After a stint with The Washington Post, NBA writer Tim Bontemps joined ESPN in 2018. And while he’s certainly settled into the ESPN family since then, that doesn’t mean family squabbles can’t still crop up from time to time.
This past week, Bontemps published a piece on ESPN in which he polled over 100 media members to find out who they thought the current MVP of the NBA should be. Media members overwhelmingly seemed to think that Nuggets center Nikola Jokic is in the lead for the trophy, thanks in part to the fact that both LeBron James and Joel Embiid have been dealing with injuries that kept them off the court for extended periods of time.
New ESPN story: With a month to go in the regular season, the latest MVP straw poll shows that Nikola Jokic is favored to win — and it isn’t close. https://t.co/i7M3ooZRge
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) April 15, 2021
Bontemps appeared on Friday’s episode of ESPN’s Hoop Collective podcast, where host Brian Windhorst disagreed with that assessment. Windhorst felt as though LeBron remains way ahead in the MVP race in spite of the fact that he hasn’t played since March. Bontemps, who is of the mind that Jokic is clearly the frontrunner at the moment, pushed back.
Brian Windhorst vs Tim Bontemps ? pic.twitter.com/X6UxlrI4s3
— Ahn Fire Digital (@AhnFireDigital) April 16, 2021
Bontemps: The race was tied two months ago
Windhorst: The race wasn’t tied, LeBron had a significant advantage.
Bontemps: No he didn’t…You can’t make up facts now and yell like people on Twitter…
Windhorst: It’s one thing to say when a guy misses seven weeks because of an injury, that’s-
Bontemps: You’re gonna listen. You just said LeBron had a significant lead and that is a lie. LeBron had the closest advantage-
Windhorst: …I don’t give a flying bleep about the total points, I know you put the total points in there and that matters to you, the only thing that matters to me is first-place votes. How many first-place votes did LeBron have?
Bontemps: I will look it up now…I’m not going to bother looking it up. He was barely ahead.
Windhorst: There’s no way that’s true, he had way more first-place votes.
Cooler heads did not prevail later on in the discussion and Bontemps, whose last name is French for “good time,” was not having a very good time at all. Windhorst continued to push that James is being unfairly punished for a freak injury and Bontemps continued to harp on the fact that the majority of people are well-versed in the data and situation.
Bontemps: You’re making an idiotic argument because you are dismissing the intellect of everyone who participated in this poll by acting everyone has their heads in the sand for looking at the data in front of them…you’re acting like this is a disgrace if this goes this way. It’s not.
Windhorst: I am disappointed in my media brethren for being so obtuse and shallow.
Bontemps: But Brian, how can you say that when he finished second (in the poll)? He’s played two-thirds of the games. People are allowed to use that as part of their vote. You acting like this is stupid.
— David Mai (@dmai21) April 16, 2021
Windhorst: LeBron was way ahead. So it was not a three-way race.
Bontemps: Okay, you can make up the rules to poll if you want. You want to do the poll in the future?
Windhorst: No I’m glad that you do it.
Bontemps: Okay, well then maybe you should actually listen to people because you’re being a jackass.
Windhorst: I am listening…I’m listening to my fellow media brethren.
Bontemps: You’re not listening!
We are all Tim MacMahon in the background saying “Woo woo woo!”