The NBA free agent rumor mill is in full effect. This year’s offseason is particularly intriguing since the Miami Heat’s “big three” of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh are free agents. Sports fans — particularly NBA fans — love reading about trade rumors, salary cap wizardry, and potential signings. Thanks to the way social media and Internet reporting have evolved, there’s more free agency content than ever. Unfortunately, there’s also some comically bad reporting. ESPN.com has been guilty of posting articles with some…questionable phrases. Let’s take a look at some of my favorite offenders.
This Brian Windhorst article on Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh opting out of their contracts has been phantom edited, but used to contain the following line:
The move also comes three days after Wade, James and Bosh met at a posh Miami Beach hotel to discuss their futures.
They met at a posh hotel? Really?!? As opposed to their usual meetings at the Miami Red Roof Inn and their super-secret brainstorming sessions at the Miami Best Western?
Another Windhorst special is about LeBron’s future meeting with Miami Heat president Pat Riley. Dude dedicated an entire article to report that the two of them are planning to have a meeting. If that’s not bad enough, check out this line:
Free agent LeBron James is planning a face-to-face meeting with Miami Heat president Pat Riley in the next few days, sources told ESPN.com.
Come on, Windhorst. Did you really need a source to tell you that the two were going to meet IRL. As opposed to their sensitive dealings that usually take place via FaceTime or Skype? The article is pure clickbait. Of course Riley was going to meet with LeBron. Keeping the best player in basketball is obviously high on his list of priorities. And yes, an important meeting like that was always going to be “face-to-face.”
In other “big three” news, here’s a whopping revelation that Chris Bosh is considering signing with the Houston Rockets for the NBA maximum salary. The article has the riveting headline of “Sources: Chris Bosh Considers Offer.” The article is by NBA rumor monger Chris Broussard, who sometimes gets great scoops, but often reports bad information. Here, he plays it safe, dedicating an entire article about Bosh considering getting paid a lot of money. No sh*t he’s considering it.
I know that the Internet has lowered the standards of reporting, but I expect more from ESPN.com. It used to be the place for top-quality sports reporting. For the last couple of years, the number of articles has gone up, but the quality has gone down. Yeah, I know that’s how the Internet works in 2014, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Look at Grantland’s Zach Lowe, for example. His combination of frequency and quality is almost unbelievable. He posts several articles a week and all of them are thoughtful, insightful, and analytical. He doesn’t post clickbait garbage about two people having a meeting or a player thinking about accepting a lucrative contract offer. Lowe’s articles are excellent reads that put information in context and explain — in great detail — the impact of the information. While it’s a shame that ESPN.com has become a bit of a dog, I’m grateful that Grantland is there for high-quality sports reporting.
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