The sports commentary landscape is vastly different than it was decades ago.
In the old days, it consisted mostly of former players and coaches giving cold hard analysis with few, if any, frills and little or no schtick.
But in recent years, personalities such as Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless have changed things, and plenty of fans do not like those changes.
Dan Le Batard, himself a sports personality, reportedly told Smith that he hates what they have done to sports television.
“I hate what you two have done to sports television,”
– Dan Le Batard on Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless
(Via South Beach Sessions | h/t @awfulannouncing ) pic.twitter.com/Q6d8NTK60Y
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) March 24, 2023
Some fans pushed back on that sentiment by pointing out the interest and ratings Smith and Bayless have generated.
Le Batard’s show is dated and boring, meanwhile Skip and Stephen A captured lighting in a bottle and brought great ratings to a changing industry
— Hollywood Mitch (@MitchHollywood) March 24, 2023
They brought the ratings focusing on the entertainment and drama.
I’m cool with it because now other companies formed to fill the need for more thoughtful analysis, and do it better than ESPN or Fox Sports ever did.
It’s just the way it evolved.
— Danny G (@DannyG_49) March 24, 2023
This fan says that Smith has enough decorum while on the air.
Let’s be real. SAS isn’t as near outrageous as Skip! SAS says a lot of facts weather u like it or not. He’s never disrespects his CO host. He take criticism. Look at Jay Will. He put SAS on the spot. SAS ddnt have a problem. They moved on
— Daitrion Green (@TheReal870Dai) March 24, 2023
Of course, plenty of other fans don’t like the trajectory that Smith and Bayless have sent sports television toward.
When PTI first started, it was a riveting conversation between experienced professionals and friends. Now it’s the same tired schtick of yelling hot takes in order to get Twitter going, and it works because we can’t stop talking about them.
— John Reid IV (@JohnReidIV) March 24, 2023
This fan pointed out that there is still plenty of rational sports analysis out there, but that it is largely confined to the world of podcasts.
I suggest listen to podcasts, there are loads and loads of educated hoops podcasts out there that really expand my knowledge.
Some recommendations, thinking basketball, Game Theory Podcast, and ofc JJ’s old man and the three
— Ozy (@bookofthefates) March 24, 2023
Smith and Bayless used to host ESPN’s “First Take” until 2016 when Bayless left to start a similar show on Fox Sports 1 with Pro Football Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe.
Many have criticized Smith and Bayless for abandoning straight analysis in favor of hot takes, and Bayless in particular has been criticized for supposedly being biased against NBA superstar LeBron James.
Meanwhile, Smith loves to give the Dallas Cowboys and their fan base a hard time in an almost sadistic manner.
It is important to remember that they’re personalities and entertainers first and analysts second, and when fans remember and accept that fact, it can make their antics much more tolerable, if not entertaining.