John Fanta Red Panda Screen grab: Field of 68 on TikTok

When it comes to the whacky world of college basketball, there may not be two figures with higher approval ratings than Red Panda and John Fanta.

So it’s only fitting that when the famed acrobat performs at a game that Fanta happens to be at, she often invites the Fox Sports broadcaster to be a part of her show.

@fieldof68 John Fanta & Red Panda The Big East tourney is ELECTRIC! #collegebasketball #basketball #cbb #NCAA #ncaabasketball ♬ original sound – Field of 68

But while Red Panda — real name Rong “Krystal” Niu — and Fanta clearly have a cordial relationship, as it turns out, they weren’t always on the best of terms. Appearing on The Ken Carman Show with Anthony Lima on 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland on Wednesday, the Field of 68 personality revealed that he was once admonished by Niu for failing to meet her performance standards.

“I did it with her last year and she dropped — she was going through a rough patch,” Fanta said. “I got told by the arena, ‘Red wants to see you.’ And I’m like, ‘OK.’ So I go to the back of house at Madison Square Garden. I went up to her and said, ‘Hi, how are you? Great to see you again. Looking forward to this.’ And she said, ‘I just have something for you.’ I go, ‘Oh.’ She goes, ‘Can you watch the angle that you’re standing when you’re tossing. It’s just the setup here for me to nail it.’

“Sure enough, I veered off a little bit, 60 degrees. And boom, she was perfect.”

Asked by Lima if he could understand the privilege he had experienced by being given an inside look at Red Panda’s performance techniques, Fanta replied: “Not fully. I can’t fully grasp the magnitude of this.”

Over the course of the past few years, the 28-year-old Fanta has emerged as one of the fastest rising stars in the college basketball media. And his willingness to not only listen to Red Panda, but also follow her lead, likely lends some insight into how he’s made it happen.

[The Ken Carman Show with Anthony Lima]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.