PSU Vanguard Shield Icon

ESPN schools competition

While watching the Wizards play the Lakers last week, I lost it. One of the dumb commentators asked Danny Ainge, “So who might you think is a better leader all-around, Kobe (Bryant) or Michael (Jordan)?” That’s when I came to the realization that too many sports broadcasters sound ignorant about sports, especially the ones they cover. ESPN is the exception. I can count on ESPN’s staff to know what they’re talking about.

It’s great that ex-professional athletes can be hired in sports broadcasting after their playing days are over, but half the time they have no skills to do the job. People just laugh at them when they talk and try to make sense.

NBC is one station I would have expected better from. NBC has Jim Gray, Bill Walton and Bob Costas. These three guys need serious help.

Gray doesn’t know anything about basketball or baseball, but time and again I see him doing all the interviews and asking the nastiest questions about sports he knows nothing about. Can we remember back to the MLB All-Star game when Pete Rose was interrogated so rudely, live on the air? Well, Gray thought it would be in order to ask Rose why he should be allowed near baseball after his ban for allegedly betting. Gray asked Rose if he thought he was as bad a person as the rest of the United States did. This took place during the All-Star weekend where fans should have been appreciating the great players. Instead they had to listen to one of the game’s greatest get humiliated on national television.

Walton is known for making some of the boldest, dumbest comments around. One comment that sticks out from Walton’s many, “Shaquille O’Neal is the best low post passer in the game.” I still haven’t figured out where he gets his information or reasoning. Costas is the perfect example of knowing how to be a television anchor, but not knowing the first thing about the sports he covers. All game long he regurgitates stats and sets up hypothetical scenarios about the teams and players. The saddest part about this is I’m told he’s one of the highest paid broadcasters in sports.

It’s a common theme in the world of sports that the commentators favor the superstars and talk about who will win from the ratings. The world of sports would be so much better if we could hear and watch personalities that had an objective and intelligent opinion. If people were hired based on not only their capabilities of broadcasting, but also how much they knew about sports, we would all be better off.

I wouldn’t doubt that a group of my friends and I could do a better job than half the people out there. We know how to talk and I’m sure we follow the game closer than most of the personalities. Let there be a day when we can watch a game liking what we see and hear, and we can all be happy in the field of sports entertainment. One last hint to any broadcasters out there, please don’t compare Kobe to Jordan any more, it makes me sick. Nobody should be compared to the best player the world has ever seen. There, I solved that problem.