ESPN is about to have a monopoly on breaking sports news.
The Worldwide Leader is ready to bring Adrian Wojnarowski into its fold, giving it a stranglehold on all of the big news coming out of the NBA. With Adam Schefter as its main NFL reporter, ESPN is now the destination for sports fans when it comes to breaking news on the two most popular sports in the United States.
Deadspin’s Kevin Draper was the first to report that “Woj” was ready to make the move to Bristol, Connecticut (which is ironically where the famed basketball reporter was born). Draper’s source is undoubtedly tied in close to Wojnarowski (wouldn’t be a shock if it was Woj himself), as Draper penned the predominant Woj piece two years ago in The New Republic. It was titled, “Basketball’s biggest reporter is waging war on ESPN – and he’ll do anything to win.”
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Here is part of The New Republic piece, which gives a good glance as to how cantankerous the relationship has been between Wojnarowski and ESPN over the years:
Everybody I talked to used a different colorful metaphor to describe Wojnarowski and ESPN’s relationship. They were like Nike and Adidas, or the Hatfields and McCoys, or David and Goliath. Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch characterized it as an underdog complex. “I think Woj’s pathology is that ESPN has 25 guys, ‘I’m just one guy at Yahoo, I’m going to figure out a way to beat them.
There does seem to be real animosity between Wojnarowski and ESPN’s reporters. During the 2011 NBA Finals, the entire basketball media was in Dallas to report on it. After one of the games [John] Hollinger was driving out of the parking lot in his rental car. As he got close to Wojnarowski, [Marc] Spears, and Yahoo Sports NBA editor Johnny Ludden, Hollinger rolled down his window and joked, “Oh man, I could’ve taken out the whole Yahoo operation!” As he began to drive away, Wojnarowski yelled after him, “And we’d still kick your ass from the grave!” (When asked to comment, Hollinger said tersely, “I don’t remember that” and hung up on me.) More recently an ESPN writer tweaked Wojnarowski over his refusal to use ESPN’s name, and Wojnarowski responded: “You have 75 guys there. You really should break every story. I’d be more worried about that than me.”
It was business as usual for Wojnarowski Wednesday afternoon as he was tweeting out stories from his NBA website, “The Veritical,” which he is the Editor-in-Chief of. It remains to be seen what Yahoo and all of its news platforms will look like once the company’s merger with Verizon is completed (the merger was recently delayed due to hacking), so it’s entirely possible that Wojnarowski was worried about what the landscape will look like in the coming months and years.