Behind the Mic: Shaquille O’Neal To Show Off Hosting Skills at 2019 NBA Awards on June 24

Behind the Mic provides a roundup of recent news regarding on-air talent, including new deals, departures, and assignments compiled from press releases and reports around the industry. In this week’s edition, the big man on Inside the NBA will grab the lead mic at the 2019 NBA Awards, the Indy 500 will produce a special edition of Today, and a future Hall of Fame offensive linemen joins NFL Network.

The 2019 NBA Awards presented by Kia just got bigger as Turner Sports and the National Basketball Association have announced Shaquille O’Neal will host the star-studded event airing Monday, June 24, at 9 p.m. ET on TNT. The Basketball Hall of Famer and entertainment icon will bring his larger-than-life personality, quick wit, and signature delivery to the stage as the league honors this season’s top performances. O’Neal will also be joined by special celebrity guests, current, and former NBA players throughout the star-studded show.

Click HERE to see the video announcement.

In his eighth season as a studio analyst for TNT’s Inside the NBA, O’Neal is a part of the network’s season-long coverage which includes the upcoming NBA Eastern Conference Finals. He is also a key contributor to NBA TV and, where he provides analysis and commentary throughout the regular season and postseason, and host of NBA TV’s “Shaqtin’ A Fool” series.

Prior to joining Turner Sports, O’Neal spent 19 years in the NBA after being drafted first overall by the Orlando Magic in the 1992 NBA Draft. A three-time NBA Finals MVP, he won four NBA championships (three with the Los Angeles Lakers and one with the Miami Heat), was a 15-time NBA All-Star and ranks eighth on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. In September 2016, O’Neal was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He now serves as a national spokesperson for the Boys & Girls Club of America.

This year’s NBA Awards on TNT will include the exclusive unveiling of the Kia NBA MVP, Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Kia NBA Rookie of the Year, and Lifetime Achievement Award, among other awards. It will also honor Good Morning America host, Robin Roberts as this year’s recipient of the Sager Strong Award. The third annual NBA Awards will once again feature current and former NBA players, coaches, and celebrity presenters throughout the evening…

…Play-by-play voice Steve Levy, analysts Brian Griese and Louis Riddick, and reporter Laura Rutledge will call the Denver Broncos-Oakland Raiders game on ESPN as part of the opening-night doubleheader to kick off Monday Night Football’s 50th season on September 9 at 10:15 p.m. ET / 7:15 p.m. PT.

This AFC West matchup will follow Houston Texans-New Orleans Saints (7 p.m. ET), which will feature the debut of ESPN’s new MNF commentator team: Joe Tessitore, Booger McFarland, and Lisa Salters.

Levy and Griese work together on ESPN college football and have called Broncos preseason games locally in Denver. They will be joined in the booth by Riddick, one of ESPN’s top NFL analysts – and a one-time Raiders player under Jon Gruden. Levy and Riddick will be making their MNF debuts.

Griese, a former starting quarterback for the Broncos who also played under Gruden while with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Rutledge, who has been a reporter on a number of marquee events for ESPN, including the College Football Playoff Semifinal, will be part of the doubleheader telecast for the second straight year after working last year’s Jets-Lions game.

The MNF opener will be the 19th Broncos-Raiders game on Monday Night, the most popular matchup in the 50-year history of sports television’s signature series. It also marks the 28th consecutive season that the Broncos are appearing on MNF, the NFL’s longest current streak. The Raiders are opening the season at home in Oakland on MNF for the second straight year.

ESPN producer Josh Hoffman and director Mike Schwab, who work with Levy and Griese on college football, will oversee the game production…

Tom Hanks will join Savannah Guthrie to co-host a special hour of NBC News’ Today, Thursday, May 23 live from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The television event will celebrate former Senator Elizabeth Dole’s Hidden Heroes organization, which supports military caregivers. Additionally, Hanks and Dole will sit down for a conversation with Guthrie in front of a live audience of military veterans and their caregivers. Al Roker will join Hanks and Guthrie with reports from the Speedway. The live television event is ahead of the Indianapolis 500, Sunday, May 26, on NBC for the first time.

The event, beginning at 8 a.m. ET, will also feature a concert by multi-platinum artist Sheryl Crow. Crow’s performance is part of the 2019 Citi Concert Series on Today. Also as part of the hour, Hanks, chair of Hidden Heroes, and Guthrie, ambassador of Hidden Heroes will spotlight the children of military families and their caregivers…

…Former All-Pro offensive tackle with the Cleveland Browns, Joe Thomas, has joined NFL Network.

In his new role, Thomas joins NFL Network’s on-location pregame and postgame shows for the 13 Thursday Night Football games during the 2019 season, which kicks off Thursday, September 12 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visiting the Carolina Panthers. Additionally, Thomas will appear on NFL Network’s expansive coverage of such events as Super Bowl LIV, the NFL Scouting Combine, and the NFL Draft, as well as various NFL Network programs such as NFL Total Access and NFL GameDay Morning.

“I am thrilled to join NFL Network and Thursday Night Football,” Thomas said. “Throughout my playing career, I quickly realized there are few events which can rival the excitement and action of primetime NFL games, and having the chance to be a part of that atmosphere each week is something I greatly look forward to.”

A 10-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle, Thomas played 11 seasons with the Browns after being selected with the third overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. During his first 10 seasons with the Browns, Thomas played in every game and never missed a snap, having earned the starting left tackle job as a rookie. In his final season, Thomas’ streak of consecutive snaps played ended at 10,363, which is the longest streak recorded since snaps played were counted. Thomas announced his retirement following the 2017 NFL season. During the 2018 season, the Browns added the number 10,363 to the Ring of Honor, commemorating Thomas’ milestone consecutive snaps played streak.

A Wisconsin native, Thomas played four seasons at the University of Wisconsin from 2003-06. During his time at the University of Wisconsin, Thomas earned first-team All-American honors in 2006 and won the Outland Trophy as college football’s top interior lineman.

Currently, Thomas hosts The ThomaHawk Show podcast along with former NFL wide receiver Andrew Hawkins.

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