Monday, January 31, 2011
The Basketball Jones 5th Anniversary
On Friday January 21, The Basketball Jones celebrated their fifth anniversary with a live show at the El Mocambo. The live show had its moments of sheer hilarity and utter dysfunction as J.E. Skeets and Tas Melas sang renditions of their favourite basketball-related songs and highlighted the best moments in the show’s history. The live portion culminated with a roast of the pair as Trey Kerby, Jason Doyle and Matt Osten took turns roasting Skeets and Melas. There was even time for a Matt Bonner clarinet performance.
The Basketball Jones began in 2006 as a weekly program aimed at satirizing the National Basketball Association. Skeets had already been an amateur blogger with Deadspin and joined forces with his college friend Melas to take advantage of the new medium at the time: podcasting. The show decided not to focus so much on the analytical “boring” part of basketball and instead helped to pioneer the “fan perspective” of the game.
The Basketball Jones separated themselves from conventional media outlets through a multitude of innovative measures. Every show there is a “Wanker of the Week”, where they discuss a player, coach or individual affiliated with the NBA that has committed a crucial mistake. They also debate relevant and often irrelevant issues affecting the league in their lightning round debate segment “One-on-one.” Realizing that reporters affiliated with newspapers and television stations often have hidden agendas, the Jones’ ability to raise the stature of the NBA-blogger is something that should not go unnoticed. Instead of bringing in “experts” from traditional media outlets, the Jones’ guests were often amateur bloggers deemed to be experts on their respective teams.
The popularity of the program continued to grow and eventually dedicated fans began to complain about the quality of the audio and video in their podcasts. Skeets had been hired by Yahoo Sports to run their basketball blog that he titled “Ball Don’t Lie”, and their shows began to gain more exposure there. Eventually the show was picked up by The Score and the Jones have had their own weekly television show for the past year.
The success of the show can be attributed to the fact that Skeets and Melas at the end of the day are simply basketball fans. After their live show, they made their way around the party thanking every person for showing up and debating current issues such as whether or not Melo was going to be traded anytime soon. I had the opportunity to chat with Skeets for a couple of minutes about my own foray into the world of sports journalism. By the end of our conversation I had no doubts about the reason for the show’s popularity.
After proving that a satirical basketball talk show can successfully transition from a podcast to television, one thing is clear; The Basketball Jones are definitely not “Like a Bosh.”