Patrick Q&A (cont.)
Posted: Thursday August 2, 2007 4:21PM; Updated: Thursday August 2, 2007 7:32PM
SI: Who did you hear from following your decision to leave ESPN that would surprise our readers?
Patrick: Commissioners [David] Stern and [Bud] Selig were very gracious, but the most humbling call I got was from Jerry West. He left me a message and said, 'I just want to tell you I've always admired you and your conduct. What I love about you is you are not afraid. That's the way I am and I respect anybody who is not afraid. While I'm in retirement, I wish you the best, and if there's anything I can do, call me.'
Understand this: Jerry West was my Dad's favorite basketball player. We went to see him in 1971 at the Cincinnati Gardens. I was humbled and shocked by the call. Here's The Logo calling to say good luck in whatever you are going to do. I don't care how jaded you can get in this business, there are certain moments when you are watching an event unfold or talking to someone like that, it just stops you in the tracks. Sometimes it's a phone call.
SI: Did you save the tape of the call?
Patrick: I still have it. Nobody is going to believe it, though no one in my family knows who Jerry West is. It's not like my kids are going to say, that's really neat, Dad. Maybe if it was Adam West.
SI: Have you let ESPN Radio know who would be a good replacement for your time slot?
Patrick: No. I don't know if it's my place. I give opinions but I don't know if that's an opinion that I would be able to give -- and should give.
SI: Will you be curious as to who gets the spot?
Patrick: I hope they treat the time slot with respect and that they do due diligence in trying to find someone that will be, if not an adequate replacement, a better replacement.
SI: Who is an ESPN on-air staffer that you would classify as underrated?
Patrick: Neil Everett is one of my favorites because Neil didn't set out to be a star. I don't think he would know how to be a star. There is a free spirit deal about him when he is on. He enjoys it and he does not take himself seriously. He is just a very easy-going type guy. I think John Anderson is a great writer and I think Scott Van Pelt -- after it took a couple of years for me to pry him away from The Golf Channel -- has a great sense of humor and is self-deprecating. I enjoy him.
Those are a couple of guys who are maybe under the radar, but guys you can watch. I have a great appreciation for what they are doing because they are doing it every night. People might not understand the grind that you are on. There is no net. It's live. They do it and do it well, and I have great admiration for them.
SI: You're going to work for The Content Factory, a media company that says it will get you across nine platforms, including radio, TV and even those little screens on gas station pumps. Can there ever be too much Dan Patrick?
Patrick: Oh, yes, absolutely. My children will raise their hands in unison because they are the ones suffering through this. They can't wait for me to get back to work. I told the Content Factory that I get tired of me. I want to make sure that what we are doing, and how we are promoting and positioning it, is something that has a long shelf life. Bill Murray told me many years ago that there is no substitute for smart humor, and that's always been my motto.
SI: What's your favorite question to ask of an interview subject?
Patrick: It really depends, and depends if it's Barry Bonds or Tiger Woods or Adam Sandler. I like to take people out of their comfort zone and let them comment on something else. What I have found with sports stars is they have an opinion on other sports stars. They want to talk.
I would love to talk to Barry Bonds about the juxtaposition of how we view Lance Armstrong as a society and is it any different as to how we are viewing Barry Bonds and vice versa. Lance is saving lives around the world. Barry Bonds is supposed to be a bad guy. There is a lot of circumstantial evidence with Lance Armstrong, a lot of whispers and talk. Let's say Barry Bonds was saving lives and let's say Lance Armstrong wasn't a good guy or a friendly interview. Would it be different? I believe it would be.
What is interesting about sports is how hypocritical we can be because of how somebody is to the media. We like them, therefore they can't be a bad guy. Mark McGwire, gotta give him the benefit of the doubt because he's not a bad guy. Gary Sheffield? Well, he's a bad guy.
I want to be able to take them out of their world because sometimes they are barraged with questions in their world. To ask them something that is not in the wheelhouse is great. When you hear someone pause, stop, and give some type of reflection, then I'm giving you something as an audience that you may not normally get.