Narratives in sports

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Everyone has their pet peeves. Whether it be that you hate nails on a chalkboard, a fork on a plate, or just that annoying noise your significant other makes when ¬†they sleep, we all have them. For me, one of the most annoying things in sports are the narratives that come along with it, mostly because they’re wrong.

Now, the word narrative is defined as a story or account of events, experiences, or the like, whether true or fictitious. (Emphasis added)

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So technically speaking, narratives in sports don’t even have to be true to be a narrative, but the issue I have with them is that people begin to accept the narrative as fact. “Kobe Bryant is so clutch!” is a common narrative, because every basketball fan remembers multiple games that Kobe hit the game winning jump shot as time expired. Now, what people don’t remember as frequently, regardless of what they’ll tell you, is how often he missed those shots. Conversely, people love to talk about how poor LeBron James is in clutch situations, and that’s entirely based on his final playoff series in Cleveland in 2010 and his poor finals performance in 2011. Based on the narrative, at the end of a close game you would undoubtedly choose Kobe taking the final shot over LeBron, right? Well, the facts don’t exactly match up to that belief. Here’s a thorough study that was done by, and has been updated through May of 2012. The study only covers game-tying/game-winning shots, and while Kobe has taken considerably more shots, LeBron has been successful at a far higher rate. Read more here…

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