ESPN's Bobby Marks, Kevin Pelton and Mike Schmitz combined forces to rank the top 25 NBA players under the age of 25 based on future potential. As is the case when any list is made, people had problems with it. It is very important to accurately assign the proper potential value to two dozen-plus players despite the existence of an entirely subjective reality. If lists differ — and they always do — from person to person, there must be a swift and ferocious debate to decide who is most right about this very real list that has a real impact in real life.
The trio's work product was completely raked over the coals yesterday by Stephen A. Smith, who went so far as to suggest the list sullies ESPN's credibility and drug-testing is in order. This probably felt great for those responsible for presenting the effort on ESPN+ and who likely make about 1/80th of Smith's salary. Who wouldn't want that, after all?
So we already knew this was primo content. The type that you can turn into millions if you can move it before the heat gets too hot. But did we know it was, like, 99 percent pure? The kind of content where everyone who samples it will only want more and more will never be enough?
Because after seeing it as the building blocks for a segment on Fox Sports' Undisputed today, we've seen enough. This list is unstoppable. Thank goodness it seems to have a proclivity toward harmlessness. The list in the wrong hands could have dire consequences.
Anyway, Skip Bayless said Zion Williamson is ahead of Luka Doncic as a player right now, which you can add to the extensive folder of things he's said that simply cannot be serious.
All jokes aside, this is an instructive exercise in seeing the power of creating such content. Something about this very specific formulation has made it catnip for the biggest, boldest voices in sports who need to go on the record fixing it. And that's all a creator can every hope for.
Looking forward to the NFL version and the subsequent fallout with great anticipation.