If you have watched any basketball game over the last several years, you have seen the evolution and the growth of the in-game coaches interview. I know that I personally can not stand them and according to twitter, most of the fans can not either, Now, one of the broadcasters has come out and bashed the annoying practice.
In a recent interview, TNT play-by-play guy Kevin Harlan blasted the practice of those in-game segments and he did not mince any words. Harlan was talking about San Antonio Spurs Gregg Popovich and his disdain for those interviews. Harlan then went off and added his own views on the topic.
Rarely do you get any kind of introspective, any kind of depth, any kind of real meat to chew on when they deliver the answer. And I have not worked with a single sideline reporter, at CBS or at Turner, that has not brought this up and said “I’m scared to death to ask him a question. What should I ask?” It almost serves as this gigantic cloud over every broadcast. What is Popovich going to do? How is he going to treat us? Can we even use it because of his answer? And you know what? I get it. There’s a lot of things I don’t want the public in my life about and I’m sure yours. It’s a public game, and I get that. I don’t know that the fan is getting that much out of these sideline interviews, to be honest.
He’s old-school, and I’d guess—he’s never told me this—that this is his way of saying “I’m just not going to give you much. There’s not much to say. The questions you ask are never going to be what I’m thinking. I’m in the middle of trying to re-engineer my team and get them pointed with that compass in a new direction or continue on the same way.” They all look really uncomfortable, and to be honest I think they look bad. I don’t think it enhances the broadcast.
Granted, Harlan is an NBA guy but the practice of the in-game/halftime coaches interview is the bane of ESPN's coverage of college basketball as well. And for Kentucky Wildcats fans, this is a hot topic.
It's obvious that John Calipari does not like doing this interviews but Calipari manages to make them awesomely awkward which is entertaining. However, at one time, one of these interviews helped to turn the tide and was another nail in the coffin of Billie Clyde Gillispie. Remember this interview that everyone was so outraged about?
As opposed as Harlan was to the interviews, he was quick to note that he may have gone too far in his bashing of them and also was quick to note that these interviews are not going anywhere. Harlan was also quick to defend the reporters and say they were asking the right questions but that the format was well ... awkward for the coaches.
Like them or not, they are a staple of our games now. It is refreshing to know that even the analysts at the networks do not like them however. Here is the full video of Harlan's interview. It's pretty interesting to see his views.