ALL CAPS? Yes, all capital letters.
You can make what you will of it. Clearly though, ESPN is the “all caps” network, NIKE holds the same moniker in the athletic footwear industry, and ZION WILLIAMSON is achieving a similar level of awareness and acclaim among sports fans.
It’s a new world, full of “always with us” technologies such as smart telephones, tablets and watches, internet-connected vehicles and 24-hour sports channels hawking the latest news, regardless of whether or not its fit to print. Nowadays, people will do anything to attract eyes, and thereby increase ad revenues and value.
Wilt Chamberlain, Lew Alcindor, Oscar Robinson, Michael Jordan and the many basketball legends of past eras were never able benefit from the largess of the media like Williamson and the companies related to sports, like NIKE and ESPN, do today.
So where do you stand on some of the the topics that have overwhelmed sports talk over the past few days? Does the attention that NIKE gave to the “shoe blowout” incident of Williamson indicate that an inappropriate relationship exists between the two of them?
Was sending NIKE executives to him, then on to China to build a custom shoe, which they delivered to him before he played the next game, smell right to you? Is that too much for a college kid? Does it add to the legal and ethics questions already raised by the Will Wade revelations, college admissions scandals and the plethora of rules violations cases facing the NCAA?
Where is the NCAA hiding in all of this? Is it a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Is the NCAA so fat and happy that it can no longer administer and police the sports that it sanctions due to entanglements, relationships and the comforts that result from large amounts of money?
ESPN was second guessed and criticized by the media, analysts and fans for what some term “excessive” coverage of Williamson during Thursday night’s ACC Tournament matchup between Duke and Syracuse — a game that marked his return to the court, where he scored 29 and dominated every aspect of the game. We already have the “Tiger Tracker.” Will there soon be a “Zion Tracker“?
How much is too much?
Don’t get me wrong, the entities in question (NIKE, ESPN or even Williamson himself) aren’t inherently bad.
NIKE is a proud Oregon-grown company, begun and built by distinguished Oregonians. Many of us are proud of NIKE, and proud of those who fostered its success. Heck, I bought shoes from Blue Ribbon Sports in the 1960’s.
ESPN opened and developed its media empire around 24-hour sports telecasting. Nobody does it better.
I live in the upstate region of South Carolina. Williamson went to high school 25 miles away. He became ZION locally, and now, his unique power, grace, speed and so frequently played above-the-rim game are taking the sports world by storm.
But isn’t it just a bit much to devote such extreme levels of fanfare and hysteria towards an 18-year-old?
These are not a life or death subjects, but FishDuck.com is a sports discussion forum. Where do you stand on the importance of the events surrounding Williamson, ESPN, NIKE and the NCAA? Will such a media circus eventually permeate the Ducks’ locker room (if it hasn’t yet already)?
How would you handle the coverage of a “generational” amateur athlete?
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Born in Eugene, Brent Pennington grew up along the Siuslaw river in Lane county. He attended his first Ducks football game in 1960, and was inside Autzen stadium for its opening game in ’67. Brent attended the UO College of Business Administration from 1969-1975 interrupted by U.S. Army service. He has traveled much of the world in the Lotteries and Gaming industry.
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