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Tim Micallef: Ahead of the pack

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The sports broadcasting industry has maintained itself by providing thirsty sports fans with the information they seek to quench it. As the industry evolves, fans want more than just water to attack their thirst; they want something with a little more flavour.

Tim Micallef is at the forefront of Canadian broadcasters who are supplying their audience with Gatorade to give them that extra kick. The co-anchor of The Score Tonight is a true Canadian success story. He debuted at The Score as an intern and has ascended to the role of prime time anchor.

BBM recently spoke with Tim and found out who’s shoes he’d most like to fill and that he misses the days when the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels were running March Madness.

BBM: Can you ball?

Tim Micallef: Not anymore, how ‘bout them apples? I played high school ball until grade 12, but I was behind what turned out to be two All-Canadian point guards and decided you know what, maybe I should hang them ball shoes up and play hockey instead.

BBM: Do you come up with some of the lines you use before you need them on the show?
TM: It’s weird the way they pop to you. Me personally, I guess most of them (come to me) in the car and then I just imagine the situations, or if I’m watching a movie or something and I like the line. I just saw Wedding Crashers and that Will Ferrell line where he says, “Mom, the meatloaf!” And I’m just thinking how I can work that into some sort of line. They come to you at so many different times…I get most of them in the car.

BBM: Have you always wanted to work in the sports industry?
TM: Ever since I realized I wasn’t a good enough athlete. I’m the youngest of four boys and we all played different sports. I kind of was the jack-of-all-trades, master of none; but I was blessed with enough knowledge to know that I stunk. I was always a smart player, but just didn’t have the athletic ability. So I guess it was around grade 11, grade 12 where I figured the forever 40 (yard dash) and the five inch vertical weren’t going to do me any good. So I figured how else can I stay close? And this was it.

BBM: You’ve worked as a producer, reporter, play-by-play man and as an anchor, do you prefer one job to the others?
TM: I enjoy doing a little bit of everything. As an anchor out there, sometimes you have to put your reputation into other people’s hands. I like the idea of controlling your own destiny as a producer, but there’s nothing like the rush of being on air and being live.

BBM: Have you ever gotten a chance to meet any of your favorite sports broadcasters?
TM: I’ve never met any of the guys on my list (Check Tim’s bio at thescore.ca to see his list). It’s kind of weird, I’ve been to the Super Bowl, the NBA All-Star game and I’ve never come across the guys that I (admire most). I feel like I’m just stealing people for my personality. The guys that I liked, I just kind of took a little bit off each one of them, and I’ve never gotten to meet any of them.

BBM: Of all the guys you look up to, is there one or two that you look at as being the most influential on the air?
TM: There are little pieces of everybody. I guess (Chris) Burman taught me to have fun with it. It’s not rocket science; it’s not brain surgery. The way the sports industry is today, by the time you see the highlights; you probably know the score already. It’s changed so much. I’m not nearly as wacky when I do play-by-play. You’re secondary to the game. You’re just there to compliment the game. The game is the main focus, so I try not to take away from (it) when I do play-by-play.

BBM: How do you feel you got your big break?
TM: I started as kind of the basketball guy and I don’t know about any other person in Canada that has used basketball as a stepping-stone to get to a prime time desk job. I think my versatility and love for basketball helped me get there because the guys at The Score were like; “Oh, there are people that like basketball.” Just looking across Canada, I don’t think there’s another person who has used basketball like that. In Canada, the NHL will always be king, but I think that sports stations don’t recognize enough right now that basketball is growing and that there are kids that grew up idolizing basketball players.

BBM: If you were in charge of all the programming on The Score for one day, what would be on the Tim Micallef Network?

TM: I’d give the people what they want. I think that’s the thing that’s lost in sports television in Canada, is that you have to listen to what the people want. I think we do a good job of that at The Score, but at the same time to quote Wu-Tang, “Cash rules everything around me, C.R.E.A.M. get the money, dolla dolla bill y’all.” So I mean, hockey just seems to bring in more money, but I think I would love to see what the people want and I think that’s what we do a good job of right now.

BBM: Is there an event you haven’t been to yet, that you would really love to go to?

TM: The Olympics. I remember when Toronto was making the bid for the Olympics and I thought how cool that would be to broadcast the Olympics, and more specifically, the basketball competition from my hometown. I thought that would be my ultimate goal.

BBM: If you could replace one athlete and be in their shoes, whose shoes would you fill?

TM: I think it would be fun to be Steve Nash right about now, spoon-feeding Amare. Although I might want to be single. Shaq Daddy in Miami. The king of Miami would be okay right about now. Maybe it’s Shaq. The most dominant player in the NBA, (and) the king of Miami.

BBM: If you could go back in time and see any game, what game would you go to?

TM: If you made me pick just one, I’d probably go insane. That’s the beauty of what we do, is we get to re-live these moments over and over and over again. I live for those classic moments. If I could go back, I would make Larry Johnson take the two pointer against Duke (In the 1991 Final Four) instead of kickin’ it out to Anderson Hunt for three. The UNLV Runnin’ Rebels, that was my team. Those were my boys.

BBM: Do you find since you’ve started working in the sports industry that your perception of it has changed at all?

TM: A little bit. First off, I’m always cheering for the better game; I don’t care who wins anymore. I want the more intriguing game, the more interesting game. You get to know some of the players. You kind of lose that fan in you a little bit, because you’re cheering for a more interesting outcome. I still live for those few things that can capture me the way I used to be captured as a fan.

BBM: What do you like to do outside of work?

TM: I like to chill with my boys. I’m getting to the age where I’m slowing down on the club scene. Once you start losing your hair, the club scene starts losing a bit of its appeal to you. I like to play a lot of poker with my boys.

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NBA

The Warriors Came Out To Play This Series

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The Warriors Came Out To Play This Series
RIP Portland...

Even without the fantasy Basketball of Kevin Durant in this series, the Golden State Warriors still brought out the brooms like ‘Fantasia’.

And swept out of Game 4 like Thanos click finger dust, the Portland Trailblazers may have only lost by a bucket (119-117)…and in overtime at that. But with all the Splash they had to contend with this series from brothers Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, they were left dealing with more leaks and holes in all of their own ones like Mickey Mouse in said Disney epic.

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This was meant to be the showdown between Dell Curry’s boys Steph and Seth which divided a household. And although the youngest gun stepped up to the plate, swung big in this carnival and knocked them down, big brother was always watching.

Steph Curry averaged over 36 points a game this series. Just read that again. 36 points. Right now we don’t need to talk about Kevin.

The Warriors are a dynasty for the ages even without their best player (although this writer thinks he wasn’t missing this entire series). The first team to make it to five straight finals since the Boston Celtics. The 1960’s Bill Russell Celtics. That’s King James crowning legendary. And Steph Curry with the shot and that facet of the game is just as iconic and dominant as a Bill block.

Give some credit to a blazing Portland side who never gave up despite the box score. They can hold their heads in the PDX. Even in their Moda Center home-stand City Of Roses end in RIP City. Their season eulogy should read as a celebration and commiseration, not a trolling condescension from critically entitled fans who have done nothing to determine the outcome of these games and could never make it this far in their wildest memes. They call themselves “influencers”? Well no one’s going to remember them in 50 years.

The NBA will remember one of their Top 100 greatest of all-time in a half century though. As after hitting the biggest buzzer beater in playoff history against Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round, Damian Lillard played through the pain of separated ribs this series and still made the Basketball God’s look down from the hoop heavens with praise. Like New York singer St. Vincent tweeted, “Damian Lillard is my hero”. Even his backcourt brother of splash CJ McCollum in the only small man set up to rival Curry and Klay came out to play against the Warriors after midrange mining the Nuggets into submission in Denver just over a week ago.

But Curry’s red hot triple double, starter, mains and dessert dish of 37, 13 and 11, to go along with a playing not crying, Draymond Green’s day of 18, 14 and 11 assists also was just too much in the clutch. As Stephen and Dray became the first teammates in NBA history to have a triple double in the same playoff game. Forget how much this team can unbelievably keep winning, how does this ball manage to get shared this much?

Well that just may be the secret of success?

The real test is dubbed next however in the Warriors last season in Golden State before they move across that Golden bridge to the Silicon Valley of a digital age in San Francisco. They will play the winner of the Milwaukee Bucks (probably…Giannis…MVP. Sorry Toronto but come on!) and Raptors series. But by then they should have some guy called Kevin back.

I mean come on. This has been getting crazy. This is just out of hand like said ball in Splash City.

Now Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics’ record of eight straight finals and wins doesn’t look far out of reach for Steph Curry and the player and team with the biggest range in the association over the gate of the Pacific.

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NBA

Welcome to the Toronto Raptors’ Jurassic Park

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Welcome To The Toronto Raptors' Jurassic Park
They The North...

“In Jurassic Park, Raptor fans wait until after dark. Even if the cold might eat them!”

Fans find a way.

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An ace serve or two away from being as legendary as Wimbledon’s ‘Murray Mound’ or ‘Henman Hill’ outside the Scotiabank Arena, the Toronto Raptors Maple Leaf Square’s “Jurassic Park” may just be the ticket for this sold out crowd.

Raptor Klaw, Kawhi Leonard ruled the earth last night. He and the T-Dot at the final tick beat the Sixers in The Six, as his shot bobbled like a beach ball on the surface of a swimming pool before making the biggest splash of these postseason playoffs. Taking longer to fall than Leonardo DiCaprio’s spinning top in ‘Inception’. But this was no dream.

And if you thought the Scotiabank Arena in downtown Toronto erupted last night, then outside in Maple Leaf Square it was like the volcanoes that killed the dinosaurs after that big ball dropped. An Armageddon even Bruce Willis couldn’t save like he wish he could his career.

Welcome to Jurassic World.

With all due respect to the Linsanity of Jeremy Lin, or pick your poison whoever is your flash card pick of the bench mob pack, but the Jurassic Park crowd fenced in outside of Scotia is the teams spiritual sixth man, spark plug. As electric as the paddock like perimeter fence surrounding them feels with this buzz over basketball (and national sport hockey come Leaf picking season), this crowd can’t be contained.

Forget rain or shine. You see the slickers. These faithful fans will pitch a spot waiting for game time like the ball to drop in Times Square for New Year in New York, sleeping bag lining up all day in their hordes huddled for warmth. These beautiful fans will brave the harshest, most frigid temperatures to be the coldest fans in the game in more ways than one. Part of the ‘We The North’ community in the 6 that the Basketball God’s look down on with pride, whilst other armchair fans watch this game for the throne from home. Or leave early like those suit and tie corporate seats trying to catch that last red eye Matt Bonner home.

Can you imagine of they called game early before Kawhi last night?

I could imagine Drake taking in the CN Tower looking up views of the Jurassic though, like it was all the basketball God’s plan.

Well those in the park for recreation stayed until the beautiful end to a game Butler almost delivered bitter. And you could could phantom cam see every emotion in slow motion last night as Leonard’s buzzer beating ball toyed with the rim like three dots on messenger, or Damien Lillard even further downtown in Oklahoma City.

This is the spirit of the stadium and the soul of the squad, expanding the capacity arena and the Canadian ballclubs worldwide fanbase watching on their own Jumbotrons.

And the Toronto Raptors are going to need all the north they can get if they’re going to stop the Bucks in Milwaukee.

But this club has the claws to do it. And if you don’t think they can win in Wisconsin on their own road to being the first franchise outside of the United States to be NBA finalists and who knows what next against the Warriors(?), then just watch this Canadian cornerstone from the Jurassic era.

Extinct in six? Nah! Get ready to hear the North roar.

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