Friday, August 29, 2008

Let's All Take A Moment And Be Thankful ESPN's NBA Coverage Doesn't Suck

ESPN dominates the sports media landscape with the sheer amount of coverage and the overwhelming nature of their company. They catch a ton of flack from bloggers (and rightfully so) for the ridiculous approach they take and the bombastic attitudes of both their anchors and their production. Their goal of building huge personalities with controversial "in your face" opinions often makes us want to vomit.

But I've been thinking about it, and really, as NBA fans, we're incredibly lucky. Because's NBA coverage isn't just passable, it's really pretty good. And even the TV coverage is improving. Sure, we get the occasional Steven A. Smith meltdown over Kobe, but Jalen Rose is surprisingly insightful, Jon Barry doesn't act like he's just trying to say things to get people riled up, and even Walton's mellowed. But the crew is downright rational and provides good insight on a consistent basis.

What made me come to this conclusion is the new ESPN preseason predictions that went up today (hat tip: The Dream Shake). I expected to open it and be disgusted by the ridiculous flowery praise of marketable teams. But, outside of Cleveland being number 3 in the East, (really, Mo Williams makes them better than Orlando? really?), I don't actually have any complaints with the list. And looking over their roster, I noticed that I not only respected, but admired almost all of the writers. Marc Stein is a freaking pre-cog. Hollinger is, for all the debate that rages about PER, still considered one of, if not the top stats writer in NBA media. Henry Abbott... well, I think we all know what to think of TrueHoop. Ford, Adande, Sheridan, Legler, Windhorst? I'll take that lineup over Mortenson, Pasquarelli, Clayton and Berry, or their baseball crew. I'm kind of stunned to say it, but really, ESPN does excellent coverage of the NBA.

I kind of want to vomit right now.

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