Hello Smash Fans, I hope you all are having a great day. Today, I wanted to talk about one of the most powerful forces in all of sports media and fandom. A force that rarely gets talked about it yet is entrenched in every topic that is discussed. A force that even affects how teams view players. That force is narrative. To demonstrate my point, I am going to run through 2 examples of how narratives have shaped a player’s perception in the media.
At the beginning of this past college football season, Justin Fields was considered the consensus number 2 quarterback in the draft, and it wasn’t even close. However, throughout the season there has been a shift, a shift that has moved Justin Fields from the number 2 quarterback to potentially the number 5 quarterback in the draft. This all happened despite the fact that Justin Fields had a great season, he killed it at his pro day, and he scored 130 on his AIQ (athleticism IQ) test. A test score that is the best in the test’s history. Furthermore, Fields ran a 4.4 40 yard dash, the fastest time for a quarterback in nearly 10 years. Despite all of this, there are still reports of him falling all the way to the bottom of the top 10. How is this possible? The answer is narrative. There has been story after story that has shifted the narrative about Justin Fields from a lock of a number 2 or number 3 overall pick, to a player who has some major questions about his intangibles. These questions making his draft stock slowly and steadily decline. However, if we look at the facts, there doesn’t seem to be any concrete reason that his intangibles should be in question. There were a few reports about his character, but nothing other than that. It really has just been the narrative that has shifted on Fields and has forced his draft stock to fall.
The man that was once described as Steph Curry with a 40 inch vertical has not quite lived up to the hype since beginning his career in 2017. However, now in his 4th year in the league, Lonzo is averaging career highs in points, field goal percentage, 3 point percentage, and free throw percentage, in a team that is not really suited for him, with a coach that has no idea what he is doing, in a system that holds him back in a major way. These mark improvements have been publicized by a few, but for the most part, he has flowed under the radar. Most people still see Lonzo Ball as that kid who had the ugliest jumper that anyone has ever seen. They don’t see Lonzo for who he is. A great defender, who has a constantly improving offensive game, is extremely unselfish on the court, has great vision in the open court, and the potential of a future star. This false narrative of Lonzo Ball is probably going to stick until Lozo becomes an all-star or when the Pelicans start to win. All of this is possible because of the narrative that surrounds him. If it wasn’t for the power that narrative has, Lonzo would be considered as one of the more promising young players in the league because that is what the facts warrant. However, that is never going to happen because the narrative holds Lonzo in his rookie form.
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