It all started when one of the anchors teased the segment going into commercial break. "Cowboys fan LeBron James, Bears fan Dwyane Wade, teammates, but they were on opposite sides last night. Don't miss their Twitter trash talk!"
The tease alone is a perfect snapshot of everything that's horrible about ESPN. But okay, we know that. So just one of those obnoxious 15-second segments where they put a tweet on the screen and then read it?
Not that bad, right? WRONG.
Kevin Negandhi after the break: "Back here on SportsCenter, Lindsay Czarniak, Kevin Negandhi. She's gonna be LeBron James, I'm gonna be Dwyane Wade, we're gonna do the Bears-Cowboys highlights."
1. Lindsay Czarniak: "LeBron was ready, LeBron was gettin amped up for the game."
Wow okay so we're really doing this? This is SportsCenter?
2. "And then look, here's what he looks like while he watches:"
WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?
If SportsCenter is showing a picture from LeBron's Instagram, it should be something horribly inappropriate he accidentally posted at 4 a.m. in Vegas. Otherwise, WE DON'T NEED TO KNOW. Don't they realize that this stuff just makes people hate famous athletes? If Michael Jordan played in 2012 he'd be the most overexposed human on earth, and instead of being the most beloved athlete in history we'd all slowly come to hate him, and it would be like, 80 percent SportsCenter's fault. Maybe 85.
3. "When Tony Romo threw this pick, Wade channeling his inner Denny Green tweeting at LeBron."
Note to sports networks: Athletes on Twitter aren't actually that clever! Seeing Wade misquote the most over-quoted press conference in history just reminds me why I don't follow Dwyane Wade on Twitter.
4. "LeBron cleaned it up, he said, "Shut up! And it's who we thought they was."
Was/were/whatever. This segment is making everyone so much dumber.
5. "This famous soundbyte..."
6. "Tirico, Jon Gruden, and the entire Monday Night crew, they were ALSO checking LeBron's Twitter handle."
HOLY SHIT. The matrix has swallowed itself.
Note: it's not the anchors' fault here--I've been in love with Lindsay Czarniak since her days in D.C., and Kevin Negandhi seems okay. If anything we should feel even worse for them, the people who have to actively participate in this carnival of synergy and new media and head-splitting stupidity.
SportsCenter once made sports twice as cool, but over the past 15 years it's become an orgy of pandering to dumb people and HOT TOPICS beaten into our heads, slowly making sports insufferable. You know that; but this is a perfect case study. And you know why it really sucks? Because most people don't care and don't even notice, so we'll all slowly get used to it, and one day SportsCenter will pull something like this and it won't even be surprising. Every day, ESPN gets a little dumber and the bar gets set a little lower for next time.
"Tirico, Jon Gruden, and the entire Monday Night crew, they were ALSO checking LeBron's Twitter handle." We are through the looking glass and the future looks shitty.
7. "LeBron, looking on the bright side, said 'Well alright, at least I can watch Spongebob Squarepants.'"
General rule of thumb: You should never pay attention to what they are actually saying on SportsCenter, because it will only make you sad. Now, let's all go watch SpongeBob SquarePants.