steiner: robin, bob [ley], and i were like the mod squad,
only in reverse - we had two white guys and a black chick. bob was
the republican intelligentsia, robin just illuminated the screen,
and i was the short, dumpy liberal guy - we had a wonderful
i've got a dozen classic bloopers that everybody remembers. like
carl lewis torturing the national anthem and i completely lost it -
boogers flying out of my nose, drool coming from my mouth. the
producer is screaming, "tell him to stop!" it was like being in the
back of the class and holding in the laughter till you can't hold
it in anymore.
olbermann: one show, recalling mickey mantle's life, we did
without jokes or catchphrases. even the highlights were perfunctory
and straightforward. mantle's obit didn't require any
all three of you worked for espn when it really took off, about
'93-'94 - what were those years like?
roberts: i don't think there's a more brilliant industry
success story. this was a cable station that started off with
aussie rules football. in the early '90s, it was still only espn.
we didn't have espnews, the magazine, and everything else.
but in '93 with the launch of espn2, we started being mentioned in
the same breath as abc, nbc, cbs. we were gaining respect and we
weren't that four-letter network anymore.
olbermann: ultimately, it remains a cable television company
that has international reach but is still headquartered in the
middle of nowhere. it was very much like being at the center of a
hurricane. there's no way to perceive that what you're doing is
seen, let alone influential to everyone connected to sports. not
till i left did i realize its widespread impact.
sportscenter was kind of the wall street journal of sports -
a requirement for sports fans.
steiner: there were a handful of sports stories that
legitimized sportscenter - pete rose's baseball ban and
magic johnson's hiv announcement. as sportscenter and espn
got bigger, we were the last ones to know about it up in "bunker