Friday, January 12, 2007

sisters are doin' it for themselves.

So, I'm watching Wizards-Hornets, just to see if I luck into some of the awesome that is Gilbert Arenas (I'll probably write my man-crush post on him at some point; this isn't his best game, but I'm totally buying into any Wizards game being an automatic view because of him), and I'm kind of fading in and out, but I'm wondering whom the lady is doing color. I catch a first name and run the Google, because the WWL has been doing some serious affirmative action when it comes to bringing in ladies in the studio and on the sidelines for men's sports lately, which is kind of weird to observe. When it comes to men's sports, women are often consigned to the bin of sideline reporters, not game or studio analysts.

Kara Lawson did color for the game and held it down even though Gilbert had a day best described as less than Zero. He wound up with 20+ points instead of 30+ in the loss, and he's not taking his usual quota of shots or dominating (I blame the ugly-ass alternate unis; plus, the Wizards just didn't stop Desmond Mason.) Googling Ms. Lawson only listed her as a sideline type; I presume this was her first night on color. ESPN's been raiding the WNBA ranks for ladies to analyze men's sports lately. I'm seeing a lot of Swin Cash on ESPNews and occasionally on Shootaround and Fast Break, plus Stacy Dales is doing analysis in studio and sideline for men and women's college ball. (Obligatory nod to Pam Ward for calling college football on the Deuce, but if someone like, say, Erin Andrews wants to call games eventually, she should take Pam as a "how not to call it" primer.)

Maybe others have gotten to it before, but this is a quiet story to me, the kind that doesn't really get a lot of attention but deserves more -- there are plenty of female beat reporters throughout sports, and we crack jokes about the comeliness of sideline reporters such as Ms. Andrews, but this is a very subtle paradigm shift for sports analysis going on here. Call it "breaking the glass booth," to pervert a phrase.

Despite my love for the Marv Albert/Charles Barkley experiment that went on last week, I'm now kind of curious to see what Cheryl Miller would do alongside Marv -- your move, TNT.

(Extra tangential announcing bit: Tirico, Jon Barry, and Bill Walton are on Rockets-Nuggets, which means fun watching AI, and I have to go on record with my enjoyment of Bill Walton, especially for the anecdote that he got from Mutombo about George Karl checking out of a Denver hotel back in '93 when his Sonics went 2-0 on the Nuggs in the first round of the playoffs:

"Dikembe said, 'As soon as we knew George had checked out of the hotel, we knew he had checked out of the series.'" Priceless stuff.

1/13, 1:15 pm - Welcome to those of you coming from Deadspin.)


Anonymous said...

Lawson has been doing local Kings broadcasts as a halftime reporter/sidekick. She's OK but I was really surprised to see her on ESPN last night.

Signal to Noise said...

My first thought was, "Wow, they're letting the sideline reporter talk a lot on the telecast," until I pay some more attention...and then it's, "whoa, she's not sideline!" It really did take some getting used to. It's nice to hear that at least Lawson is starting with local work.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I just can't get with the ladies doing play-by-play or even color, especially for football. Matter of fact, I cringe when I see a must-see game on ESPN2, because I know I'll either have to turn the sound down or just skip it.
Sexist? I guess, but it's just the truth.

Signal to Noise said...

Anyone with half a brain knows that Pam Ward sucks, Anon 3:08, so that's not on you personally, and you've acknowledged the rest.

You've got Suzy Kolber hosting NFL Live from time to time, Fox's Jeanne Zelasko (although she ain't great) doing the studio work for baseball, and CBS brings in Sam Ryan to do college ball studio and halftime hosting duties.

I think it had to come sooner or later, and we'll be able to evaluate each color and play-by-play person on their own merits. Right now, it's interesting to see the start of this.

Anonymous said...

Just an FYI. Kara Lawson was the national Player of the Year as both a junior and senior out of a Northern Virginia high school. Her teams also won three state championships. She was the top recruit in the nation and went on to be the next big thing in Tennessee women's basketball. As a freshman she started at PG when Tennessee beat the US Women's National team. While she was a really good player in college, she didn't quite live up to the billing and never won an NCAA championship. After four years at Tennessee she became the 5th overall pick in the WNBA draft and has since won a WNBA championship. She has also done color for a few NBA games so far this year (at least 2 Wizards games).

And to the blogger, I wouldn't blame the gold uniforms on Arenas having an off night. They wore those gold uni's on most of their west road trip when the Wizards beat the Kings, Lakers and Suns. And that of course is when he started to put up ridiculous numbers. I would blame his numbers on switching back to the new ball since he was one of the players who came out in December and said they thought the new ball was better.

Signal to Noise said...

Hey, thanks for the knowledge and further background on Lawson.

On the unis: I was just being snarky; I seriously wouldn't blame uniforms for anyone's performance and/or decline.

As for ditching the new ball: I wonder if that will affect Melo in the same way when he gets back, although I don't remember which side of the ball debate he was on.

Anonymous said...

...Or maybe the color person couldn't make it into OKC because of the massive storm, and they just moved the sideline reporter, Ms. Lawson, into the color role.

Occult's Razor, or something like that.

She did well though.

Signal to Noise said...

Occam's razor, and it's a thought, but don't they usually make a note of pointing out if one member of the announcing team was sick or got delayed? I've heard announcers on ESPN do that before.

Anonymous said...

Swin Cash is hands down THE WORST ANALYST I HAVE EVER HEARD!!!! Not only is hearing her voice like getting stabbed in the ear, but she is just dumb!!