In the eyes of many media observers, it wasn’t any particular team that won the 2015 NBA Draft – it was once again Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The preeminate newsbreaker of the NBA was the driving force in being first to break the news of several picks before they were announced live on ESPN’s telecast. He even joined the rarefied Schefterian stratosphere of crossing 1 million Twitter followers.
The issue of tipping picks on social media before being announced at the podium has been a hot debate in the sports media in recent years, especially given the polar opposite approaches in NFL and NBA media. While scores of NFL reporters at the major networks are given a gag order by the league, the NBA media (outside of ESPN television) is free to chase stories as they do the other 364 days of the year.
In a GQ interview, Woj talked about his #WojBombs and breaking news the night of the draft. He scoffed at any reporter holding back information and boldly stated that it’s not his job to preserve ESPN’s television special:
The way I look at Twitter is this: I know people argue about, you should somehow defer to a television show. The draft is a ceremony. And the decision to draft the guy has already been made. So the news is already there. Would I wait for a team to announce they signed a free agent or announce they made a trade? No. My job is to break it. If I do that, what do they need me for? I don’t care about their television show. It’s a competitor. What do I care? I hope it complicates things. I don’t care. That’s their problem. Not mine.
The comments echo what Woj told Fox Sports radio about tipping picks before the draft where he additionally said that he wouldn’t ever work for a company that asked him to sit on a scoop. He even wondered aloud at the NFL demanding the reporters for their rights partners not being allowed to tweet news during the NFL Draft. The implications of those comments are doubly intriguing given Woj’s future, and the potential of a personality-based site for him, has been kicking around the rumor mill. For the record, Wojnarowski told GQ that while he’s listening to what might be out there, it would take “something extraordinary” for him to leave Yahoo.