Prior to yesterday’s Nuggets-Lakers game, I turned on ESPN and a show I’d never seen was on. I can’t remember its title, but there was a moderator (I can’t remember his name) who had a female journalist to his right (I can’t remember her name, either, but she was extremely articulate and well-versed on the sports topics they were discussing) and to his left was Skip Bayless, who, if memory serves me correctly (and after not remembering the name of the show or the others on it, how can I even think that would be possible), writes, or at one time, wrote for the Dallas Morning News - or some other paper in Dallas (can’t remember).
I thought I enjoyed Skip when he was on Around the Horn but that was because he was always on it with Jay Mariotti - and most people would enjoy a barracuda in their bath water more than Jay Mariotti). It was rumored that the citizens of Chicago had a going away party when Jay stopped
pontificating writing in their paper - but waited until he left before they threw it). Then, when I was telling a friend what I was going to blog, he said to me that Skip wasn’t on Around the Horn. That must mean I confused him with someone else because I am sure I didn’t/don’t/never will like Jay Mariotti. I’m not a fan of anyone whose ego is larger than his or her skills.
It seems, after his performance yesterday, Skip has become a recent graduate (summa cum laude) from the Mariotti School of I’m Right & Whomever I Deem Wrong Must Be, Even If I’ve Never Met Them. In everything Skip said during this nameless show, he was not only 100% correct, but he felt the need to thoroughly destroy the character of the poor soul who got in his crosshairs. He was the clear winner in every debate. Of course, it might have been more fair had the person in question actually been on the show or even allowed to express his reason for doing whatever Skip was lambasting him for, but why is that necessary when Skip is completely unbiased and totally fair with whomever he had on the spit.
First, let me make clear that I’m not talking about the segment on Terrell Owens because, as soon as that came up, I had had enough Bayless Wisdom for the rest of my life - even if I outlive Methuselah - and, like most people, I’d outlived my need for anything “Terrell Owens” about three relationship-killing teams ago.
The segment of the show that caught my eye (and rancor) was about the final second of the Magic-Cavs game, the one in which LeBron hit a walk-off three. Bayless’ description of Stan Van Gundy’s coaching IQ started with Stan’s switching of Hedo Turkoglu in place of Mickael Pietrus to guard LeBron (Pietrus had given James fits all game). Since media members have been criticized for second guessing - as in, who the hell can’t figure out what should have been done? - Skip claimed that he jumped up at yelled at the TV when this took place. That certainly is good enough for me to believe it happened, as I’m certain he’d believe others who came up with such a lame story to influence people to believe them.
He criticized Turkoglu for slow feet (but failed to mention that he successfully shut down the first option, which was a lob and only had space created for the game-winning J because James pushed off to make it). Cavs coach Mike Brown, LeBron and inbound passer, Mo Williams all said the first option was the lob, but Skip the last time Skipp doled out credit was, I believe when Jesus was a sophomore in high school. Criticism is the new (or not-so-new) mantra for sportswriters attempting to gain fame and fortune. Hey, it’s what people want to read and hear about (”Gee, my life’s not that bad after all. Sure, I’ve been out of work for a few years, but at least I can take enjoyment from media members like Skip Bayless cutting down other people).
Bayless also ridiculed Hedo for jumping sideways (”like he was afraid of fouling him!” ranted Skipper). Let’s see, the Magic were up two with one second to go, what in the world would make Turkoglu fear fouling someone shooting a three? Bayless also blasted the referees for officiating that made him “sick to my stomach. The refs kept Cleveland in the game.” Maybe I shouldn’t quote him, but I’m fairly certain of the gist of his remarks.
After hearing Skip, the All-Knowing, it sounded like the perfect scenario would have been to allow Stan Van Gundy to coach the first 47 minutes and 59 seconds, sound the horn and make the substitution of Bayless for Van Gundy, the thinking being Stan did OK for the “beginning” of the game, but would screw up something that Skip knew so much more about - late game situations. Naturally, Skip also jumped on the “why wasn’t Rashard Lewis draped all over Mo Williams, a la Lamar Odom in the two games won by the Lakers on Trevor Ariza’s steals?” This is how most people, probably including Stan VG feel if you watched as he agonized at the post-game press conference intimating as much.
Or, MAYBE, could Skip’s foul mood have come from the fact he calls LeBron, Prince James, because he’s made the case that LeBron can’t make the clutch shot and this made Skip Bayless look bad - and anyone who’s ever dealt with that type of new breed journalist, i.e. the one who, while he may have never strapped one on before in his life, has the uncontrolled ego of a spoiled child who never got to be the somebody others (much less deserving) got to be.
So, if Skip were to admit it (a “journalist’s mistake” is called an oxymoron in that line of work), his main reason he was so upset was because Stan Van Gundy made him look wrong. If Stan had only had Regis’ “phone a friend,” Skip wouldn’t have to hear about it from LeBron lovers that Skip change his opinion (something you’ll see the majority media member do - on the second Tuesday of each week).
When I checked to see if Skip Bayless was married, I came across nothing definitive. I did see that his given name was John, but he had changed it to Skip. Could it be he also refers to himself with another moniker? The one that scares the hell out of potential matches:
“While every girl is looking to marry Mr. Right, she doesn’t want to find out, after the ceremony, that his first name is ALWAYS.”