Albany residents, mayor call out Rebecca Lobo over stray comment about city during Iowa-LSU Elite 8 game

On3 imageby:Andrew Graham04/02/24

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ESPN basketball analyst and former UConn and WNBA star Rebecca Lobo caught plenty of heat for her comments during Monday’s Elite Eight game suggesting Albany, New York, the host city, was bereft of things to do. And the rather innocuous slight has resulted in locals calling out Lobo.

Her comments came as she and play-by-play announcer Ryan Ruocco discussed some pre-game interactions with the family of Iowa star Caitlin Clark, as she and the Hawkeyes advanced to the Final Four with a win over LSU. Ruocco recalled discussing with the Clarks how to kill time pregame, when Lobo let the barb loose.

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“By the way, good luck finding something to do in Albany,” Lobo said with a laugh.

Now a number of locals and even the Mayor of Albany, the capital city of New York State, have called out Lobo for her remarks.

“There’s plenty to do if you take the time to look — some of the nation’s oldest museums, a stately Capitol, award-winning restaurants, and a basketball game or two downtown,” mayor Kathy Sheehan said on social media. “[Rebecca], let’s take a ride before you leave town. Happy to show you all there is to see and do.”

Sheehan then listed and tagged a number of local businesses and eateries in a follow-up post.

Another resident of Albany, Todd Shapiro, a former spokesperson for Ivana Trump and the owner of a local bar, is calling on his peers to cancel their ESPN subscriptions and for Lobo to apologize, according to The New York Post.

Another Albany resident spoke with the Post, sharing pity for Lobo’s seeming inability to fill her time in Albany.

“If she can’t find something to do in Albany, there’s some psychological problem going on,” said William Kennedy, a 96-year-old Albany native and Pulitzer Prize-winning author. “Albany is not the capital of entertainment in the world, but it’s a livewire city. The woman might have a problem finding something to do anywhere in the world if she can’t find something to do in Albany. Give her my best wishes.”

Lobo, for her part, did take to social media and issued an apology, of sorts.

“I’ve spent many fun-filled weekends in the Albany area over the years coaching my kids’ AAU teams,” Lobo said. “No shade intended towards the capital city and the outstanding job they did hosting the regional.”

A day prior, when South Carolina cruised into the Final Four and stayed undefeated in Albany, Gamecocks head coach Dawn Staley sang the praises of New York’s capital city.

“I thought this region did an excellent job at hosting all the teams, the hotels, the gym was very accommodating — to us, I can only speak on us,” Staley said. “I really appreciate that and if you make a bid for it again, you’ve got my vote. But again, people don’t listen to me.”