The sports journalism world seems both mystified and miffed that somebody ponied up $15,000 to give ESPN broadcaster Jim Gray a star this week on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. A sampling of comments: "We now know the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has lowered its standards to well, none." Jay Posner, SignOn San Diego..."If Jim Gray can get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, that gives all of us hope." Chris Bernucca, Sports Ticker..."Jim Gray???" SportsFilter..."Kobe Bryant's personal TV interviewer, Jim Gray, received a star." Chicago Tribune.
Tom Hoffarth of the Daily News takes it hardest:
We now ask for a moment of silence. Hollywood, apparently, has run out of stars.
Maybe it's some kind of clerical error. Maybe there's some overlooked character actor from the '30s or an obscure author of cowboy pulp fictions from yesteryear with the same name as this pseudo-sideline sportscaster whose only quasi-claim to fame is irritating the heck out of Pete Rose on national television, this no-trick donkey who was ushered into the spotlight back in the early '80s as a practical joke when then-Los Angeles Rams running back Eric Dickerson burned the local media by using this unknown dweeb as a puppet to announce his trade to Indianapolis, thus launching an otherwise annoying broadcasting career.
Check the date. Is it April 1?
Forget the dangerous precedent of enshrining a person who's only purported talent is sticking a microphone into an athlete's face and pretending to extract pertinent pieces of information for viewers otherwise heading to the restroom. This Jim Gray is about as qualified to have tourists from Dubuque, Iowa, admire his pavement plaque as the stunt elephant from "Operation Dumbo Drop."
The dedication ceremony was attended, according to T.J. Simers of the Times, by Jerry West, Mike Ditka, Carl Lewis, Bill Walton, Al Davis, Larry King and Eric Dickerson. At Sports by Brooks, however, former Fox Sports producer Mark Huska says, "There were more people inside the ropes for Jim than outside the ropes. There were no fans." Gray may be best known to casual fans for his questioning of Pete Rose about betting on baseball. More recently, he is known for chatting it up with Kobe Bryant.