Dunleavy who took over for me to do a great job, which he will.
But it’s hard for me to have a ruthless opinion about things over there. It’s tough. I tried my best to say, look, maybe I was saying it would be hard for me. But it would have been hard for me to do that negotiation.
You have to look forward, but for me it would have been hard not to look back, and so that’s why I kind of answered the way it was.
It is a business where you have to pay for performance, and ideally you don’t pay for past performance. It would have been hard for me to not look back and appreciate that part. But that’s — maybe that’s better that I’m not there, you know. So, thank you.
Q. So the league office put out a memo basically saying that they have science or methodology or whatever that says load management doesn’t work. It seems as recently as earlier this year, Adam Silver was saying, load management isn’t a problem. But now it seems that they pivoted.
Do you think that there’s like anything they can actually do short of eliminating or greatly reducing back-to-backs to get the stars to play in more games?
BOB MYERS: Well, there’s a lot in there. I think what I heard them say is the science is not proving that load managing works. I don’t know that it disproves it, either.
So, I just think it’s one of those things where the league is saying, there’s no definitive evidence that it’s helpful, and I think they are making that argument. Obviously, they have their own people looking at it so I think it’s a valid one. In my opinion, it’s somewhat of a great area.
The point is that the league, the players, even, the coaches, the owners, understand that it’s an issue from a fan standpoint. And the fans are the ones that drive everything.
And so, I think the league and Adam rightly recognize this is something that has to be discussed and it is something that has to be dealt with.
And there’s no perfect solution to these things. But one solution or box they have checked is they have heightened the awareness of this, so this is a serious thing. I think the players have heard that. I think the organizations have heard that, and I think coaches and GMs, and everybody’s heard that.
So, I do like the fact that they have raised their hand and said, this isn’t good enough. This isn’t right. And even that acknowledgement, however you want to actually make people accountable, however you want to adjudicate that is one thing.
But separately, it’s raising your hand and saying: This has to change and getting the attention of everyone. I think that’s the best thing that did happen was, hey, enough of this, it’s not good. It’s not good for the league. It’s not good for our product. It’s watering down the regular season.
And I love what teams like the Clippers have said, which is we are not taking the regular season for granted anymore. That’s a big statement. A big statement by a team shifting the narrative to what you heard in the last year was, “Well, we just want to be healthy going into the playoffs. We just want to be healthy going into the playoffs.” That diminishes the regular season a little bit.
I don’t hear that as much being said now. I do hear more in the last few months people saying, regular season matters.
So, I think in a way, already a lot has been accomplished. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out this season.
Q. I’m just asking, how much of running a successful organization, winning championships, is skill and how much of it is good fortune, how much of it is Curry being able to bounce back from the ankle, Klay Thompson turning into a superstar, Draymond going from a four-year college guy to being one of the best defenders of a generation; how much of it is crossing your fingers and how much of it is skill? It seems like a fine line between greatly managed teams, and a few bad moves, and you’re a poorly managed team.
BOB MYERS: Well, all of it, right. I mean, if you want me to guess at what percentage plays in it, definitely not zero, but I don’t think over 50.
So, I think you look at it and say, we all get some version of luck in our life, hopefully, and what do you do with that.
I’ll give you a quote that you probably heard which is, Wooden said luck is when preparation meets opportunity.
So, the opportunity was Curry. That was the gift that I received as a GM. But if you want to factor in skill, you’d say, well, you got that gift. What are you going to do with it? And there’s more than a few great, great NBA players that never won a title.
So, for me it was the responsibility of, wow, you’ve got this guy here, and he wasn’t what he is now, but you could see that he might be.
So, what’s the responsibility to giving that guy the best shot at winning championships, and that was the whole job. Different job than if you say, I don’t have a great player, you’ll get one. We got fortunate that the Durant thing came along as well.
So, the question then with Durant is you would say, why did he show up? He showed up because maybe we hired the right coach. Maybe we built a place that he wanted to come to. Maybe we built an environment that appealed to them. Some would say you got lucky that the cap was the same. Yeah, absolutely. But it’s all kind of interwoven, and it’s not a clean answer.
I don’t like when people say, none of it was luck. That’s crap. But I also don’t like it when people say it was all luck. It’s neither.
And you can say in any organization, winning a championship requires some luck. There isn’t a team that has won a championship where a major player has been hurt. It just never happens.
You’re probably a better historian than me, but I can’t recall a team in the league that won a title with a starter out or a sixth man out. So, you absolutely need health.
But then, you know, look, sometimes ping-pong balls bounce the way they do, which is lucky. Sometimes a trade that you thought you should do, you didn’t do, or one that you really wanted to do got done. So, we could debate that forever.
But I do not push back on luck as a part of, certainly, as part of my success, but I would also say it’s part of everyone’s success.
Q. The transition with going from where you were with the Warriors, the media, you’re going from the guy who was being covered to now the guy doing the covering.
And so, what I wanted to ask you was what — as you near the end of your Warriors career what was your view of NBA media coverage? And then on a related note, what do you feel like you’re bringing to the NBA ecosystem now as a media member?
BOB MYERS: I think media coverage keeps getting closer and closer to the game as far as access, as far as storylines, as far as analytics. You can find information. There’s a dramatic part of it; there’s a mathematical part of it; there’s a predictive part of it. Whether it’s the Internet or whatever it is, there’s so much information for fans to pull from.
I would joke around; I didn’t know who the GM of the Warriors was when I was growing up, but now people aspire to be GMs. I don’t know when I was a kid anybody raised their hand and said, “I want to be GM of a sports team.”
So why do I say that? It’s a much more educated fan base. If I were to say, what’s changed in the media, there’s much more to write about because it’s not very stale. There’s so much change all the time; one could argue maybe too much; where it provides storylines that are interesting to fans because you never know what you’re going to see each day when you wake up.
What can I provide? Just perspective on what it was like to be an agent; what it was like to be a GM; What thought processes go into building a team; what you might do in a situation where there’s tension or something.
I went through enough with the Warriors where I’ve seen quite a bit. There’s the kind of weight of expectations. There’s dealing with that. There’s the weight of controversy. And so, all those things maybe having some lens into that might be interesting for people to see.
Obviously doing the agent stuff for as long as I did, I may have a perspective of what players might be thinking, or certainly agents were thinking.
And just being around the business for 25 years. As you may or may not know, it’s a pretty small world. So, when you’re at games or out and about, the network, the connections you have, you just hear all about what’s going on in the league and maybe some access to information just from my relationships.
Q. Dan Orlovsky just talked in a Podcast about his relationships with an NFL team helped with his success. What’s your relationship with the rest of the folks at the Countdown, and how do you build that camaraderie for the success of the team?
BOB MYERS: Yeah, I’ve known [Michael] Wilbon for quite a few years, and Stephen A. [Smith] as well. Just meeting Malika [Andrews]; I haven’t known her that long.
But would see them at the Finals. I mean, when you’re lucky enough to be at the Finals, that’s where most of the media shows up in person, at least the national media, and would see them around. Would speak to them when I saw them.
So, it feels to me pretty easy and natural. I don’t know if they feel that way, I think they do, but I don’t sense — I’m sure we’re going to have to work to figure out the right way, right cadence to the show and things like that, but I don’t feel like I don’t know them and don’t understand them or don’t have a sense of them. And Malika is such a good quarterback.
So, I’m hoping it will go well. I think — you guys, nobody probably watched yesterday, but I thought it was good. But I’m not the right — I’m not in this business, so I’m learning what’s good and what isn’t. Sometimes what I think might be good may not land well with what other people think is good.
And so, I rely on the people at ESPN to say that was good or that was bad or don’t say that. But I’m not as worried about my rapport with the people on the show. It seems like there’s a good chemistry there.
Q. Obviously we’re in the midst of the NFL season right now, and ESPN has several games on Monday night and a lot of studio shows. I’m wondering, have you used the NFL coverage from ESPN or any other network, any other pregame show, to base how you’re going to provide your analysis and interact with your team members?
BOB MYERS: I love watching the NFL like any of you or any sport. I was enjoying watching the hockey kind of pre- and postgame shows. Baseball does a great job.
What’s interesting to me is how different each sport is, and how baseball leans pretty heavily into analytics when they are discussing a game and how that is accepted in that sport. And maybe the NFL, it’s less so; and why is that, or is that right or wrong. That’s just interesting to me.
I love listening to the former players from their perspective. It’s always for me educational. Not just from a standpoint of watching how they interact with each other. But as far as just watching studio shows, what I like to see is if they are having fun and they are getting along and they are being informative and being smart.
And so that’s kind of what I try to take from it. But there’s so many talented people doing these things, and I think great producing, as well.
So, I don’t know, probably like a lot of you, I enjoy the lead-ins for a lot of these things, and the postgame analysis, as well, as fascinating because you hope — well, I hope when I watch these things, I walk away and say, Wow, I didn’t know that, or I can regurgitate what was said and maybe sound smarter than I am.
For me I love sports. That’s the one thing having a little bit of space outside of the Warriors. I thought about a lot of different things. I just want to be in sports. I want to be around sports. What sports is is so unique: The emotion around it; the competition around it; the winning; the losing; the drama; the tension. I just love all that stuff. And so, it’s fun to kind of watch.
I watched a few 49er games and saw John Lynch before, and just being around that, how much each football game matters. It’s just different than the NBA. Their games are five of ours. It’s pretty cool to contrast and compare things.
Q. Just two questions from me. I would like to ask, or can you take us behind the scenes, how do you approach this TV gig or how do you prepare for studio and the future game coverage?
BOB MYERS: Yeah, I just try to know that I don’t — there’s a lot I don’t know. So, I ask a lot of questions. I understand that I have a lot to learn and try to be myself. Try to think but not overthink. It’s new. It’s challenging. And so that’s my approach to it.
I guess not getting on air thinking I know how to do it. I don’t know how to do it. I’m hoping I’ll get better at it.
But also, I have to be me. So, you don’t want to get paralyzed with too much thought. So that’s my approach. I’m lucky that a lot of people are pretty forthcoming when you ask them for advice. I find that people will freely give it, and I’ve just been asking for a lot of advice.
And listening, right. Just listening. Because this is not a space that I’ve been in very long or at all, and so I’m well aware that there’s a ton to kind of work through and figure out.
Q. Now that you’re in the business of giving hot takes on TV, I have to ask, of course: This off-season, is it Magic Johnson or Stephen Curry as the greatest player?
BOB MYERS: What do you think I’m going to say? Curry is like my — I can never go against Curry. I mean, I don’t — to me, that stuff is, I guess you’re right, I guess that’s hot take stuff but I’m voting for Curry in every category. You just put a category out, he’s — if you say who is the best center, I’m not going to say Curry.
I was fortunate to work with him for as long as I did.
I would say this, if you want a real answer, both changed the game and made people feel different about basketball, and that’s why they both should be celebrated equally in a huge way because they made you think differently about the game of basketball. They reshaped the game, both of them did, in their own very different ways.
And so, I don’t want to demean one and celebrate the other. They are both — I mean, if you’re a basketball fan, you know how you felt watching Magic and you know how you feel watching Curry, and just the feeling that those kinds of players give you that’s just hard to quantify.
Q. Curious coming into this new season, who do you see coming out of the East, who do you see coming out of the West and who do you think some dark horses could be come playoff time?
BOB MYERS: Well, the West is so hard because there’s such a thin margin for error.
Denver, you clearly have to separate them out a little bit because they just did it. I think they lost a little bit of their bench depth, which is something, not something just to ignore. But they still have what you might argue is the best player, if not one of the first, second best player in the league in Jokic who can control possessions on offense, as good as I think LeBron ever even did from a different type of position. Denver is great.
I do think after that, it gets muddled. You could argue Phoenix with their new talent, but nobody has seen it.
You could arc Memphis is due to kind of put that whole thing together.
Warriors still have a great group that has done it before.
The Lakers obviously going to the Western Conference Finals. I mean, Lakers still have two of the best ten, maybe 15 — two Top-10 players in the NBA. And Reaves is a tremendous player and should continue to get better.
So, we can all throw out our predictions, but this is a tough one in the West.
In the East I do think there’s two teams that are in a tier by themselves and that’s Milwaukee and Boston. Personally, if you made me choose, I would put Boston ahead right now of Milwaukee.
But after that, I think there’s some separation. And then it gets into some of the other teams.
I think Cleveland is probably, I think, will take a step.
Certainly, Philly with the MVP.
Miami, I guess you can never count them out even though they didn’t have a great regular season last year, we saw what they did in the playoffs.
There’s just a lot. The Knicks. I could answer — I feel like I could answer that question better in any other year but this year. It just feels like there’s so many teams, especially in the West, that could come out of the West.
But in the East, I could give you a little more — I think there’s a separation. There’s a tier with two teams.
Q. Curious your assessment of Brad Stevens’ performance from transitioning as a head coach to obviously president of basketball operations for the Celtics and what you’ve seen him do over the last few years or so.
BOB MYERS: I think Brad’s super talented. Certainly, as a coach, and now as an executive, he seems to operate in a kind of fearless way. I don’t think he’s too worried about — there’s no fear in his decisions. He makes bold decisions, and as far as the decency of the human being and how he leads is pretty uniquely good.
I think that’s a place that people want to go to work, players want to play. He’s able to attract talent. He’s able to manage talent. And that team has been really successful, and they just haven’t won a title.
I know in this day and age, that’s how we are all measured. But they are each year, it seems likes for the last few years, a top three or four or five team in the league, and that’s hard to sustain.
I think the challenge for them is just breaking through. They just have to break through, but they have as good a shot as anybody in the league and are positioned well.
So, I think he’s done a tremendous job. They have got a young roster and I like the Holiday deal. I think that gives them a different kind of edge, someone that’s done it before.
I like Brad. I think he’s done a tremendous job. The Celtics, if I were a Celtics fan, I would love that he’s in charge.
Q. You talked a lot about the people you talked to at ESPN since you joined, but I guess this is a simple question. But what’s been the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from one of your colleagues at ESPN since you joined?
BOB MYERS: Stephen A. said, “Just be yourself.” When we talk off-camera, he said, “Just be this guy. Just do this. Just talk like we’re talking right now.”
I thought that was good to hear because sometimes you think on TV or in media, you have to be a different person. I wouldn’t do a good job at that, I don’t think, so it was nice to hear someone say, be this guy, the same guy you are.
And Tim Corrigan who is a producer, he produces all the talent around the shows, the play-by-play, color analyst everyone and, he said when you’re doing games, it’s okay not to talk. Meaning, let the game breathe a little bit, which I think is a little bit unnatural for people. If you picture yourself doing color analyst in a game and something happens, just to not say anything, it’s going to be a challenge.
I have to work a game tomorrow night, and I think I’ll struggle with taking that advice because that empty space, I think as people, we just don’t love that, that quiet.
But I think watching games, I do like when the announcers do that. And I do think it’s a good part of it but play-by-play, color, you don’t have to talk all the time. I think that might be a hard adjustment, but it’s seemingly to me really good advice and I hope I can use it.