So it’s been reported that there are major changes coming to ESPN NBA Countdown, the pregame show to their NBA broadcasts. Apparently, Michelle Beadle, Chauncey Billups and Paul Pierce are out of there. Jalen Rose remains.
There are some reports that say Maria Taylor will become the new host will ESPN has come out and said that Michelle Beadle isn’t actually gone yet.
Perhaps the first reports are simply wishful thinking with us all recognizing how awful Countdown is.
Or perhaps ESPN is contesting the report simply because they haven’t made their final decision yet but it will still most likely be their final decision.
It’s impossible to not compare Countdown to TNT’s pregame show that is astronomically more watchable. Kenny Smith, Charles Barkely, Shaq and Ernie Johnson are clearly all friends who have legitimate personalities and senses of humor that don’t revolve around Paul Pierce farting.
When they go off on a tangent, it’s always these men mocking each other and self-deprecating, it’s not a tangent on whether or not Paul Pierce is better than Dwyane Wade.
ESPN attempted to use Paul Pierce as their Charles Barkley just saying wild shit every week but they ignored one huge hole in their logic: No one on planet Earth likes Paul Pierce.
He’s a narcissist who attempts to hide his obsession with himself in ‘humor’ but instead, it just comes off as a man who thinks he created the modern NBA but no one has the balls to sit him down and tell him that you could easily tell the story of the NBA without ever mentioning his name.
None of these people are particularly funny.
Jalen Rose takes himself way too seriously. He’s blocked half of Twitter for just mentioning the fact that Kobe lit him up for 81 points (and his entire career).
Chauncey Billups is actually very well-spoken and makes great arguments. He is the best among the group at breaking down film and assessing a team’s strength and weaknesses.
He is an unfortunate causality of joining the most boring sports pregame show in ESPN history.
So let’s talk solutions.
Let’s face the reality that ESPN will never have a pregame show like TNT. ESPN is insistent of forcing former players on us when in actuality, most of these former players are lame as hell.
Have you watched Damon Jones on Get Up every morning? He starts and ends every awful take with ‘I played with LeBron’. Imagine being a grown ass man and your entire identity is based around being able to text some other man. Weirdo.
Instead of attempting to match TNT’s charisma, ESPN should lean into the fact that they have the best NBA editorial team anywhere. Go full nerd. Bring in Zach Lowe and Ramona Shelbourne and Jackie MacMullan and build a show around nerdy analytics instead of Jalen Rose giving lectures every time he speaks as if he’s always in the middle of a commencement speech at his alma mater.
Fuck it, bring in Rachel Nichols. Take The Jump and turn it into the pregame show.
I’ll also add that the only former player that should be considered to join is Richard Jefferson. RJ is the only former player that occasionally works for ESPN who appears to have a human sense of humor and doesn’t look terrified when the camera turns on.
Most importantly, get Paul Pierce OUUUUUT of here. Drop him into a volcano.