A Look Back at NBA Weakest Link

27 08 2010

Let me take you back to June of 2001, when Steely Dan ruled the airwaves after winning Album of the Year at the Grammys and the hilarious Rush Hour 2 owned the box office. It was a simpler time, full of wonder and love.

In the wake of the success of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, it was also a moment in which every broadcast network was trying to find the next game show hit. NBC tried out The Weakest Link, a team-based game with painfully simple questions in which a series of high-school graduates nevertheless failed to make impressive amounts of money. In order to promote the show, NBC made it a part of their halftime program during the Finals, just with basketball personalities instead of regular Americans just trying to grab a buck.

Apparently they had trouble finding willing participants: three of the five contestants are employees of NBC Sports. Plus, Baron Davis has since proven that he’s willing to do anything for publicity and Lisa Leslie was trying to promote the fledgling WNBA. Clearly, this lack of interest spelled doom for The Weakest Link, which NBC canceled just a year later.

Still, if you watch, you learn some things about the contestants. Bill Walton, who we often think of as interested in things other than basketball, plays for the charity of the NBA Retired Players’ Association. Bob Costas seems rather intelligent, but he gets voted off first and uses the word “surmise” in his exit interview to seem smarter. Baron Davis is supposed to struggle in a team atmosphere, but he makes it to the end, only to fail completely in the 1-on-1 finals.

It’s exciting stuff, outside of host Anne Robinson’s put-upon villainy and forced antagonism. We get it, Anne, you think you’re above shilling for NBC’s sports product. But look on the bright side: at least they’re not Welsh!




2 responses

30 08 2010
Houston Rockets Daily News for August 30th, 2010 | Red94 | essays and musings on the nba and houston rockets

[…] Eric Freeman unearths a gem, a NBA-centric episode of NBC’s Weakest Link, aired during the halftime of  a game in the 2000-01 NBA Finals. While Bill Walton and Baron Davis are both regarded as two of basketball’s more interesting minds, the former seems more burnout than sage, and the latter reminds us how much character is added to a man through a beard. […]

1 09 2010
Houston Rockets - 每日火箭相关新闻汇总(8月30日) | Red94 | essays and musings on the nba and houston rockets

[…]          五:Eric Freeman 从不知道啥地方盗墓挖来一个很有趣的节目 – 在00/01年NBA总决赛的中场休息是播放的 NBC 的Weakest Link。虽然比尔沃尔顿和巴郎戴维斯都是篮球界有名的有思想的家伙,但是在这里, 最引人关注的是前者似乎比千年乌龟还老,而后者则不停的提醒我们拥有一脸大胡子可以帮助他展示多少个性。 […]

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