How far can the obsession go?

Noah Housler, Sports Columnist

 At 18 years old, most people aren’t quite sure what they want to do with their life, a select few others have everything they do with their life broadcast to the world. In the age of social media, highly regarded young athletes have their lives turned into 24/7 news stories. Lebron James was ESPN’s first golden boy in the modern era and many more have followed suit since, few reaching even close to the success of Lebron. Recently, outlets like Bleacher Report and ESPN’s obsession with young athletes has taken an unhealthy turn. In the 2017-18 season their man was Oklahoma’s freshman point guard Trae Young, a prolific scorer that had a tendency to shoot 30 shots or more in a game once his name became a constant on ESPN. From the beginning of the season, through the tournament, then the draft combine and draft day, Trae Young’s name was in the mouth of every sports analyst all the time. After Trae Young, when college football season came around, Alabama sophomore Tua Tagovailoa and Clemson freshman Trevor Lawrence became around the clock news stories. Trevor Lawrence came into Clemson as the number one ranked quarterback in the country and would have to compete with Junior Kelly Bryant, who took his team to the College Football Playoff the prior season. After a few games into the season the competition for the starting job became very close and Lawrence was able to win the starting spot, after that every ESPN tweet and Bleacher Report Instagram post was about the 19 year old from the state of Georgia. After playing in only three games Sportscenter was discussing who would be selecting Lawrence first overall after his Junior year.

   November came around, meaning, college basketball was back. Duke received more preseason hype than almost any team ever, and for good reason, they brought in four top 15 recruits, including the 285 pound freshman and ESPN mascot, Zion Williamson. Night after night, fancy dunk, big blocks, everytime the TV was turned on Zion was on the screen. Eventually, the glimmer wore off and most sports fans were just plain annoyed. One Twitter user counted how many times Zion was mentioned in a single game, 131. Hearing one players name 131 times, no matter how good, will rub most fans the wrong way. The entire season all college basketball viewers had to hear discussion about which NBA team Zion would fit best on and his potential role on all teams in the draft lottery, even during the games of other teams. Williamson’s shoe ripping against North Carolina was shaped up to be the most catastrophic event of the last millenium, the bottom of ESPN even had a section titled “Zion” for two weeks after they thought he may have possibly rolled his ankle.

   Sports media has mistakenly been convinced that all sports fans only keep track of sports news to hear about the flashiest new freshman in the game. This has caused them to take a lot of push back from fans about how irrelevant most of their stories have become. The replies to all of the obsession posts are mostly very negative, hopefully sports media can change the direction of their coverage to actual sports news and less Zion nutrition plans.