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ESPN2, ESPN+ to Debut NBA Alternate Broadcast with Stephen A. Smith on Oct. 26

Jeff Kotuby

The hardest-working man in sports media has yet another vehicle thanks to recent news from ESPN and Omaha Productions.

“NBA in Stephen A’s World” — a new NBA-focused alternate broadcast — will debut on Wednesday, Oct. 26 on ESPN2 and ESPN+. The feed will star ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith and will accompany select ESPN NBA games throughout the season. The Oct. 26 debut episode will include live coverage from the red carpet of Disney Films’ “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” premiere in addition to that night’s game between the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks. Depending on the episode, the “NBA in Stephen A’s World” will originate from ESPN television studios in New York, N.Y. or Los Angeles, Cali.

“We couldn’t be more excited to team up with Stephen A and ESPN to bring an alternative telecast to the NBA this season,” Omaha Productions founder Peyton Manning said. “There is no better person to launch this series with than Stephen. He has a deep love of the game, unmatched connections across the league, and a long list of friends he’s already lined up to bring on the show.”

‘NBA in Stephen A’s World’ Current Slate of Games (as of Oct. 20):

Date Time (ET) Game Traditional game telecast
Wed, Oct. 26 7:30 p.m. Brooklyn Nets vs. Milwaukee Bucks ESPN, ESPN+
Wed, Nov. 2 10 p.m. Memphis Grizzlies vs. Portland Trail Blazers ESPN, ESPN+
Fri, Dec. 2 7:30 p.m. Los Angeles Lakers vs. Milwaukee Bucks ESPN, ESPN+
Sun, Dec. 25 12 p.m. Philadelphia 76ers vs. New York Knicks ESPN, ABC, ESPN+

ESPN has had quite a bit of success with alternate broadcasts working with the Mannings, following the initial breakout hit of the “Monday Night Football” “ManningCasts,” leading to them branching out to golf, UFC, college football, and more.

This year, ESPN on NHL will roll out multiple alternate broadcasts, including the Star Watch NHL streams. Rather than featuring personalities around the sport, “Star Watch” streams are more statistic-oriented and offer fans a view of the action that they wouldn’t get in a traditional telecast. Don’t rule out a personality-driven NHL alternate broadcast in the future, though, especially if they can bring back former NHLer P.K. Subban, who served as an analyst during the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“Anytime I have an opportunity to engage in NBA talk makes me ecstatic,” Stephen A. said. “The fact that I’m able to co-produce it with Omaha Productions, along with ESPN, has me even more hyped. Whatever the games, whatever the time, whatever the date, I’ll be ready, especially since no one has seen me in this format before — literally like being in my living room, watching a game with friends and fans from all over. I just can’t wait. I wish this were starting today.”

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