Monday, May 11th, 2020


“He was the person that possibly stopped me from winning a ring, but when you are playing any sport you want to play the best and beat the best. Right then, he was the best.”Patrick Ewing on Michael Jordan

“He’s very bullish on the NFL doing everything possible to try to play…Time is on the NFL’s side.” – Peter King on his conversation with Dr. Anthony Fauci regarding the NFL season

 “For the first time ever Michael Jordan has allowed the curtains to be drawn back a little bit…He’s going to take some hits because…there’s folks that can’t comprehend his level of intensity or competitive drive.” – Mark Jackson on perception of Michael Jordan from “The Last Dance”

“There’s a lot of people that depend on Major League Baseball for their livelihood, but bigger than that, this country needs baseball.” – Charlie Blackmon on MLB’s potential return

STAMFORD, Conn. – May 11, 2020 – Mike Tirico hosted today’s episode of Lunch Talk Live on NBCSN and was joined remotely by:

    • Basketball Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing
    • NBC Sports NFL insider Peter King
    • Basketball Hall of Fame coach Rudy Tomjanovich
    • Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle
    • NBC Sports motorsports commentator Steve Letarte


The Rich Eisen Show followed Lunch Talk Live on NBCSN, as host Rich Eisen was joined by:

    • NBC Sports NFL insider Peter King
    • ESPN NBA analyst Mark Jackson
    • Colorado Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon
    • Three-time NBA champion with the Chicago Bulls BJ Armstrong


Following are highlights from Lunch Talk Live on NBCSN:

Patrick Ewing on being the head coach of Georgetown, his alma mater: “It means a lot to be here. I look at it as coming full circle…I started as a player and now I am here as a head coach. All the things that (former Georgetown) coach (John) Thompson was able to help me be, to become — now it’s my turn to do the same for the kids I coach.”

Ewing on not receiving a head coaching job in the NBA: “It is what it is. I was there and tried my hardest to be an NBA head coach. I worked for some great coaches and I learned a lot. All of the things I learned (in the NBA) are helping me to be a great college coach.”

Ewing on the future of college basketball: “It’s interesting because as with any sport, everyone is trying to get to the highest level. In basketball it’s the NBA. Now that they have the G-League…a lot of the best players have migrated to that. Instead of going to college, some of the best players are migrating to this alternate G-League or Europe.”

Ewing on watching “The Last Dance” documentary: “I watched a little bit last night. It’s hard because I lived through it and a lot of the stories they are talking about, I have already known. It’s great…Michael Jordan was and is a great player — one of the best things to happen to the NBA.”

Ewing on Michael Jordan: “I was unfortunate, but fortunate to play against him and play with him. We won two Olympic gold medals together in ’84 and ’92. He was the person that possibly stopped me from winning a ring, but when you are playing any sport you want to play the best and beat the best. Right then, he was the best.”

Ewing on being a part of the 1992 Dream Team: “It was great. The practices were way better than the games. The games we demolished everyone we played against, but the practices were what it was all about. Everyone was great in their own right.”

Peter King on what Dr. Anthony Fauci thinks about the NFL season: “Everything is a mystery…I don’t think people have any idea of what is at stake right now because, as (Dr. Anthony) Fauci said, if four players test positive on a Saturday night, that team won’t be able to play the next day.”

King on the 2020 NFL schedule: “In my opinion, if you look at Week 13 of this year, you have so many excellent games. I love that day, but the day I love the most is October 25 because at 1 p.m. (ET), you have Drew Brees vs. Teddy Bridgewater and Steelers-Ravens. In the late window, you have Patriots-49ers and Kansas City vs. Denver. At night, you have Tom Brady and Jon Gruden, who wanted Tom Brady so much.”

Steve Letarte on the concerns of restarting the season at Darlington, known as one of the hardest tracks: “This is the track known as ‘The Track Too Tough to Tame’ and ‘The Lady in Black.’ It’s a track where to be successful, you have to run inches from the wall.”

Letarte on how the break will affect the drivers this weekend: “It happens in every sport. One thing between practice and the game is speed. In NASCAR, there’s race speed. Making laps is one thing, racing is another…You are out there with competitors and have to maneuver the race track around other race cars.”

Letarte on preparing for Sunday’s race in Darlington: “I think at this point, my anxiety is one of the smallest details. I think the big stuff will be taken care of because everyone will think about it. When you think of a pit stop, those five guys that do their work in sub-12 seconds, while impressive, it requires a pit staff behind the pit wall. That’s where I would have the most anxiety.”

Letarte on if drivers are nervous about coming back this weekend: “I talked to a lot of guys and everyone seems excited to be back to the race track. I have to applaud NASCAR, Darlington Raceway, and the race teams that have done a really good job.”

Letarte on not having fans at the race track: “The advantage of not having fans is the real estate. We have this gigantic facility where we are able to spread the teams apart, spread the drivers and locations apart, and hope to do this as safe as possible.”

Keith Yandle on what he misses most about playing: “When we ended, we were in the playoff race. It’s the best time of the year, coming to the end and giving us a chance to play in the playoffs. That’s the thing I missed the most…You work all summer and year to put yourself in position and for us, we were right there to get into the dance.”

Yandle on playing in the NHL for over a decade: “I think the biggest thing is the love for the game. I love to go to the rink every day and being around my teammates…Going and playing games in front of amazing fans in the NHL is a lot of fun for me.”

Yandle, an avid Patriots fan, on Tom Brady leaving the Patriots for the Buccaneers: “At first, I was a little upset. He has nothing else left to prove in the game. For me, I will always be a Tom Brady fan, but I won’t cheer for the Buccaneers. I have grown to like the Dolphins down here over the past couple of years.”

Rudy Tomjanovich on learning he would be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2020: “I had a window where I had to wait and didn’t know when exactly it was coming. I heard the ring and picked it up and have been through this a couple of times before. The president of the Hall of Fame called, and I was hanging on every word. It was just great.”

Tomjanovich on “The Last Dance”: “I haven’t watched any of it. I was going to binge watch it when it was over. I sort of got away from basketball with this (coronavirus) going around. I’m trying to be more active, play a little of golf and things like that.”

Tomjanovich on the Michael Jordan era: “I was a scout for the Rockets when he came. Tremendous player and we knew he was good. He ended up being so much better with the way he scored with ease.”

Following are highlights from The Rich Eisen Show on NBCSN:

Peter King on his conversation with Dr. Anthony Fauci: “He loves sports…He understands how important sports are to America and, in particular, at this time of year when there is none going on that we should really try to do everything we can to at least be playing the games even if fans can’t go to them.”

King on Dr. Fauci’s thoughts on the NFL season: “He’s very bullish on the NFL doing everything possible to try to play…Time is on the NFL’s side.”

King on Dr. Fauci’s plan if a player tests positive for COVID-19: “I think he views that one (positive) test is going to be an outlier if everyone else tests negative, but that’s why you test more than once per week…Even when you’re in a locker room and you’re with the team, you’re still going to practice social distancing.”

King on the importance of cleanliness at team facilities: “It’ll be as important this year to have a pristine hygienic plan and cleaning plan all through your facility. That’ll be as important as having a good offensive and defensive game plan for that week’s game, because if you don’t keep it clean, there’s not going to be a game.”

King on Dez Bryant: “I think most people in the NFL view him as a retired player…It’s interesting how he just literally fell off the face of the Earth, and I wonder with a guy like him, whether people might think he may be any sort of a distraction.”

Mark Jackson on “The Last Dance”: “I think it’s an outstanding inside look at greatness first-hand, and for the first time ever Michael Jordan has allowed the curtains to be drawn back a little bit…He’s going to take some hits because of it also because…there’s folks that can’t comprehend his level of intensity or competitive drive.”

Jackson on the scrimmages Michael Jordan held with NBA players as he prepared his comeback: “I think the mindset of the players is not, ‘I’m helping out Michael Jordan get in better shape.’ I’m getting a peek at greatness and I’m also sharpening my tools…There’s greatness all throughout the league and there’s levels to it. Iron sharpens iron, and you’re getting an opportunity to be in the midst of a workout facility with the best in the land.”

Jackson on if he views Michael Jordan as a ‘nice guy’: “I’ve been around him quite a bit…total class act. Every time I’ve been around him, great guy. I just think that he has a competitive drive where he’s willing to do whatever it takes to win in basketball, in life, in anything he’s playing…Without a doubt, he’s a nice guy.”

Jackson on the Jordan-LeBron James debate: “When it’s all said and done, LeBron James will have the best basketball, NBA basketball, career that there’s ever been…I’m saying he’s going to be the all-time leading scorer, a Top Five assist man…But Michael Jordan is the best player that’s ever played the game. The difference is that mentality, that killer mentality.”

BJ Armstrong on watching himself celebrate his game-winning shot against the Bulls and on “The Last Dance”: “At my age now, I’m looking like, ‘What were you doing? What were you thinking?’…But back then, I didn’t know any other way. As a young man, that’s what you do and that’s how I learned how to play…You come to win, you come to compete.”

Armstrong on Jordan’s first retirement: “It happened very close to the season…The one thing I remember is that we didn’t have time to prepare for this moment. We felt like we were losing a family member, right? Yeah, we were losing a great player, but we were more concerned for the person…What I remember most about the season is we saw the emergence of Scottie Pippen.”

Armstrong on Bill Cartwright’s speech to the Bulls after Scottie Pippen refused to enter the game: “He was in tears about what happened because he cared about Scottie, he cared about our group…That was one of the great moments in my basketball career of having the opportunity to see leadership at its apex.”

Charlie Blackmon on MLB season: “Tomorrow there’s going to be a meeting between the Player’s Association leadership and Major League Baseball, and they’re going to discuss some sort of outline upon which we can hopefully return to playing. Everyone wants to play…Hopefully this is the beginning.”

Blackmon on players’ appetites to play: “A lot of players have concerns. I’m one of them…But at the same time, I’m not playing, I’m not getting paid, and neither are a lot of the people that work at the stadium. There’s a lot of people that depend on Major League Baseball for their livelihood, but bigger than that, this country needs baseball. We need to get back to summer life, normalcy.”

Blackmon on if he’d return to play under a quarantine: “That’s not an issue. Guys around the league work so hard to get here if you were to say, ‘Hey, all we have to do to play baseball is quarantine,’ I’m not really batting an eye at that…It’s not something we haven’t already been doing. I’m definitely prepared to do that.”

Blackmon on possibility of in-season quarantining regarding family: “That is a big problem, but I kind of fall on the line of this is what I’ve chosen to do and this is my life’s work…It’s what I want to do and there are a lot of sacrifices that I made…Do I think there’s an ability to include your family within the quarantine? Yeah, I think there’s some wiggle room there. Significant others, kids – as long as they’re willing to be in quarantine too.”