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Attention Sports Fans: Get Ready To Hate Brandon Jennings

Alex McVeighSenior Analyst INovember 28, 2009

CHICAGO - NOVEMBER 03: Head coach Scott Skiles of the Milwaukee Bucks gives instructions to Brandon Jennings #3 during a game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on November 3, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Bucks 83-81. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Everybody loves a good story. The problem with a good story in these days of the 24-hour news cycle, is that a good story quickly becomes an old story, beaten to death by countless talking heads for hours, days, weeks.

Welcome to this world, Brandon Jennings. After getting ripped by the "experts" in the pre-draft conversations for A) Not being mature enough; B) Not having a good jump shot; and C) not being a good leader, it has taken him less than five months to become the new darling child of sports media everywhere.

And here's the rub: Brandon Jennings is a blast to watch, he is bringing back basketball in Milwaukee, and he is the most exciting rookie we've seen splash onto the scene in a long time.

Which is why it's so frustrating that he's being shoved down our throats with such alarming intensity already.

After his 55-point explosion (which is better than the hype, believe you me, I saw it live, and I was reduced to a slack-jawed yokel for most of the third quarter), it seems media outlets, particularly ESPN (always known for restraint when it comes to storylines), cannot get enough of shoving it down our throats.

We've already seen the stories for weeks populating ESPN.com, and today, it rose to a fever pitch. I logged onto ESPN.com's NBA section to see what I missed while I was in my gravy-induced coma.

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Brandon Jennings is the picture on front, due to his clash with Kevin Durant and the Thunder, which is the second game of the ESPN double-header.

Side note: That was the final sign that the hype is in high-gear. How often does ESPN change its programming like that, but they bumped Phoenix-Minnesota (not that I was all that upset about missing that one) for Bucks-Thunder.

Of the five headlines on the front graphic, there's the story about the Thunder-Bucks preview.

Next, there's a J.A. Adande piece about how Allen Iverson is passing the buck onto Brandon Jennings.

Really? That's just ridiculous. I know Jennings has been impressive, but he has played in 14 NBA games. Let's hold off all this talk about passing torches, until maybe he plays a half-season, fellas.

It speaks to the media's obsession with instantly categorizing anything new as the "next (fill in the blank)."

They've been looking for the next Jordan since 1998. They've been looking for the next Isiah, the next Magic, the next Shaq, and anyone else who makes an impression.

And not only does it take away from the person who you are now trying to replace, all it does it set up expectations for that person to fail, unless they manage to climb the mountain that lies before them.

Take people like Jerry Stackhouse or Vince Carter. Good, sometimes great players, who played the game well, and had a fair amount of success.

But since they were athletic shooting guards who went to UNC, they were thought of as the next Jordan. And they're looked down upon for not fulfilling that destiny, a destiny that they didn't ask to be a part of.

Jennings shouldn't be compared to Iverson; they're two different players. Sure, they could put the ball in the basket, but Jennings doesn't have that cold fire behind his eyes that characterized AI while he was taking the league by storm in his early years.

AI doesn't have Jennings' passing skills, or rebounding skills, and he also doesn't seem to have the sense of team and the sense of the moment that Brandon Jennings has.

Brandon Jennings has been more than open about his flaws, and his mistakes, and he addresses them in a very mature manner, always vowing to fix them.

The next article on the NBA front page was titled, "Brandon Jennings for MVP."

My jaw dropped at that one too, and not in a good way. Brandon Jennings as a serious MVP candidate? For real?

Of course, you click on the page, and Brandon Jennings is ranked nine out of 10 on the list, which is probably fair, but the fact that they're blaring "Brandon Jennings for MVP" to stir up that hype machine is very annoying.

Side note: It's the same thing ESPN did when they ran a headline that Jim Kelly says Tim Tebow would be perfect for the Bills. All Kelly said in the article was that the Bills need to look at the top three quarterbacks in the draft, whether it's Tebow or someone else. That's it. Talk about a misleading headline.

The next link was for the Weekend Dime, which promised to chronicle all the buzz on Jennings.

As if we hadn't seen enough buzz already.

Now, I get that they're trying to embrace a young star, but they are really just beating it into the ground, and in record time.

And I don't know about you, but I start to resent athletes (and people, for that matter) who are overexposed. No matter how I might feel about them personally, I just get sick of hearing about them, and that in turn causes me to resent the person themselves, because it's their face plastered across all the stories.

And it's not Brandon Jennings' fault. Hell, he's just playing amazing basketball and trying to help his team win.

That's why its so frustrating to see people blown up so quickly, and now, should Jennings and the Bucks hit a skid, or Jennings has a few sub-par games, then we get to see all the stories about how Brandon was all hype, about how he was a flash in the pan, about how overrated he became.

And all he does is play basketball every day, has a good game, has a bad game.

That's why I titled this article the way I did. Because it seems like it's going to be a matter of time before I'm sick of hearing about Brandon Jennings.

But I want to watch him play, I want to learn about who he is and how he became the player he is, I just don't care about who he is the "next" of and any of that other crap.

The real catch-22? The better he is, the more sports fans (myself included) want to watch him, and the more the hype gets overblown until he cannot possibly live up to expectations.

It's a vicious cycle, but it seems like it's the only one we have now.

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