Troll Hunter: A Guide To Getting Rid Of The Worst Sports Personalities

We’ve come into an age where sports can be ingested like a drug. With the technology everyone has and the countless apps, television programs, streaming services, and information that goes flying around, fanatics have access to an endless amount of content. The amount of ways to get your sports fix are limitless, yet there is a difference between quality personalities that deliver this information and those who grab headlines with just how brutal they are.

It’s one thing to be colorful, passionate, and humorous while using sports as a vehicle to attract viewers. It’s another to grab clicks based on how brutal your takes are and how awful your general demeanor is. Those like Stephen A. Smith, LaVar Ball, Mia Khalifa, and Skip Bayless are all hated by many, but still receive support because of the fact that we give these people the time of day. Instead of feeding into their bullsh*t, it’s time to stop giving them any sort of power by ignoring these personalities.

There are few things we as a nation can agree on for the majority. No matter where you come from or how you were raised, we can agree on things such as the fact that cookie dough is better than the cookie itself, that the second season of True Detective was a complete and utter disaster, and the fact that the personalities listed above suck.

Some may have redeeming qualities like LaVar’s love for his sons or Stephen A. Smith’s pronunciation of the word “weed,” but for the most part, every word that comes out of their mouth is complete trash.

Take LaVar Ball. He’s exploded onto the scene ever since his eldest son Lonzo Ball entered college basketball and changed our lives forever. You can not go a full week without hearing something he’s said. That’s not even a reference to hearing something he says in the news. You can probably actually hear him as long as you’re residing in North America because of how loud he is.

It doesn’t help that more people are paying attention to what he says. In the spirit of Halloween, Ball has the same personality as Pennywise the clown in the movie IT. The more people that fear Pennywise, the stronger he gets. The more people that pay attention to Ball, the louder he gets. Instead of that little kid saying “we’ll float too,” it’s just LaMelo saying “we’re big ballers too.”

We’ve heard it all from LaVar. He’s called Lonzo better than Curry, he’s said he’s better than Michael Jordan — who immediately replied that he can beat him on one leg which is true, and even said he would be a better tight end than Gronk.

No one on the planet has more confidence than that man. Instead of trying to ignore it and letting him just speak into oblivion until his jaw falls off, we’ve let his personality plague us all. Not only does he have his own television show Ball In The Family, but it’s already been renewed for a second season.

This isn’t the first sports personality to simply just scream stupid sh*t and hope it sticks. Stephen A. Smith has made a living out of that for years. Since he’s been doing it longer than LaVar Ball, it’s easier to remember ridiculous things he’s said or done. From feuding with Kevin Durant to saying women shouldn’t provoke men after the Ray Rice incident, you can go on for years about the things he’s said. Yet for some reason, people feed into it.

People have been watching First Take for years. They’ll tune in just to hear about the ignorant and completely off-base things he says, just to get a few laughs down the road.

Who actually likes to hear stuff from people like this? Sure, hearing sports personalities say something that’s completely wrong and then shoving it back in their face is one of the oldest pastimes in Twitter history and is something that happens on a regular basis for Smith.

At this point, you can’t help but realize this is just a tired act. It’s the same stuff over and over, where he just screams at the top of his lungs until something ridiculous enough fills his irrational quote quota for the day, and he can retreat back home to draw up another gameplan for tomorrow’s headline-grabbing adventures.

It clearly isn’t the athletes who are keeping Stephen A in business. We’ve seen stars go after him in the past, and JR Smith’s recent rant is just proof that it’s not something that’s going to end.

Stephen A’s original comments about JR Smith trying to remind people of Trayvon Martin just by wearing a team-designed hoodie are exactly what’s wrong with sports personalities. There clearly wasn’t a message being sent by JR, and it was just a reach by Stephen A.

That’s the kind of stuff that is said just to get attention. It’s not a secret by any means, as everyone understands why he’s doing it, but we don’t stop. Whether it’s Smith or a brand-new smut personality like Mia Khalifa, it’s all about views, views, and more views.

She may have gotten reamed out in a different way than she used to after this tweet, but it still did its job. In today’s sports media, any publicity is good publicity. There is no one on the planet that is a better example of that than Mia Khalifa.

She isn’t known for having insightful opinions, funny jokes or pretty much any redeemable quality at all. She’s known for being a former porn star, which for some reason drove athletes in her direction. She’d then put them on blast for all to see, and continue to gain attention from it.

She’s known for attacking stars on Twitter from time to time. It’s funny at the expense of people like Chad Kelly who decided to shoot his shot over and over even though Khalifa was doing the Mutombo finger wag every single time he decided to booze up and go on Twitter. Sure, it’s entertaining, but just like Stephen A’s brand of analysis, the charade got worn out.

Khalifa continued this by trying to “roast” people on Twitter. Whether it was huge swings and misses like her Hayward joke above or attacks on different personalities like Joel Embiid, Kelly Olynyk, and pretty much anybody who happens to be playing her Washington teams or Floria State. If things like that aren’t enough, there’s nothing like going full out Muhammad Ali in the Thrilla in Manilla and throwing haymakers at people who would do things as simple as taking a picture of her. 

What do things like this make her? Annoying? Attention hungry? Surprisingly effective in short-range combat? Yes, but that’s not how it’s viewed by the public. Instead, we support labeling her things like “entertaining” or “dangerous.”

Agent Zero coming back into our lives is good for the moment, but it’s not worth dealing with Khalifa. She’s a troll, and nothing more at this point. People like this have been around for years now, and her own show just proves that these kind of personalities are going to continue to pop up.

We may have some bright spots like SVP or John Buccigross and others across the sports platform, but for the most part, the ridiculous and obscene takes are the ones that grab attention.

While trolls surface from under their bridges just to ruin the sports media as we know it, the biggest of them all might be Skip Bayless. There’s no way to ignore the things he’s done in the past. He’s insinuated horrific things about former athletes, come up with quite possibly the worse takes of all time, and paved the way for the personalities that destroy our newsfeeds on a regular basis.

Hindsight is 20/20 and these clearly have not aged well, but how many times have you legitimately caught yourself and said, “Hmm Skip Bayless is actually making some really good points”? The correct answer is never. He spends his days bashing players in order to get under their skin and propel them to answer back. That’s the best for his brand. Instead of feeding into him and berating him on Twitter, just do the simple thing.

Stop watching his show.

Out of all of these personalities, it seems like people are finally getting it with Skip.

This is the only way to handle this issue. Just don’t watch the show. Saying things on Twitter isn’t going to hurt Skip. Ignoring him is going to eventually get him off the airwaves, or at least that’s the hope.

Skip may be too big of a personality at this point to take down. He’s grown too big to keep down, but that’s okay. That doesn’t mean the others have enough of a following just yet to stay afloat forever. Just imagine we lived in a world where none of these people bothered us on a daily basis.

We wouldn’t have to hear about Stephen A. Smith scream and go on rants anymore. LaVar Ball wouldn’t get national attention when he says his son could swim in the ocean and break the jaw of a great white shark.

When Mila Khalifa would battle athletes in her DMs or fans in the streets, we wouldn’t have to hear about it. So next time you see any of these personalities surfacing across the media, just turn it off. You’ll be doing the whole world a favor.