New York Giants wideout Odell Beckham Jr. was left “speechless” by ESPN’s fantasy football auction draft segment that the network later apologized for. But Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant had more than one word for the sketch that sparked outrage because some people likened it to a slave auction.
“Auction drafts are a common part of fantasy football,” ESPN said in a statement to USA TODAY Sports, “and ESPN’s segments replicated an auction draft with a diverse slate of top professional football players. Without that context, we understand the optics could be portrayed as offensive, and we apologize.”
So while daily fantasy sports can be a great fan engagement tool, it’s not the best second-screen experience to play while trying to just relax and watch one game on TV. The NBA has realized this, and is launching a new mobile fantasy game called NBA InPlay. The game will be synchronized to live TV broadcasts in real-time, meaning you literally play live on your phone while watching an NBA Game. Here are the rules: Before a game starts you select one of the two teams competing. Then you pick four players – one per each quarter that you think will do particularly well that quarter.
“The funny thing is, I never had any interest in the NBA,” Adam Schefter told King. “Growing up I did. Growing up, I loved watching the Knicks and Bernard King, and I would listen to Marv Albert in my room on the radio, ’cause nobody’s better at doing a game than Marv Albert. But literally from the time I was a freshman in college, I lost track, forgot and couldn’t care less about the NBA. And then — I don’t even know how all this started — but a couple of years ago, I played these $3 DraftKings games, like, just started doing it.” And it became something of an obsession.
“I didn’t know a single player, but then you start studying the statistics like a stock chart almost, and you start programming your life. I did it the first night — it was right after the Super Bowl a couple years ago — my wife walked into our bedroom and I had an NBA game on. She looked at me kind of funny. The second night, she walks in the bedroom and looks at me kind of funny, an NBA game on. The third night, she walked in and looked at me like I had started smoking cigarettes. She said, ‘Since when do you watch basketball games?’ And I started watching when I started playing some of these daily fantasy games, and I love it. I kid around with some of our producers, there’s one guy at ESPN we make out lineups every day together. I say: ‘This is my cigarette break. I take a five-minute break and I fill out my NBA DFS $3 lineup.” It’s literally become one of my biggest hobbies. . . . I love it.
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Mark Cuban: “So let’s talk about what it means to be a game of skill because it’s something that’s misunderstood, and it’s really quite simple. I’ll use my own experience owning the Dallas Mavericks to make the point. Donnie Nelson and my team manage the Mavericks in the same way that most sophisticated people play daily fantasy sports — they collect the data, analyze it and make predictions about what it means. We succeed in the same way fantasy players succeed on daily fantasy sports sites — by making accurate predictions. We scout, test, research and execute; it’s not that different than your typical daily fantasy player. If it sounds easy, then I suggest you not play because you don’t get it. It takes work and, yes, it takes skill. Like any complicated endeavor, it is equal parts art and science. More often than not we fail, but when we succeed, the rewards justify the sacrifice. The same principle applies to fantasy sports. And that’s why fantasy sports is growing so fast. That job, the job I love and that my team performs every day, is every sports fan’s fantasy.”