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Are Professional Athletes The Next Stars of Reality TV?

Dwight Howard

The Los Angeles Lakers, in their fevered-pitch to keep superstar NBA center Dwight Howard, apparently included a TV show in their offer. It is now rumored that the Houston Rockets followed suit and included a TV show in their pitch as well. Is this what professional contract negotiations have come to? Should Heat fans start expecting to see LeBron on his own show? Will Knick fans see Carmelo Anthony purse-shopping with his wife, cleaning out the pool, or whatever else goes on in these reality shows?

Maybe not now, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of this in the future. We are seeing small-market teams struggle to land and keep superstars, because stars want to be in the biggest markets with the most exposure. In this day and age, where pro athletes have achieved rock-star-status, with social media pushing the extent of exposure even further, perhaps this type of business pitch makes sense.

Reality TV and sports have a complicated history with a few ups, and many downs. To sum it up in an over-used cliché, it has been a case of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly:

The Good – 24/7

24/7 is HBO’s behind-the-scenes look at boxers and events leading up to a big fight. The HBO series has become the official prelude to big fights for many boxing fans out there. It all started with a 4-part special before the highly anticipated Floyd Mayweather vs. Oscar De La Hoya bout on May 5, 2007. In a four episode series, viewers watched the boxers train and got glimpses into everyday life of the superstar brawlers. The series launched right into riveting entertainment and drama when De La Hoya began negotiating with Mayweather’s father to be his trainer. Floyd Mayweather Sr. had been De La Hoya’s trainer since 2001, but demanded extra compensation to help fight against his own son. De La Hoya turned him down and Mayweather Sr. started showing up at his son’s training camp, before making a dramatic exit when he felt he was being disrespected by his son. In terms of drama, excitement, and entertainment, 24/7 has it all.

The Bad – What Would Ryan Lochte Do?
What Would Ryan Lochte Do?

For anyone that has had to watch more than 5 seconds of What Would Ryan Lochte Do? let me offer you my deepest condolences. It is highly likely that your I.Q. has dropped significantly if you have been subjected to more than one dose of that train wreck. The show combines an undeserved ego reminiscent of the Jersey Shore, with the mindlessness of any Kardashian show, with just a pinch of the audacious falsity of Real Housewives. The series largely consist of Lochte looking for girls and parties, becoming deeply confused, and looking for girls and parties.

The Ugly – Khloe & Lamar

Khloe & Lamar

In the bottomless cesspool that is the empire of the Kardashians, lies Lamar Odom’s broken career. The former NBA Sixth Man of the Year has seen his averages cut in half the last 2 years. After being designated for the D-League, Lamar was basically cut from the Dallas Mavericks. He was picked up the next season by the Clippers, but averaged a meager 4 points per game. Now, I am not saying that his fall from grace was Khloe’s fault … but the descent going from Sixth Man of the Year on a defending NBA champion team to mopping up garbage minutes at the end of the bench for teams that couldn’t make it out of the first round had to start somewhere. Admittedly I have never watched the show, but somehow I am okay with that.

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Aaron is a writer with an affinity for all things sportsball. When he is not watching sports, he is watching cartoons. When he is not watching sports or cartoons, he is probably writing...or missing.

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