These are the Plays of the Year
December 4, 2019 5:55 AM   Subscribe

From 1984-2007, George Michael, not that one, or that one, hosted The George Michael Sports Machine (typical opening), a syndicated sports highlight television show that was noted for his enthusiasm and his wide range of sources, from high school sports to pro, from the major sports to dog racing. While many of his individual episodes are on-line, his best sports plays of the year episodes having many jaw-dropping moments.

1987, including an incredible shot of Julius Erving flying into the seats to rescue a basketball and making a one-handed shot (3:27).
1993 two unbelievable basketball shots beginning at 3:53.
1999 begins by showing the buttocks of a streaker, so maybe NSFW.
posted by dances_with_sneetches (16 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Ha! I loved watching this at 1 AM on a Saturday!
posted by Don.Kinsayder at 7:24 AM on December 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

1999 link goes to 1993 video
posted by hypnogogue at 8:27 AM on December 4, 2019

Thanks! I grew up watching this George Michael on the local NBC station back in the day.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:53 AM on December 4, 2019

posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:02 AM on December 4, 2019

Yeah, watching these was a deeply familiar experience.

Also, after watching all the links and then reading some stuff elsewhere, I found that I was involuntarily reading everything in George Michael's voice and delivery.

Is this going to go away? I don't know, you don't know, the ref doesn't know.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:08 AM on December 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

And the 1993 video shows the buttocks, not the 1999.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:13 AM on December 4, 2019

1987: When the Chief tomahawked Bill Lambeer.
posted by e1c at 9:17 AM on December 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

posted by hanov3r at 9:29 AM on December 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

I grew up outside Washington, DC, and George Michael was the sports guy on the local NBC affiliate from my early teens until my early 40s. The best part of any of his sportscasts and ESPECIALLY of the Sports Machine was when something would tickle him to the point of breaking. His contagious laughter can be heard in most of these Best Of... segments and it's such a reminder to me of family dinners in the Old Days.
posted by hanov3r at 9:40 AM on December 4, 2019 [3 favorites]

Wow, what a flashback. I don't even like sports, but this was the thing that came on in the dorm common area, in an era before the internet, when someone had a TV but nobody had a big, bulky VCR, and there was jack shit on late at night. This was the thing we watched when there was nothing else to watch and we were all too tired, too wired, and/or possibly drunk/high, to get up and turn it off and go to bed.

And the big, stupid machine was always great for a laugh.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:26 AM on December 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

I also grew up in DC, where we were blessed with both George Michael and Glenn Brenner, during the peak of the local anchorman era.

I had no idea that the Sports Machine wasn't a local-only show until I moved to California.
posted by toxic at 1:49 PM on December 4, 2019

As someone who also grew up in the DC area, it's not the same without Jim Vance muttering/snickering/laughing in the background.
posted by Ampersand692 at 4:18 PM on December 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

I did run across an article that spoke of the negative side of George Michael. Fortunately, it is not hugely toxic such as sexual harassment. I'm relieved because I see him as almost being the Mister Rogers of the sports world, he never went into negative journalism, even though sports world earns its share of that.
He had an estranged daughter that he never reached out to, the reason for their break given that she, as a high school student, had an affair with the school's principal. Too much scandal for him to take? It does sound petty, especially to hold it as a lifelong grudge.

Oh, and he made a cameo appearance in Silence of the Lambs.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 4:54 AM on December 5, 2019

I watched a bunch of these with my GF last night. She's not a sports fan, had never heard of George Michael or the Sports Machine, and she loved all these clips.

Amazing how many names I remembered. Tyrone "Muggsy" Bogues! Cris Carter! The Honky Tonk Man and Macho Man Randy Savage!

Funny to see college-aged Michael Vick in one of the plays, though.
posted by hanov3r at 9:03 AM on December 5, 2019

I don't recognize the guy or the console (WHERE IS THE CONSOLE NOW?), but this feels very familiar, particularly from my time in the central California coast. Either the "Sports Machine" model was copied by some LA newser, or the syndication made it all the way out to KSBW during the time I was more into TV sports than I had ever been. Good post!
posted by rhizome at 9:49 AM on December 5, 2019

Sports Machine was originally syndicated out of DC to the other NBC owned-and-operated stations in NYC, LA, Chicago, and Cleveland; eventually, 84 affiliates were running it before NBC handed it to ITC Entertainment for even wider syndication in 1991.
posted by hanov3r at 10:26 AM on December 5, 2019

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