ESPN, TNT Announce Hoops Talent


The National Basketball Association regular season may be three months away,
but ESPN and Turner Network Television both made NBA-related announcements
Thursday relative to on-air talent.

Ex NBC Sports NBA commentator Bill Walton and color commentator Tom Tolbert
will handle announcing duties for ESPN's league coverage -- its first under a
new multiyear, billion-dollar deal, network executives said.

Walton will join sports play-by-play announcer Brad Nessler on the network's
Wednesday-night NBA telecasts, as well as on ABC Sports' NBA coverage. Tolbert
will serve as a game analyst on the network's Friday-night telecasts, as well as
an ABC studio analyst.

ESPN and ABC Sports announcer Mike Tirico will handle play-by-play duties for
one of ESPN's Friday night doubleheader telecasts, ESPN executive vice president
of production and technical operations Steve Anderson said.

Meanwhile, TNT said studio analyst Charles Barkley signed a multiyear
agreement to remain on the network's Inside the NBA studio show, as well
as to expand his role within the AOL Time Warner Inc. cable-network family.

Among his new duties, Barkley will make weekly appearances on Cable News
Network's TalkBack Live and will contribute from time to time to various
other CNN programming, the network said.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.