For a guy who has been willingly choked out by a professional MMA fighter and annihilated at the hands of Detroit Lions’ rookie Ndamukong Suh, John Brenkus is a surprisingly chipper guy. It might be due in part to the lifetime Washington, D.C. area sports fan being rewarded with the crown jewel of the 2010 NBA Draft, John Wall, this summer. More lasting however, is that Brenkus’ creation, “Sport Science,” has gone from an imaginary flicker in its master’s mind, to a full-fledged national hit on both ESPN and Fox Sports Net.
Brenkus, who presides as the show’s co-creator, co-executive producer as well as its host, developed “Sport Science” under the umbrella of BASE Productions in Los Angeles, Calif. What Brenkus and his crew aim to do is to better understand and showcase what makes the world’s best athletes so elite. And since its inception in 2007, the segment has already garnered NBA athlete attention from the likes of Amar’e Stoudemire, Stephon Marbury and even Wall himself. Combining the best athletes on the planet, along with the best scientific machinery and minds available, Brenkus has created a show truly unlike any other.
“As sports fans, we always ask ourselves, ‘what are those questions we love to debate around the water cooler?’ You know, what are the things that we’re just curious about?” says Brenkus. “Is this guy better than this guy? How good is this guy? What’s his reaction time, his strength, his power, his whatever? And we like to really sort of jump into the argument of the questions that we want to see answered and really put them to the ultimate test.”
Talking pressure gauges and heart monitors with him is one thing, but basketball for Brenkus has always been a source for true passionate dialogue. With a love for both the Bullets of old and the Wizards of new, he also grew up with an almost fanatical obsession with former Maryland great Len Bias.
“Len Bias was definitely my hero growing up basketball-wise,” remembers Brenkus. “He was the guy that on the playground I was always pretending to be. For me, I feel like I grew up in the golden era of college basketball and that’s what really hooked me in the game.”
Washington, D.C. hasn’t had too much to be excited about lately in terms of basketball performance. But nowadays, Brenkus is more than elated knowing that Wall will be running the show in his hometown this season. And in one of the show’s most well-received segments, the production team had the Wizards’ newest gem in the house to determine how his athleticism stacked up to the competition.
“We wanted to know how good is this kid?” says Brenkus. “And as it turns out, he’s really, really good.”
While on the air, Brenkus and BASE Productions have earned nothing but praise from their fans and peers alike. With over 200 completed experiments, showings on two networks and three Emmys to boast, there really are no signs of slowing in the Sport Science laboratories. Couple that with Brenkus’ book, “The Perfection Point,” due out later this year, and that makes for one busy, busy dude â€“ something he wouldn’t have any other way.
“It’s very exciting and very gratifying to be able to just expose people to a new way of looking at sports,” says Brenkus. “My favorite segment is always the last one that we’ve finished.”
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