Skip Bayless vs Skip Bayless on Kevin Durant

Jamie Horowitz’s departure from ESPN for The Today Show got me thinking about the Embrace Debate culture and what it has meant to ESPN’s evolution over the last few years.  ESPN produces a lot of fantastic sports programming that validates their place as the top brand in sports.  Then there’s First Take, which does not do that.

There’s nothing more frustrating about ESPN than the Embrace Debate movement because it brings out the worst in televised sports.  Not only does it devolve sports into its lowest common denominator form (let’s argue about things for the sake of arguing), it turns analysts and players into adversaries – see Richard Sherman and lowbrow tactics like “Bosh Spice.”  It also transforms the opinions of middle aged men who are paid to yell about sports on TV into the most important thing about sports.

Skip Bayless became the Rush Limbaugh of sports thanks to his crusade against LeBron James and unconditional love for Tim Tebow.  But his relationship with Kevin Durant is much more complicated.  You see, the Dark Lord has been regarded as Durant’s biggest supporter over the years, but he’s also been very critical of KD when it suits the interests of him and his show.  Thankfully, Durant has always seen right through the game being played.  If only all sports fans could be so lucky.

The interesting thing about the Embrace Debate movement is that the most entertaining argument is the one currently ongoing between Skip Bayless and himself over Kevin Durant.

Here’s a brief example…

Exhibit A: Kevin Durant isn’t respected by the refs…

Exhibit B: Kevin Durant gets too much respect from the refs…

But wait, there’s more.  Of course there’s more.  When your persona is built around having the strongest and most controversial opinion on the block, things are bound to change.  Repeatedly.

Kevin Durant, clutch gene:

Kevin Durant, no clutch gene:

Kevin Durant is better than LeBron James…

Not so fast my friend

And that doesn’t even include You-Know-Who calling KD a “complimentary star.”  But the biggest flip flops are saved for Durant’s relationship with fellow All-Star Russell Westbrook.  It’s been the source of much contention and debate over the years, and it plays perfectly into the hands of this charade.

Durant is hurt by being teammates with Russell Westbrook, who is a notorious ballhog and will ruin any chance KD has at winning a title…

On second thought, Durant actually needs Westbrook to survive…

So which is it exactly, I guess we’ll see which way the winds blow this postseason.  And we can look forward to Matt Lauer trolling Bieber and Miley in the same way over the coming years.

Matt Yoder

About Matt Yoder

Award winning sportswriter at The Comeback and Awful Announcing. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.