Not so Big on Ben

I’m a sports fan, but ESPN, the self-anointed”worldwide leader in sports” is a bit much for me to stomach sometimes. They love to create a story where no story exists, just to fill their 24-hour newshole. And they’re big fans of shameless self-promotion, cross-promotion and over-promotion.

Case in point for turning the hype machine volume up to 11 is Ben Simmons, a talented freshman basketball player for LSU. He’s very good, one of the best players in the nation, but if you watch more than an hour of ESPN (hey, I spend a lot of time at the gym and it’s on there) you’ll probably hear his name several times. Today they had a promo (of course) for this evening’s doubleheader of college hoops games. For the nightcap, they showed a photo of Mr. Simmons and said “See Ben Simmons and his LSU Tigers take on Texas A&M.” It’s worth noting that Texas A&M is ranked as the 10th best team in the country right now, whereas LSU is 11-6 and unranked. So why not tout the Aggies team instead of an individual player? Because ESPN is in the business of building idols. Ben Simmons is this year’s “next LeBron”… show more Ben highlights, put him in the daily “Top 10” (which unfailingly celebrates individual accomplishments over team play – the showier the better)… make him more marketable by marketing him 24/7.

That way, when LeBen declares for the NBA draft after a single season at LSU, ESPN will be there with round-the-clock NBA draft prognostications, then draft coverage, then Ben will be on a crappy NBA team that will sometimes be featured on ESPN’s NBA games. They’re investing more airtime in Ben now in hopes that it will pay dividends down the line.

It’s all a bit too much B.S. for me to take.



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