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ESPN Hammered for Jarring Change to NBA Playoffs Broadcast

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In a world of endless technological innovation, there are some things that are better left alone. Sliced bread is one example, and as P.J. O’Rourke once wrote, “radios you could tune with a knob” are another.

The point is, some things just don’t need to be changed.

But ESPN’s NBA playoff broadcast of Monday’s Western Conference Finals Game 4 between the Warriors and Trail Blazers apparently never got the memo.

How else to explain the absolute atrocity that is superimposing four talking heads over the action in the middle of a game?

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This is a bit like “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” except there are no robots, everyone is facing forward and brightly lit, and instead of laughing with them, you’re yelling at them to stop talking because you’re trying to watch the movie.

Should ESPN permanently retire this idea?

This wouldn’t even be a good idea if it were Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley, and Shaquille O’Neal doing it, and those commentators from the TNT broadcast make up arguably the best studio broadcast in sports.

The only bright side to all of this is that the “Worldwide Leader in Sports” at least had the common courtesy to put a traditional broadcast on the main ESPN network while simultaneously allowing ESPN2 viewers to watch this dumpster burn.

Though as Awful Announcing pointed out, plenty of fans likely turned on the ESPN2 broadcast and no doubt thought that was the only place they could watch the game.

Other fans on Twitter were not shy in expressing just how much of a ludicrous disaster the alternative broadcast idea was.

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Now, the above tweet is not entirely fair.

The worst thing you could do to a basketball game would be to have Byron Scott and Mark Jackson coaching it rather than annoying home viewers trying to watch on ESPN.

But ESPN2 is on the medal stand at the Stupidity Olympics for this one.

And of course, this entire debacle goes to show much better TNT’s coverage of the playoffs is.

The Warriors, meanwhile, won a Game 4 overtime thriller 119-117, thus completing the sweep over the Trail Blazers.

For the first time in NBA history, a team that doesn’t have Bill Russell on it will go to a fifth straight NBA Finals.

But it’s apparently unconscionable to ESPN that anyone would actually want to pay attention to the game on the court when they could instead be forced via distraction to hang on the every word of a bunch of talking heads taking up a third of the screen.

Please, “Worldwide Leader:” For the love of all that is good about basketball, don’t make this alternative broadcast a permanent, or even semi-permanent, thing.

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Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
Birthplace
Boston, Massachusetts
Education
Bachelor of Science in Accounting from University of Nevada-Reno
Location
Seattle, Washington
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Sports




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