Sure, some sports are back. But "sports" as we know them are largely still on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic. Today is Day 67 Without Sports.
Nearly 30 years ago, Ahmad Rashad spent plenty of his professional and personal time talking with Michael Jordan. That connection does not fully explain why Rashad became a revered NBA sideline reporter for NBC and a host/executive producer for “NBA Inside Stuff.” Rashad had connections to the other NBA stars, too.
With “The Last Dance” documentary sparking memories about Jordan and the 1990s Chicago Bulls teams, it only seemed natural for Rashad to tap further into the nostalgia. In what he likened to “an ‘Inside Stuff’ reunion,” Rashad will hold a Q&A on the NBA’s Twitter account with a handful of NBA stars from the 90s on Sunday at 7 p.m. ET. The NBA is still finalizing a list that could have as many as 30 players, but the confirmed guests include Karl Malone and John Stockton, Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton as well as David Robinson.
“We’re going to let it run,” Rashad told USA TODAY Sports. “It’ll be like we’re out having beer and sitting at my house just talking about a lot of stuff.”
Rashad and those NBA players won’t lack for material. It seems inevitable they will talk about “The Last Dance,” which will air the final two episodes of its 10-part series Sunday on ESPN (9 p.m. ET).
But the conversation, which is expected to last for about two hours, won’t just center on MJ and the Bulls. Rashad will likely talk about the Bulls’ various Finals opponents, including the Los Angeles Lakers (1991), Portland Trail Blazers (1992), Phoenix Suns (1993), Seattle SuperSonics (1996) and Utah Jazz (1997-98). Rashad called other players of the era, such as Stockton, Malone, Robinson and Clyde Drexler, “unstoppable.” Rashad also praised former New York Knicks coach Pat Riley for their deep playoff runs, most notably in the 1994 NBA Finals against Houston.
“I remember I did an interview with Shawn Kemp one year. He said his goal was to dunk on everybody in the league,” Rashad said. “And he did it.”
That candor partly explained why “Inside Stuff” became must-see television. The NBA’s star players opened up to Rashad, partly because of his inviting personality and his background as a former wide receiver with the Minnesota Vikings. Late NBA commissioner David Stern often praised Rashad for how the show captured the league’s star personalities and highlighted their performances.
“It was the best show of that genre ever. I couldn’t go to a game without a player coming down on the court and saying, ‘Put that on Inside Stuff,’ ” Rashad said. “I’m most proud of being an executive producer and managing editor of one of the longest running shows on television.”
Video of the Day
You’re going to see this endlessly Sunday night. Might as well get a head start. Relive MJ’s final shot in a Chicago Bulls uniform.
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What to Watch
MLB Network is airing a handful of classic World Series Game 7s. They include the Los Angeles Dodgers and Minnesota Twins (1965, 11 a.m. ET), Pittsburgh Pirates and Baltimore Orioles (1979, 2 p.m. ET) and Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians (2016, 5 p.m. ET).
The final two episodes of "The Last Dance" documentary will air on ESPN from 9 to 11 p.m. ET. Be prepared for all the memorable moments surrounding the 1997 and 1998 NBA Finals against the Jazz. Former Bulls guard Steve Kerr, head coach with the Golden State Warriors, will also be profiled in one of the episodes.
May 17 in sports history
1875 – Oliver Lewis won the first every Kentucky Derby on the winning horse, Aristides.
1939 –The first televised baseball game is shown on NBC between Princeton and Columbia.
1963 – Houston Colts .45’s Don Nottebart throws a no-hitter despite giving up an unearned run in a 4-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.
1992 – Golfer Betsy King wins her fifth of six major titles in the LPGA championship.
1998 – New York Yankees’ David Wells throws a perfect game in a 4-0 win over the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium.
Follow USA TODAY NBA writer Mark Medina on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
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