Anyone who follows any professional sports league knows that simply watching the game is not enough to feed our never ending appetite for content. Whether it be before the game, after the game, or in the offseason, no other professional sports league has a wider collection of media available than the NBA. In fact one would even be hard pressed to even watch the game on its own nowadays.
I usually go from game to my phone during commercials. Typically finding myself scrolling through Twitter to see the reactions of everyone watching and to catch all the horrible takes that some people have the audacity to tweet. With all the new ways to take in the NBA, what has mainstream media done to keep its viewers engaged? Nothing good I would assure you.
This is not a dig on anyone in particular. To say the most blasphemous, atrocious take that will attract the angry eyes of the fans who were slighted by this take. As the saying goes, “Any publicity is good publicity”. Take Skip Bayless for example. He can go on air and talk about how Dak Prescott is “weak” for being depressed during quarantine following his brothers’ untimely death. Takes like this only makes viewership go up. That is why he has been in the business for so long.
This practice, while good for views, eventually wore down the integrity of what sports journalism is. I understand that many of the shows FS1 and ESPN have are debate shows and if everyone agreed with each other it would make for a very boring watch. However, some of the things that are said on these shows make you question if the people arguing actually did the time to research what it is they are arguing about. It’s simply arguing for the sake of arguing.
This even happens during basketball games as well. As entertaining as it is to have Shaq, Charles Barkley, and Kenny Smith jabbing at each other, they don’t analyze the games and sometimes it’s worth asking if Charles is even watching. The game itself during the broadcast is nauseating sometimes. Having to listen Reggie Miller contradict himself throughout the game is an automatic mute for me. How can you say Luka needs to lose weight if he wants to be elite while watching him effortlessly drop a 40 piece triple-double with efficiency? How do fans escape this? What are the alternatives for knowledgeable basketball heads?
One form of basketball content that has seen a rise in the last 5 years has been the podcast. This should not come as a surprise for any basketball sicko who needs all the content that they can get. The great thing about these podcasts is that they are much more specific with regard to angle. It’s true that sometimes the big markets can occasionally hog all the spotlight even when there is not much to be said. But podcasts allow the listener to pick and choose what they want to listen to. If they want an update on free agency and on the NBA as a whole they can listen to Brian Windhorst and The Hoop Collective. If they want opinions that are mostly wrong but still an entertaining listen, they have The Bill Simmons Podcast. My personal favorite being a Dallas Maverick fan is Pod Maverick, with Kirk Henderson and Josh Bowe (Editor’s note: suuuure). If you haven't already give them a listen. For anyone really into the X’s and O’s, the Dunker’s Spot is outstanding.
This doesn’t even begin to touch on the deep world of YouTube video analysis, TikTok, and Instagram too (we’ll leave Facebook to the brave people). There are simply so many different ways to learn about the game, the trick is knowing where to start if the easy options aren’t working for you.
The world of sports media is constantly evolving and changing. Now they are even intertwined in many aspects. With the introduction of “new media” where players who actively or formerly played the game give their takes on the world of basketball. This form of media gives the listener an entirely new perspective on the game as some of these YouTube videos and podcasts are dropped just hours after the end of a game. As a basketball sicko who wants to watch every summer league game, this has been a solid outcome considering what the world of sports media has become.