A Preview of Costas Tonight, Including the Bettman Interview

NEW YORK – February 29, 2012 – Bob Costas, a 22-time Emmy Award-winning journalist and one of America’s preeminent interviewers, premieres his 60-minute interview show Costas Tonight tomorrow 8-9 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports Network.

In his first edition of Costas Tonight, which originates from Studio 8G at 30 Rockefeller Plaza and was taped yesterday, Costas discussed the key topics in the NHL with Commissioner Gary Bettman, and the state of the NBA, including the Jeremy Lin phenomenon, with Commissioner David Stern.

Costas also sat down with the controversial, five-division world champion, current WBC Welterweight Champion and undefeated 42-0 professional boxer, Floyd Mayweather and discussed, among other topics, preparations for his May 5 bout against world class fighter Miguel Cotto, the tumultuous relationship with his father, and if there is a chance for a fight with WBO Welterweight Champion Manny Pacquiao.

Below are highlights from the taping for tomorrow night’s Costas Tonight:

MAYWEATHER ON HIS UPCOMING FIGHT WITH MIGUEL COTTO: “He’s a champion. He’s a guy that I can’t overlook, coming from a Puerto Rican boxing background and me coming from an American boxing family. He poses a threat but it’s a good matchup.”

MAYWEATHER ON GAMBLING: “I’m just about entertainment, you know having personality, being outgoing, being outspoken and, when the gloves are off, I’m just at home on an everyday basis betting on basketball, betting on football. (Tuesday) I placed a bet on Kansas (for the) first half, I bet about 100k and I won about 83k so they came through, (Wednesday) I think I’m going to bet on Duke, for the first half, just before I get on the plane to go to LA. Hopefully it’s not too hot.”

BETTMAN ON IF REMOVING FIGHTING FROM HOCKEY WOULD ALIENATE FANS: “There are those who say if we eliminate it, there are people who aren’t fans who would become fans because they are turned off on it. It is one of the great imponderables.”

BETTMAN ON CONCUSSIONS IN HOCKEY: “We don’t want the head targeted as the principal point of contact, and we actually passed a rule that went into effect this season that prohibits such a hit, but there are a lot of hits in our game. It’s a very physical game where the head is incidentally a point of contact… this is a serious issue. We have medical experts working with us. We’re trying to educate the players. Perhaps the most important thing we’ve done is we are trying to change the culture of the game, where if a guy gets, as they used to say, dinged, it’s ok for a guy to say, ‘I think I have concussion-like symptoms’ and get treatment.”

BETTMAN ON THE BEST THING HE LEARNED FROM STERN WHEN HE WAS AT THE NBA: “I don’t think you can just point to one thing, because it was 12 spectacular years in terms of my professional life. But in terms of doing the right thing, working hard and focusing on what needs to be taken care of, learning how to prioritize, and also managing owners because David has always been extraordinary at that.”

STERN ON SOCIAL MEDIA IN SPORTS TODAY: “I often say and have said that Russell and Chamberlain labored in anonymity compared to today’s athletes.”

STERN ON JEREMY LIN PHENOMENON: “It is a frenzy on a global scale. Jeremy Lin is taking it to another layer on a global scale.”

STERN ON WHETHER HE SOUGHT ADVICE FROM BETTMAN DURING NBA LOCKOUT: “I think it is fair to say that we talk to each other regularly and have a wide range of discussions on relevant topics.”

BETTMAN AND STERN REACTING TO COMMENTS MADE BY BRYANT GUMBEL DURING NBA LOCKOUT ON HBO. GUMBEL SAID: “(Stern) has always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern plantation overseer, treating NBA men as if they were his boys.”

Bettman: “Let me answer first, because I worked with David for over 12 years. That is probably the most ignorant, stupid statement I’ve ever heard. Anybody who knows David knows that nothing could be further from the truth.”

Stern: “Thank you, friend Gary. I actually, you know, sort of enjoyed it to a degree because the flood of phone calls that I got from a very diverse community said ‘What is this guy’s problem?’ And I said, ‘His ratings are going down, it’s a slow news day, he wants some headlines.’ And I wouldn’t say anything publicly, it was taken care of by Charles Barkley and Jesse Jackson.”

Re-Air Dates (All times ET):

Thursday, March 1 – 9 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Friday, March 2 – 2 a.m., 9 a.m., 5 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Saturday, March 3 – 8 p.m.

Sunday, March 4 – 10 p.m.

About Steve Lepore
Contact me at stevemlepore@gmail.com

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