- Jim Gray (sportscaster)
Jim Gray is an American
sportscaster. He has previously worked as a reporter with NBC Sportsand CBS Sports. He is currently with the Westwood Oneradio network, Showtimeand ESPN/ ESPN on ABCbut has provided NBC with commentary during the 2008 Olympics.
Notable events covered and athletes interviewed
Gray has been well known for his interview technique. Gray has broken numerous sports stories and has scored a number of exclusive interviews with
Mike Tyson, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Dennis Rodman, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Barry Bondsand others. Gray has won 11 National Emmy Awards and has twice been named the Sports Reporter of the Year by the ASA. Gray has worked on many major sporting events including numerous Super Bowls, World Series, NBA Finals, NCAA Final Fours, Olympics, The Masters and World Boxing Title Fights.
Gray was the sideline reporter for the infamous
Pacers-Pistons brawlin 2004. He was also the reporter on the air for Showtime for the Tyson/Holyfield fight in 1997 in which Tyson bit off Holyfield's ear. Gray also reported on the Olympic bombing from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Jim Gray also provided surprise play-by-play coverage for a little league game in Hermosa Beach, California. The event, organized by an improvisation group called
Improv Everywhere, included mascots, a concealed jumbotron in the outfield and a flyover by the Goodyear blimp. [cite news | first= | last= | coauthors= | title=Best Little League Game Ever | date= | publisher= | url =http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Nbkbss7i5s | work =You Tube | pages = | accessdate = 2008-04-08 | language = ] Gray will serve as a reporter for NBC Sportscoverage of Boxing at the 2008 Summer Olympics. [ [http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/sports/mediumwell/blog/2008/07/your_nbc_olympics_lineup.html Medium Well: Your NBC Olympics lineup - A blog on sports media, news and networks - baltimoresun.com ] ]
While some have been critical of Gray for being abrasive in interviews, others have also criticized him for giving soft interviews. Gray has been known for his close relationship with
Kobe Bryant, which showed in the immediate aftermath of Bryant's sexual assaultsituation (the night when the news broke, Gray appeared on " SportsCenter" in defense of Bryant's character) [ [http://www.usatoday.com/sports/columnist/martzke/2003-07-09-martzke_x.htm In Bryant case, sportscasters urge no rush to judgment] ] and in several sideline interviews. It was Gray whom Bryant phone called to vent about teammate Shaquille O'Nealin October of that year (a phone call that started one of O'Neal and Bryant's worst disagreements). [ [http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=1648431 Transcript of Gray's interview with Kobe Bryant questioning Shaquille O'Neal's leadership] ] Also, some found Gray's interview with maligned baseball player Barry Bondsin 2006 to be too soft.
The Pete Rose interview
The most notable interview of Gray's sportscasting career occurred with former
baseball player Pete Rose. During Game 2 of the 1999 World Series, Rose was introduced as a member of the Major League BaseballAll-Century Team. After the ceremony, Gray (who was covering the series for NBC) pointedly queried Rose about allegations of gambling on baseball, which he repeatedly denied: [ [http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2004/scorecard/08/05/interviews/ Top 10 Most Embarrassing TV/Radio Interview Moments] ]
cquote|Jim Gray: "Pete, now let me ask you. It seems as though there is an opening, the American public is very forgiving. Are you willing to show
contrition, admit that you bet on baseball and make some sort of apology to that effect?"
Pete Rose: "Not at all, Jim. I'm not going to admit to something that didn't happen. I know you're getting tired of hearing me say that. But I appreciate the ovation. I appreciate the American fans voting me on the All-Century Team. I'm just a small part of a big deal tonight."
Gray: "With the overwhelming evidence in that report, why not make that step..."
Rose: "No. This is too much of a festive night to worry about that because I don't know what evidence you're talking about. I mean, show it to me..."
Gray: "Pete, those who will hear this tonight will say you have been your own worst enemy and continue to be. How do you respond to that?"
Rose: "In what way are you talking about?"
Gray: "By not acknowledging what seems to be overwhelming evidence."
Rose: "Yeah, I'm surprised you're bombarding me like this. I mean I'm doing an interview with you on a great night, a great occasion, a great ovation. Everybody seems to be in a good mood. And you're bringing up something that happened 10 years ago ... This is a prosecutor's brief, not an interview, and I'm very surprised at you."
Gray: "Some would be surprised that you didn't take the opportunity."
Many people were outraged over Gray's aggressive questioning, feeling that it detracted from the ceremony. Others felt that given the
dichotomyof Rose's banishmentfrom baseball and his inclusion on the All-Century Team, the questions were appropriate. Because of Gray's interview tactics with Rose, New York Yankees outfielder Chad Curtissnubbed Gray's request for an interview at the conclusion of Game 3. After hitting the game winning home run, Curtis responded to Gray on the Yankees' behalf:
Despite the heavy criticism he received, Gray offered no apology for his line of questioning toward Rose.
On January 8, 2004, more than four years after the interview, Rose's
autobiography" My Prison Without Bars" was published. Through that book, Rose finally admitted publicly to betting on baseball games.
* [http://www.usatoday.com/sports/columnist/martzke/2004-01-07-martzke_x.htm Rose's admission puts Gray's interview in different light]
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