Bob Costas rips Donald Trump over LIV Golf Credit: CNN

Last month, Bob Costas went on The Michael Kay Show and said that the proliferation of 3-point attempts in NBA contests is sullying the league’s entertainment value. From there, those remarks seemingly took on a life of their own.

Costas made an appearance on Kay’s ESPN Radio show this past Friday. And before asking Costas about Game 4 of the NBA Finals, Kay said that the previous comments made by the famed 71-year-old broadcaster on his show about the 3-point shot and the modern-day NBA were twisted through a game of “telephone,” to the point where it was made out to be that Costas hates the game of basketball.

First, Costas wanted to make it inherently clear that his career started as a radio broadcaster in the American Basketball Association. Then just 22 years old, Costas had graduated from Syracuse University and secured his first significant job as a radio broadcaster for the Spirits of St. Louis of the ABA. That was known as the league of the 3-point shot.

“I’ve always been in favor of the 3-point shot,” Costas said.

“You know what happens. And the only reason I make this point—and I don’t want anyone to think I’m complaining— on the worst day of my life professionally, I’ve been luckier than 99 percent of the people that have ever gotten into it and I totally appreciate that,” he continued. “I never lose sight of it.”

Costas went on from there to complain about a larger problem he sees with aggregation.

“But this actually illustrates something larger, that’s true in sports, it’s true in news, it’s true in our politics. Because of the internet, because of social media, because people are getting information from so many different sources. And the majority of those sources no longer adhere to the basic principles that are used to govern newspapers and broadcasters, for the most part.”

“Someone might have an opinion that you disagree with. They might be more or less diligent about context than nuance, but there was always at least an acceptable, minimum bar.”

That takes Costas back to the original comments he made on Kay’s show last month:

“What worked for a competitive edge, or at least arguably that’s what the analytics showed you to do, did not work well for baseball as an entertainment product. And I think the same thing is true – I’m not as close to the NBA now as I am to baseball – but in what I’ve observed, it’s not so pleasing to see two teams combine for 80 3-point attempts in a game. Or to see a potential fast break, and the two guys on the wing run to the respective corners instead of finishing off a beautifully-executed fast break.”

“A lot of the game’s texture has been reduced. A 3-pointer used to be a punctuation and a big deal. But when it’s a matter of course hen I think it loses some of its impact.”

Costas insisted that he didn’t say something ridiculous along the lines of, ‘Yeah, the game sucks now because everybody’s hoisting up too many 3-pointers.’ Costas maintained that there was a little bit more of an emphasis on the 3-point shot than perhaps there should be, “It’s a bit out of whack.”

“The reason why this is important has very little to do with me,” Costas said. “It’s important because it’s true in a much larger sense. There’s all kinds of sites out there that are nothing but aggregators. They have no real editors. They have no real standards. They do no real reporting. They never call anybody. They never check on anybody. They just see, ‘Oh, here’s something that looks like it might move the needle, that might get some clicks. Let’s see how we can repurpose it.’”

“In that world, the very best you can hope for is that it comes out as primary colors, and all the nuance and context and tone is lost. That’s the best of it. The worst of it is when it’s entirely misrepresented, either purposefully—for cynical purposes—or because these people aren’t really qualified professionals and they just either out of their own carelessness, or own stupidity, can’t render it with any kind of accuracy. And a cousin of that is the sites that treat Twitter as if it’s a pew poll. You take six tweets from who knows where? They write a couple of semi-literate sentences to frame it. And then they put it out there as if it’s something worthy of people’s consideration.”

That brought Costas to his last point on the matter. Not that he claims to be a professor of journalism, but he felt he might as well say it. Costas believes that one of the most important courses that could be taught, beginning as early as junior high school, is media literacy.

“Not teaching people what to think, but teaching them how to navigate through the morass of modern media. Telling them, ‘Look, The Wall Street Journal is a credible, conservative outlet.’ There are other people and outlets that are not credible. The same thing is true on the left. How do you navigate this so you’re not wasting your time on Twitter and Facebook, and stuff that isn’t credible, and has no answers to no other authority…How do you differentiate one from the other?”

Costas said that his comment about the NBA “isn’t all that important.” But, for the record, he’s watched every game in this year’s NBA playoffs that he possibly can.

“Does it really matter that a bunch of people were misinformed that I said I didn’t like the NBA anymore? No, it doesn’t matter, except in the larger point that it illustrates,” he said.

[The Michael Kay Show]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.