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Sports Writers Could Ditch the ‘Clown Questions’ and Do Better When it Comes to Press Conferences

Nicole Kraft, professor of sports journalism at The Ohio State University, writing for The Conversation…

LeBron James had enough.

During the press conference after Game 1 of the 2018 NBA finals, James was questioned repeatedly by ESPN’s Mark Schwartz about the mental state of teammate J.R. Smith, whose final-seconds rebounding blunder contributed to a Cleveland Cavaliers overtime loss.

Over 70 seconds and four questions, Schwartz probed for the inner workings of Smith’s mind, before James finally stood up, put on sunglasses, grabbed his briefcase and walked out through the gathered press corps.

He uttered a single sentence: “Be better tomorrow.”

It was not the first verbal tangle between reporter and sports star, and it will not be the last. Recently tennis star Naomi Osaka left the French Open for mental health issues exacerbated, she said, by facing questions at the tournament-required press conferences.

These examples represent a fundamental struggle between athletes and those who cover them: interviews contested in a press room forum that feel more like a mixed-martial arts octagon than Oprah’s couch.

For the rest, click here.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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