The NBA appears to be channeling the NFL by trying to make its version of the Combine into a big event. Fans were able to watch future pros attempt to impress NBA scouts and executives by viewing ESPN’s broadcast of the workouts earlier this month.
The problem was most journalists were seemingly relegated to the fan experience. A small note at the end of CBSSports.com’s Jeff Goodman’s review of the Combine mentioned that he was the only non-ESPN journalist allowed to watch the workouts in person, serving as the “pool reporter” as he put it. (Full disclosure: Goodman and I were colleagues at FOXSports.com.)
This is troubling because one media outlet is dominating the coverage and could perhaps control the spin from the Combine. It is one thing to outwork the competition, but it is quite another for competitors to be kept from even playing.
I do not know the arrangement between the NBA and ESPN about coverage of the Combine, so this post is not trying to assign blame. But I know that having a more varied media presence will ultimately benefit news consumers, who are the true losers when the doors are closed to journalists.
-- Steve Bien-Aime