Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Watch out “Woj” and “Shams,” there’s a new NBA scoop machine: “CNN Sports.”

The biggest NBA move of the week broke on TNT’s Inside the NBA Tuesday night, with the studio team revealing that ESPN analyst Doc Rivers had agreed to become the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks. Their source? “CNN Sports.”

“Ok, are we ready for breaking news?” Inside the NBA host Adam Lefkoe began. “We have news in from CNN…” “From CNN?!” analyst Jamal Crawford responded. “From CNN Sports,” Lefkoe continued, breaking the Rivers news on-air.

Bleacher Report, TNT Sports’ digital news brand, subsequently shared the news itself, also citing CNN Sports.

And not long after the news broke on TNT, CNN.com published a story (the byline was just “CNN Staff”) with more detail on the move. It wasn’t until Wednesday morning that ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarski (“Woj”) and The Athletic’s Shams Charania (“Shams”) confirmed the move.

It was a coup for CNN, which is not known for its sports scoops. And there is, technically, not a “CNN Sports” division.

And it left the sports world incredulous, stunned that CNN scooped the scoopers, with #CNNScoops trending on X, and people like sports business journalist Darren Rovell namedropping a former CNN sports anchor: “Who is the reporter for CNN Sports? Is Jerome Jurenovich still around?”

“This report makes no sense! Why would CNN break this?! Why isn’t CNN itself sharing this on their own socials? Why is there no reporter cited? Why hasn’t anyone confirmed it from any other outlet, including ESPN, the one Doc works for, who broke the earlier story??” New York Times writer Sopan Deb added (before the report was confirmed)

A CNN spokesperson declined to comment on why the Doc Rivers story was published without a byline. CNN does not typically delve into detail on its newsgathering processes.

While CNN certainly covers sports (its sports page covers more international sports, with Bleacher Report the U.S.-focused brand for Warner Bros. Discovery), the break was arguably the biggest scoop of the day, on a very busy news day with the New Hampshire primary.

In fact, a CNN source says that with the channel in rolling coverage of the New Hampshire primary on TV and Max, the decision was made to pass on its reporting to Inside the NBA, and to publish the brief story online.

While “CNN Sports” the TV show may be long gone, CNN may just be returning to the sports beat in a meaningful way.

Even if there is no byline for its in-house scoop machine just yet.

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