For English Premier League soccer, there used to be (maybe still is) something called FanZone where for certain game broadcasts they’d get one fan of each team and have the two of them call the game. I can easily imagine that getting messy or problematic, but every one I saw was a genuine delight to see two folks who just loved their team and wanted them to do well, in a positive manner, to go back and forth.
Whenever I hear a former player or coach complain about today’s style I think about a Steve Kerr quote from a few years ago,
“They’re all right,” Kerr deadpanned. “They would all kill us. The game gets worse as time goes on. Players are less talented than they used to be. The guys in the 50s would have destroyed everybody. It’s weird how human evolution goes in reverse in sports. Players get weaker, smaller, less skilled. I can’t explain it.”
Also I think part of the problem is that the go-to form of getting a commentator is just to get a former player/coach. I feel like the majority of them are somehow the worse ones. Of all the commentators that I’d categorize as bad, a vast majority of them were players/coaches. Doris Burke is a former player herself, but she is the exception not the rule. I wish there was some sort of pathway for good non-former player/coaches to get highlighted and brought up to the national level. I feel like this is the case with all the major sports. I feel like that plays a major role in why TV ratings have been dropping for sports over the past couple years. You have very very few commentators that don’t teach the game, talk about the game going on, and seem to enjoy the game so you’re not getting any new audience, and only making the audience you already have bored and/or frustrated with the horrible commentating.
I’d love to see a fancast! I don’t think it would work at all though. There would have to be so much vetting and training. Even then all it would take would be a “heated fan moment” to ruin everything. Maybe in the future we could see accepted/vetted streamers stream and fancast certain games.
I know the few national-level broadcasters I really enjoy listening to—Kevin Harlan, Ian Eagle, Nantz, Joe Buck even (though I’ll never quite forgive him for how terrible his calls of the 2008 World Series were) are all career broadcasters. I’m hard-pressed to think of any former players/coaches I really like as play-by-play commentators—all the ones I enjoy are color commentators. You might be onto something with this.
This all reminds me of one thing to be thankful for this season: they finally killed off PLAYERS ONLY BABYYYYYYYYYY on TNT. Boy was that ever an abomination to listen to.
Zion was great. Not great (and SUPER aggravating) were the droves on Twitter calling Gentry / the medical team idiots for subbing Zion out. Get your heads out of your butts, peeps - seriously.
Imagine if they had left him in and he had been injured? Same people calling for everyone’s head. Imagine if he had a less strict rehab plan and got injured a few weeks later? Tut-tutting.
Player safety is apparently only important when it convenient to the fans and/or when it is after a tragedy. Wake up people.
Also want to comment on the idea of people being fans of players rather than teams, alluded to earlier with the new influx of Pelicans fans. Conceptually, I really like the idea. It humanizes a lot of the game. You root for the player instead of the laundry. I understand “rapping your city” to some extent, and the loyalty that comes with that, but that’s also sorta rooting for the billionaire instead of the (admittedly well-paid) labor. So I’ve been trying not to rag on so-called “bandwagon” fans.
I’m curious about how to improve broadcasts, cause I don’t necessarily think the issue is former players/coaches. Tony Romo, and Richard Jefferson are great for example. They’re enthusiastic and excited about the current game and players and provide good insight to the sport.
And while I love the Duncan/Leroux casts, I don’t want to see all basketball coverage all become that, cause like, sports are fun too, I’m not an advanced scout. Even worse though would be sports becoming Ringeresque takey stuff that thinks it’s analysis.
Broadcasting feels very much like a field that values seniority and dues paying over all else. I think that’s the crux of the issue. The likes of Van Gundy and Jackson got commentator positions based on their long coaching experience, and they’ve now been doing it for a while. They’re entrenched. It becomes hard to displace them unless they’re doing something so egregious to get kicked off the air.
Because as you’ve noted, there are some really solid former players/coaches on commentary; they just haven’t gotten there first and haven’t established themselves, and have to play the waiting game for whenever a network finally decides to make a change.
I was a bit reductive by saying it is all former players/coaches fault because you’re correct in that RJ is an amazing basketball commentator. Based on what little I watched and most of what I’ve heard Romo is an amazing commentator too. Apparently calling out plays before they happen. I even enjoy the former player, Antonio Daniels and David Wesley, that had/are on the Pels local broadcast.
I was about to say that newer players like RJ and Romo seem to be better than older people that haven’t played/coached in the league for awhile, but that isn’t true either. I thought I had it all figured out, but Kendrick Perkins and Paul Pierce are two really bad analysts or whatever you want to call them. Thank goodness they don’t call games. Not quite as new, Reggie Miller and Chris Webber are two of the worst out there.
I think the main issue is seniority like @Gjallarsean said. Longer careers gives you better opportunity to get a chance to commentate and such. Jackson and Van Gundy are going to call games till they don’t want to, and everyone that enjoys basketball will complain about it. ESPN won’t do anything since they aren’t doing anything to harm the brand/actively offend people. So since they’ve been there already they won’t take a chance on a much better commentator like RJ. Hell they don’t even “take the chance” of putting Doris on the bigger of the ESPN games despite her being light-years better than those two nitwits.
This just broke:
I’m just… at a loss right now. Just kinda drifting. Feel so bad for his family and his daughters especially. My earliest real concrete memory is of watching the 2001 Finals and this is just throwing me for such a loop when I think about him being gone.
Feel terrible for his family and daughter as well as other people in the crash. (CW: Rape) Personally am incredibly conflicted about his legacy considering the serious rape accusations and court case. That he has never faced any public re-examination of that is strange to me.
Edited to add CW.
Sad it happened, refuse to treat him like a fallen hero. That’s where I’m at with this situation.
I’m conflicted on his passing as well. Obviously I’m saddened by his passing as it was a tragic death that ended his life prematurely along with a handful of others. As you said (CW: Rape) he didn’t really face any major repercussions for the rape accusations at the moment or after the fact at all and so that plays a part in it, but that isn’t all of it. Hearing players/people around my age say they grew up idolizing him really threw me off. I wasn’t a huge basketball fan back then, but I never really idolized Kobe. There are people that say he is their Jordan, which boggles my mind. Granted my “idol” at the time was Tracy McGrady so I was out there on my own little island.
Also I just saw a clip of Alicia Keys saying we lost a hero. That’s the part of this that I don’t understand the most. Outside the last year of his career, I remember Kobe being a real asshole. He called a player the worst he had ever played with while they were still playing together. He pushed out one of the best players in the league in Shaq because he wanted more of the spotlight. There are a bunch of stories of him just berating/demeaning teammates. He constantly held the threat of demanding a trade away from the Lakers while they were bad over the team.
Yes he was a NBA legend, I’ll admit that, but hero in general is some real revisionist history. Maybe he did a lot for the community/charity that I just don’t know about. I just see this a the NBA/basketball fans all over the world losing an icon and big facilitator behind the growth of the NBA in the early 2000’s, and not the loss of some huge hero or symbol of what is good in the world as it at times seems to be made out by certain people/places.
To be fair, plenty of NBA superstars were assholes to the highest degree. Jordan was legendarily temperamental on the court and had issues with gambling off the court, for instance. We’re kind of in a lucky period where this generation’s great, LeBron James, seems to be a stand-up guy by most accounts. So really the hero designation is coming from his undeniable accomplishments and the fact that kids all over the world coveted his jersey. I think it’s a stretch too far in Kobe’s case considering the allegations against him, but we collectively have a history of washing away a player’s sins because rings.
The hero bit comes from our long history of lionizing Kobe’s particular kind of leadership. Its fully on the myth of the one great man. His awful treatment of those around him is what we praise CEOs for. Success is the most important thing. Results are what matters. Caring to the exclusion of all else is what matters. And Kobe was that.
I hate it, but it’s what american culture loves.
Still processing his death tbh. All the best to his family. I wonder how much his post career work with kids adds to the hero image alongside the title. Aside from his problematic history his ball dominant style turned me off of basketball before I discovered the spurs last decade cause basketball felt really intimidating as a kid with cerebral palsy
Yesterday after talking a bit on the discord about jersey numbers I decided to do some looking into players wearing 0 or 1.
My opinion has been seeing a player who wears 0 perform poorly or is simply a mediocre player makes me angry. Whereas, if a player wears 1 and plays poorly or is simply is a mediocre player, I feel bad for them.
So ask the following
Is it worse to wear 0 or 1 when you are a mediocre/bad player?
While I keep going back and forth between these options, I’d hold that mediocre players wearing 00 is worse than both of them. That said, not many people wear it, so maybe my reaction is just from dealing with years of Spencer Hawes.
Trade deadline just passed!
Honestly just happy the Sixers didn’t mess up and elated at the Russel/Wiggins trade
every philadelphia sports team (well… outside of hockey) has gone through the same exact arc this year—great offseason, sky-high preseason expectations, really good start, couple of big signature wins, then a drift into mediocrity before getting dragged across rock bottom by teams that all happened to be from Miami, then making small and ultimately inconsequential moves at the trade deadline (hi drew smyly/genard avery/alec burks) before their season ended in crushing disappointment
i am very tired of this but also i see no way this team doesn’t follow the exact same arc. i actually think they could beat the bucks in a 7 game series if joel’s hand heals up all the way (which it clearly hasn’t), but i doubt they make it past the pacers, heat, or raptors. and they’ll need to beat at least one of those teams to see the bucks at all.
Compared to how bad the event usually is they managed to get the all star game to be moderately watchable. So there is that. Even with them almost trying in the 4q it still was only moderately watchable. The dunk contest needs to go away again until we can fix judging. Also, the skills competition proves we need more actual competitions at all star.
The thing chris Bosh won every year was fun with the wnba player and the old nba player. Bring that back. Bring in something like knockout. Just something that makes the players want to compete.