The Phoenix Suns were not featured on the last two episodes of The Last Dance, but two players did make a brief appearance on another Sunday night show, Last Week Tonight.
While most of the sports world was tuned in to the final two episodes of The Last Dance, Phoenix Suns stars Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker made a brief cameo on HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.
If you’re unfamiliar with Oliver’s show, he does a quick recap of the week followed by a lengthy deep-dive into a nuanced political or social issue. Often, this in-depth look goes on for 20 minutes or more, is well-thought-out, and peppered with humor.
On Sunday, Oliver’s main topic was the return to sports.
If you were watching the episode like my wife watches all TV shows, where 90% of the time your eyes are on the screen in your hand and not the screen in on the wall, you likely missed the bit where Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton came into play.
Oliver explained how ESPN and other broadcasters were getting desperate for content:
“As for broadcasters who are reliant on live events, they are truly now in a desperate situation. While ESPN moved up their 10-part Michael Jordan documentary, they’ve otherwise been strapped for content, airing video game versions of baseball and basketball…“
And in that moment where he says the line about video game versions of baseball and basketball, it cuts to the championship of the NBA2K Players Tournament featuring Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton.
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You remember that. It was the day where the Phoenix Suns were featured on ESPN for six straight hours and culminated in Devin Booker walking away with the first-ever NBA2K title and (another) $100,000 for charity.
The screenshot was quick and easy to miss, but they were there.
Oliver’s piece went on to explain some of the inherent challenges bringing back sports presents, as well as the complex balance between health and finances, and even discusses some of the barriers specific to playing Major League Baseball games exclusively in Arizona.
The whole piece is worth a watch but be forewarned it puts a bit of a damper on the hope you had about a quick and successful return of live sporting events.