2023 Woke All-Star Challenge: The Play-In Round

Welcome to the 3rd annual Woke All-Star Challenge where we honor those sports media wokes -- and this year we welcome NBA head coaches -- who have gone above and beyond for the cause.

By now you know the goal with the Challenge: We need to determine which woke has out woke'd the competition and has won a spot on the Mount Rushmore of Woke along with past champions Jemele Hill & Keith Olbermann, who are so woke we've retired them from competition because they're just too damn dominant in this sport.

Like the NCAA Tournament, today, the Woke All-Star Challenge kicks off with the ceremonial round where play-in wokes face fellow wokes to decide which woke will then go on to face the dominant No. 1 seeds.

Gaslight Region:

Pat Forde vs. Max Kellerman

This matchup features a couple of wokes who are now competing in their third-straight All-Star Challenge for the chance to get smoked by Rex Chapman in the Sweet 16. Let's face it, pending Max Kellerman making some sort of crazy woke statement on ESPN Radio over the next 24 hours or Pat Forde tweeting something about Lia Thomas, these two are absolutely toast when one of them eventually faces Chapman.

But someone has to be fodder for Rex, so it might as well be these two.

You know the resumes here. Pat Forde is a vintage Big J woke who has spent the last three years living as a coronabro woke who also saw his daughter get her ass kicked during the 2022 NCAA Swimming National Championships. Pat's so woke he didn't even stand up for his daughter as biological male Lia Thomas stood there with a national championship plaque.

Kellerman's resume is equally impressive. Name a woke cause and Max is supporting it. Let's be honest here, we could kick Max out of this competition & replace him with some young, up-and-comer woke who wants it more, but Max's full body of work is just too impressive to not include him year after year.

#MeToo Region:

Bomani Jones vs. Howard Bryant

What a showdown we have here for a couple of wokes who do so much for the woke community. In what has to be a complete insult, the committee, for the second straight year, has forced Bomani into the play-in round even after his huge year of failing with his HBO show only to see his privilege lead to yet another season of his failed show. What a tough life!

Howard Bryant makes his Woke All-Star Challenge via a STRONG 2022 where he made headlines for his July 4th column for ESPN which focused on everything wrong with America on Independence Day.

The voting is rigged if Bomani doesn't get his ass kicked by Howard. This should be a dominant performance.

Toxic Region:

Stan Van Gundy vs. Gregg Popovich

This might be the most interesting play-in matchup in Woke Challenge history because it could lead to a titanic battle in the Sweet 16 between Popovich and Steve Kerr. That's must-watch woke theater right there.

But, Stan Van Gundy is a formidable challenger. SVG spent his 2022 arguing that Jan. 6 was worse than the inflation crisis and hiding from COVID.

Pop's resume speaks for itself.

Nonbinary Region:

Stan Verrett vs. Jalen Rose

Like Kellerman, Rose should be retired from the tournament. In fact, the committee needs to stop including wokes based on name recognition. Jalen isn't moving the needle these days.

His opponent, ESPN anchor Stan Verrett, is one of the rising stars in the world of woke. There's not a woke cause Stan's not willing to dabble in. Let's not forget that Stan was positive Kaepernick is "more naturally gifted" (gee Stan, what does that mean?) than Cooper Rush who went 4-1 for the Cowboys while Dak Prescott was injured.

Written by
Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America. Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league. Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.