During the past two years, ESPN’s Around the Horn (M-F, 5 p.m. ET) has welcomed a total of eight new voices to its roster of sports debaters. The two most recent additions – The Undefeated senior writer Justin Tinsley (debuted Jan. 28) and ACC Network basketball analyst Monica McNutt (Feb 17) – have performed so well they are now making weekly appearances.
When McNutt debuted, veteran coordinating producer Aaron Solomon told The Washington Post: “We’ve expanded our lineup quite dramatically over the years, and we’ve really tried to have as many voices and as many diverse voices as possible.”
In fact, just watch and listen across ESPN platforms and there are a significant number of voices who started on ATH before expanding into ESPN Radio, podcasts, and more – Bomani Jones, Mina Kimes, Sarah Spain, Pablo Torre and Clinton Yates, to name just a few.
In all, ATH currently features a rotation of more than 20 panelists – a mix of longtime favorites like Woody Paige, Kevin Blackistone and Jackie MacMullan; seasoned veterans Izzy Gutierrez, Frank Isola and Ramona Shelburne; and newcomers. Front Row asked longtime host Tony Reali to provide an early scouting report on what he’s seen from Tinsley and McNutt:
On Tinsley …
“Justin has a wonderful slow-burn set to professorial, but he’ll scald you with his flexibility and breadth of knowledge. He scored huge points in a show where he had the courage to admit he was a [Dallas] Cowboys fan. He then took the subsequent mute train in stride with the poise of someone who’s seen many, many disappointing losses!
“Justin’s most impressive moment – maybe the most impressive moment for any panelist in years – came in a seemingly innocuous Patrick Mahomes little GOAT, Tom Brady big GOAT pre-Super Bowl discussion. Justin said he wasn’t going to get lost in what Mahomes could be because we sometimes lose ourselves when we flip to the end of the book before enjoying all the good stuff in the beginning and middle. Profound! I love it when Around the Horn can give a life lesson in between mutes!
Just some thoughts on this whole Mahomes-Jordan comparison via @AroundtheHorn. I don't know if it was the most profound statement, but salute to @TonyReali gassing me up regardless lol. pic.twitter.com/mRRTBR7VD6
— Justin Tinsley (@JustinTinsley) February 6, 2021
“With his style and delivery, I see Justin having a future rivalry with Tim Cowlishaw and Kevin Blackistone.”
On McNutt …
“Monica has a megawatt energy combo’d with an athletes’ confidence. Xs and Os on the court, and it’s lights-out for anyone who’s up against her. She matched up against Bob Ryan last week. Monica matched him shot for shot and still got her buckets.
“Most impressive was Monica’s second show. We had just completed taping the majority of the program, and then the news crossed of Tiger Woods’ car accident. That’s an all-hands-on-deck, re-do the show situation. With very little time or information, you have to think clearly on and with grace and sensitivity. Monica delivered it all. Again, it was her second show!
“Monica’s drive and fearlessness are going to make her a nightmare for Sarah Spain and Woody Paige.”