Why Are There So Many Dumb Sports Opinions Out There?

Mark HauserCorrespondent IIMay 30, 2009

I am sure that if you or I were the hosts of a show like Pardon the Interruption or a morning radio sports talk show—where we spewing out over 20 sports opinions almost every day—we would eventually cough up a clunker. 

By that, I mean an opinion where either we later wanted to take it back, or one in which the majority of intelligent and knowledgeable sports fans think is dumb.  I qualified that because I do not care (nor do I think you do) what many sports fans think because, quite frankly, there are a lot of really dumb opinions out there. 

That being said, the why of this fact is what interests me.

In movies, there is no universal agreement as to what makes a great movie; one person’s one could be anther person’s 10 if they were both rating the movie. In sports, there is some agreement as to what makes an athlete or team great, and in addition, there are contests where the score is kept to determine the winner. 

You would think that there would be some agreement as to whom or which team is the best at any given time or “all time.” No such luck in sports where opinions are all over the place.

For example, one sports fan recently (May 25, '09) wrote that LeBron James is only the fifth or sixth best player in the NBA.  I nearly fell out of my seat. 

If I took a survey of 1000 of the most qualified basketball experts in the world (including current NBA players and coaches), I am confident LeBron would come in first and he would be no lower than third or fourth on anyone’s ballot (I would put him first followed very closely by Kobe). 

Hence, to me, this is clearly a dumb and obviously bias opinion.

Here is another example: Some basketball fans (mostly delusional young Laker fans) think that Kobe Byrant has ALREADY established himself as the greatest basketball player of all time.

This is silly for lack of a better word (come back to me if he wins another three championships).  A Celtic fan thinks that Kobe is no better than Clyde Drexler.  This is even sillier. 

Drexler was a great player, but I am fairly certain that if we polled 1000 basketball historians (again including numerous present and former players and coaches), that he would not make the top 25 players of all time; however, he would still clearly still make the top 50 (in fact, he did 13 years ago). 

My guess is that he would place in the 35-40 range.  Now, Kobe cannot be the best player and the 40th best player of all time at the same time.  One of these opinions, OK, both of these opinions are dumb and obviously bias.

Since you asked, I would place Kobe eighth (I am willing to place him higher once his career is over because I feel he will win at least one more championship with the current Lakers (i.e., without Shaq), and I feel that anyone spewing out an opinion placing him higher than second and lower than 15th lacks basketball knowledge and objectivity.

(And yes, I have Michael Jordan No. 1—and if you don’t—you are just plain wrong.)

And I think we just hit the two of the keys as to what makes a reasonable sports opinion—knowledge and objectivity.  The third is having some intelligence.  The fourth is not trying to prove that you are smarter than everyone else by carving out a unique or extreme opinion. 

I think you need all four of these factors to have a good sports opinion and unfortunately, as my father used to say about common sense, the combination of these of these factors is “not all that common.” 

And since common sense is always helpful to an opinion, we now have our five elements to avoiding a dumb sports opinion:  1. Adequate knowledge on the subject; 2. Objectivity (no personal bias); 3. (some) Intelligence; 4. Not trying to show the rest of the world that you are the smartest sports fan in the world by having an extreme opinion; and 5. Common sense.  Having all five elements ALL the time is not as easy as it looks.

Hence, all sports fan’s mission, should they decide to accept it, is to check that list before they formulate a sport’s opinion, because quite frankly, you and I are both tired of constantly hearing and reading all those dumb and silly sports opinions.  And we mean that in the nicest and least arrogant way possible (lol).