The NBA held its all-star weekend this past weekend in Salt Lake City, and as has become normal practice over the years, the talking point come Monday was similar to that of the Pro Bowl in the NFL – how do we make this event matter to people again?
The final score in the NBA all-star game was indicative of a game in which defense, and in some regards competitiveness, has become an afterthought. The dunk contest, which is a highlight of the Saturday night festivities, wasn’t exactly star-studded. Only four players (Trey Murphy III, Kenyon Martin Jr., Jericho Sims and Mac McLung) took part in the contest, and none of them played in the all-star game on Saturday.
Filling in for Colin Cowherd on The Herd on Monday, Nick Wright said the media is to blame for NBA all-star weekend losing its luster and lacking star power in some of the marquee support events.
“The media is going to spend all day echoing those sentiments and crushing the players while taking no personal responsibility for where we’re at across sports in all exhibition games,” Wright said. “And in the NBA in particular where the dunk contest no one wants to participate, the all-star game no one wants to try. Hell regular season games you don’t know who’s gonna play and who’s not gonna play.”
“The all-star game used to be competitive, and I’m not talking about the 80s and 90s,” Wright added. “Yes it was competitive then but I’m talking about 2010, 2012. Up until a decade ago, this was a competitive game that people talked about.”
Somewhere along the line, Wright said, the media hyper focusing on championships being the be-all and end-all in terms of determining how great a player is seeped into the mindset of players. And then you wonder why the all-star game turns out to be a snooze fest and why star players believe in load management.
“It’s all that matters,” Wright said. “That’s what all of sports commentary has become and then we act shocked when the players act accordingly.”
“All we give you credit for is championships. All we give you credit for is the destination,” Wright mentioned. “Nothing for the journey. It does not matter what you do in the regular season. It does not matter what your full body of work is. You either win the title or you’re considered some different level of disappointment or failure.”
In Wright’s eyes, the NBA players understand the focus on titles didn’t used to be at the forefront. But now that it is the case, the media shouldn’t be surprised when players don’t want to put the same competitive effort into a glorified exhibition than they do regular season and postseason contests. Wright said it was funny how some in media don’t at least acknowledge how they’ve aided in the shift in mindset.
“Of course anything that is not directly related to a championship pursuit is going to not just become secondary or even tertiary, it’s gonna become forgotten. And then we in the media act like we’ve got nothing to do with it.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
Will Boling: Frank Wycheck Was a Nashville Sports Radio Icon
Boling said Wycheck was instrumental in building the city’s fanbase both as a player and a broadcaster on 104.5 The Zone.
Former NFL tight end and 104.5 The Zone host Frank Wycheck died unexpectedly Sunday at his home in Chattanooga. He was 52. His former station honored the longtime Tennessee Titan with a show dedicated to his honor, with Will Boling, Ramon Foster, and Kayla Anderson leading the tribute.
“This one is really tough,” Boling said to open Monday’s program on 104.5 The Zone. “We’re gonna have a show dedicated to Frank, towards his memory, and his legacy as not only a Tennessee Titan but an iconic voice and broadcasting in the city of Nashville,” Boling said as he introduced Monday’s show.
“In a time where sports and professional sports were just starting to catch on, and were starting to build the kind of loyalty and the kind of fandom that we all know now for the Tennessee Titans that you guys showcase every time you interact with us every day, Frank Wycheck was as instrumental towards that as anyone who’s ever worn a Tennessee Titans uniform. Not only for what he did in 11 years on the field but for what he did off the field as well as a broadcaster and as you heard on Titans radio.”
“It is definitely a deep loss here. The Titans radio crew will probably have something later tonight as we broadcast,” said Ramon Foster. “That group was very intimate with him. He was also on the team plane with them, with Titans radio, for years. And just that it’s a tragic event for sure, man. It definitely put a black cloud over the organization city and just fans of the Titans yesterday.”
“I can tell how much he was beloved in this area in the NFL, with the Titans family, just from hearing it from other people,” added Kayla Anderson. “I didn’t even have to be here to know that, so that just says something about who he was and how many lives he impacted.”
The program welcomed Wycheck’s contemporaries, colleagues, and former teammates to the show to remember the longtime player and host. Included on the guest list was Kevin Dyson, who caught Wycheck’s lateral and returned it for a touchdown during the famous “Music City Miracle” play during the 2000 AFC Wild Card Game against the Buffalo Bills.
Rick DiPietro: Blindly Defending Your Position Has Become Part of Our Industry
“Everyone kind of has their take on something and then they spend the entire time, like, they wanna be right.”
Having a take has always been a tent pole of the sports radio industry. However, 98.7 ESPN New York morning host Rick DiPietro doesn’t believe you should have to always stick to your original opinion.
While discussing the play of New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson Monday morning, the DiPietro & Rothenberg host argued that it’s ok for sports hosts and analysts to change their opinion.
The duo pointed to comments from Rex Ryan about Wilson’s play improving each week, which the pair disagreed with.
“You should be thrilled,” Dave Rothenberg said of Ryan. “How can you possibly sit here and say that’s it now and the switch is flipped and away we go?”
“I’m surprised, though. And maybe it’s just the nature of this business now — not probably, it is — where everyone kind of has their take on something and then they spend the entire time, like, they wanna be right,” DiPietro said. “He’s gonna defend this thing to his death. He’s surprised people are blaming the quarterback. How are you surprised?”
Rick DiPietro concluded by noting that the New York market isn’t alone in expecting greatness from the position, pointing to Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, who was booed by home fans last week while the club was 10-2 and played in the Super Bowl a season ago.
Bob Costas: Despite My Baseball Knowledge, I’d Never Want to Run a Franchise
“…I always said, ‘I’m neither interested nor qualified, so forget it.’”
The news of Shohei Ohtani agreeing to terms on a 10-year contract worth $700 million to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers sent the sports world into a frenzy on Saturday afternoon. Bob Costas is aware of the impact this signing – which keeps Ohtani in a major U.S. market – will have on the game of baseball.
Dan Patrick welcomed Costas onto his program on Monday morning to offer his perspectives on the record-breaking contract for the two-way superstar. Costas said that the Dodgers will be able to amortize the $700 million investment, a monetary figure that is a record for the most guaranteed earnings in a professional sports contract. Costas was asked the Angels lack of success and answered questions about the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum selection process as well. By the end of the interview, Patrick wondered whether or not Bob Costas had ever been asked to serve as the general manager of a baseball team.
“No, no, no, no,” Costas replied, “and neither was I ever broached despite all the talk about being Commissioner of baseball, and I always said, ‘I’m neither interested nor qualified, so forget it.’”
Patrick believes that Costas could have been a really good Commissioner had he landed the role. Conversely, Costas does not think himself to be qualified in that the role contains negotiations that require a certain kind of merit and temperament. Rob Manfred has served as the Commissioner of the league for the last nine seasons, and despite criticism from some fans, the game continues to prove a lucrative endeavor and attained bolstered attendance concurrent with rule changes meant to hasten play and augment offensive output last season.
“The analogy I always used was, ‘If you think a particular columnist is astute politically, that doesn’t necessarily mean you think he or she should run for president or be a Supreme Court justice,’” Bob Costas said. “Their role is to offer thoughts and people weigh it for whatever it’s worth. I was a commentator about baseball, not just calling games, but about the state of the game. I even wrote a book about it, and if people appreciated that, well that was my contribution.”
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