And somewhere nestled in those top headlines is something that doesn’t fit. A square peg trying to fit into a triangular hole.
LiAngelo Ball and LaMelo Ball, continuing the nauseating obsession ESPN has with the Ball family, are right there.
And if you’re wondering, what for? It’s for doing nothing in their second professional game in the Lithuanian league.
Zero points. Absolutely nothing.
Yet, that graces the front page of ESPN. A couple of over-hyped kids reportedly over-matched against “improved competition” in the Lithuanian league.
Sure, it’s easy to find other more worthy articles that could take that story’s place, but that isn’t the argument here.
The argument also isn’t that ESPN may need rehab once the Ball family’s 15 minutes of fame wind down, to overwhelming applause, leaving ESPN to talk about newsworthy performances.
The two brothers combined for 29 points in their debut Tuesday in a Big Baller Showcase game, a “friendly” so to speak and ESPN lost their minds with the coverage, again on their homepage.
But now, against what is categorized as “improved” competition, the Ball brothers fell flat. LiAngelo was 0-for-3 from the field, while LaMelo was 0-for-4 and the two spent most of their time riding the bench.
So instead of ranting about what ESPN should have done about this obnoxious, obsessive coverage, let’s instead note the real story finally weeding it’s way through the muck of hype.
These kids are far too overmatched and this game proves that the ESPN hype train can’t make superstars out of just another pair of guys who play basketball professionally.
There is no other-wordly talent. No eye-popping production and nothing to warrant the attention that their father, LaVar, has positioned them to receive and that ESPN serves up on a silver ladle.
Vytautas coach Virginijus Seskus told ESPN he wasn’t sure how much he would be able to play LiAngelo, 19, and LaMelo, 16, in Lithuanian league games, where the competition is upgraded and there are fewer players their age, but maybe what should be said is “stop” and “wait”.
“Stop” the priority coverage that seems more like ESPN having a vested (or invested) interest in the Ball brand than anything worthy of that spotlight.
“Wait” because while I, and many of you, may be sick seeing the headlines and while, admittedly, a lot of us may be rooting for them to fail simply because of how sick we are of the coverage, shoving a big ‘Told Ya So’ finger in ESPN’s face as a bonus, these kids are just that.
And they have room to grow, room to improve, room to become what they may be on the road to becoming.
But until they are crowned as a special brand of basketball player by their play other than the media machine of ESPN or the promotional efforts of LaVar, then their heads aren’t ready, or worthy of those crowns.
So, ESPN, I want to offer to offer the suggestion of therapy, so that the obsessive urge to blast everything Ball-related on your homepage when the story doesn’t merit it doesn’t continue to make you look, well, foolish.
But who am I to tell ESPN what to do?
Like most of you, I would gladly take a paying gig to be one of the annoying writers pumping out stories on their website or flapping my gums on their network.
But, I’m not, and that’s fine.
Instead I’m a viewer with a forum that simply wants to ask you to take the latest Ball-brothers development, sit with it for a while, and realize that this should be the moment of change in regards to how you’re handling this coverage moving forward.
Change is good! But alienating your audience in an attempt to convince them that a poop milkshake really tastes like chocolate does no good for anyone.
So, put down that shake ESPN and take that million dollar hanky and wipe the poop off of your face, you’ve been chugging this particular brand of milkshake too fast for too long and it appears you may be the only one left at the counter.