Stephen A., First Take Trying to Push NBA Over Big NFL Weekend

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In the media, Fridays during the football season are known as “Football Fridays,” as they give sports programs a full topic-sheet of games to preview. You’d think this past Friday, it would have been embraced fully. The country needed an escape from the anxiety-spreading election, and Week 9 has more significant games than a fan can keep up with. Yet, the face of ESPN, Stephen A. Smith, and First Take were not interested in the marquee football weekend. They’ve pivoted fully to the NBA.

On social media, Stephen A. ignored viewers and decided the NBA was the only topic that mattered. Instead of Cowboys-Steelers, Antonio Brown’s return, Patrick Mahomes, Seahawks-Bills, Ravens-Colts, Brady-Brees, and Tua-Kyler — First Take previewed the upcoming NBA season.

Here’s a look at Stephen A’s last five sports tweets:

Just what every sports fan was thinking after Aaron Rodgers put on a show and before Tom Brady and Drew Brees could face off for the final time: LeBron vs. MJ, dethroning the Lakers, and the Rockets’ new coach. No wonder First Take only drew 233,000 viewers on Thursday (Friday’s viewership is not out yet).

The show’s staff may have even forgotten the NFL season is ongoing. Its last six tweets were either about the past NBA season or the upcoming; including these yawners:

Aside from its decision to compete with MSNBC in the race for the most radical left-wing network on TV, ESPN’s constant desire to push the NBA over the NFL is why it has turned viewers away.

In short, on the day to preview arguably the best football weekend of the season, Stephen A. and First Take sent a middle finger to the sports world with redundant, low-level NBA topics.

The NBA season ended on October 11, the next season begins on December 22. Who could possibly care on November 6? And based on last seasons’ ratings, the answer is very few.

The NBA Finals tanked to historical lows, setting record-low after record-low. Its Finals games, led by LeBron James, couldn’t even beat LSC baseball and regular-season college football. By contrast, the NFL, with some games that triple the 2020 Finals viewership, is growing after an expected small early-season drop.

Good time for another sports network to benefit from this boneheaded decision-making.

Maybe Stephen A. is trying to get a job on CCTV?

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack covers media, politics, and sports at OutKick.


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  1. Bobby, I’m really liking your media coverage articles. Going forward, there should be no shortage of things to cover/expose in media. Looking forward to it. 👍🏼

    PS – ESPN blows.

    • The answer to your rhetorical question is (obviously) no. Here’s the deal though – the NBA’s response to the Daryl Morey tweet heard ’round the world (“Free Hong Kong”) was pathetic along with LeBron’s apologetic take on the 1st Amendment. This response was implemented to avoid further rocking of the boat with the CCP and to appease them. I’m a capitalist. I’m not mad at the NBA for wanting to conduct business with China to make a lot of money and continue to expand their brand. However, they have not been consistent on their “fight for justice”.

      The problem for most sports fans (who don’t fuck with the NBA anymore) is the glaring hypocrisy of the Association. They went all-in on BLM and politics, shitting on America in the process. The US is in no way perfect but compare to China. Go ahead and draw a venn diagram. They shit on the US as this awful place not only off the court but on it as well, all the while remaining silent on China and trying to win them back. China is currently breaking a deal on Hong Kong – “one country, two systems” is supposed to remain in effect for another 27 years. That’s coming to an end. Their is also corroborated proof that they are running concentration camps in western China on minority Muslims – slave labor, sterilization, etc. etc. Also, they fucked the rest of the world with corona. At best, it was extreme negligence and at worst they planned it. Either way they weren’t forthcoming with other nations and WHO about a bunch of shit.

      Though all of this, the NBA rating tanked to the worst numbers in years. People can argue as to why – Yes, some of it is due to cable cutting or due to the lackluster “bubble” but you can’t brings those up and ignore the politicization and the hypocrisy which has driven away at least a solid percentage of casual fans.

      As to Bobby’s point in the article, ESPN is hyping up the NBA in the offseason when college football and the NFL are in full-swing. This is the biggest personality on ESPN and one of their most popular programs. Talking NBA right now is like talking MLB – neither is on.

  2. Why are the Corona-bros not warning us of all the inevitable danger with regard to starting the College football season in just a few weeks the same way they were with the start of all other sports? Basketball is indoors, doesn’t have near the personal protective gear(helmets, gloves pads etc…) as football and requires a ton if physical interaction with other players.

  3. Yes, Rohan….they are. ESPN and LeChina James knows who butters their bread. They were given their calling orders by China to put their employees( ESPN and NBA Players) back in the limelight. I don’t think it’s any secret. The Left looks like they’re winning back the White House which means the keys to the car(The U.S) is being given back to China…..just how Obama wanted it and Hillary was suppose to keep driving it.

  4. R balldangler, or whatever your name is, just stop. You are attempting to sound informed when in fact you are just spewing nonsense.

    It is completely inexcusable what the NBA and illiterate idiots like LeBron James have done in bowing to China, there is no comparison to it at all with any American president’s handling of the Middle East, let alone trump, the one person who didn’t start any wars there.

    As with all discussion on the internet, I’m sure nothing I say will sway your worthless and uninformed opinion; hopefully you will grow into a mature adult capable of understanding history and your place in it before the Chinese tanks crush your spine. Might look up tianamen square before you defend China for anything.

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