Zion Williamson is the #1 recruit in the country and is set to play for Duke University, but he has been rumored to be going to the NBA. ESPN’s Ethan Strauss claims that if Zion went to the Knicks, it would benefit ESPN because CAA is ESPN which means that CAA is the Knicks which means that the Knicks are ESPN.
Photo credit: Associated Press
Despite the fact that we’re always reading stories, delving deep into the news, and even guessing and projecting what may happen next, the reality is that there’s a lot going on in the NBA that never makes it to the surface.
We have no idea what teams, agents, players, executives, or media moguls are talking about in secret.
Not to sound worried, but they usually know what’s going to happen well before it hits the mainstream media. They just have too much clout and clout to get things done behind closed doors.
And, according to Ethan Strauss, the next major NBA move may be a result of that leverage, since the Zion Williamson to New York rumors have been circulating for quite some time, despite the fact that Zion isn’t a New York resident and didn’t attend college there.
According to Strauss, Zion’s signing with the Knicks would help ESPN since Creative Arts Agency represents the majority of the team’s important figures. CAA represents both Zion and Tom Thibodeau, as well as Knicks GM Leon Rose, who used to work there.
(House of Strauss transcript)
“Sports corruption has an effect on coverage, and I hate how much of the game behind the game is hidden from readers, even if I don’t consider it as seriously as corruption in our politics or financial institutions.” For example, the Creative Arts Agency (CAA) represents major media figures at ESPN NBA, which was done on purpose and with the delicacy and finesse of the Red Wedding. When you include in CAA’s power over the New York Knicks (GM Leon Rose is a former CAA superagent, and coach Tom Thibodeau is a CAA client), ESPN’s stories of Zion Williamson (a CAA client) showing interest in joining the Knicks take on a whole new meaning. The way it’s presented to the public is as simple reporting about a New Orleans rising talent who wants to play in New York. Because ESPN is CAA and CAA is ESPN, CAA is the Knicks, and the Knicks are ESPN, you’re not meant to know that ESPN wants this to happen. You’re not meant to realize that this plays a big role in why New Orleans is in such bad shape, gumbo and jazz music excepted. The NBA is governed by the agencies in various ways. The medium they employ to deliver their message makes the principles seem insignificant. So frequently, the real architect of a trade or free agency signing is left out of the narrative.
All of this was done on purpose. Even when and particularly when it’s clearly apparent that the two are on the same team, working together, you’re not supposed to know when a reporter and athlete he’s reporting about work for the same agency. I’ve previously claimed that for a handful of the best players, the shoe brand is their primary job. I could make the same case for celebrity reporters and their firms. And if that’s the case, it’s possible that the public isn’t receiving the information in the appropriate frame.
By no means is Strauss suggesting that Zion to the Knicks is a done deal; he’s just articulating and explaining how the game behind the game works.
You’d have to be pretty naïve to believe that the media has no impact on what happens in sports. Hopefully, Zion will do what he wants rather than what he is taught.