9/13/07

So Rich a Stream of Speech


It might seem a bit silly to write consecutive posts on Marco Belinelli when I haven't even watched him play a full game in more than two months, but I couldn't let this one go: Marco has started writing for nba.com about his experience in Eurobasket 2007 (thanks to this GSoM diary for the link). The preamble to his post makes it unclear if this will be a regular or one-time gig, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to break down a post from one of my favorite players in the league.

When analyzing an athlete's blog, I think there are two important questions to ask: 1) Is it any good? and 2) Did he actually write it? In Marco's case, the first question is very easy to answer, but the second could create one of the great debates of our time. Let's take a closer look.

Is it any good?
No, it's actually pretty awful. Gilbert Arenas's blog is obviously the gold standard for athlete blogs, and this one doesn't come close. As much as I like Gil's insane comments on issues such as his love of Tay Zonday, it's the insight into the experience of being a high-level basketball player, like his recent bit about trash-talking with Gary Payton, that make his blog a must-read instead of a pleasant diversion. Marco's work has none of these qualities. As far as I can tell, he says the following things: the summer has been busy, the American and European styles of basketball are different, Europeans take pride in playing for their countries, good NBA players play in the European Championships, his most memorable basketball moment was dropping 25 on Team USA last summer, and Italy has not played very well this tournament. Not exactly anything I couldn't figure out from box scores, prolonged exposure to Bay Area news outlets, and common sense.

Of course, that doesn't mean I won't read everything he posts. There's a lot to be said for quality, but who wouldn't want to read something from a guy this cool?


Did he actually write it?
My first instinct with an athlete's blog is to assume that a) someone wrote it for him or b) he dictated it to a stenographer. In this case, it's important to note that Marco's blog is riddled with grammatical and stylistic errors, including (but not limited to) missing articles ("This has been very busy summer for me"), verb tense inconsistencies ("That game changed my life because I score 25 points"), circular arguments ("Nowitzki is incredible, now especially, because he is MVP of the NBA."), and general Eurospeak ("that is a game I remember especially").



Given that Marco doesn't speak English very well, it seems entirely plausible that he wrote this without editorial input. I don't have any idea why the league's website editors would allow an ESL student to write without help, but the evidence at hand certainly indicates that there is a slight possibility that this is the case. There's also a chance that Marco dictated it to a typist, which would be in keeping with what we know about Arenas's blog.

However, I find it extremely hard to believe that someone working as a transcriber for nba.com (someone who's presumably interested in writing as a career) could refrain from making simple grammatical changes such as putting verbs into the correct form. So, we have a situation in which a lack of editorial oversight seems highly unlikely due to the sheer stupidity of the decision and a stenographer probably didn't transcribe Marco's words due to the easily correctable grammatical errors throughout his entry.


Given this dilemma, I would like to float out another possibility: nba.com had an intern fabricate a Marco Belinelli blog post. Imagine, for a second, that an intern interviewed Marco about his time at Eurobasket. That would seem to jive with the post's content -- the information is so bland that only a corporate entity could have forced Marco into saying it. (Once again, this suggestion seems to refute the possibility that no editors looked at the post.) Using that information, the intern then set about writing the post, keeping in mind that it had to look like it was written by a 21-year-old Italian shooting guard with remedial English skills. Thus, we get a post with glaring errors, but not too many in every sentence -- that would arouse suspicion.

If this is the case, then I think we can assume that nba.com has a genius intern working for them. It takes great skill to create a poor post like Marco's without having it seem like a parody. Work of this quality demands public recognition.

4 comments:

Carter Blanchard said...

Making fun of a little kid for trying to write. Are you psycho? Do you not have a soul?

Also, I'm torn between thinking that a Bon Jovi reference is exactly what a 21-year-old Italian shooting guard would do, and thinking that it's exactly what an nba.com intern would think a 21-year-old Italian shooting guard would do.

Jason said...

I'll bet aging Jersey rockers who change their name to sound less Italian are huge in Italy.

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