Steve Hammer

Since 2002, Greg Rakestraw has been the program manager at ESPN Sports Radio 950 AM and the host of Sports Desk, a live sports-talk program which airs from 3 to 6 p.m. weekdays.

Q: What do people want to talk about most?

A: It's seasonal, but I think there's more interest in the Colts than anything else. This was a year, obviously, that we talked more about the Pacers than ever before. With the situation with Artest, the Pacers became a six-month obsession, which usually doesn't happen. Colts are No. 1, Pacers No. 2 and bitching about Mike Davis is No. 3.

Q: Was the Grand Prix furor one of the most intense reactions you've seen from fans?

A: We had phone calls from Brisbane, Australia. We had a couple that had flown in from Hawaii for the race. We had people who drove from Denver. We had a guy from South Africa to vacation here. We've taken F1 calls twice in the show's history. We'd just gone on the air when Schumacher let Barrichello pass him in 2002 and that lasted for three days.

Q: Why do people hate Mike Davis so much?

A: Because he's not Bob Knight. Because people got so used to winning at IU. The last seven or eight years of Bob Knight wasn't like the first 20 years but at least they were still competitive in the regular season. I think, sadly, for a small minority of people, the race issue is a factor. For the vast majority of fans, it's about X's and O's. This is a state that is basketball knowledgeable. Not only do they not like the fact that they're not winning as much, they don't like the style of basketball they're playing. I do think that style matters here.

Q: Do you think Artest will be back with the Pacers next season?

A: Absolutely. I don't think it's all for, quote, the right reasons, it's because they can't trade him. And, truthfully, if he gets playing well enough where you can trade him, then you want to keep that piece of the puzzle. If this was the NFL, where the contracts aren't guaranteed, they would have cut him last year. But in the NBA, the contracts are guaranteed; nobody wants to trade for him. I think they're going to ride it out and hope that he's a changed guy. If they can keep his emotions focused, he's a great player and they don't want to trade him.

Q: What's the most bizarre call you've gotten?

A: I can't think of one in particular, but the most bizarre calls are when we're talking about the Colts and someone calls and asks about the Vikings. Or they'll say, "Let's talk about the Orioles." This isn't Baltimore sports radio. I mean, how are the Vikings going to do this year? How the hell would I know?

Q: Quick over/under. Colts: 10 wins or above?

A: Above.

Q: Super Bowl appearance?

A: I'd still say no. I don't think they've done enough defensively. I think they played as well offensively as they could and still didn't make the Super Bowl. They won't be as good as they were last year, but they'll still be very good.

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