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Dan Patrick Q&A (cont.)

Posted: Thursday August 2, 2007 4:21PM; Updated: Thursday August 2, 2007 7:32PM
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Patrick: We kind of goofed around but he is very serious about basketball. As John Turturro told me about Sandler, he's the Jewish Shaq. He plays like the Jewish Shaq. I'm not sure Sandler has ever been referred to that in print and I'm not really sure what that means, but I'm sure Sand Man would view that as a compliment.

SI: How many times a week do you Google yourself?


Patrick: I have never Googled myself. Never. My daughter Googled me the other day and she said, Do you know what they say about you on the Web? I said, I don't want to know, honey. She said, 'Well, there are some good things that they are saying, too. They have how you passed up the NCAA Finals to go on a date in Chinatown with Mom.' So my kids have done it but I will not Google myself.

SI: Bill Patrick, Mike Patrick and Dan Patrick. Have the three ever appeared on the air together?

Patrick: I have been on with Bill but not with Mike.

SI: If I changed my writing name to Dan Pugh [Patrick's real name], how much success could I have in sports journalism?

Patrick: You know at the time, when I was at CNN and they asked me to change my name, I honestly thought that they wanted me to change my first name. Because when you grow up with a name like that, you sort of have heard everything you can possibly hear by the time you are 25.

My sisters were upset but I said, What are you talking about it? You changed your name when you got married. My brothers were like, Cool, I don't blame you. (laughs).

Who knew the names Dick Vitale, Chris Berman or John Madden would be popular, but they are. If you are good, I don't know if something as simplistic or trivial as a name will hold you back. Do I think it can help you? Yeah, I guess. If it's something that somebody can pronounce and remember. I don't think it would have held me back, but I think they were concerned what kind of fun people would have with the name. I changed it and never looked back. And I smoothed things over with my sisters.

SI: In 1988 you left your job at CNN after the network rejected your request for a $5,000 raise. So what if CNN decided to pony up the extra cash today?

Patrick: If they wrote me a check for $5,000, I'd say thank you. You guys owe me that. But seriously, I was so naive that I didn't know that it was part of the negotiations. I was making $50,000 and I said I wanted $55,000. I was doing my own negotiations. I couldn't get an agent. The late Bill McPhail, Lee McPhail's brother, he said no. That was on Friday. I then called up [ESPN executive] John Walsh a couple of days later and said, John, do you know who I am. He said he did. I asked him if he was interested in hiring me. He said, Can you come up to Bristol on Tuesday? They offered me a salary and I didn't even negotiate. I took what they gave me. I'm a terrible businessman.

Then I went to lunch with [former ESPN president] Steve Bornstein after a couple of months at ESPN. I guess he thought I had some talent. He signed me for two more years and was only offering me about $20,000 more. But I was like, Wow, somebody is believing in me. This is security! Who knows how much money I gave away. But I was thankful they had type of confidence in me. It didn't matter how much money it was. Do it because you enjoy doing it and I did and still do. But I am a terrible businessman.

SI: What's been your most memorable radio interview?

Patrick: Dale Earnhardt Sr. I just couldn't get on the same page with him. I was trying to have a little bit of fun with him. He was being The Intimidator and I was trying too hard, I think. We got done and I was disappointed I didn't do a good job. You can't fool the NASCAR fan but I also wanted to bring The Intimidator into mainstream sports. I called back his p.r. person and said would you tell Dale that I'd like another chance. She said, 'Yeah, we'll do it in a couple of weeks.' The interview was three weeks before he died and I never got the chance. It was just one of those moments where I got in my own way because I was trying too hard.

SI: The most famous athlete you have competed against?

Patrick: I did challenge Michael Jordan to a one-on-one contest after he won the title in Utah. He would come in every year after they won the championship to do an interview. So he stood up and I said, Mike, you know what, maybe we'll play one-on-one. I think I can score on you.

He had a Cuban cigar in his hand, a basketball and one of his shoes he had already given to the p.r. guy of the Bulls. He turned to me quickly and said, How would you play me? I put my forearm in his back and he smacked it away like it was a gnat. He gave me the look. I even asked Steve Kerr about it. I said, I think I got the look from Jordan. He said, You don't want the look. I said I got it. He said, How did you know you got the look? I said, Well, I wanted to play him one-on-one. He said, Oh, you got the look.

SI: How tough will the last radio show be?

Patrick: Well, I think first and foremost I have to be fair to the day in sports. The farewell tour could be interrupted by something to do with Bonds or Michael Vick or a variety of stories. You have to treat it properly and fairly because it is still ESPN and I have to be true to that. I'm not going to write anything down. I'm just going to go with the flow of what the day is going to be like. There are too many people to thank. I'm going to have everything packed up before I do that final show. I'm going to sign off, gather my stuff, walk out the front door, wave, and head home.

SI: What guests will be on the final show?

Patrick: We have some people lined up but I thought the most appropriate guest to have on that final day is a man who I think provided the template of how to be a broadcaster in my opinion. I have great admiration for his command of the English language, other languages and his on-camera presence.

SI: Wow, who is that?

Patrick: Ron Burgundy.

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