As NBA front-office executives made high-pressure decisions in Thursday’s draft, another compelling drama unfolded in front of fans on social media. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania defied a reported request by the league to restrict real-time online coverage of the draft.
The NBA asked its media partners including ESPN, Turner Sports and Yahoo not to tweet draft picks ahead of the televised broadcast, according to the media website Awful Announcing. The NFL has pushed a similar policy in recent years to prevent Twitter and other sites from undercutting TV coverage.
Despite the request, Wojnarowski and Charania went ahead with their reporting, routinely breaking news about the next pick before TV could keep up. They kept quiet for the first few picks, but both jumped in at No. 4 after Marc Stein of the New York Times reported the first three selections ahead of the broadcast coverage.
Wojnarowski cleverly tried to find loopholes as he reported each pick. Rather than directly announcing each selection, he said teams were “focused on,” “zeroing in on,” or “fixated on” specific players.
“Source: Utah Jazz have no plans to pass on Grayson Allen with the 21st pick,” Wojnarowski tweeted with another spoiler alert.
Others included: “Source: The Lakers are unlikely to resist Mo Wagner with the 25th pick,” and, “Source: Boston is tantalized by Robert Williams with the 27th pick.”
The reaction online was overwhelmingly positive as Wojnarowski, who has more than 2 million Twitter followers, appeared to challenge authority.
Charania was more direct in naming the next pick. Sometimes, only a few seconds separated his scoops from Wojnarowski’s.
—Field Level Media