Monday, June 28, 2004

Mark Cuban, Benefactor of the verbal beatdown

Mark Cuban's blog is so great because its rare to read something from the inside of a business. Especially from someone who is fearless and generally angry at someone at all times. His latest entry takes on two familiar targets, Peter Vescey and My Man Sam(tm).

Can we please start calling the Sam Smiths and Peter Vesceys and Norman Chads of the world what they really are? Sports Gossip Columnists. They don’t have regard for the truth. Why pretend that they do?

The man has a point. Sam is my guy, but he is pretty much full of it when it comes to trade rumors. Just look at yesterday's rumor column regarding Eddy Curry. At least this time he has the disclaimer 'speculative deals', but it begs the question whether any of his ideas come from fact. And I just plain don't like any column advocating the trade of Eddy Curry.

On to the next offender: Cuban went on to openly challenge Sam after hearing that Sam called Mavs first-round pick Pavel Podkolzine a stiff

How about this for a challenge Sam the Sham Smith?...I will donate 10k dollars to the charity of your choice if you can prove that you have ever seen Pavel play in person or on tape — excluding the footage on the ESPN draft shows. Two minutes of ESPN tape doesn’t qualify as scouting. If you lose, you change your business card title and Tribune byline to “Sports Gossip Columnist”. I will even pay for the cards.

I would like to think that someone who covers the NBA and the draft for a living would take the time to do their homework. But in today's sportswriting environment, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if Sam hasn't seen Pavel play. And like Cuban, that bothers me.

Which brings me to Dickie V, whose unwelcome appearance on ESPN's draft coverage made my stomach turn (or maybe that was the beer). Like last year's despicable display, Vitale couldn't wait to lace his useless analysis of college talent ("PTP!!") with ignorant disdain for any prospect not a part of college basketball. And in a first round with so many High Schoolers and foreign professionals, Vitale let the same venom fly with nearly every pick. And it doesn't bother me that Vitale pushes for college players, what bothers me is Vitale has never seen these other kids play. And they way he assumes their failure without any thought to the contrary is really unnerving.

So to Vitale and My Man Sam(tm), while you have your entertaining qualities, rest assured that your 'sham' is being exposed. With writers out there like Chad Ford giving us draft analysis (after actually seeing the kids play!) and insiders like Mark Cuban exposing false reporting, people are learning to look elsewhere if they want the truth.