At the end of each week, The Ringer’s ace blog team will convene a special counsel to determine which person(s) in the NBA world rose above the rest. This week’s pick is … C.J. McCollum!
We should’ve known after C.J. McCollum’s 2015-16 Most Improved Player campaign that the Portland guard is not afraid to flip the script. Of course the Lehigh journalism major would lead a rebellion of snubbed NBA players after both ESPN and Sports Illustrated dropped splashy player rankings this week. What better to right the wrongs—in this case, the wrongs being ESPN slotting Carmelo Anthony, a six-time All-NBA selection and 10-time All-Star, a spot below Lonzo Ball, who has, um, yet to play in an actual NBA game—than for the players to rank those who are ranking them?
We need to start ranking these weak ass journalist. With descriptions of their strengths, weaknesses and ability to make up "sources"— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) September 12, 2017
“We need to start ranking these weak ass journalist,” McCollum tweeted, giving me my next tattoo idea. He finished the tweet hitting slightly below the belt—or, for NBA writers, below the classic-fit Levi’s boot cuts—suggesting that his journalist rankings should be based on “strengths, weaknesses and ability to make up ‘sources.’”
Sources say that hurt some feelings, C.J.
I think it would be funny to rank journalist. Im sure some wouldn't care, but honestly I think a lot of players would enjoy it.— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) September 13, 2017
McCollum has a foot in both camps: The 25-year-old, who edited the Lehigh student paper and held a media internship, now hosts a weekly Sirius radio show and reps on the sideline. The man is more qualified for my job than I am. (Please don’t take my job, C.J.)
It's doesn't change how I feed my family but it's the principle. I think if the roles were reversed you would understand. I laugh every yr https://t.co/CRm6sm6mwL— CJ McCollum (@CJMcCollum) September 13, 2017
Better someone invested in the field to lead the rankings than, oh, I don’t know, this guy:
Runner-up: Carmelo Anthony
Melo also stood up for Melo after being ranked 64th, tweeting a candid, laughing-to-the-side picture on Twitter. He captioned it with a subtweet (“Can’t Make Sense Out of Non Sense”), a (inspirational?) a quote (“A certain darkness is needed to see the stars”), an @-ing of the ESPN account, and a hashtag. It was four tweets in one; it was Hoodie Melo, momentarily uncloaked.
Honorable (and Fashionable) Mention: Russell Westbrook
On Monday, Westbrook wore pink sweats on late-night television. On Wednesday, he reportedly signed a fat, 10-year extension with Jordan Brand. Nothing but respect for MY sartorialist.