You know what’s wrong with sports journalism today?
Actually, there are many things, but I’m going to limit myself to just one here.
Few are willing to admit they were wrong.
Take an interview I heard on the radio this morning. Ric Bucher, an NBA reporter, said he “loved” what Derrick Rose had done at the end of the Chicago Bulls’ loss to the Miami Heat in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference final playoff series.
In case you missed it, no, Rose did not make the winning basket or make a key pass to a teammate for the winning shot or even make a defensive play that kept the Heat from a win.
No, what Rose did was miss a couple of late shots, one of which could have provided the winning points for the Bulls and one that definitely would have won it for Chicago in regulation, and then make a big turnover that helped the Heat pull away to the overtime win.
And Bucher thinks those plays prove Rose is not only the MVP of the NBA but also the league’s best player. The reason, Bucher said, is that Rose didn’t back down from the challenge he faced and the load he has to carry of being by far his team’s best player.
OK, I’ll grant him that. Rose didn’t back down. But if you’re an MVP, aren’t you supposed to do a little more than just that? Don’t you have to make the key play every once in a while, not just try to?
In a later interview on a Miami radio station, Bucher went even further. Asked who was better, Rose or Miami’s LeBron James, who happened to be the Heat player who shut down Rose with his defense over the last 17 minutes or so, Bucher went with, yes, Rose.
So given a second chance to explain himself and perhaps temper his statement at least a bit, Bucher instead doubled down on the inanity of it. (Interestingly, less than a hour before that, Rick Barry, rated one of the NBA’s top 50 all-time greats, had told the same local radio host that he would put Rose among the top 10 current players but definitely not at No. 1.)
I guess it doesn’t come as a surprise when I tell you that Bucher works for ESPN. The network seems to love to fill its studio with people who will make outlandish comments just to get the attention.
Frankly, that seems to be the way a lot of newspaper columnists get ahead these days, too. Making stupid claims or saying something outlandish is what gets them ahead these days. I’ve worked for editors who followed that philosophy.
When you say these things, you must do so with conviction and at the top of your voice. There’s no room after that, though, for acknowledging that maybe, just maybe, you may have been wrong, even when the evidence is right in your face.