Rich Eisen is widely considered one of the best hosts in sports media, but his daily show generally features a much more tempered conversation than the likes of Stephen A. Smith, Skip Bayless or Colin Cowherd.
Thursday morning, Eisen had Rex Chapman on his show for one of those tempered conversations, where they discussed the former NBA player’s recent launch of an interview show for CNN+. And despite being in the public eye since he starred at Kentucky 35 years ago, Chapman admitted to having some serious nerves before conducting interviews.
“I’m all kinds of mentally ill, depression, anxiety. I get so worked up before these interviews,” Chapman said of his CNN+ show. “I get nervous. Not like, nervous anxious before a game. But I want to do right by the people…I want to do right by the people that are investing their time. The cameramen, the crew, the producers, but mainly the guests.”
Chapman then asked Eisen if he used to get nervous or anxious when he started his show. Eisen began as a daily radio host in 2014, but already had nearly two decades of prominent broadcast experience on ESPN and NFL Network. Before launching his CNN+ show, Chapman’s media background featured a podcast and sharing interesting clips on Twitter that others sent to him.
“I have anxiety watching back the first two years of this show,” Eisen told the former NBA guard. “I’m still to this day, uncomfortable having takes. That’s not my default, to tell you what I think.”
Eisen’s producer Chris Brockman admitted that he’s been trying to get the radio host to offer more takes.
“Sometimes they’re just like, ‘get a take and just don’t be concerned about it,’” Eisen said of his producers. “And then I see the people with whom I compete every day and honestly, I sit there and think, ‘how the hell does their brain work that way?’ To come up with that wrinkle on having an opinion on something that you really don’t even need to have an opinion on!”
Eisen didn’t name names. But the hot take artists in sports media are not hard to find. Stephen A. Smith, Skip Bayless, Colin Cowherd, Nick Wright, Max Kellerman…to name a few. Each one with the ability to generate a unique, if not bizarre opinion on the most basic of sports topics.
Eisen is closer to Dan Patrick in terms of takes, although their radio shows are still very different. But hopefully Eisen stays true to his style. Nearly a decade into his daily radio show, there’s no need to follow the footsteps of his competition by entering the world of disingenuous hot takes.