by Patrick ‘Rey’ Reynell
Some have said that the Internet is one of the greatest contributions to society in the past century. Sometimes I worry that the Internet, for all the advantages it has given us, does more to reveal our skewed priorities rather than advance us.
Most mornings I visit a common news site. I usually visit CNN because from there I can link directly to SI.com. CNN usually has a column to the right called “NewsPulse,” which lists the five most popular stories. One would hope those top five issues would be relevant.
Not this morning. Not many mornings.
The third most popular headline today read “Jenna Jameson says she wants Tito Ortiz back.” The most popular? “Kim Kardashian: I didn’t cause plane stench.”
Wow. One story about a prescription drug-addicted porn star and another that I can only humorously assume alludes to celebrity flatulence. I didn’t click on it to find out if that was truly the case or not; regardless, something definitely stinks.
As it does with the news, the Internet also reveals our priorities when it comes to sports.
Take this link as an example. Did you notice it on ESPN.com? Did you read it and share it? Don’t worry if you didn’t since ESPN didn’t give us much of a chance. It stayed at the bottom of the headlines for only a few hours one day.
Better than its competitor over at SI.com that didn’t, in my observation, feature the story at all. One reason for it not lasting might have been because a certain Steeler stealing headlines after frolicking with underage co-eds in Georgia.
This morning I desired the score of one game: game 6 of the Utah-Denver first round series. So from CNN, I clicked over to SI.com where The featured stories included the Lakers closing out the Thunder, Tiger missing the cut, and the Mosley-Mayweather fight.
The top stories over to the right included the Hawks forcing a game 7, the Mets winning their eighth straight, and the Penguins taking game 1 against the 1-seed slaying Montreal Canadiens. Then there was an article about Chris Bosh posting something irrelevant on Twitter and another story about some football player named Brett Favre.
No Jazz-Nuggets? I knew they played having watched the first quarter on ESPN2.
Next I journeyed over to ESPN.com with much the same headlines, except throw in a Tim Tebow article/video and a blurb about Avery Johnson interviewing for the New Orleans Hornets job. Yes, that’s interviewing.
So where was the Utah-Denver recap? I had to access the scoreboard at the top of each site to read the recap.
Actually, it feels like sports online media reported very little throughout that whole series with the exception of game 1 when Carmelo Anthony scored 42 points.
What’s the point? I think we’re missing what will eventually become one of the greatest players in NBA history: Deron Williams. I stress players and not just scorers.
Most were obsessed with the Lakers-Thunder series. It entailed two prolific scoring threats and a young, energetic team in Oklahoma City.
But was that series really ever in question? The Lakers, with two healthy seven-footers, dominated the paint throughout save for stopping Russell Westbrook.
Dwayne Wade and LeBron James put up some monster numbers as well in their respective series; that’s to be expected. Paul Pierce wowed us another time with his patented seventeen-footer from the elbow to win.
However, Deron Williams is on pace to not only come close or, dare I say, surpass John Stockton in playoff assists, but he’s doing it by scoring 21 points a game as well (Stockton’s playoff ppg is 13.1 having only averaged over 20 once). While closing out Denver, Williams became one of only three others since 1992 to average 25 points and 10 assists in a playoff series. And keep in mind that he’s doing this with some key injuries on the Jazz’s roster.
Yet very little is said about Deron Williams and the impact he has. It took John Stockton seven seasons to play in forty playoff games, while Williams has already reached that mark in just his fifth. Stockton’s playoff assist average is just over 10 a game, while Williams creeps ever closer with each series at 9.7.
Have we become more about the stories than the performances? Are we just a sports fraternity obsessed with scoring and the tastiest and sometimes salacious headlines?
I for one surely hope not for the sake of players like Deron Williams. Obviously, his extraordinary play will never be overlooked in the grand scheme of things. Nonetheless, I think accrediting great performances should not require a point total or appealing storyline.
If the Internet represents our subconscious desires, then where do we as sports fans place the value of great players now-a-days? Worse yet, where do the desires of the ones who report it to us lie?
Use the Internet for what you wish: entertainment, education, your own existential plights. In regards to sports, be careful not to judge or rank based on headlines and popularity because you might be missing out on a Carl Nicks storyline or Deron Williams performance.
For some reason, I don’t think neither is too concerned with what we or the webmasters think anyway.