As ESPN's SportsCenter, which debuted in 1979, gets ready to celebrate its 25,000th show, we quiz the executive editor who's been its creative force since '88.
SI: When did you know SportsCenter had arrived?
Walsh: On Aug. 24, 1989, the day Pete Rose was banished from baseball, we had a half-hour show, and I asked programming to give us an hour. We did 42 straight minutes on Rose, and when it ended, the phone rang and it was [the famed NBC and ABC executive] Don Ohlmeyer. He said, "I just want to tell you, That's what SportsCenter can be." I knew then we were on our way.
SI: Who is the typical SportsCenter viewer?
Walsh: Someone who has sports as part of their DNA and with some on-air experience could work on the show.
SI: What would be your ideal Sunday Conversation?
Walsh: Jack Nicholson being interviewed by Hunter S. Thompson. And I could see that happening one day.
SI: Aside from Bill Murray and Kinky Friedman, what's the most impressive name in your Rolodex?
Walsh: My brother's favorite was Catherine Deneuve, who was in my Rolodex until we had a Rolodex-cleansing party.
SI: One could argue that the show's constant airing of dunks and in-your-face attitude has hurt sportsmanship. Is SportsCenter at all responsible for the behavior on the field?