The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Adam Schefter turns daily-fantasy obsession into NBA sideline gig on ESPN

Probably working on some ScheftBombs. (Christopher Capozziello/For The Washington Post)

Every so often, ESPN will have its NBA personalities do a college basketball game and vice versa, a stunt that probably doesn’t attract much in the way of added viewership but is a nice change of pace during long seasons. But Adam Schefter is taking that idea to the next level: The network’s lead NFL reporter told the MMQB’s Peter King on a recent podcast that he’ll be doing some sideline reporting during the network’s NBA games this season.

And it’s all thanks to daily fantasy sports.

“The funny thing is, I never had any interest in the NBA,” Schefter told King. “Growing up I did. Growing up, I loved watching the Knicks and Bernard King, and I would listen to Marv Albert in my room on the radio, ’cause nobody’s better at doing a game than Marv Albert. But literally from the time I was a freshman in college, I lost track, forgot and couldn’t care less about the NBA. And then — I don’t even know how all this started — but a couple of years ago, I played these $3 DraftKings games, like, just started doing it.”

And it became something of an obsession.

“I didn’t know a single player, but then you start studying the statistics like a stock chart almost, and you start programming your life. I did it the first night — it was right after the Super Bowl a couple years ago — my wife walked into our bedroom and I had an NBA game on. She looked at me kind of funny. The second night, she walks in the bedroom and looks at me kind of funny, an NBA game on. The third night, she walked in and looked at me like I had started smoking cigarettes. She said, ‘Since when do you watch basketball games?’ And I started watching when I started playing some of these daily fantasy games, and I love it. I kid around with some of our producers, there’s one guy at ESPN we make out lineups every day together. I say: ‘This is my cigarette break. I take a five-minute break and I fill out my NBA DFS $3 lineup.” It’s literally become one of my biggest hobbies. . . . I love it.

“And so ESPN is aware of my interest, and so they asked, ‘Hey, any interest in doing any sideline reporting for any NBA games?’ And I’m like, ‘Yes!’ Because as you know, Peter, when you get to do something outside your sphere of work, it really fills you with adrenaline. It’s energizing, it’s refreshing, it’s exciting. . . . So I’m just trying to figure out, juggling with football, when we can do this. Because I do want to stick that microphone into LeBron James’s face and ask him some questions about, ‘What were you thinking on that triple-double?’ ”

Adam Schefter is NFL reporting machine

Adrian Wojnarowski, the preeminent NBA insider of our time, probably does not have to worry too much about being supplanted, but Schefter still has him in his sights (if only in jest).

“I’m coming after Woj,” Schefter said, adding that he had dinner recently with the Vertical reporter to pick his brain on all things NBA and basketball reporting.

Schefter got some practice for his new gig by getting into a Twitter fight with the Warriors’ Draymond Green over a play in the Sunday night NFL game between the Broncos and the Chiefs.

So Schefter got an NBA player to pull out the ol’ “you never played the game” card. He’s ready.