There are two sets of sports fans in the country, those who watch First Take and those who get their news from other sources. First Take watchers are usually young or have the inability to form their own opinions. They much prefer to be told what to think than observe for themselves and develop some ideas of their own. Folks who go to other sources tend to have the ability to separate fact from news making stories. Not that there is anything wrong with a 60-year-old man working tirelessly to come up with horrible nicknames to put down proven winners. But going to multiple sources for news and opinions might prove a little more fruitful than hearing a man call out numerous superstars in an effort to trend on Twitter.
That little soap-box rant brings us to Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Hoosiers. During the Hoosiers game against the Michigan State Spartans, and immediately afterward, Oladipo started to get compared to all-time greats. Names like Michael Jordan and Dwyane Wade were casually thrown around as if they were pairs of underwear on prom night. Ignoring the fact the Oladipo has had a solid season, but not an end of the world domination campaign, he has somehow become the greatest thing since sliced bread.
I am not saying Oladipo isn’t good or he won’t become a great NBA player, but please, slow it down. Guess how many times he has broken the 20 points in a game scoring barrier this season? I hope you didn’t guess somewhere around double-digits, because the answer is three. Three whole times he has broken a number that many players have broken before him, much more often. Yet, through the grace of hyperbole, Oladipo is Michael Jordan.
Comparing the career arches of Oladipo and MJ is fine, but that is where it needs to stop. I don’t need to here about how Oladipo is further along in his path than Jordan’s or how his defense is eerily similar to another Tom Crean coached player, Wade. What, because Crean coached Wade, Oladipo must be the reincarnate?
This is more lazy than wishful thinking. Oladipo already has a great back story. His family wanting him to practice karate overseas instead of playing hoops. Not being a good basketball player in high school. Heck, there is even the awesome part where he hits on women by randomly serenading them. These are all great aspects to the Olapido story that could be told and generate the same amount of buzz as hyperbole, albeit not as headline catchy as Oladipo is MJ.
Dick Vitale and Magic Johnson were apart of these wild overstatements. Johnson, who is blinded by his Michigan State love, can get a pass here. He, by no stretch of anyone’s imagination, is an in-game broadcast personality. Maybe Johnson got caught in the moment or he could have possibly felt the need to explain away his Alma Maters collapse. However, if he did believe an ounce of the nonsense that came out of his mouth, ESPN should refrain from having a person who is clearly biased do color-commentary for a game in which his team is playing. I mean, that should be a rule to begin with, but hey, it is ESPN.
Then there is Vitale, the king of the moment. Vitale, when not telling you why the Duke Blue Devils will solve cancer, will put over anything or anybody. Garrick Sherman of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish owes any potential love-making in his future to Vitale’s constant praising of him during the Irish’s overtime victory against the Louisville Cardinals. This is who Vitale is, a personality who undoubtedly loves college basketball, and for better or worse, will put over anyone if given the right chance to use his cliched catch phrases (Think of a WWE announcer, dying to use the same line he uses every week on TV, but doing it to the point of nausea or for you to hate the character he is pushing. Poor Marty Jannetty.).
I am not sure why a player like Oladipo can’t be celebrated in a normal, sane fashion. Why every time someone does something we don’t expect we have to immediately thrust them into a conversation where nobody believes he actually belongs. What is even sadder is the anger people will have towards Oladipo when he doesn’t live up to the other-worldly expectations that we have set out for him. When he doesn’t become Jordan, which he won’t, experts and fans will want to know where he went wrong.
Given that Oladipo has given you dozens of more examples as to why he isn’t Michael Jordan or Dwayne Wade, and only a few games where he has looked like an above-average COLLEGE player, any disappointments you may have of him in the future is on you.
Opinions are great. Sports talk is an opinion based business. However, when you don’t use facts to back up your opinions it starts to become fiction. Or, in the world of narrow minded, blowhards, First Take.
I mean, Skip Bayless is an angry, opinionated man, so he must be a mass murder like Jeffery Dahmer (See what I did there. Taking two completely unrelated things and made it work because of general commonalities?!?!).
I can hear my phone ringing now…
Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow Joe on Twitter @JosephNardone