Sports Column: The Problem with Hype

By Charles Jardine
Assistant Editor

If you are a sports fan of any capacity, you are familiar with the word hype. It is a term that can be loosely defined as the emphasizing of one’s performance or potential.  

It is a word that has become ever more prevalent in broadcasting these days and is simultaneously coming with the wave of next-generation athletes across many sports. 

The days of watching Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers are pretty much over, and in the NBA the Curry and Lebron eras are nearing and end.  

With so many greats having just left the sport and many more about to leave the sport, it is now time for the new kids on the block to show what they’re made of.  

Yet, many of these kids aren’t getting a chance to make a name for themselves because their careers have already been told to them by the hype that surrounds their name.  

For example, this year in the NBA draft Victor Wembanyama is being touted as the “never before seen prospect”, “the man who has more potential than Lebron” and a “sure changer of the game.” 

But what does this do for the athlete, especially the young athlete? It means that they don’t have the desire to prove themselves because people have already envisioned their success. 

When Kobe Bryant, one of the all-time greats, came to the league he was a sponge. Absorbing all the information he could and practicing as much as possible to get to that level of “great.” 

Likewise, Tom Brady was the 199 draft pick in the sixth round of the 2000 NFL draft and had to work tirelessly to get to the position he was in. 

Both these players came to the league looking to prove something, that they were the best. What helped them get there? People telling them that other people were the best. 

Over the past few years, there have been many players that were hyped up, but then turned out to be “busts” or not great players like Markelle Fultz, Greg Oden and Mitchell Trubisky.  

In my own experience as an athlete, I have performed my best not when people told me I can but when someone told me that I couldn’t. 

 I think this is still true in sports today. In 2016 the Cleveland Cavaliers came back after being down 3-1 and in the same year the Chicago Cubs came back from a 3-1 deficit. This was made possible largely due to people telling them that they couldn’t. 

It is when athletes are backed into a corner that they become the best versions of themselves. 

When players are given the chance to prove themselves they will become better athletes and have better careers. 

Kobe didn’t become great because he was told he would be great. Tom Brady wasn’t great because he had so much natural talent.  

They, with all other hall-of-fame athletes worked for their greatness.  

The problem with hype is that it is temporary. It isn’t often backed by many facts and seems to hurt players more than it benefits them.