The NBA: The Good, The Bad, and The Media
How the media how managed to brainwash the current NBA fanbase
You only see what they want you to see. I'm talking about the media, any faction of it. The TV, Twitter, journalists, Instagram, etc. You see, the media is such a powerful place these days. However, there's no place it's more powerful in than sports, especially the NBA. It's not just social media though, it's the TV, it's the networks. The media is able to control millions of peoples' thoughts on certain NBA players just by the flick of their wrist. Those who have been following the NBA for years will understand. You see, the media is like the attractive girl at your high school who you always hated. They're deceptive, in love with the best, and as much as you want to stay away from them, you keep on giving them the attention they desire. It's been this way for too long.
The power of the media really blossomed when LeBron James, Dwane Wade, and Chris Bosh formed the "Big 3" in Miami. LeBron was the poster boy the media, and to be more specific ESPN, desired. He was a good guy, a great player, and someone who everyone around league respected, but he lacked the one thing ESPN loved most, he wasn't a winner yet. When he moved to Miami, ESPN seized their chance and made LeBron their poster boy. Every night on SportsCenter, LeBron highlights were shown while analysts raved about him. Everywhere you went you would hear about LeBron's accomplishments. However, not all the media was kind to LeBron. He was called a snake, constantly compared against Kobe Bryant and Micheal Jordan, and it was decided anything less than winning an NBA championship was a disappointment. Suddenly, the media forced every neutral NBA fan into a decision: Are you pro-LeBron or anti-LeBron? During his time in Miami, LeBron's every move was analyzed, on and off the court. Twitter was littered with brawls between the LeBron haters and the LeBron supporters. While all this happened, ESPN, TNT, FOXSports, and other networks continued to stuff the LeBron highlight reels into our face each night. "LeBron did this!" "LeBron did that!". People began to become sick of it. It was okay to show him making some good plays, but soon it escalated. Anything LeBron did became news worthy. Hours were spent on television talking about LeBron, regardless if it was basketball related or not. Slowly, more and more people started to hate LeBron; they wanted the media to shut up. The media had made a mistake. They had made a villain out of someone they tried to make a hero. Twitter began to scrutinize LeBron even more, people watched his games just to try to see him fail, lots and lots of people wanted to see him lose. The calls of snake surfaced again and the criticizm became brutal. Some will just say that he was hated because he was a winner and people always hate winners. That's wrong. He was hated because we were told he was a winner, every single night. Everywhere we went there was something about LeBron being great and why we should love him, and all it did was make us hate him more. I personally hated LeBron passionately during his time on the Heat. I wanted to see him lose. However, I didn't want to see him lose because I wanted him to be a loser. I wanted him to lose so the media would shut up about him. I wasn't alone, this was a large part of the NBA community. It was unfair for LeBron looking back at it. He didn't ask to be constantly analyzed, to have the pressure of win the finals or be a disappointment. In 2014, coming off a loss to San Antonio Spurs in the finals, LeBron James came back to Cleveland and the spotlight on him began to fade. But this article isn't about LeBron James, so keep reading if you will...
The LeBron parade had ran its course and the media knew it was time to find a new player to put in the spotlight. The 2015 season had no true outstanding player, and the sports world was at relative peace. This year though was much different, the media had a plan that brainwashed the NBA community. It targeted the greater population of sports fans. You see, unlike the NFL, you can be an NBA fan without watching every single game. While the NFL plays most of their games on Sunday (making it easier for fans to watch), the NBA plays lots of their games on weekdays. Because of this, lots of NBA fans can't watch all the games because they need to work. In order to stay caught up with the NBA though, they rely on the media. They read twitter, they watch highlights on Instagram, maybe they watch sports center after all the games are over later that night. These people make up a large portion of the NBA fanbase, but their manipulated. They only see what the media wants them to see. This wouldn't be the case if the media was unbiased, but their not. They pick favorites and enemies, and they don't even try to hide it. They prop Stephen Curry on their shoulders and parade him around even worse than they did with LeBron. It's relentless and disgusting. For those of us who follow the NBA, we can't go a day without hearing about something amazing that Curry did, and their obsession with him has reached new levels of absurdity. I can name 3 ridiculous examples in the past month off the top of my head.
- Prior to the 4th and final showdown between the Spurs and Warriors, ESPN gathered several analysts to talk about their thoughts on "both teams". The analysts never talked about the Spurs, in fact, they didn't talk about anyone else on the Warriors besides one player, Curry. The hour before the game, ESPN broadcasted every single 3 Curry had made this year while analysts talked about how he was a top 10 player of all time. Not any actual game analysis, just Curry highlights.
- ESPN's twitter is currently doing a countdown of the top 60 playoff highlights of all time. At #60 is Metta World Peace's game winning tip-in against the Suns in game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. Okay, seems fair. At #59 is this dunk, absolutely indescribable. Alright that's pretty awesome, if thats only #59 then I can't wait for what's next! Right? Here's what's up next, a video of Stephen Curry's daughter telling him to be quiet. That's right, a video that doesn't even involve an actual basketball play managed to be ranked higher than a game winner to take 3-2 series lead in the playoff where the Lakers later won the finals, and Blake Griffins absolutely devastating dunk. You know why its ranked higher? One reason. It involves Stephen Curry.
- Here's a quick one. ESPN ranked Curry, a 2 time all-star, 1 time MVP, and 1 time champion the 4th best point guard of all time and 23rd best player of all time. This is a man who did not average over 25 points per game until this season and has NEVER averaged more than 9 assists per game in a season. If you are even going to debate that he is the 4th best point guard ever or the 23rd best player of all time then the media has successfully brainwashed you.
The sad part is there are actually lots of people that believe that, some even believe he's the best of all time. It's hard to blame them though, they believe anything the media tells them. They worship Curry and make sure no one can rival him. They villanize anyone who comes close to him. For example, James Harden, a fantastic playerr who had a record year and even scored more points than Curry, is constantly slandered on social media. In fact, he became the 4th player of all time to average 29 points 7 rebound and 6 assists in a season. Yet, very few people know that because the media doesn't tell them. All the media does to James Harden is criticize him. ESPN, Bleacher Report, and TNT are constantly posting clips of Harden occasionally playing bad defense, and solely because a person sees a couple 6 second clips of James Harden not playing D, decide he is a horrible defender. Just like that, all his offensive production is negated because people think he doesn't play defense. Yet, it's selective who they scrutinize and who they praise. Stephen Curry and the Warriors the entire season has been paraded around by ESPN. Any slip up they have is overlooked by the media. When Draymond Green cheap shots an opposing player, they call it sticking up for his teammates. All the little kids are shooting 3s and yelling Curry in their expensive Warriors jersey when they've never even watched a Warrior game, twitter is constantly raving about how fantastic Curry is, and the Warriors bandwagon had gotten larger than ever. There are people out there who genuinely believe Stephen Curry is the best player ever. Why? Cause the media told them he was. There's always highlights of him hitting a crossover 3 on social media or ESPN constantly talking about how legendary he is. Social media is so many people's source of news and facts that if Curry is made out to be the greatest of all time on the internet, then people will believe it. It's the same thing with James Harden's defense. In reality, the media can make anyone they want into a star or a villain with ease
It's no doubt ESPN obsessed over LeBron James and they are obsessing over Stephen Curry. I am not sure why the general population is loving Curry, yet they hated LeBron when they obsessed over him. I can only guess the media is much more persuasive and powerful now than it was 5 years ago, maybe the NBA fanbase has just gotten dumber. It sucks the media has tricked thousands of people to believe false and inaccurate ideas due to the emergence of things like instagram and vine. People form opinions over players they have never watched before based off of a simple 10 second video, and it's a shame the media get to decide who the public make a hero and who they make a villain. It's just the way the world is today. The people are fed biased information from the media and they believe it. This is the case not only in the NBA, but in things like politics and other sports. We can't change it, all we can do is hope that people eventually open their eyes to the truth.
-Jack B. @nbatalkalways on twitter