Former athletes, especially the charismatic, popular, and personable ones, are fast tracked to a career in broadcasting when they finally decide to 'hang 'em up.'  This has led to a lot of resentment from snobby sports 'journalists', but I personally have no problem with it.

Yes, athletes can provide firsthand details of what it's like to play the games and serve as wonderful analysts, but their real value comes in the form of the stuff that happens away from the game.

Jalen Rose has emerged as one of the great and colorful NBA analysts.  In this episode from grantland.com, Rose describes a night at the club in great detail.  Who cares about the LeBron/M.J. debate, this is the stuff we really care about!!! (at least I do)