Big time cuts yesterday from ESPN, laying off reportedly 100+ employees. I'm sure everyone will have their guy or gal that was their favorite out of the bunch to be let go, so I'm not going to memorialize those that lost their jobs yesterday here. They'll all find work somewhere.
And I'm sure you'll read enough think pieces on the cuts over the next couple days so I won't go too deep into that area either. But it does make me think what ESPN, or sports media in general, will look like in 20 years. ESPN monopolizing the sports market for the last 25 years had its pro and cons but one positive that came from it was that it gave ESPN the resources (read $$$) to hire the best people, allow them to really specialize on things, and give us great content. I'm afraid those days may be dwindling.
Today with the internet and social media there are so many ways to get your sports content these days, which I'm sure is hurting ESPN's bottom line. For that, some sacrifices apparently had to be made and yesterday many talented people lost their gigs at ESPN. This was the same case last year around this time if I remember correctly and I'm sure it will be a trend in the future. Which makes me think, what will sports coverage and ESPN look like in 20 years?
It's much easier and much cheaper to have people just sit in studio and debate or give their opinions. It's much more expensive to have people travel with teams, be on the road, and really investigate things happening in the world of sports. Are we going to lose some of that?
Is sports coverage in 2035 just going to be wall-to-wall versions of First Take and debate shows? Aren't we already reaching that point? Instead of hiring talented people to really hone in on their craft is it just going to be a cycle of cheap personalities on air that say outlandish things to garner ratings?
I hope not. Sports needs more Jayson Starks and less me's.
Speaking of Hot Take Journalism that uses zero sources or actual reporting, let's talk about UNLV's upcoming recruiting scandal.
So, Iowa State lost another potential recruit to UNLV yesterday. Seeming to be a trend now. I don't follow college recruiting that closely but apparently Iowa State was really hoping to land Shakur Juiston, last year's JUCO National Player of the year, I guess. Instead of signing with Iowa State though, he chose UNLV.
That was 24 hours after UNLV also landed a Top 15 recruit and McDonald's All-American in Brandon McCoy. And this is a couple years after UNLV also won the recruiting battle against Iowa State for five star guard Rashad Vaughn.
I don't know if those guys are going to be studs or guys that turn a program around by any means but that's a lot of quality players choosing a program that doesn't have a lot of national success, notoriety, or media buzz. Makes you wonder what's going on underneath the table out there in Vegas.
Maybe everything is on the up-and-up and these kids just want to go to a program in the middle of the desert on the West Coast that rarely gets any national TV exposure. Maybe that's what's happening here.
Or maybe, the UNLV recruiting scandal that breaks in 5-7 years gets its own 30 for 30, who knows.
I'll preface this the same way I did with the tweet I sent out last night, just know going into this that I'm a Pacers fan so I'm surely biased on this topic. I haven't understood this thinking for a while now but it was especially apparent last night in that Chicago game. I just don't see how people put Jimmy Butler into the same category as Paul George.
Game Five, series tied 2-2, on the road, basically tied to start the 4th quarter. Last night was a big moment for Jimmy Butler. Not only did he not perform in it, he didn't even show up to it. He was basically non-existent last night in the final frame. He took two shots in the final quarter last night. Two shots in the last quarter of a game that his team basically choked away...and people want to put him the superstar category. Let's pump those brakes a little bit.
Not only was he not shooting, he wasn't even involved in the offense or the playmaking. It's not like he wasn't shooting because he was penetrating and getting open looks for his teammates. He wasn't even handling the ball. It was mostly Dwyane Wade and Isaiah Cannan handling the ball on one wing as Jimmy Butler stood on the opposite wing and did next to nothing.
Now, as an Iowa State alumni and basketball season ticket holder I'm a big Fred Hoiberg guy but I do think part of that blame has to fall on him too. I know the Bulls are adjusting to no Rondo in the lineup and having to try different things with their PG being down but you gotta draw something up to get your best player involved. Sure you have a future Hall of Famer in Wade carrying the action which can work as well but this should be Jimmy Butler's team and he needs to get some action in the 4th. So part of that's on Hoiberg but as the "SuperStar" player (notice the quotes) you gotta go get the ball or demand the ball as well. He didn't do that. And the Bulls struggled down the stretch and are now facing elimination.
I can't call Jimmy a superstar until he starts acting like one.