They laughed at ESPN’s full week of live Miami Heat training camp coverage, but the NBA’s newest celebrity juggernaut was not the only squad just warming up down in Florida. The network just announced a new special section of their website devoted entirely to one basketball team.”The Heat Index,” launching next Monday, will provide exhaustive, never-ending blanket coverage of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and their fellow collection of alley-ooping cronies. The network promises an unceasing barrage of Heat minutia: breaking news,; coverage of every practice; “constantly updated aggregation”; an automated, daily forecast of how many games the Heat will win; historical stat comparisons; South Beach nightlife reports; and “contributions from athletes and celebrities who live in South Florida and are regulars at Heat games.” Oh, joy.
It’s clear that interest in LeBron and Wade and their drive for immortality is at an unprecedented level, but the Worldwide Leader’s devotion to James and his every manoeuvre has gone from comprehensive to shameless. Yes, this is the biggest ongoing sports story in a long while, but should a supposedly objective news gathering outfit devoted itself so slavishly to just one highly marketable cash cow? Are fans of other NBA teams supposed to believe their squads won’t be getting short shrift this season? Or worse, find themselves on the wrong end of Miami-based favoritism?
Finally, in yet another blow to the psyche of Cleveland sports, the network has also hired away Brian Windhorst to be its main contributor to the site. (And to presumably supplement their TV coverage as well.) The Cavaliers’ reporter for the Cleveland Plain-Dealer has become one of the best and most respected beat writers in the business. Of course, he built that reputation while covering the entirety of LeBron James career and now Windhorst will join him in taking his talents away from the Cavaliers and toward South Beach. Sorry, Ohio.
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