Prominent NBA commentator, Kevin O’Connor, has recently called out the TNT network for its glaring omission of Nikola Jokic from their opening night poster, sparking a flurry of reactions across the sports community.
Despite the Denver Nuggets gearing up for an exhilarating season opener against the LA Lakers on Tuesday, October 24, the reigning MVP, Jokic, was conspicuously absent from TNT’s promotional material. The network instead chose to spotlight Jayson Tatum and the Boston Celtics, who are set to commence their season against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, October 25.
This questionable decision has not gone unnoticed, with O'Connor openly criticizing TNT for their apparent lack of research and what some might interpret as a blatant disrespect towards the defending champions.
Jokic Snub Controversy
“Really strange Jokic isn’t featured on this graphic.
The Celtics aren’t even playing on Tuesday!” O’Connor exclaimed, adding fuel to the ongoing debate surrounding media coverage in the NBA. This incident serves as a stark reminder of last season, when the Denver Nuggets expressed their dissatisfaction with the media’s tendency to prioritize coverage of bigger names and teams.
This scenario is made all the more ironic considering former NBA star and current Turner analyst, Charles Barkley, previously chastised ESPN for their apparent bias towards the Lakers and LeBron James. Now, with Jokic and the Nuggets preparing for a headline-grabbing showdown with the Lakers at Ball Arena, TNT’s decision to leave the Serbian star out of their graphic has not gone unnoticed.
The issue of media coverage was previously highlighted by Nuggets’ coach, Michael Malone, during last season's Western Conference Finals against the Lakers. Malone did not hold back in his critique, emphasizing the lack of attention given to Jokic’s historic performance and the skewed narrative favoring the Lakers.
“The national narrative was all about the Lakers making adjustments after Game 1. But what about Nikola’s triple-double? What about the Nuggets?” Malone questioned, spotlighting the disparity in coverage.
It appears this pattern of unequal media attention continues, as TNT’s opening night title card noticeably lacks the presence of Nikola Jokic, despite his undeniable impact on the game and his team. This incident certainly raises questions about the nature of sports media coverage, and whether certain stars and teams are unfairly favored over others.