NBA Shootaround

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KIA NBA Shootaround
KIA NBA Shootaround logo starting with the 2006-07 NBA season.
Starring Stuart Scott
Michael Wilbon
Jon Barry
Jalen Rose
Country of origin United States
Running time 30 minutes
Original network ESPN (2002–)
Original release October 25, 2002

NBA Shootaround is a pregame show for ESPN's coverage of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Typically, the program airs at 7:30 p.m, prior to ESPN's presentation of NBA Friday, though it does occasionally air prior to ESPN's NBA Wednesday coverage. The show is sponsored by Kia Motors, giving it the official name KIA NBA Shootaround, and aired live from ESPN/ABC's Times Square Studios from 2003 to 2006.



Originally, NBA Shootaround was hosted by Kevin Frazier, with analyst Tim Hardaway. The original program was broadcast out of one of ESPN's Bristol studios. Some of the features the first edition of NBA Shootaround contained were Walton's World, in which NBA analyst and legend Bill Walton would speak about matters related to the NBA, and Need to Know, in which host Frazier would go over the headlines of the night's upcoming NBA action. Midway through the inaugural season, widely criticized and panned analyst Tim Hardaway was replaced with recently retired NBA guard Greg Anthony. Frazier and Anthony were the tandem for the pregame show throughout the remainder of the season.


Prior to the start of the 2003-2004 NBA season, major changes were made to NBA Shootaround. The program was moved into its Times Square home, and Frazier and Anthony were joined by then-Detroit Shock head coach Bill Laimbeer and The Philadelphia Inquirer columnist, Stephen A. Smith. Nearly all of the features from the first season were discontinued, while several were added (including Fortune Tellers, in which the three analysts, Anthony, Laimbeer and Smith, would dress as psychics and predict the outcomes of several NBA teams). Laimbeer left early in ESPN's coverage of the 2004 NBA Playoffs due to his duties as coach of the Detroit Shock, and was replaced by Tim Legler. Frazier, Anthony, Smith and Legler were the studio team through ESPN's coverage of the 2004 Eastern Conference Finals.


In September 2004, Kevin Frazier left ESPN to become the weekend anchor on Entertainment Tonight. He was replaced for the 2004-2005 season by veteran ESPN anchor John Saunders, who had previously done play-by-play for the network's NBA coverage. Saunders was joined by Smith, Anthony, and on a permanent basis, Legler. The new studio team only had four editions of NBA Shootaround before the most infamous moments in the history of the network's NBA coverage. After the Pacers–Pistons brawl, ESPN went back to its studio for reaction. A visibly angry and shaken Saunders referred to the fans in Detroit as "punks and sissies", and he, Anthony and Legler vehemently defended Ron Artest's actions. After being censured [1][2] by ESPN and the media in general, the three quickly changed their opinions. NBA analyst David Dupree wrote in a chat:

Later in the season, Smith and Anthony got into an extremely heated debate about the NBA's age-limit and the questions about race which arose from it. Aside from the serious moments, Shootaround did continue its more light-hearted fare, which included an ongoing storyline (and mockery of Ron Artest's similar situation) about Greg Anthony's "rap album". Still, the season did not end without another infamous moment from the pregame show, when prior to Game 2 of the 2005 Western Conference Finals between the Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs, Stephen A. Smith criticized Spurs forward Glenn Robinson for not playing in the game. As viewers (and Smith) found out later that game, Robinson was not playing due to his mother's death.


For the 2005-06 NBA season, ESPN continued using Saunders, Legler, Smith and Anthony for its pregame show. On several occasions that year, ABC analyst Scottie Pippen filled in for Tim Legler while he went on assignment. Stephen A. Smith was occasionally absent from the pregame show, likely due to the increased workload he had due to his new talk show, Quite Frankly with Stephen A. Smith.


Despite reports to the contrary by The Big [4] that were picked up by various media publications[5][6] (namely the New York Post[7]), Greg Anthony, Tim Legler and Stephen A. Smith will remain on ESPN's NBA Shootaround. The only change will be in the role of host; Fred Hickman replaces John Saunders.[8]


ESPN completely overhauled its NBA studio in 2008, as Stuart Scott and Mark Jones rotated hosting the pregame show. Originally Stephen A. Smith and Bill Walton were to be the analysts, but after Walton came down with back problems in February, Jalen Rose and Rick Carlisle rotated as analysts along with Smith. Greg Anthony and Tim Legler were demoted to anaylasis on NBA Fastbreak, SportsCenter, and ESPNEWS, and Fred Hickman moved to hosting ESPNEWS

Miami Herald writer Barry Jackson had gone so far as to say that:

In addition to the change of host, Shootaround moved from Times Square to the ESPN Bristol, CT studios. On several occasions, ESPN used guest analysts from its other studio shows; Kiki Vandeweghe, Jamal Mashburn and Swin Cash have each made appearances. Stephen A. Smith's role has been greatly reduced. He no longer appears on set with the main studio group, instead appearing via satellite in a segment called "The A List". Ric Bucher, Marc Stein and Jackie MacMullan contribute in a segment called the "NBA Nation", which involves analysis from Boston (MacMullan), Dallas (Stein) and San Francisco (Bucher). On the Wednesday following the cancellation of Smith's show, Stephen A. appeared on the set for Shootaround.

On December 1, 2006, Dan Patrick hosted NBA Shootaround with analyst Michael Wilbon from Dallas, site of that night's ESPN televised Sacramento KingsDallas Mavericks game. This was how NBA Countdown would eventually be broadcast on ABC.





See also[edit]