Hoop Story #046: Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson, National NBA Writer/Host Bally Sports Network

Hoop Story #046: Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson, National NBA Writer/Host Bally Sports Network

What are your earliest memories of Basketball? What was it like growing up in Harlem and New Jersey around multiple basketball legends?

Shoes were my foundation. My earliest memories from sports came from ringing a cash register at my family’s sneaker store, The Athlete’s Foot and our men’s shoe store, Men’s Walker. Both were on 125th street in Harlem. I vividly remember sneaker releases and athletes like Dominique Wilkins, Hakeem Olajuwon, Spud Webb and Clyde Drexler doing promotional runs for any iteration of Brooks, Avia and Etonic.

As a child, I also was around City Wide Basketball at Riverbank State Park, around Riverside Church and Rucker Park and around the game due to my uncle’s ties to the grassroots movement. Stephon Marbury, Mark Jackson, Rod Strickland, Kenny Anderson, Kenny “The Jet” Smith, Bernard King and many other NYC notables were folks I grew up being around, have seen play and are why I love the game.

On the New Jersey-side, Essex County, New Jersey basketball is what I knew. I remember going to basketball camps at Montclair State and being coached by Brevin Knight who is now a colleague of mine at Bally Sports Network. Going to the same barbershop as New York Knicks legend Patrick Ewing and Phoenix Suns assistant coach Mark Bryant in Montclair, NJ. Looking back at it, my youth was the foundation for life and I thank my parents and my village for placing me in those situations.

You landed a radio show with the Nets at 12 Years old, how did that come about?

I have to thank my Aunt Alicia Robinson for telling my mom about an audition at Chelsea Pier in Manhattan. 1660 AM AAHS World Radio whose station is at Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ were looking for on air kids radio personalities, hundreds of other kids auditioned and I got the call for a second audition and I crushed it at Dangerfield’s Comedy Club in Manhattan.

I did one assignment at AAHS World Radio where I actually filmed a commercial with the Crash Dummies and soon after the then-New Jersey Nets contacted the radio station because they were looking for a young kid who was obsessed with basketball to host a kids radio show.

At the time, the Nets were rebranding after bringing in John Calipari as their head coach and Vice President of Basketball Operations, drafting Keith Van Horn in 1997 and creating a new logo. I hosted the show for two seasons with former Nets Albert King, radio personality Lynn Wilson and Even Roberts who is now a host at Sports Radio 66 WFAN. The show was a magazine-style sort of show executive produced by the voice of the Nets, Chris Carrino that aired Saturday mornings. We recapped all that the Nets were doing in the community and on the court and  I hosted an interview segment where I spoke to tons of players in the locker room before and after games like Karl Malone, Reggie Miller, Antoine Walker, Dennis Rodman, Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton, Alonzo Mourning, Patrick Ewing and tons more. The show was sponsored by McCain Ellios, Robertwood Johnson and a myriad of others.  After one year on 1660 AM AAHS World Radio, we eventually transitioned the show to the now defunct 620 AM One-on-One Sports and we broadcasted the show live. 

The show was featured on Fox Sports Network, MSG Networks, Hoop Magazine and NBA Inside Stuff with Ahmad Rashad. It was a great opportunity to cultivate relationships in the studio and to enter NBA locker rooms while also meeting future media colleagues like Stephen A. Smith, Adrian Wojnarowksi and Chris Broussard. I also got the chance to spend time with The Last Dance-era Chicago Bulls of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Ron Harper, Steve Kerr and Phil Jackson.

During your time at CBS, you created " The Scoop B Radio Podcast" featuring Shaq, Mark Cuban, Charles Barkley, DJ Khaled - What was so special about bringing them on to the show?

Scoop B Radio was literally not intended to be a podcast at first. In fact, it's a consortium of tapes from my childhood that sat in a Timberland box collecting dust at my parent’s house. My business partner, Emmanuel “DJ Manny El” Grant and I digitized tapes with interviews with Dikembe Mutombo, BJ Armstrong, Scott Burrell, Kendall Gill, JR Reid and others and digitized them and put them into podcast form. Once I left CBS and accepted a new role as Managing Editor and Columnist at RESPECT Magazine, I literally started booking new guests like Charles Barkley, Mark Cuban, Shaquille O’Neal and DJ Khaled and would write key things that they’d say and the show would go viral. They’re all legends and folks that I consider pillars to culture.

Scoop B Radio has had viral moments everywhere from television, radio and print by way of ESPN, NBC, CBS, Bleacher Report, Complex, New York Post, Forbes and many more. What an honor to start from a Timberland box to mainstream news.

Scoop B Radio has had other guests like tennis great Pete Sampras and hip hop legend Too $hort and more recently NBA Hall of Famer Gary Payton and hip hop legend Damon Dash have also appeared as guests. 

Talk about the Sports media landscape and how it has shifted over the past year?

The gift is that you can be an indie and do it just like the big boys and girls are doing now. 

Last year, Instagram Live and Zoom were a major key if you utilized it correctly. 

That’s what Scoop B Radio has done for five years. Now that process has transitioned into the digital space and the additive especially during COVID-19  is how you utilize that in a digital video space while fully functioning on social media and maintaining social media. 

The proof was in the pudding in my personal branding doing Instagram Live interviews with rap pioneer Master P, WWE Hall of Famer Mark Henry and Love & Hip Hop’s Tahiry Jose. 

I was an employee at Heavy.com for 2 ½ years where I checked into the Manhattan office once a month, was on the road and mostly worked from home. When COVID-19 hit, the switch was seamless. We utilized Facebook and Youtube via Streamyard to host a live show called Heavy Live With Scoop B where I had Q&A’s with notables like football great Tiki Barber, boxer Claressa Shields, porn legends Lisa Ann and Cherie Deville, NBA Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas and Boston Celtics Champ turned ESPN analyst Kendrick Perkins. 

Being in the field and transitioning that into long lasting relationships made it cool to do it from home and in digital form. It’s always been about relationships. I remember Kenny “The Jet” Smith told me: “The business model will always be about shaking hands and kissing babies.” 

I also believe that because many were bored in the house and in the house bored, television and social media including interfaces like TikTok have been a playground for content creation.

Which have been the most viral media moments for you recently?

I have an endorsement deal and digital partnership with Zenni Optical; the official sponsor of the Chicago Bulls. I recently sat down with Bulls 2021 Hall of Famer Toni Kukoc on our new interview platform series called EYECONS which highlights contributors to culture. 

I asked him about fascination with Michael Jordan and LeBron James comparisons and Kukoc very candidly said that there is no comparison because the two never played against each other. 

Similarly Gary Payton was quite candid on Scoop B Radio Podcast back in the spring about the same topic. The dialogue was mentioned all over FS1 with Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless and a multitude of other news outlets. I’ll add that I was not pleased that FS1 has chosen not to cite where the interview came from and they’ve done it numerous times as it relates to not just interviews but also my reporting of breaking news related to anything regarding Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving. FS1 and I have since had a conversation and I’m hopeful that they will be true to their word.

What’s Next for you? 

Honestly some downtime. I began my new role at Bally Sports in May. I love it there and am excited for next season. In addition to my role with Bally, my endorsement deal and partnership with Zenni and hosting the Scoop B Radio Podcast, I also have a partnership with Bovada, a sports betting company. I co-host Lisa Ann & Scoop B,  a weekly Instagram Live Show with Sirius/XM’s Lisa Ann on Thursday evenings at 5 PM ET. 

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