There is a private Slack channel that exists entirely to serve as a gallery of weak-sauce garbage takes culled from the big, bloated hellhole that is NBA basketblogging. All your favorites can be found there: Such-And-Such Good Player is Actually Bad Because Analytics; Sam Hinkie, Tragic Hero; Is Such-And-Such Player A Superstar?; Team X Should Trade Literally All Their Good Players For Matthew Dellavedova; and so on. If the take has been taken, a link to it can be found in this Slack, because basketblogging is a worthy target.
Sure as you were born, Deadspin is in this private Slack channel, mocking the basketbloggers. Deadspin—the scorched-earth sports blog that called LeBron James a cocksucker, told Donald Trump to go fuck himself, torpedoed a book deal by going all in on the Holderness family, and ranked teens in order of how easily they could be physically beaten—is down in this private social-media rabbithole, down there where the bad blogs are consolidated, seeing and noting and commenting on the bad blogs. This seems like a tree ready to bear fruit, is what I’m saying.
What you will note, here, is this: The rancid basketblogging takes are still being launched, and yet the devastating counterforce takes are cooling in their silos. Where are the takes? I’m looking around—where are they? I’m scrolling through Deadspin’s archives—where are the goddamn takes? I’ll tell you where they are: cowering in the meta-basement that is a snark-filled Slack channel. Deadspin’s hip, wised-up internet writers are afraid to launch the takes. They fear the basketbloggers. Deadspin fears the basketbloggers.
And what a thing to fear! Look at those scrawny, pasty fucks. Look at their smarty-pants GM cosplay horseshit. Look at how they couch the same IS HE ELITE??? nonsense in the dork-cool lingo of Professor Frink after his first stale Budweiser. Look how they repurpose Bill Simmons’s grating Self-Centric Universe Theory routine into appallingly cynical “analysis.” God, how they deserve to be punished. God, how the people call out for a hero to march up to the posturing loudmouth idiot that is the basketblogger and calmly turn its head into a ladle. Where the hell are you, Deadspin? Hiding in Slack? For shame.
In this respect, Deadspin is like the big dumb elephants in Dumbo, who climb the wall when Timothy Q. Mouse comes barging in all het up and full of himself. Only in this case, the elephants are right: Jumbo Jr. is the output of daily basketblogging, in this motherfucking metaphor, and Timothy Q. Mouse is, I dunno, Hardwood Paroxysm. And all I want, here, is for the biggest, loudest, clumsiest elephant under the circus tent to stomp down on the little fucker and pound him into the turf like a fucking garden stake.
It turns out that the basketbloggers sit at some weird position of double-thick immunity in the broader world of snarky internet sportswriting. Almost no basketblogging entities—people or websites—are seen as big or important enough to be fair game for today’s sensitive blogger, positioning any savage broadsides squarely in the realm of punching down; and all of them, from the poor unpaid dinguses running desperate SB Nation team blogs all the way up to the big swinging dicks rubbing elbows with NBA coaches and GMs, are thought to be basically among the good guys: Basketball is good, these people like basketball, therefore bless their sweet little hearts they’re just harmless and adorable ah I just wanna give them all a big hug.
No. No! Deadspin does not exist to give hugs. Deadspin exists explicitly to not give hugs. Deadspin exists to make fun of horse people, pick fights with teenagers, corrupt Hall of Fame voting, and throw pixelated cocks in your face. Its mandate is and has been and should be staking out and loudly proclaiming positions that definitionally make it unpopular with smarmy, too-smart, try-hard-ass internet types. If Deadspin isn’t doing that, first of all, no one else will, but, second of all, what the hell is it doing at all?
I’ll tell you whose fault this is: Manti Te’o. Deadspin broke the Te’o story and got big. Its readership got bigger, and its ambitions got bigger, and its reach got bigger, and, look: realistically, oven-hot night-long exercises in full-bore self-deprecation notwithstanding, Deadspin is no longer and can no longer be your plucky little dick-pic side blog. They break real stories now! And not just stories nobody else wants to break (looking at you, Brett Favre’s crayon dick!)—real and good and reputable feats of journalism! But, somewhere after the Te’o story, as everyone set their sights a little higher and got used to this insane new world, Deadspin quietly got the bad idea that kicking dogshit on lame-ass working bloggers for their infuriatingly bad takes would be some sort of moral failure.
Scan the horizon, Deadspin. Other media outlets of your size will not do it, because you are right, in pure weight-class terms, it is a moral failure. But you are not other media outlets of your size. You are your size because there was a your-shaped vacancy in this tier of sports media internet writing, in need of someone with a different moral compass from the other blogs and websites. Those guys over there will write solemn profiles of struggling ex-athletes; those other guys over yonder will bang out 10 Reasons Why The Redeem Team Is Better Than The Dream Team; you will dare a teenager to fight you and, by God, drop a flying elbow on the 10 Reasons Why The Redeem Team Is Better Than The Dream Team. Your size works to your advantage, here: You don’t have to care whether smart, cool internet writers invite you to their happy hours! They already came to your goddamn awards show. You’ve got the power, now. And with great power comes great responsibility—not to protect the less powerful, but to stand up for the average basketball fan and do what she cannot: beat the absolute hell out of the Kuiper Belt of shitty basketblogs standing between her and the sport she loves.
So, ahem, yes: launch the fucking takes already. Put your skill and humor to use crafting the right angle, sure, but fire away.
This is Gawker Media’s last week as an independent media operation, and while that shouldn’t affect you much one way or the other as a reader, we’re still going to take advantage of a pretext to run some especially stupid posts. If you have any ideas for such posts, hit us at firstname.lastname@example.org.