ESPN’s ‘GOAT’ Photo Turns Into Total Disaster: TRAINA THOUGHTS

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1. Most sports debates are either stupid or played out. Hey, let’s argue about LeBron vs. Jordan for the billionth time! The debate about the “Greatest Athlete of All Time” has just about hit played-out status and is definitely as stupid as it gets.

Comparing athletes from different sports makes no sense. Comparing athletes who compete in individual sports to athletes who compete in team sports makes no sense. Comparing athletes from 50 years ago to today’s athletes makes no sense.

How utterly absurd is this graphic?

Comparing championships for an athlete who can win four major titles a year in an individual sport to an athlete who can win one title a year in a team sport makes zero sense.

But we in sports media need content and clicks, so throwing out any kind of take on the “best athlete of all time” accomplishes both of those things.

However, when ESPN’s @SportsCenter account tried to weigh in on the GOAT discussion Wednesday, it turned into a disaster.

Olympic gymnast Simone Biles called out ESPN for the lack of women represented in the photo.

ESPN’s own Chris Mortensen was unhappy about Bill Russell getting snubbed.

And some people were upset with Serena Williams’s placement in the photo.

People were also baffled by Wayne Gretzky and Michael Phelps being omitted.

Now the argument can be made that @SportsCenter accomplished when it set to accomplish by generating engagement and getting people to react.

However, the account ended up deleting the tweet, which tells you it was not happy with how things were going.

This should serve as a lesson to everyone in sports media: Any time you want to dip into the “GOAT” debate, don’t. Nothing good will come of it. 

2. A J.J. Watt recruiting war broke out on Instagram after Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins made a pitch to his former teammate.

Screen Shot 2021-02-17 at 9.38.44 AM

3. The Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City was demolished today. 

I'm not mentioning this for any political reason. I'm mentioning this because the hotel was the site of WrestleMania IV and V. WrestleMania V was notable for Hulk Hogan winning back the WWF title from Randy "Macho Man" Savage.

4. The erosion of sports viewership has hit Daytona 500 pretty hard.

5. This is a good tweet.

6. The guest on this week's episode of the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast, hosted by yours truly, is NFL columnist Kevin Clark from The Ringer. Clark, who also appears on podcasts and hosts the video show Slow News Day, talks about the Super Bowl's lackluster ratings and why the league has a longtime issue with the 18–49 crowd. Clark also discusses how sports fans' viewing habits have changed during the pandemic and how they may change after the pandemic. In addition, Clark shares insights into his writing process, reveals what makes a good story and explains why NFL training camps are so important to him. He also gives us the behind-the-scenes story of transitioning to podcasting and the genesis of Slow News Day. Other topics include Aaron Rodgers's relationship with the media, the best concerts to see at low capacity and more.

You can listen to the podcast below or download it on AppleSpotify or Stitcher.

You can also watch the podcast on YouTube.

7. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: I ended up in a YouTube rabbit hole Tuesday night and came across this hilariously surreal Judge Judy case. If you don’t want to spend eight minutes watching it, just hit up my Twitter account for a shorter clip that features the best parts.

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on AppleSpotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram.