Both Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless returned to work yesterday after some time off. ESPN put their superstar on a yacht and had him galavanting all over the Hudson River. Bayless was inside before the sun came up delivering impassioned takes on Matt Rhule and Baker Mayfield.
Say what you want, but the man loves his routine, as evidenced by his commitment to doing cardio every single day since Seinfeld was still on the air. Part of that regularity is finding whatever it takes to use against LeBron James, 24-7 and 365. It's a schtick so transparent that one actually has to tip their cap at his ability to make it all work, even if it straight-up stinks.
Last night he ventured into different territory. Upon seeing Bronny James' lightning-quick rack attack and jam, Bayless informed the 17-year-old that LeBron would have dunked with the other hand.
This is obviously superweird. If we wanted to watch septuagenarians try to catch the attention of teens, well I guess we'd look anywhere else on the Internet. Personally if I am ever using social media to diminish the athletic achievements of someone more than 50 years my junior it will mean all the best-laid plans of being well-adjusted have gone horrifically wrong and I beg you to intervene.
It also doesn't make sense because it was a sick play, especially for someone who only recently became legally eligible to see an R-rated movie by himself. And predictably, there's been a decent amount of pushback.
This is totally understandable. But there's also something pretty funny about someone who is familiar with Bayless' work drawing a line in the sand. Like, if you didn't previously have some hang-ups about his LeBron obsessions ... were you paying any attention at all?
Make no mistake. It's lame and stupid and honestly sort of sad to see someone react to a teenager's dunk this way. It's definitely not normal, yet then again, who is still under the impression that Bayless is normal? That he's not playing a character that needs this fuel not only survive, but stay at the top of the trivial sports conversations blasted across the airwaves each and every day?
It's probably not great to laugh at principle. It's still a bit humorous to consider there were human beings on-board with this guy until he did his one thing just a bit differently.