You might hate Stephen A. Smith, Kirk Herbstreit, and Chris Fowler. You may really, really hate Lee Corso and Chris "Boomer" Berman.
Bill Simmons, Rick Reilly, and Jim Caple might make you want to kill indiscriminately, but you know what—they can all write.
Anyone can write a sports report. That's why ESPN have contracted it out to the Associated Press.
But not everyone can write a damned good feature or pop thoughts in your mind about a certain subject that makes you stop and go "whoa." The articles in "Outside The Lines" (the show I'm actually not a great fan of) are enough to make you believe in a God, or wonder why a God would let such tragedies happen.
The piece about Californian high school football playersis a thing of beauty, as it matches rich and poor and the turf. Guns and gangs are also prevelent in the writing—which is something to be appreciated. Remember, guns and gangs are also financial crisis proof—they'll keep on going when times are good or bad.
Oh, and Rick Reilly. If you haven't read his latest piece of work, then drop everything and do so. The great thing Rick Reilly says to wannabee sports writers is: "Make it original." That was his gift at SI.com.
It may not have won him many fans on the Jesus front but his work is generally great—week in, week out. I'm silently happy that they've kept him off-air for the time being (his "Riffs of Reilly" for SI seems to have been thankfully discontinued at ESPN), but he's still one of the best writers in the game.
That's enough about waxing lyrical about good writers. SI, Fox Sports and CBS all have their fair share of good journalists—and there's many-a-blog that I can direct you to that's pretty darned good—even on this site.
But the reason why I highlight Reilly and OTL—and I could also talk about a number of others—like SI's Gary Smith or Fox Sports' frankly hilarious Adam Schein (Schein's actually someone who's as good on paper as he is on the radio)—is that they write originally.
They all have one thing in common: they know how to be original.
In 2009, I hope we can all grasp that originality and make Bleacher Report the best site for the independent sports reader.