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Media column: Bayless resorts to old tricks; Media musings from the NBA Finals

Please check back Friday afternoon for a ton of reaction from the Heat's postgame locker-room from late Thursday night/early Friday morning. In the meantime, here's the...

 

FRIDAY MEDIA COLUMN

Media musings from The NBA Finals:

### It was the middle of the night Tuesday when a Heat fan called a local radio station to remark that one of the best developments to come out of Game 6 was that he wouldn’t need to spend the summer listening to Skip Bayless crucifying the Heat.

Naturally, it would seem easy enough for Heat fans and other Bayless-bashers to spare themselves the aggravation, to simply turn off ESPN2’s First Take and ignore Bayless’ reactionary rants, hyperventilating declarations, premature conclusions and artificial indignation.

But therein lies Bayless’ greatest gift: The ability to make people pay attention to him, to make them care enough about what he says to repeat it, re-tweet it and grouse about it.

Bayless’ repertoire includes a couple of intellectually lazy go-to moves, and he resorted to one of them this week while in town to co-host First Take with sparring partner Stephen A. Smith. Bayless loves to accuse players of choking because, well, it’s an easy and convenient – though not necessarily accurate - way to explain failure.

Bayless said Manu Ginobili missed the first of two free throws with 28 seconds left in Game 6, and the Spurs ahead five, because he choked.

Other reasonable explanations certainly could be identified: Ginobili has been erratic with his free throws all postseason, shooting 72.4 percent from line. He was in the midst of a dreadful eight-turnover game.

But Bayless opted instead to shout “choke,” because it is the explanation that requires the least amount of thought and one that cannot be completely disproved because, well, there aren’t medical tests for that.

Talking about “clutch” is another Bayless crutch. He has asserted LeBron James “has no clutch gene,” as if a player has some sort of genetic pre-disposition to make or miss shots with the game on the line.

Bayless ranted about that earlier this year, ignoring that James’ clutch shooting (as defined by the NBA, final five minutes of close games) has been far better than Kobe Bryant’s and many other players in the past three years.

This week, Bayless seemed to take great pleasure in declaring that James “lapsed into shaky late-game LeBron” when he missed two threes (he also made one) late in regulation and committed a turnover in the final minute of overtime of Game 6.

Never mind that James entered Game 7 with a higher career shooting percentage than Bryant on game-tying or go-ahead shots in the final 24 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime of playoff games. You won’t hear that from Bayless, an unabashed Spurs fan.

Bayless declined to be interviewed when I approached him this week, saying he didn’t know my “angle” and wasn’t prepared to answer questions. An ESPN publicist later said he would answer one or two questions via e-mail, but he changed his mind when provided the questions – including one about whether he believes everything he says, or sometimes instead simply takes the position different from Smith’s.

The most amusing moment of Bayless’ visit to South Florida this week?

When First Take moderator Cari Champion said Tim Duncan looked tired late in Game 6, Bayless scolded her. “Don’t editorialize!” Bayless snapped.

Because, well, opining on sports must be left to the experts. Heaven forbid if someone not as qualified as Bayless should inadvertently misdiagnose whether a player is missing the “clutch gene.”

### Strong series by ABC’s Jeff Van Gundy, who quickly identified lineup mismatches and eyeballed and explained shifts in strategy. His quirky observations add flavor to his commentary, but Van Gundy wisely pulled back some during the Finals because of the significance of the games. 

### Sign of the times: Besides San Antonio and Miami, only five other NBA markets – New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington and Los Angeles – had English-language newspapers covering the series; most NBA markets staffed the Finals in the 1990s. That’s not a reflection of interest in the league, but of newspapers reducing travel budgets. But the international media presence at the Finals has never been bigger, and the major U.S. sports web sites were out in full force.

### Popular blogger/author/sportscaster Bill Simmons said he enjoyed his first season on the ABC/ESPN studio show but hasn’t decided whether to return next year.

“The schedule, once the playoffs start, is pretty intense,” he said. “I thought I would have more time to do other stuff…. I want to take a couple weeks and think about what makes sense.”

### Entering Game 7, none of the Finals games on ABC generated a local rating as high as the 37.1 for Game 7 of the Heat-Pacers Eastern Conference Finals. But a greater share of Dade/Broward adults ages 25 to 54 watched Tuesday night’s Game 6 than any of the past five Super Bowls.

### From the sometimes-reporters-can-be-helpful file: James thanked NBA TV’s David Aldridge for asking, earlier in the series, whether it would help him, offensively, to get the ball on the move more often. James said he liked the idea…. And credit ESPN’s Tim Legler for suggesting, on air, that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich start Ginobili beginning in Game 5.

### The best news about the Finals ending? We need not be subjected any more to WPLG-Channel 10’s unoriginal, repetitive, cringe-inducing pom-pom waving pre-game show, the one that preempted ABC’s pregame coverage five out of the seven games.

Among the things we learned: Heat fans were excited before all of the games. Many of them were loud. Sports bars did a lot of business on game nights. For WPLG, none of those scoops could be emphasized enough.

### San Antonio forward Tracy McGrady smashed the Finals record for most questions asked of The Guy Who Rarely Plays, beating Juwan Howard’s old mark. “I watch, just like you,” McGrady told reporters earlier in the series. “I just have a better seat.”      

Comments

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taheati

Skip what? Payless attention? Done. Tuned out ESPN's Grecian Formula drama queens years ago when (writing for the Mercury News) he first revealed a seemingly-chronic disaffection for black athletes who aren't "articulate" or "well spoken" (in whitey vernacular). Now, it's an automatic flip whenever I see his face -- so can't say I've kept track of his Heat/Bron hatefest (tho did read about his facesplat w/Richard Sherman). Still, gotta admire BJax's vivisection. If you're gonna carve up a dilettante, clean & incisive is the way to go.

Meanwhile, HOW BOUT DEM HEAT!?!? And the backhanded grats from the Commish after Miami overcame 5-on-8 for the ENTIRE series by eventually, miraculously vanquishing HIS team?

Dear Commish, see ya. Wouldn't wanna be ya.

15 STRONG beats an army of haters, refs, commishes anytime, anywhere.

Miami Penguin

Always enjoy your media column! Glad to have keen and direct insight in a land of bloviation.

Just Passing By

Way to call out Bayless on his BS Barry.

Evan

Bill Sim,one is the worst, the worst, on air personality we have ever witnessed. It is a train wreck in action. Lol. He doesn't know if he wants to return. Uh....Bill......I don't think you're gonna be asked back.

D-Rod

Bayless is all that is wrong with society. He may not hurt anyone physically, but he incites and perpetuates hate, racism, divisiveness in the name of entertainment.

Barry, the worst thing that has happened in the last decade is the self aggrandizing credibility the media and "journalists" have bestowed upon themselves.

Some of the sports reporters are at best gifted writers, most are ignorant observers, offering no real knowledge of what they are covering nor with any impetus to besides self promotion, career advancement, and egotistical look how smart we are glorification.

The evolution of broadcasters and reporters becoming the story is an epidemic and the death of true journalistic prowess. It has permeated every facet of journalism. Political, athletic, etc.

F! Skip Bayless and the majority of wish to be know it alls that infect our TVs, radio dials (does anyone still have a dial on their radio?), "newspapers".

You discluded by the way. That is why I think you have a true respect from your readers and I can still remember when at the advent of modern day sports talk radio, H. Goldberg (who gave my my break into my sports talk radio in the 90s), would berate you and childishly refer to you as...well, you know. Why even go there.

Keep up the solid and true to the field work that you so competently do.

GO HEAT!!!

D-Rod

Excluded..not discluded.

Thanks again.

joe mama

Great work as usual Barry. Wondering what you think of Simmons on TV?

CanesCanesCanes

Barry Jackson does a very nice analysis of shill Bayless, who considers himself a journalist but behaves more like a sideshow carney.

Ironic that he refuses an interview from a real journalist. Wonder why?

Excellent comments by all, especially D-Rod and taheati.

By the way, if you want to watch an on-air vivisection, look up the YouTube of Mark Cuban and his appearance on First Take last year after the finals. Exposed water-Pistol-Pete Bayless for the know-nothing hypocrite that he is.

TK SWANN

WHAT MAKES THIS CHAMPIONSHIP MORE SWEETER THAN LAST YEAR IS BECAUSE OF THE BLATANT "HEAT HATERS" WHO OPENLY IN THE MEDIA EXPRESSED INDIRECTLY HOW THEY WERE HOPING THE HEAT WOULD LOSE. IT GOT SO BAD THAT PEOPLE LIKE "STEVE KERR, FAT ASS CHARLES BARKLEY AND SKIP BAYLESS MADE IT NO SECRET THAT THEY WANTED THE HEAT TO LOSE. DAVID STERN AND HIS "LEAGUE OF OFFICIALS" IN THE INDIANA SERIES MADE SURE THAT THE HEAT HAD A DISADVANTAGE WHEN IT CAME DOWN TO CALLS BEING FAIRLY OFFICIATED. THERE IS NO SECRET THAT STERN HATES WADE AND I'M SO GLAD HE IS LEAVING. AS FOR THE HEAT! THANKS GUYS FOR REPEATING AND KEEPING THE CHAMPIONSHIP IN S.BEACH. DO NOT BREAKUP THE BIG 3! WHY? F STEVEN A SMITH WHO UNTIL HE GOT CAUGHT UP IN THE "BEAT THE HEAT" BS ALWAYS PICKED THE HEAT BUT GOT ON THIS BREAKUP THE BIG 3 BS TO OFFSET HIS BAD CHOICE OF PICKING THE SPURS. RIGHT NOW MIAMI ONLY NEEDS TO ADD SIZE AND TOUGHNESS DOWN LOW BUT DO NOT GET RID OF CHRIS BOSH PERIOD!! THIS MAN IS RESPONSIBLE ALSO IN THIS TEAM GETTING TO 3 NBA FINALS AND WINNING 2. THE TALK OF INDIANA AND THE BULLS SURPASSING THE HEAT IS YET TO BE SEEN. MICHAEL JORDAN NEVER ALLOWED EWING,MALONE,STOCKTON,BARKLEY,OR MILLER TO WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS BECAUSE THEY KEPT THEIR TEAMS TOGETHER AND IMPROVED BY ADDING PIECES. MUCH RESPECT TO THE THE SA SPURS! THEY ARE A CLASS ORGANIZATION AND UNLESS THEY ARE PLAYING THE HEAT I WILL ALWAYS PULL FOR THEM FROM THIS POINT ON. GREG POPOVICH IS A GREAT COACH AND HE SHOWED OUTSTANDING SPORTSMANSHIP AFTER THE HEAT WON. THANKS TO THE SPURS FOR AN OUTSTANDING NBA FINALS. NOW THAT'S ONE UP NEXT IS THE DOLPHINS 10 WIN SEASON AND THE CANES COASTAL DIVISION/10 WIN/POSSIBLE ACC CHAMPIONSHIP. ONE DOWN 2 TO GO. GOD BLESS GUYS I AM HEADED ON VACATION IN 2 WEEKS AND WILL NOT BE BACK UNTIL AUGUST. MIAMI SPORTS FANS GOD BLESS AND PLEASE BE SAFE.

Barry Jackson

Thanks, Joe. Simmons knows the game as well as any journalist - his basketball book was outstanding - and he's good at spotting trends and nuances. I would have preferred Stan Van Gundy in that role, but ABC passed because of his criticism of Stern.

green

https://twitter.com/CanesHoops/status/348150996192620544

A day after winning the NBA World Championship, Erik Spoelstra is at Coach L's hoop camp at The U.
-- @CanesHoops

I'M GOING TO DISNEYWORLD

green

https://twitter.com/ByTimReynolds/status/348146119483748352/photo/1

This photo from UMiami is of Coach Larranaga's camp awards, which they interrupted to pay tribute to Spo.
-- @ByTimReynolds

ONE HAPPY CAMPER

green

Spurs/Heat Game 7 earned the largest overnight (17.7) for any non-NFL sporting event in 2013, topping the previous high of 15.7 for the Alabama/Notre Dame BCS title game. This marks the first time since 2004 that any NBA game has outdrawn the season’s top college football telecast in the metered markets.
-- smw

TOUCHDOWN JESUS

green

ACC special announcement July 1

I got an email earlier today about an announcement being made on the same day that we officially add ND.CUSE AND PITT. It's interesting I thought it was going to be a small celebration, but there is going to be a "big" annoucement at a press conference in NYC at around 4 o'clock. Also a member from each institution will be at the NYSE this week. Obviously we are pushing the NYC angle. It will be interesting to see what the announcement will be, could be pinstripe could be future basketball sites.
-- westmc9th

My thoughts ...
1. Welcome the new teams
2. Announce a satellite office in midtown
3. Annual ACC in season doubleheader series at MSG (Cuse, UL, UNC, Duke as rotating anchor teams)
4. Pinstripe Bowl Announcement
5. Announcing SNY and MSG as ACC co-broadcast partners for FB and BB
6. Least likely involves MSG postseason...I think they are talking but they have to wait for the BE to underachieve in tix sales/ tv ratings.
-- TexanMark

GO NY GO

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