Now that we know where LeBron James will be playing this year, it’s interesting to look back at all the hoopla that just happened through a sport sociology lens. ESPN and many other sport media outlets featured LeBron 24/7, offering the most hype about an athlete since, well, the LeBron Decision I in 2010. Obviously James is a great basketball player, and will go down as one of the best of all-time — but did anyone see that kind of non-stop coverage coming?
While watching the LeBron spectacle unfold on ESPN, I observed something very interesting — specifically, I couldn’t help but notice how famous the sports reporters were trying to make themselves in reporting the LeBron news. Rather than simply reporting the news, many of them appeared to relish in the role, leaving me to wonder just when did sports reporters become bigger than the stories they are reporting??
I also don’t recall so many sportswriters making it a point to let us know that they got the scoop. Last year long-time sports writer Rick Reilly made a fool of himself on live TV obnoxiously making a point to let viewers know that he had been the first one to get a scoop, and since then it seems as though increasingly more writers are also making direct comments about their ability to get the scoop first. Stephen A. Smith from ESPN regularly started his commentaries last week by talking about how “I told you last year it would be between the Heat and Cavs.” Chris Sheridan, Brian Windhorst, Chris Broussard, and many others (including Lee Jenkins, who helped LeBron write the SI Decision II) seemed to be in this crazy race to get the end-all, be-all LeBron James holy grail of sports news….and as a result these writers have pretty much become household names.
So there you have it – the new “stars” of sports might end up being the very same folks responsible for reporting sports news. We can reasonably assume more of the same in the future, where it’s likely we will see even more sports reporters making sure to claim their turf when it comes to getting the scoop first. It also seems as though the media outlets don’t mind, as the sneaky, TMZ-like rumors today’s sports reporters put out there almost always result in clicks — and as we know webpage clicks = revenue.
broussard, decision, ESPN, James, LeBron, psychology, reporters, smith, sociology, sports, windhorst