‘Jeopardy!’ Icon Ken Jennings Pays Tribute to Another ‘GOAT’ With Heartfelt Message

by Craig Garrett

Jeopardy! cohost Ken Jennings took to his official Twitter to honor veteran professional basketball player Sue Bird. Jennings posted an image of Bird on the Climate Pledge Arena’s Jumbotron. In the image, the retiring iconic athlete is waving goodbye. “GOAT. Thank you for everything, @S10Bird,” Jennings wrote.

Sue Bird, one of the most-decorated players in WNBA history with four championships and 13 All-Star selections, played what she said will be her final game on Tuesday. The Las Vegas Aces eliminated her Seattle Storm from the playoffs. Ken Jennings, who lives in Seattle, was among many high-profile people paying tribute to Bird.

NBA players like Steph Curry have also expressed their respect for the WNBA player. “Legend. Take a bow,” Curry tweeted. Most notably, U.S. Women’s Soccer star Megan Rapinoe publicly supported Bird. Not only is she one of the most famous women in soccer, but she is also Bird’s fiancé. “The Greatest to ever do it. I am so proud of you,” Rapinoe wrote on Instagram. NBA star Jamal Crawford pointed out all the legends retiring in 2022. “Sylvia Fowles. Sue Bird. Serena Williams. Allyson Felix. We may never see four of the greatest retire in the same year, from three different sports again. The impact will be felt for generations. Respect,” Crawford said.

Ken Jennings on living up to another legend

Jeopardy! has a large following that is very devoted. It’s not easy for Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik to come in after Alex Trebek spent 37 years hosting. The recently announced permanent hosts opened up about the pressure of the job on the Inside Jeopardy! podcast.

Mayim Bialik recalled that there are so many moving parts to consider while trying to move the game forward. Meanwhile at the same time giving each hint and response its appropriate weight. All of these actions must be done while listening to the producers’ instructions in her ear. Jennings compared the job to that of a sportscaster, arguing they must not only represent the players while steering the game but also interpret the action for viewers at home. When surrounded by so much intellect, Jennings said it’s especially demeaning when he makes a stupid mistake.

“Smart contestant, smart audience, and then on the toss to commercial, I, like, say my name wrong or something, and I’m like, ‘What is even happening?'”

Alex Trebek’s death has undoubtedly touched both co-hosts, but Ken Jennings is indisputably a major part of the show’s history. In the 2020 GOAT Tournament, he defeated Brad Rutter and James Holzhauer to become the Greatest of All Time champion, with 74 consecutive victories in a row. That is a point that Mayim Bialik is well aware of. “When it comes to being here, I think especially because of the legacy,” she explained. “The legacy of Alex, and the legacy of Ken — you know, it’s a lot of pressure.” Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik will return for the 39th season of the show on September 12th.