First and foremost, I want to let you know that I am back. I had an unforeseen absence from the net, but I never lost the desire to share with you. Sometimes, we have things in our lives that make us stop and reassess our priorities. These things are unavoidable, but they can serve to show us where our priorities lie. I have had such a wake-up call and am more thankful than ever for those who surround me with love.
Now that I have had my reflective moment, let’s get down to business. We are in full swing with the NBA playoffs. We are coming to the final games of the first round and the teams to watch are being decided. But, there is one thing that has always bothered me about national leagues in basketball, baseball, football, and any other league: The bias of the media coverage. As we listen to the play-by-play, it is very noticeable that the broadcasters (and sometimes even the officials) seem to, in a not so subtle was, pull for the success of one team over another.
Now, maybe I see this more because I live in Atlanta – the home of the Hawks, Braves and Falcons. Granted, these teams don’t have stellar records, but as a whole, they have long been trashed and undervalued. With few exceptions, such as Chipper Jones, John Smoltz, and Matt Ryan (or his infamous predecessor), there are relatively few nationally recognized “stars” who hail from an Atlanta team. On the national level, we just cannot compete with the Dwayne Wades, Kobe Bryants, Lebron James, Kevin Garnetts, A-Rods, and Peyton Mannings.
With this in mind, I cannot help but notice that when the star players do well, it is a big story on ESPN and other sports outlets. But when the lesser teams do well, we are lucky to have a highlight or a mention at all. As I am sitting here watching game 7 of the first round between the Atlanta Hawks and the Miami Heat, I see this series as prime example. During this first round series, each game won by the Heat was reviewed over and over with endless highlights. The other night, when the Hawks won game 5, Mark and I noticed that there was nary a mention on Sportscenter.
Even in this game, during the breaks in the action, the Heat is losing, but the commentators are talking about how great Wade is playing. How about how Johnson, Bibby, Smith, Pachulia, Horford and Williams are playing? Basketball is a TEAM sport. The Hawks do not have to lean on one player to carry the team – they are a good team with everyone playing their parts.
It is very apparent to this fan of lesser respected teams, that national broadcasters have a bias toward the “star” teams. As in other platforms, the media must learn to be less biased and concentrate more on reporting the game. I’m certainly not saying that they cannot show excitement for the game, but come on guys, let’s give all the teams a fair shake!