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SportsCenter at 50,000 episodes: The pioneers who started it all reflect

Editor’s Note: As SportsCenter approaches its 50,000th episode (tonight, 6 p.m. ET, ESPN), Front Row will present content related to the show and the milestone. Today, the founder and one of the original anchors discuss the show’s debut.

Beginning in today’s 9 a.m. block of SportsCenter, Chris Berman honored his good friend, the late Tom Mees, by voicing this piece which he penned for Front Row last month. (The video is at the bottom of this post.)

When the two pioneers in the video above — ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen and former anchor George Grande — walked into what is now the SportsNation and UNITE studio several weeks ago, they shared a big hug and an even bigger laugh.

“This was where it all started,” Rasmussen said.

“Yes it is,” Grande replied. “Can you believe it?”

Some 33 years prior, with Rasmussen looking on from the control room and Grande at the anchor desk, the duo was part of the initial team that brought SportsCenter into homes across the country. Now, 49,999 episodes later — the most of any show in the history of the medium — the “little show that could” is a ubiquitous presence in homes, locker rooms, bars and everywhere in between, all over the globe.

Rasmussen and Grande relive that first show in the video above and reminisce about the show’s — and the company’s — humble beginnings.

For more from Bill Rasmussen, please visit his website and follow him on Twitter at @Bill_ESPN. His book, “Sports Junkies Rejoice!: The Birth of ESPN,” can be purchased here.

Rasmussen/Grande Video produced by Tonya Malinowski

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