(Above: Two-time NBA World Champion and Turner Sports analyst Kenny Smith talks March Madness with Time Warner SVP of Communications Keith Cocozza at Time Warner Center.)
By Brooks Jewell
UPDATE: Watch a video recap from the event below.
It was standing room only on March 27 as two-time NBA World Champion and Turner Sports basketball analyst Kenny Smith met with employees from across Time Warner to share his thoughts on the NCAA men's tournament to date, and his experiences in the business of sports and his experiences as a player.
The event, which was held in New York's Time Warner Center employee café to celebrate the airing of the games on TBS, CBS, TNT and truTV, was part of an ongoing series the company hosts to inform employees and help them become more connected to Time Warner's industry-leading brands.
More than 300 employees turned out to hear Smith talk about his days with the UNC Tar Heels, his two championships with the Houston Rockets, and of course about sharing the NBA on TNT analyst desk with Ernie Johnson, Jr., Shaquille O’Neil and Charles Barkley.
“What you see on the show is only a third of what goes on,” Smith told the audience. “Our show doesn’t start when the cameras go on. It starts at the hotel and that conversation goes into the green room and that conversation leads to the air . . . it’s really never-ending.”
In response to having the Final Four on TBS for the first time this year, Smith said, “I’ve been at Turner for 16 years. Every year we strive for excellence and I’m not just saying that because we’re all sitting here. It’s really exciting.”
Smith also answered employee questions on hot topics such as unionizing college players, the differences between playing in the NCAA compared to the NBA, and how he feels the game has changed over the years. Before leaving, he signed autographs and posed for photos, as employees enjoyed lunch, played basketball arcade games and tried out an innovative vending machine designed by Turner Broadcasting’s IT Strategy group that turns tweets into free prizes.
TBS will exclusively televise the 2014 NCAA Final Four on Saturday, April 5, with live game action beginning at 6 p.m. from AT&T Stadium in North Texas, marking the first time in the event’s history the National Semifinal games will be televised on a cable network.
Additionally, Turner Sports and CBS will showcase for the first time Final Four games live across three networks – TBS, TNT and truTV. The NCAA Final Four “Teamcast,” will feature team-specific telecasts that will air live on TNT and truTV. The “Teamcast” productions will be tailored specifically to the teams competing to provide fans with a variety of viewing options for this year’s marquee event.
Photo highlights from the event and a video recap are below.