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Emmy-winning sports broadcaster Joe Buck has been a journalist for nearly three decades, but he still faced a unique challenge when it came time to interview Dennis Rodman for the third season of his show Undeniable With Joe Buck.
“I didn’t think he was going to show,” Buck told reporters Thursday at the Television Critics Association winter press tour of the rocky start to his and Rodman’s sit-down. “I thought he was going to walk by the time we got out there.”
According to Buck, five-time NBA champion Rodman, who’s known for his colorful personal life (see: his romances with Madonna and Carmen Electra, his friendship with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un) almost as much as for his longtime professional basketball career, was extremely emotional at the beginning of their talk.
“He sat down and just bawled, collapsed crying, couldn’t talk. He wasn’t answering the questions I was asking,” said Buck. Although it was unclear why Rodman was so emotional, the veteran sportscaster said he was able to change the tone of the interview to help the athlete refocus and “transform” with the help of a re-energized in-house audience.
“By the end, he was sitting up, he was crystal-clear-eyed in a way that I didn’t want the interview to end,” said Buck. “In some ways, it’s my most favorite [interview]. It’s my favorite one because he was reluctant, and then he was all in.”
Buck said that the discussion, which will air as part of Undeniable‘s upcoming third season, reaches far beyond sports and touches on topics such as Rodman’s friendship with Jong-un. Viewers just need to be “a fan of the human condition. You don’t have to like the NBA or athletics or anything,” he said.
The upcoming season also will include interviews with sports figures such as famed pitcher Roger Clemens, NFL veteran and broadcaster Terry Bradshaw, skateboarder Tony Hawk and controversial former MLB star Pete Rose. Season three premieres Feb. 15 on AT&T Audience Network.
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