Bomani Jones likes to talk. Not just in the selfish manner of someone who likes to hear himself, but as someone interested in sharing ideas with anyone who’ll listen. He’s hardly predictable, rarely brief, and full of elongated vowels. His cadence is too quick to diminish as a drawl, yet distinctly relaxed and unmistakably southern. He’s both common and unique; the approachable man with the unattainable intellect. Holding master’s degrees in both politics and economics, he’s regularly called the smartest person in sports media. But "smartest" feels too lofty for someone so grounded, no?

“I have everyman tendencies.” says Jones over the phone while overlooking the pastel glitz of South Beach. “But at this point, talking to you on the balcony of this beachfront condo, it’s very difficult for me to sell that as the everyman experience. That being said, I do feel like the everyman that somehow ended up in a beachfront condo.”

Besides, what is it to be ‘smart’ anyway? Is it retention or comprehension? What value does it have without proper dissemination? What value does that have if it devolves into mere rhetoric? Trite questions, yes, however they matter to anyone looking to amass an audience rooted in sincerity. So Jones asks himself daily, and the numbers for his ESPN radio show, The Right Time, keep growing. Considering his non-traditional background and the fact he was fired four times in five years— including once by ESPN—perhaps we should be calling him the luckiest man in sports?

You see, those four letters fucked a lot of people this year. Through controversy, circumstance, or cord cutting, three of ESPN’s most notable names—Bill Simmons, Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock—all departed along with hundreds of full time employees and millions of dollars in subscriptions. But from the quaint little corner of the internet in which many of us reside, only Grantland was mourned. Only Grantland mattered.

ESPN is more than a conglomerate. It’s as intrinsic and inescapable to sports fans as the sky itself. Yet despite compelling documentaries, interviews and reporting, their reliance on hot takes and insipid sound bytes have left us wondering whether the goal is driving discussion or simply drawing attention. Grantland’s existence was a tacit acknowledgement that there was more to be said; that there was more than the bottom line, that the sky rains on the just and the unjust alike. But the last thing they need is another eulogy. We just need another Grantland.

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