It’s tough being Skip Bayless or anyone in the revolving cast of analysts paired up with him daily on ESPN 2’s First Take. First, you have to find four or five shout-worthy topics every weekday. Then, you have to give off the impression that you totally absolutely freakin’ believe what you’re saying about said topics. In the traditionally sports-anemic summer months, this can be sweaty, red-faced work.
But while some First Take “debates” are obviously forced (think late in the show, when the participants are having a life or death shouting match over women’s tennis), others are not. Skip and his adversary du jour find themselves in a heated exchange about something they both care about or, better yet, have personal ties to. Since they’ve spent time enthusiastically arguing about sports that don’t matter to them, when there’s actual meat on the table, things can get… confrontational.
Such was the case today, when basketball analyst and columnist Chris Broussard sat across from Bayless, and the topic was LeBron James (more specifically, LeBron’s jersey number, but that doesn’t matter). At some point over the course of the “debate,” someone said something about objectivity. Then this happened.
If you’ll recall, Broussard was one of the first to report that LeBron was leaning towards the Miami Heat during the infamous free agency clustermess of summer 2010. The
insinuation outright charge from Bayless is that Broussard is now a lapdog of LeBron’s, and he sacrificed his credibility as a journalist to get the scoop on James’ free agency plans. We wouldn’t be surprised if there was some tension back stage after this segment wrapped up. At the very least, it would provide an interesting page for the paperback release of Those Guys Have All the Fun.
[Richard Deitsch] Twitter