ESPN's first take.

90’s Sports Media

Can you remember watching sports in the 90’s? When announcers where consumed with coming up with the next cool nickname for their favorite basketball or football player. When sporting news outlets reported on all the NBA superstars not just the top ten players in the NBA and the top rookies. When players like Reggie Miller and Charles Barkley got credit for being all time great players without winning championship rings. That was the brilliance of 90’s sports media. It wasn’t as toxic as it is now. It seems that now they are only concerned with reporting what will gain the most reaction and sporting news has just took a page out of reality television and now just reports what will get the people talking. In this era in basketball Michael Jordan was hands down the greatest player but the media back then wasn’t just consumed with Michael they still gave credit to the Gary Payton’s and the Shawn Kemp’s and other guys who would never win championships or probably fall outside the realm of top 100 players to ever play the game. Could you imagine if Dan Marino played football in 2019 instead of his timeline. Everyone knew that Dan Marino was one of the greatest Quarterbacks to ever play the game but in today’s media all you would hear about is how he didn’t have any Superbowl wins. Look at Aaron Rodgers he actually has a Superbowl and still gets scrutinized for this what have you done lately attitude. Back then when you won a championship fans and media a like would forever respect you because they knew it took a lot to win a championship and it wasn’t easy. Somehow the sentiment has changed and if you are a football or basketball player which are team sports might I add the media and sports fans a like expect you to run off championship rings like Michael Jordan. Michael Jordan was an anomaly. This guy was a one in a billion type person. What made Jordan great wouldn’t even be tolerated in today’s society. Jordan would fist fight teammates intimidate do whatever it took to win. Most of the things he did would be suspensions now and lead to a player being a distraction or kicked out of the league for behavior. Michael Irvin and Lawrence Taylor where playing high on cocaine but fans and media both loved these players. Since then the NFL and NBA have stiffened their drug policies and players like Irvin and Taylor would have been suspended if they played in today’s game. The media back then knew that athletes where great at what they do and that didn’t necessarily mean they where role models but still they gave their athletes the benefit of the doubt. The media then was more responsible because unlike the media today they knew if they set the expectations that high for athletes then they would be watering down their own accomplishments.

Sports Media Today

Fast forward to today, all I wonder about is what changed in sports media that makes them such a divisive factor. Is it because many of the analysts now days never played sports? Or is it because they envy the players and their spotlight? Or is it because they simply run out of things to talk about in 24 hour news so they have to be negative to appeal to the soap opera drama factor or they just have to regurgitate whatever another analyst says to protect their job? Whatever the reason sports journalism has become a field more shadier than politicians. Last year sports networks like first take pictured above reported that it was a 99 percent chance that Durant was going to New York. They reported this the whole year and Durant didn’t even take a meeting with the New York Knicks. How can your reports something being 99 percent facts and not even 1 percent of it was true. This is what sporting outlets have succumbed to in order to enhance viewership. It is a shame. From time to time I will turn on first take or undisputed and listen to Stephen A, Max Kellerman, or Skip Bayless talk about a superstar athlete as if they are playing in a community rec league against average players and they should win Superbowls or championships every year or they aren’t great because they aren’t Michael Jordan or Tom Brady. What these analysts do now is make the athletes the enemy and downgrade the hard work it takes to become a great athlete. In last years NBA playoffs they said Joel Embid’s only problem is that he isn’t that dedicated to the game yet. Wait a minute this is the same Joel Embid that spent one year at Kansas averaged 11 points a game and only shot within 5 foot of the basket who now hits a decent clip from three and is one of the most dominant offensive forces in the game. While it might be true that he has to go to another level to win championships, this also happens over time. Jordan didn’t win his first championship until his 7th year in the NBA. Most all time greats outside of Magic Johnson took a few years before they started winning championships. Now players get 3 years in the league if they don’t win a championship the media is at their throat. As a fan in this point in your article your probably thinking so what the media is against the athletes these guys make millions of dollars. Here is why you should care. When you take the approach of marginalizing greatness you are at the same time devaluing yourself. You might not be able to make the correlation between sports and your job but think about how the job industry has changed and the correlation isn’t that far off. For instance in the 90’s hard work was rewarded and jobs didn’t necessarily care how long you took to do it but it had to be done right. In this decade people often worked overtime and if you where hard working it was easy to rise up the ladder as far as promotions. Look at the job market now you are now required to work a job that once was three different jobs and do it in an 8 hour day. It seemed like in the 90’s people understood that one person could do so much and you accomplish things working as a team. Now we think everyone is a superhero who can overcome anything to produce on time when we want it. The age of instant gratification. Sports was once a place for people of differences to let that go and enjoy amazing display of talent now it has become another place for us to complain or find drama. Year by year we see athletes who once where joyful and great to talk to become disinterested or downright combative when it comes to talking to the media. From the Antonio Browns, Kevin Durant’s, to the James Hardens. It is time we appreciated athletes just like we should be appreciated at our jobs and that is the main intent of SportsByJared.


I am an avid football and basketball fan following the two sports for the last 25 years.

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