Tomorrow, the Bobcats play in Oakland against the Golden State Warriors. Facing the Dubs is always a weird game for me, because I was born and raised in San Francisco. Among my high school friends, if they're hoops fans, they're Warriors fans.
On the court, it'll be fascinating to see what the Cats do against a team made up of several legit NBA starters plus a bunch of D-League All Stars. Old friend Cartier Martin is in the mix, along with C.J. Watson and Anthony Tolliver. I'd argue that Vladimir Radmanovic is at about their level at this point, and the team is probably just riding out his contract.
But, of course, there's one player that's going to get the most attention in game recaps from Carolina-based reporters, and, especially, the TV broadcast: Stephen Curry.
Generally, I leave announcers alone because, having done it professionally myself, I have an idea of how difficult the job can be and how the momentary slipups that we never notice in our everyday lives can be extracted, separated, and held up for all to see in the broadcast medium. However, I'm not comfortable with the way Steve Martin, Stephanie Ready, and Dell Curry have been discussing this upcoming game, especially as it relates to Curry's son.
There's something admirable about confronting the issue head on and making no apologies for their feelings, as they have, but I can't be the only one who feels... I don't know... a little icky after listening to our play by play man and our color commentator and our sideline reporter slash color commentator gushing about Stephen.
I guess the issue is this: I want to listen to and read people who are up front about their biases and their favorites and such, but they have to be fair, ultimately, and I get the feeling that they're not going to be fair when describing the game to us. I try to ride this line, myself. To pick an old issue, I'm completely in the can for Emeka Okafor. I love the guy as a basketball player, and I've long felt he's the kind of guy that every team in the league could use. But even though I bought the man's jersey, made sure that he'd be the first one I mentioned in a song I wrote about the Bobcats, and told everyone who would listen that he and Gerald Wallace were the most important pieces of the Cats' present and future, I was still perfectly capable of pointing out that he was limited on offense until he started developing a fifteen-foot turnaround, and even then, he was better off only unleashing it once or twice a game.
If Stephen Curry does something stupid, will our announcers tell us they noticed it? If Gerald Wallace fouls Curry hard in the lane, starting some shoving, will our announcers take a side? Take Bill Walton for an example. He never hid that he was Luke Walton's dad, but you'd never hear him gush about Luke as a sweet passing point forward who would allow the Lakers to play with Kobe and another guard off the ball. When Bill strapped on the mic, he had enough respect for the game and national viewers to be realistic about who Luke was and where he was going. I'm not sure it's possible for our broadcast crew to assess Stephen Curry as Eddie House with a few more steals.
It's not just a matter of preferring one style over another, and this sort of thing isn't just some harmless fun. The TV broadcast team shapes viewers' perceptions of the game and the players. I'm not worried that the hardcore fans, the basketball nerds that watch every night and jump on their favorite web sites to talk hoops with other people, are going to be affected. I'm worried that if they dispense with the usual tone, if they're willing to openly gloss over truth for one player, then it means they're willing to gloss over the truth about anything, openly or not. I hope they don't.