I’ll keep this short because I’ve had a long day and the rest of the internet will have a thousand better things to say about this than I will.
Grantland is dead, which just sucks. I guess it shouldn’t surprise me. The current state of journalism, even in sports, is ugly. Like it or not, ESPN is king. But journalism in 2015 is driven by dollar signs more than ever. And dollar signs are driven by personalities and superstars, not longform articles. Guys like LeBron James and Johnny Manziel are the breadwinners for ESPN, not writers like Zach Lowe or Rembert Browne.
And that’s just how it is. tabloid-esque stories have their place in the world, and I’m no better than anyone else. LeBron and Johnny both play in Cleveland, so I’m just as guilty as the next guy when it comes to lapping up whatever ESPN is churning out.
But Grantland was special.
Grantland was a magical corner of the internet about which many people could say I hate ESPN, but Grantland is simply the best. Despite whatever the media giant was doing, they seemed to let Grantland facilitate itself. Here’s some money, go write your little stories, we’ll stick to Deflategate updates. It was an anomaly. So, like any good thing, it had to end.
There was Rembert Browne’s interview with Barack Obama, and Bill Simmons’ chronicling of LeBron’s return home, and Rany Jazayerli‘s brilliant retelling of the Kansas City Royals’ miraculous Wild Card win in 2014, and Mark Titus’ portrayal of the 2015 Crosstown Shootout. Those are just off the top of my head.
Given the current landscape of journalism, there’s a very strong chance we’ll never have another Grantland. ESPN somehow managed to keep a stable of some of the most talented writers in the country. No other media corporation will be able to make that happen, financially or logistically.
And so it’s goodnight. I’ll always remember you, Grantland. At least you had a good run.