I try not to watch ESPN too much, I really do. But they had a draft special on tonight, and I felt a certain responsibility to hear what these guys were saying. What a mistake.
It's not just that I had to look at Jay Bilas and Andy Katz. It's not just the 'up close and personal' profiles of John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins (which I fast forwarded over at any rate).
The real problem came when they switched from the draft to free agency. First they brought in Tom Penn, former assistant GM in Portland, and a real live capologist (oooh). So I got to listen to Penn giving a lecture in remedial salary cap ("So you can only offer a free agent a contract if you're under the cap." "Really, Mr. Penn? Tell me more.") I know that this stuff is widely misunderstood, but puh-leeze.
Then, for a good 10 minutes at least, they focused exclusively on LeBron James. They talked about what teams had cap space. They talked about what teams would make a push for him. They talked about what teams might be good fits. They talked about what teams could put talent around him. They had local updates from reporters in Cleveland, Miami, Chicago and New York. They talked about the Nets. And in the entirety of their discussion, not once did anyone mention the Los Angeles Clippers. NOT ONCE!
They even had Clippers-LeBron graphics prepared. Obviously, on the list of teams with enough cap space to pay him, they had to list the Clippers just to be factually correct. Then, as they were going to commercial, they briefly showed a 'LeBron in a Clippers uni' graphic as a teaser for the next feature - which, when they returned, completely ignored the Clippers. It was amazing. Stuart Scott, Jon Barry, Jeff Van Gundy - it was as if the Clippers didn't exist in their world. "Which teams are going to make a play for LeBron?" The correct answer would include the Clippers, but no one said that. "Which of his suitors can put the most talent around him?' The single best answer is the Clippers, but no one said that. Juxtaposed with the prepared Clippers graphics, the net effect was as if they had made a collective pact to never mention the team.
So I'm going back to not watching ESPN (except for World Cup matches of course).