In 1979 a television station was started based on slow pitch softball, pub darts and tractor pulls. Nobody would have guessed that this was the future of sports broadcasting and that this channel would be the channel that revolutionizes sports in the western world – if not the planet! Except there were a couple guys who did believe and were willing to do the work to make ESPN the incredible cultural contributor it is. James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales set about to write a history of ESPN completely based on interviews with executives, on-air personalities and athletes and ended up writing a 750 page peek inside the mothership. This isn’t a one night on the couch kind of book, it gets bogged down sometimes in the details and gives you reason to skip ahead because you are a sports fan, not a venture capital businessman wondering about brokering multilevel international deals. The parts that give inside looks at what happened to your favorite shows, or when significant sporting world events happened are amazing. It was like a trip through my childhood from the perspective of sports…which pretty much dominates my free time. Learning about how they came up with the SportsCenter commercials was so fun – and seeing chaos behind the control is always a trip.
Really, there’s not much life changing information in this book, it’s pure fun – and this blog post is really just an excuse to talk about sports and post a couple ESPN videos. But you like it too, so just enjoy.
You will want to pick this book up for your next vacation…but get it on kindle because it’s so heavy it’ll put your luggage over the weight limit.