Airwaves: ESPN’s Berman earns star on Walk of Fame

Running around the airwaves:

– ESPN personality Chris Berman, or “Boomer” as his close friends call him, will become a member of the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Monday. It is amazing the face time this guy gets, not saying he doesn’t deserve it, because he does. He is bigger than life. Congratulations Boomer!

– Do you think ABC isn’t praying for a Los Angeles Lakers-Boston Celtics NBA Finals? What a ratings bonanza that would be. Celtics coach Doc Rivers was being criticized for allowing his team to “coast” at the end of the year. I say hogwash! That is good, smart coaching.

– The Big Ten Network is the driving force behind all the expansion talk coming out of the conference. The people running the Big Ten are really smart. They feel they need the New York market and a Sun Belt market. That is why schools like Rutgers and Texas are being constantly mentioned. The Pac-10 Conference needs to get into line with this type of thinking.

– This week, Forbes Magazine came out with a list of the most valuable brands in sports. The New York Yankees, who are worth $1.6 billion, came in first on the brand list with $328 million toward the team’s value. It seems almost everyone who is someone has been photographed in a Yankee hat.

Heck, I have 22 myself, in numerous colors. And of course it would be against my religion to ever throw away an old one. Manchester United was second with a brand worth $285 million. Real Madrid was third with a $240 million brand value. The Dallas Cowgirls, excuse me, Cowboys were fourth. In all, four soccer clubs were in the top six. The N.Y. symbol, Mickey Mouse, the Nike Swoosh and McDonald’s are the worlds most recognizable brands.

– NFL star Chad Ochocinco and partner Cheryl Burke were eliminated Tuesday night from ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.”  I am not a fan of the Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver, but he is pretty good on his feet. He and partner Burke are rumored to be an item off the dance floor. ESPN reporter Erin Andrews still remains and is in the finals, which will air next week. She too is very good. Her future will be interesting because she will have many options. She has outgrown the role of a sideline reporter.

Ranking top NHL, NBA and golf analysts

I love this time of year because I get to expand my horizons when I watch different analysts in different sports. Between golf, the NBA, baseball and the NHL, it is a new viewing and listening world to me since so much of what I do revolves around the game played with a pigskin.

I really enjoy ESPN’s hockey analyst Barry Melrose. He is straightforward, knowledgeable, and more importantly, can translate technical points of the game to idiots like me that can’t ice skate. In addition, the long hair looks good.

Sir Nick Faldo is my favorite golf analyst. Maybe being paired with Jim Nantz on the CBS golf package helps him seem so smooth. That is partially true, because Nantz always makes his partners look good. But on the other hand, Sir Nick is very capable of making the difficult game of golf seem very simple.

Bobby Valentine on ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight” brings a real energy to the studio. He is very opinionated, smart, observant, and obviously understands the strategy of baseball and the moves that managers make during the game.

Jeff Van Gundy, who is rumored for every NBA job that is open, is his usual solid self during the NBA playoffs. He can be self deprecating, but funny. He, like Melrose and Bobby V., has been a coach and knows the hoops game inside out. I hope he stays in the booth because I enjoy listening to him.

His career reminds me a great deal of the path Jon Gruden has gone down. A lifetime coach who felt he could not exist without coaching. But lo and behold, he gets a crack at calling games and falls in love with it. TV can be quite intoxicating. It is a real rush when you know you are influencing the opinions of millions of fans and their views on the sporting event they just watched.

Who said it

Shannon Brown
“Mysterious,” said the Los Angeles Lakers’ reserve guard when asked by a newspaper scribe to describe coach Phil Jackson. I don’t know if that is the right word or phrase. I might have said “winner” or “very smart” or “he is always in control.” No matter what the verbiage, Jackson is the best, and I hope he gets another ring this year.

Hank Haney
“Well, the only thing I knew about was his, you know, issue with sex addiction,” declared the former swing coach of Tiger Woods. Haney was answering a question about his knowledge of the problems that Tiger has been going through. Way to throw him under the bus, Hank! And besides, what is sex addiction? Does every promiscuous 16-year-old kid have a sex addiction problem?

One to watch

After falling into an early deficit in the Western Conference final against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Sharks are in desperate need for a win in Game 4 today. The team’s stars — Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley — must show up and prove this team isn’t the latest in a long line that busts out of the playoffs. Faceoff is set for noon and the action can be seen on NBC (KNTV, Ch. 11).

Sports by numbers

3 million Viewers for Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery on ESPN

7.2 million Viewers for Tuesday’s Celtics-Magic game on ESPN

3.2 TV rating for Tuesday’s Celtics-Magic game

On target

A shout-out to the Bay Area’s No. 1 broadcaster, Gary Radnich, who splits his duties between KRON (Ch. 4), KNBR (680 AM), and the Giants and 49ers postgame shows on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. I used your name a few times last week at the broadcasting seminar I conducted. Don’t worry, it was in a positive way! We had an excellent group of kids that attended. I was blown away at how advanced these kids are today. As you always say Gary, “They get it!”

Artie Gigantino spent 25 years as a coach at the major-college and NFL levels, was lead college football analyst for Fox Sports Net for seven years, was with CBS for one year and was an executive with the Raiders for three years. E-mail him at

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