Sports and Journalism
Former NBA star Stephon Marbury made history last weekend as he became the embodiment of what critics of new media have foreshadowed for quite some time. The former NBA point guard created his own rendition of the Truman show, utilizing U-Stream to provide a live view of his life for 24 hours straight. UStream is a video streaming platform which allows those with cameras to broadcast live video to a public audience. From 6 a.m. on Friday morning, to 6 a.m. on Saturday, Marbury spent an entire day entertaining questions and viewers by simply being himself. I watched at times uncomfortably at what some journalists are now clamoring to put a stop to. (Scoop Jackson of ESPN)
For better or worse, Marbury has the ultimate control of which part of his character will be placed in the spotlight. The 32-year-old from Coney Island, New York, has always been an enigmatic character, somewhere in between the likes of Muhammad Ali and George Bush when it comes to providing memorable quotes. From declaring that he was the best point guard in the NBA, to calling himself an “escapegoat” for his team’s falters, the 14 year NBA veteran has certainly never had a problem attracting the attention of the media. Nevertheless, the mere fact that he has an opportunity to interact with fans on such an intimate level through Ustream is really indicative as to how far technology has come. It eliminates the control of journalists to characterize a player or a person.
The sports world is engulfed by irrationality. Fans will develop strong feelings of hate or love for people they really have no idea about. For years it was the job of journalists to provide insight on what type of people these athletes are. In many of my journalism classes we discuss whether technology will ever entirely replace the journalist’s role as middle man. If Marbury’s stream is any indication, it appears, at least in the sports world, it will do so sooner rather than later. Marbury eliminated the middle man, thereby allowing information to flow without any interference, from the source to the public. With this newly acquired access ample opportunities for not only athletes, but public figures to get their ideas out to the world.