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After Hours with Amy Lawrence PODCAST: Hour 3

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence
The Truth Network Radio
April 25, 2024 5:57 am

After Hours with Amy Lawrence PODCAST: Hour 3

Amy Lawrence Show / Amy Lawrence

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April 25, 2024 5:57 am

Big East Conference Commissioner Val Ackerman joins the show | The PGA will reward those who stayed "loyal" to the Tour | The Thunder are young... but are they ready, already?


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Price and coverage match limited by state law. More on the Thursday first round of the NFL Draft as we head through the second half of the show. Peyton Manning weighs in on JJ McCarthy and she does believe the Broncos have interest there.

Caleb Williams and Marvin Harrison and some of the other draft picks that you're expecting to go early. They'll be in the green room of sorts in Detroit. And it'll be plenty of pomp and circumstance. A big show. This is now a marquee event. This first round, the primetime presentation and it starts at 8 o'clock Detroit time. That's 5 o'clock Pacific. We'll have wall to wall coverage coming up on our next show to wrap the work week as it were. So we'll be doing the whole happy almost Friday thing.

It's After Hours with Amy Lawrence. You can find me on Twitter, ALawRadio. On our Facebook page too we're asking you if you're in your team's war room, what would you want to do with the top pick? Or your team's top pick I should say. There's a lot of interference that we're getting all over the NFL. Trying to throw other teams off the set but it's about to be revealed.

About to have cards on the table coming up on Thursday. We had the unique opportunity to catch up with the commissioner of the Big East on Wednesday. Well you know the Big East, the champion in men's college basketball.

He's going to dribble this one out and the second verse is the same as the first. UConn repeats as national champions. The third team to repeat in the last 50 years.

75-60 the final. The Huskies back to back national champions. For the last 25-30 years UConn's been running college basketball. And I see all the former champs over there and we run. We've been running college basketball the last 30 years.

Let's go. Dan Hurley fired up as he and the Huskies were receiving that national championship trophy for a second straight year. And remember the UConn women were also in the final four of that taking place in Cleveland. So the Big East is right now the center of college hoops. But there's a lot of changes in conference realignment and NIL and transfer portal. It's an intriguing time for college sports and for conference commissioners like Val Ackerman. I crossed paths with her in the past doing play by play and traveling with the Big East.

I was very grateful that she and the Big East office made her available on Wednesday afternoon. And as much as I couldn't wait to talk about the Huskies, I had to start with the women's side of things. Val, how would you describe this past season? These past few months really for women's college hoops? It's hard to compare it to much of what's happened over the course of the last 50 years. I mean, I think it really has been a phenomenal stretch for women's basketball. If you look at the gains the WNBA has made the last few years playing in the summer. The interest around the women's college game particularly coming after the flap in 21 with the inequities that were exposed at the Women's Championship, the COVID bubble in San Antonio. And the attention that was focused on the women's game at that point. I mean, it sort of turned around that and then some from that tournament. And then if you look at these bright young stars who are coming up, who are getting people excited, developing significant followings, developing incredible audiences on television and in arenas. So for somebody like me who's been following the women's game for many years, I played myself in the early years of Title Nine to see what's happening and how women's basketball has seemed to have turned a big corner. It's very exciting to see it. The Final Four had record viewership, not just for the national semifinals, but for the championship game.

Nearly 14 million viewers on average for those three games in Cleveland. You've been in the game for a long time. I've covered it for 25 years and that would have been unheard of, say, 10, 15 years ago.

Incredible. But why now, Val? Why do you think it's gotten to the point where it's exploding in 2024?

Well, I think some of it is accretive. You know, a sport that's been around for a long time. It was one of the early beneficiaries of Title Nine. It's had many peaks over the years. I mean, the start of the WNBA, which I was part of, was one such peak. There have been great stars that have come in over time. The Olympic team, which is going to have a window this summer, going for its eighth straight gold medal.

Their performances since 1996 have been part of the peaks. This isn't a new sport that's just burst onto the scene by any stretch. But I think what's really contributed is, I would put a fair amount of this at the feet of Kaitlyn Clark, who has almost single-handedly elevated the sport with the interest that she's created, the scoring sensation that she is, the way she plays, the way she conducts herself. You know, she's going to carry that into the WNBA.

That's incredible. But there's other great young players coming up as well, as evidenced by the draft this year and the style of play they're bringing to the league, etc. I think it's the combination of sort of buildup over time, sensational stars who've hit, and then the societal acceptance, I think, of women's sports is sort of at an apex. It wasn't so 50 years ago when Title Nine was passed, or even 28 years ago when the WNBA was launched. I think society now is more embracing of women who are strong and who are athletic and who are role models in all sorts of ways, and they're just seeing these sports in a completely different light now.

I think all of those things have combined to bring us to where we are today. You mentioned Kaitlyn. Of course, she's become a household name. Not an overnight sensation, but in the last year, I gauge the popularity of a sport through my mom, who really doesn't know a whole lot about sports other than what I do. But she did not miss an Iowa basketball game over the past couple months and couldn't wait to watch Kaitlyn and her teammates. I asked Lisa Bluder, I asked Lindsay Gottlieb, I've asked other people, how does the sport, and in a larger context, women's sports, capitalize on this wave of popularity?

How does that continue? It'll continue as it relates to her. She does very well in the WNBA. I think the mystique will only grow. If she gets to the WNBA and she's stopped in her tracks because the defenses are better, or because the veteran players who are proud, their competitive juice is going, say, okay, she's not going to do what she did at Iowa.

She's not going to do it here. I can see that mindset. If that happens, and she's sort of relegated to a lesser role, then maybe things slow down a little bit. But I think if she comes in, just picks up kind of where she left off, she's making half-court shots, her playmaking is continuing.

I think if all of that keeps happening, then I can see continuous build here. Not unlike, I was part of the NBA in the early years of the Magic Johnson Larry Bird era. That's when I started working in basketball in 1988. And they came in very heralded from college.

And then they came into the pros and they just kind of kept it going, including with each other, in terms of their rivalry. I think it's a little bit on her, but the WNBA is a pro league. They're adept at marketing. They're very much tied to the NBA, which is a casebook study on how to market a sports league. So I think the league will be equipped to amplify what's happening, to build up all of the teams and all of the players in ways, and take advantage through social media, the activations of sponsors, the promotion on television, the television windows they're getting, etc.

All those things combine to elevate. And I think the league is more than equipped to do that. In the case of this freshman here in my college talk, this rookie class, now and for years to come. We are so pleased to have the Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman with us on After Hours with Amy Lawrence, Naismith Hall of Famer, and also the first president of the WNBA.

Back to those days in the late 90s, it was a startup, Val. When you look back now, we're talking nearly 30 years, and as we go over the success and the growth, what is maybe an element of that league that you're proud of, having been part of the very first days? I think in some ways we're ahead of our time. When I hear people today talk about women's basketball like it's something new, and it's new because they've just discovered it, I kind of chuckle to be honest. Because they're using lines that we were using, to your point, 30 years ago, when the idea for the WNBA started germinating in the NBA league office, which I was part of.

I kind of get patient with people and let them say what they want to say about it. But the fact is, the league has had incredible moments over the years. We had an incredible start. And candidly, the crowds that we had in the early years of the WNBA were the biggest the league has ever had, and then it sort of settled down. I hope it picks up again with this renaissance that we're seeing around the sport. But I think the embrace by fans, growing interest by sponsors, this is all the things you need for a sports league to grow. That's happening, clearly.

I don't know how to measure that. The buzz is there. I hope it's translating into commercial rewards. Are more sponsors coming in? Are they paying more money?

Are television rights fees going up? Ticket sales revenues, that stuff going up. Because that's what builds a league, to be honest. The economics have to start improving. And it seems like maybe that's where this is headed.

I hope it is. Because if that happens, then more can be reinvested into the sport, and importantly, the players can share in that. Because if the league's sort of stuck from a revenue standpoint, the players, by definition, aren't going to benefit. But if it's growing, the people that run leagues know that the players should share in that, and will share in that, and should share in that.

And so hopefully that's going to be the next phase of growth for them. Val, as much as we talk about women's basketball, women's sports, certainly the Big East needs to be spotlighted for the back-to-back national champion that is UConn and Dan Hurley. And what a run.

Record numbers in terms of their margins. Victory. Really tough to do. How much does that mean to the Big East to have the first back-to-back national champ in almost 20 years, I guess? Yeah, it was awesome. The Huskies were fabulous this year. Coach Hurley has done a magnificent job. They lost some key players last year to the NBA, but they were able to kind of replace them with players who had been there last year, had the Final Four experience, and then just improved, developed. And they were able to add some newcomers. Frankly, for us at the conference, we tag along during March Madness.

It was fun to see it. For the Big East, it's a proud moment because we're a league. We have 22 sports that we sponsor in this iteration of the Big East. The Big East has been around 45 years. It started out as a basketball-centric conference.

Football got added. And then 11 years ago, it became a basketball-centric conference once again, meaning we don't sponsor football. So to stay relevant and competitive and to bring home titles—we've won four of the last eight men's basketball college titles—is validating that a basketball organization can do it, if you will, in a football-driven ecosystem, which is what college sports is, essentially. This is all very exciting stuff for us at the conference. I know our presidents across the board are excited, proud of UConn. We tip our hat to their leadership for making this happen. And they're determined. I mean, Dan Hurley has already told me he's going for a three-peat next year.

In this environment, you never know what your roster will be like next year. But we can't compliment them enough, and we're very proud to have them back in the Big East. I read a quote from you, Val, in which you said, if college basketball has a soul, you will find it in our league. That's more than just winning.

What does that mean? What I like about the Big East, and one of the reasons I signed up for this job when I took it 11 years ago, is because I really felt like the Big East has an identity. As I mentioned in the answer to the last question, this is a league that was built on basketball. Our schools are in basically big cities. Our schools are among the top 35 media markets in the country. We have pretty sensible geography. If you look at the landscape now and the national conferences that have been formed, we're on the Eastern Seaboard, Northeast, and then the Midwest. Our schools have a proud history.

They're academically inclined. We have very high graduation rates in our league, second only to the Ivy League. We're very tied to New York City with our men's basketball tournament at the Garden. We've been there 42 years.

We just signed an extension with the Garden that will give us 50 years at MSG coming in 2032, which we're really excited about. We just have, I think, a DNA here that combines athletics and getting a good education, as I mentioned, and then importantly, because of the Catholic missions of many of our schools, an orientation towards service and the community and to developing young people. Very few of them are going to play pro sports with their lives. They're going to go on and do other things, and so our schools know that, and they're trying to develop them into leaders and responsible young adults and good citizens. Our schools really care about that, and I know that because I'm in the meetings with our presidents, and that's their job to think about that, and mine too. I guess, Amy, that package of attributes, it's more than skin deep with us.

There's a lot of things that we care about and value. I just feel proud to be associated with a league that cares about its history but also has an eye to the future and is trying to do it the right way. Big East Commissioner and Hall of Famer Val Ackerman is with us here after hours with Amy Lawrence. The league has gone through, maybe not its own conference realignment to the depths of the Big Ten and the SEC and some of the others, but has been affected by that. Some of these other conferences are becoming mammoth. Will the Big East stand pat, or is that something that the Big East is investigating or even looking at? In this environment, you can't not pay attention to what's going on around you, so we've followed closely and with interest the changes that we've seen nationally with the breakup of the Pac-12, frankly, which was analogous to the breakup of the old Big East 15 or 20 years ago.

It was the ACC at that time, I'm going to use this word, that raided the Big East and pulled out football-playing schools to add to the numbers of schools at that time in the ACC, leaving behind schools that included the basketball-centric schools, many of whom I now represent in the new Big East. For our presidents, they're kind of looking around, shuddering with this repeating of history, with realignment of the last couple of years. So we're paying attention. We have no plans at this minute to expand. We've investigated it to your question. We've had a bunch of inquiries from other schools who want to be part of what we're doing. We did add UConn back in 2020 to make it 11, so that's where we are right now. Might things change?

No one can rule that out in this environment. We're not looking for it, but if the circumstances are such that it makes sense for us to add schools, we would look at it. It would have to fit. It would have to be consistent with our goals. It would have to not mess up our basketball, which is pretty good and something we're really proud of here. It would have to make sense from an economic standpoint.

Scheduling, geography, all these factors come into play. So I can't say never on anything, but at least at this moment, we're set at 11, and that's going to be kind of where we're going to land, I think for at least the next couple of years. Gosh, Val, you don't back down from a challenge, helping to launch the WNBA, then into the Big East and having to navigate all these waves of changes, not just for conferences and realignment, but also the changes in college sports overall with NIL and the transfer portal. Do you like this kind of stuff?

Digging in and facing almost a mountain? You know, I can't say I knew this was coming, Amy, when I signed up for this job 11 years ago. I mean, what we've seen in college sports over the last couple of years, I don't think anybody could have truly predicted. There were maybe undercurrents 10 years ago or longer about some of the things that have surfaced now about sort of athlete empowerment and this push to have athletes have expanded benefits and maybe a piece of the pie. But it is better or worse, it is part of my job to keep up with all of that. I'm a lawyer, and that's been helpful here because there's so many legal issues right now, frankly, that are surrounding college sports.

So having my law degree and a few years of practicing helps me understand better some of the challenges that our space is confronting. I will say that when I took this position, part of the appeal was, you know, the fact that it was a rebuild, a restart, if you will, of the old Big East. The league had broken up.

It was coming back together again in a different form. I did have the experience with the WNBA, albeit within the confines of the NBA league office, starting a new property. And so the startup nature of this was not something new, but it was different in many ways and appealing.

I kind of thought, OK, I kind of think I know, you know, some things here that could be helpful to these to these schools. So it's been really exciting. And I do feel like lightning has struck twice in a good way with me to be able to have been at the ground floor of the WNBA and then to be part of this rebirth of the Big East over the last decade or so. I feel very fortunate to have had these experiences and, you know, and proud about the journey that I've had. What's next for the conference?

What's the next challenge? I think it's just what we talked about. It's navigating the ecosystem now and all of the changes that are possible in college sports and making sure that the Big East as a non-football conference, without those revenues, but also without some of their distractions and expenses, can we stay relevant? And can we fulfill the mission of our schools to be really good in basketball, to serve our athletes, to create the kinds of experiences for them that I had as a student athlete? I played basketball in Virginia and made my life. I still think of every day. Think about, OK, the lessons I learned when I was playing basketball at UVA.

It's that powerful, those four years. And so I feel a sense of responsibility in my job to try as best I can to assist in the replication of those experiences for the young men and young women, growing numbers of young women playing college sports today, because I know how impactful that was for me. And they're going to be the future for, you know, not just in sports, but across the board in our country. So, you know, again, I think we've got the attributes needed to stay relevant and competitive and to serve our schools in the right ways going forward. But it's not easy. There's just a lot of challenges, especially for our ADs and our folks on campus. They've got the heavy lifting in many respects.

But whatever I can do to support them is whatever it may take, known and unknown right now. That's what I see as the job of me and myself and my staff. What do you do for fun, Val, when you get some time off?

Well, that's a great question. So I try to sleep. How about sleeping? You know, my husband and I watch, you know, we have some TV shows that we watch religiously. I try to work out when I can.

It's hard living in the city and with limited hours. But I do a little Peloton. I, you know, I belong to a swimming pool that I turn out some laps. I ride a bike. I love to hike. I love nature. So I like being outdoors. Don't get enough of that.

But whenever I'm outside of the city, I'm looking for a trail. Gotten a little more into cooking, reading books. I've got two daughters, Emily and Sally, my husband and I. And so we were very close knit as a family. We were always in touch.

Our youngest daughter lives here in the city. I see her a lot. And so, yeah, I mean, it's just trying to maintain relationships. Taking a breath every now and again, trying to recharge.

I think executives in our line of work don't always do enough to recharge because these jobs are really they can grind. And so I sometimes have to remind myself that I'm not at 100 percent capacity unless every now and again I'm at zero capacity. That makes sense. I like that. I'm going to remember moving forward. Yeah. So it's sort of that that that mix of stuff that I try to do just to take the break that you need. Val Ackerman is the current commissioner of the Big East.

She's a former WNBA president, first female president of USA Basketball, a Hall of Famer, very busy. So it's an honor to have you on the show for a couple of minutes. Thank you so much for your time. We love to connect with you.

Thanks so much. Great being with you today. It's a busy month of April. That conversation with Val, one of the highlights for me, not only because the Big East is a major player in college sports, but because of her insight and how candid she is about the way the Big East has had to roll with the punches. And she even uses the word rebuild and then how excited she is and the presidents are over the fact that they did not collapse or even stumble. Instead of just surviving, the Big East is thriving as a basketball centric conference. And I love the identity that she spells out. So it is possible.

Maybe there's hope there for the Pac-12 and some of the other conferences who've also been raided. That's another word that she uses and appreciate her honesty about it and also her insight on women's sports. And as I said earlier in the show, she has a list of Lifetime Achievement Awards and honors that is as long as my arm. So I can learn a lot from her. We can learn a lot from her.

Gosh, college sports can learn a lot from her. On Twitter, A Law Radio, also on our Facebook page. Glad to have you with us on what is a Thursday morning. The morning of the NFL draft. It's After Hours with Amy Lawrence.

You are listening to the After Hours podcast. Instacart shoppers overthink your groceries so that you can overthink what you'll wear on that third date. Download the Instacart app to get free delivery on your first three orders while supplies last.

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Price and coverage match limited by state law. Oh, you're sweet. Thanks. Good evening, Amy. Great show. Now you're stuck with me for a long time.

Stuck is a great way to put it. I'll give you a phone tomorrow night, too. Thank you.

Oh, well, I appreciate the warning. Amy, how you doing? I'm great. Hey, I love your show so much. I'm gonna toot my horn at you.

This is After Hours with Amy Lawrence. I know we took a little longer with Val Ackerman than we normally do in our interviews, and the segment went a little long, but we have a couple minutes here. And I hope that our company, same company, new name of the network, but I hope our company adopts this practice that the PGA is about to use to reward its golfers for being, are you ready for this? Loyal. So maybe there is such a thing as loyalty in sports. It's kind of a pie in the sky. It's more hypothetical.

Pie in the sky, pipe dream. Teams are not that loyal. Franchises are not loyal to anything except for the bottom line. Athletes know it's a business. They get blindsided all the time or dumped, if you will. They get traded. Whatever works for the owner, for the bottom line, for the general manager, blah, blah, blah. Loyalty is really a limited commodity in sports.

Now fans, we have loyalty, which is why we're always so shocked when our teams do not. But the PGA could be turning over a new leaf. According to the Telegraph, and we may get confirmation of this from Jay Monahan on Wednesday, he's the PGA Tour Commissioner, Tiger Woods will receive up to $100 million in equity. Equity in the new PGA Tour Enterprises. That's a for-profit arm of the PGA. You may not know this, but the PGA Tour is actually a 501c3. It's a non-profit.

Which is weird, but it is. The entity itself is non-profit. The golfers certainly have plenty of profit. But Woods is going to release, I don't know why I call him that, Tiger is going to receive up to $100 million as a stake in this new PGA Tour Enterprises.

Rory McElroy is reportedly earning $50 million in equity. And I guess, as I say, hear from Jay on Wednesday. Wait, Wednesday? It was Wednesday. Next Wednesday?

This is weird. I didn't hear anything from Jay Monahan on Wednesday. At first I read that I thought next Wednesday and I'm like, wait a minute, it's Wednesday night slash Thursday morning. Maybe next Wednesday. I don't know.

The report says Wednesday. But anyway, that has nothing to do with, well, it has something to do with it, but it's not the point. The point is, these payouts or these stakes in the new enterprises, not the Star Trek enterprises. The payouts are supposed to be a thank you to these golfers who declined to jump to live.

So snap, that'll teach you. These are supposed to be loyalty bonuses. You didn't take the money from Liv. You stuck with the PGA Tour, even though we lied to you and then betrayed you. You stuck with us. So here's $100 million in our new company.

Now, I hope it doesn't turn out to be a house of cards. But how about that? They're called loyalty bonuses. And nearly 200 players are getting the stake. It's kind of like stock bonuses, if you will. But the top 36 players will split three quarters of a billion dollars.

Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas. There's also some money going to retired players. But here's the catch.

Are you ready? There is a catch. There's always a catch. According to the Telegraph, to receive the money, players have to stay loyal to the PGA Tour because the funds vest over the next eight years. For those of you who don't know what that means, I actually had to learn about this for my union. All of us who are employed in New York City, which is where our headquarters are located, those of us who are on the air, we have to belong to a union.

I was the same union as Tom Cruise. By virtue of merger, we're in SAG-AFTRA. And we have to pay, whether we like it or not, we have to be in a union and we have to pay into this union. We have to pay dues. But the upside is we get great insurance and it's a huge union because it's actors as well as TV, radio, film, blah, blah, blah, producers, that kind of stuff. So we were also technically on strike last year. Anyway, we have to pay into this big pot with our union dues. But after five years, our pensions are fully vested.

So all it took was five years. The PGA is making these golfers wait about eight years. Now, I don't think that's an issue for Tiger, right? Because he's barely playing one tournament a month.

But for younger golfers, this is the way that the PGA, very sneaky, the way that the PGA ensures some of its best and brightest and youngest will not make the jump to live. How about that? I wonder if that's part of the merger agreement.

Nope, I'm going to say it's not. The what? Yeah, right. What merger?

My gosh. Now, do we know if their equity can go up, say, with better performance in those eight years? No, this has nothing to do with performance.

It's all about loyalty. OK, because I thought it was based on a formula, based on their ratings. So you think it might be a sliding scale? Right, I'm not sure. I was reading that it's based on their social media hits and their general public interest, too. So like Scottie Scheffler, who's the best golfer in the world, is he going to make as much as Rory?

I don't know, because he doesn't generate as much interest. Ouch! Well, it's just true. So if it's a sliding scale, then maybe it changes, or maybe there's more? Meaning from year to year? I'm not sure.

Ooh, that could be more or less. If you don't keep up your social media imprint. Here's the problem, though. Even the Masters saw a massive decline in ratings. Golf is hemorrhaging viewers right now. And in large part, it has to do with the fact that you don't have all the best golfers every week.

You know, the Liv isn't getting any great shakes either when it comes to TV ratings, partly because of the network it airs on. But that's a good question. So yeah, they're loyalty bonuses, but you have to remain loyal. There's always a catch. Loyalty works one way here.

That's interesting. I don't think our company's into that. Our company doesn't have that kind of money right now, but our company's not into that. Also, would you, Jay, if you could, not that we're getting bonuses worth hundreds of millions, but if the company said to you, we'll give you 50 grand or 100 grand. If you stay loyal for the next eight years, would you sign up for that? It's a long time. Probably not right now in my career, no. I wouldn't either, to be perfectly honest. It's a long time to be attached to any company, but especially one that, well, in an industry that's as volatile as ours is.

So I don't think, well not I don't think, I'm pretty sure. Although the loyalty bonus of 100 million might convince me to potentially... That might get me to say, yeah, I'll stick around. Monopoly money. Alright, loyalty bonuses. Craig says, hi Amy, fired up for the draft here in Detroit.

The setup downtown is awesome. Hoping the Lions trade up. I don't know. I think the Lions are kind of good.

They're just enhancing where they are and who they are. Craig, finding us on Twitter, at ALawRadio, also on our Facebook page. I'm good. What do you want your team to do with Thursday's draft? It's here.

It's nearly here. He's spectacular. It was Alexander slicing left with a step. Swoops to the rim and lays it in with a left hand. His first 30-point performance of the playoffs in a Thunder uniform.

He led the league with 30-point performances in the regular season. Shea with 4.25 to play. Isolated on Daniels left wing. Backs him down. Surges middle.

Pump fakes in faith. Baseline raining and draining a 13-footer. Shea 13 of 19 tonight for 33. He is busted out. And puts the Thunder up by 31 again, 117.86.

This is After Hours with Amy Lawrence. On the Thunder Radio Network with Matt Pinto. MKC, the top seed in the West, also in action. Top seed in the East, Boston. We'll talk about the Celtics and Heat at the top of the hour, but with the two top seeds in action, you had the Pelicans falling behind by as many as 34. The Thunder shot the lights out in this game, able to hit from nearly 60% from the floor. It was a double-figure lead before the first quarter was over, and the Pelicans really never had the juice to keep up. The little Thunders? Yeah, no, these were the big Thunders.

It's After Hours with Amy Lawrence. The rookie, Chet Holmgren, he was on Valley Sports Oklahoma after the fact, and he had Shea Gildas Alexander standing right next to him. He's too humble to say it, but this is the MVP right here. MVP of the league.

I'm going to say it for him because he won't say it, but that's all I got. Actually, that was the NBA on TNT, but he was also on the local TV network. Shopify helps you sell everywhere, from their all-in-one e-commerce platform to their in-person POS system. Wherever and whatever you're selling, Shopify has got you covered. Shopify helps you turn browsers into buyers with the internet's best converting checkout, 15% better on average compared to other leading commerce platforms. And sell more with less effort thanks to Shopify magic, your AI-powered all-star. Shopify powers 10% of all e-commerce in the US, and Shopify is the global force behind Allbirds, Rothy's, and Brooklinen, and millions of other entrepreneurs of every size across 175 countries. Plus, Shopify's award-winning 24-7 help is there to support your success every step of the way, because businesses that grow, grow with Shopify. Sign up for a $1 per month trial period at slash odyssey podcast, all lowercase. Go to slash odyssey podcast now to grow your business, no matter what stage you're in. slash odyssey podcast. Man, that sunset is gorgeous. Grill, patio, sunset, hard to get better than that, unless you're browsing Carvanas inventory while you soak it all in.

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Download the app or visit today. It took everybody that touched the floor tonight, everybody came ready, keyed in on the game plan, keyed in on their skills, getting ready for the game, and we came out ready, we're making shots, we're clicking, getting on transition, and getting stops on defense. That's a good recipe. I like how he said it took everybody on the floor, but honestly, they could have had everybody on the floor with a hand behind their back, and it probably wouldn't have been the same outcome. The Pelicans did not have the firepower. They go 7 of 26 from beyond the arc, and the defense for OKC, a little bit too tough for them. So Shay Gildas-Alexander with the 33 points, the 5 assists, but what he was focused on, they forced 17 turnovers. They came up with 5 steals. They made life difficult for the Pels. We know that's where we hang our hat defensively, and these past couple games just tried to give it all we got and execute the game plan.

Now, what those things are, we go into every day and focus on them, and then just try to carry them out, and we've done so. It is a really cool story that the Thunder and the Pelicans getting in is a big deal, but without Zion Williamson, they don't have as much. I like the fact that they gave the Thunder a game in the opener, and we know that Zion is frustrated, and he wants to be out there so badly. Seeing his 40-point performance against the Lakers was terrific until he got hurt with about 3 minutes to go. Jimmy Butler's out for this whole first round series.

That stinks. We haven't seen Giannis, though his injury goes back to the end of the regular season, we watched it play out right here on after hours and thought, oh no. When you're missing your star and you get into the playoffs, it's a real tall order. I give these teams credit for battling through, but without those guys, especially in a crowded West, nothing's impossible, but the Mountain becomes a whole lot taller.

It's more like a Mount Everest than, say, a Mount Washington, though I do love Mount Washington from my home state of New Hampshire. It's after hours with Amy Lawrence. OKC, Minnesota, great stories, and the Timberwolves, they were without Karl-Anthony Towns for a couple of months, and now that he's back, they're able to integrate him into the lineup and the flow again, but they've had to rely on other guys, and so they're actually better for it. But remember when Kat got hurt and the talk was, oh, the Timberwolves aren't going to be able to hang there at the top of the West, but they certainly have. So now the Pelicans find themselves down, 0-2. Tough one for us.

Give them credit. They took care of home court. It was a dominant win from them, so we'll get home. We'll regroup and get back after, but definitely a tough loss.

Up against the NFL Draft tonight, what, what? You've got Game 3 of Nuggets and Lakers. Remember, the last one ended with a Jamal Murray buzzer beater after the Lakers choked away a 20-point lead.

Apparently, they watched the film and it hurt, but LeBron seemed to be in a better mood now that they're back in L.A. We already know what we're going to get from our home fans. I feel like it's been forever since we played here, to be honest. I know we went, when we finished the season in Memphis and New Orleans, didn't play in New Orleans our first two games. What was our last home game? Warriors game.

No. Was it Warriors? I played in that game? Oh, I was sick in that game, though. I was out of it, so I missed the Minnesota game. Yes, that's how long it's been, it feels. So hopefully they're excited because we're looking forward to them. I wasn't here, I'll tell you that.

I was pretty messed up. Anyway, he sounds very jovial as they head into this Game 3 against the Nuggets. And yeah, Denver is formidable at home, but they've also got the Lakers' number with 10 straight wins. And just deeper, the defense that took Anthony Davis out of the second half, where what do you get? One touch, one shot in the fourth quarter of Game 2 as they were watching that lead go poof. It certainly does have a psychological effect. Now, LeBron will always be confident, but that's what the defending champs are.

They are oozing confidence, especially against the Lakers. One hour to go, it's After Hours with Amy Lawrence. So which is it? Waste the weekend, or do something a little more epic? And conquer it in the all-new Hyundai Santa Fe. Visit or call 562-314-4603 for more details. Hyundai. There's joy in every journey. Progressive Casualty Insurance Company and Affiliates.

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Whisper: medium.en / 2024-04-25 07:13:22 / 2024-04-25 07:31:16 / 18

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