The Ben Simmons Jump Shot Video and The Five-Stages of Sports Hype

Photo credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

When the video came out on social media two days ago of Ben Simmons dropping pull-up threes and sweet, sweet fadeaway jump shots in a Los Angeles scrimmage, I was elated. We all were. But reality quickly set in soon thereafter. What about all the shots he missed? Didn’t we fall for the same trick with Markelle Fultz last year? They only showed him hitting four jump shots, but what about all the shots of him hitting the top of the backboard or panicking as he searched for any other option to avoid taking a wide open look?

Denial immediately set in and we were thrown into the first stage of the Five-Stages of Sports Hype, a modified Five-Stages of Grief I’ve developed through experiencing countless hours of soul-crushing disappointment from being a Philadelphia sports fan.

The five-stages is part of a framework to help us cope with extreme expectations we create for our favorite athletes and the realization that there is no way these expectations may actually come true. It can be a vicious cycle, but this can help us identify what we’re going through and to let the healing begin.

I’d like to take this time to remind everyone that I am not a mental health professional and everyone experiences the Five-Stages of Sports Hype in their own way. You could run through the stages like clockwork, or find yourself weeping softly at 3 a.m. as you watch YouTube highlights of Domonic Brown. It affects everyone in their own way.

Being able to recognize what you’re going through after watching the Ben Simmons jump shot video is the first step to confronting your problem and setting your expectations accordingly.

The first stage of the Five Stages of Sports Hype is denial, as in there was no possible way this video is actually real. Simmons, dropping effortless pull-up three point shots and displaying a deft touch on silky smooth fadeaways? Please. He was playing in Los Angeles, right? This is probably all an elaborate Jimmy Kimmel prank video where Simmons will reveal he’s gotten back together with Kendall Jenner and they’re engaged. Come on.

The second stage of the Five Stages of Sports Hype is anger, as in ‘why in the MOTHER OF GOD couldn’t he have actually learned to do this last year in the offseason?!’ It’s not like we didn’t know he couldn’t shoot after his rookie season, it’s not like this was a surprise, why did we waste a sophomore year of horrendous jumpers and stretches of complete offensive ineptitude. Why the Sixers? Why did this have to happen to them? It’s just not fair. WHY ME?! WHY DID KAWHI’S SHOT HIT THE RIM FOUR TIMES AND GO IN, THAT SHOULD BE US ENJOYING A PARADE DOWN BROAD STREET. IT’S JUST NOT FAIR.

The third stage of the Five Stages of Sports Hype is Mania, as in you don’t sleep, you don’t eat, you just keep searching for your next fix of Ben Simmons shooting his sweet shot. There has to be another one out there, another video, another angle I missed. I need more. HE’S GOING TO BE BETTER THAN MAGIC JOHNSON WHEN THIS IS ALL SAID AND DONE….I SHOULD REALLY BUY A JERSEY.

The third stage usually culminates in an ill-conceived shirsey purchase that is immediately regretted.

The fourth stage of the Five Stages of Sports Hype is bargaining, as in we know that video is basically just propaganda (it wouldn’t be out of place next to a grainy 1948 video of Stalin declaring Russia a great friend of the people as millions starved) but if he can be just half as good as portrayed that would be amazing. Just halfway good, is that so much to ask? We know he can’t really shoot that well, but if he could shoot like 35% on jump shots next season I swear I’ll buy a partial season ticket package.

The fifth and final stage of the Five Stages of Sports Hype is acceptance, as in at least he’s a 23-year-old All-Star without a jump shot…and at least he’s not Markelle Fultz.

These videos need to stop coming out. We need to fight the hype. They do nothing but give fanbases unrealistic expectations of what to expect. We all fall for it. I was talking myself into Simmons shooting 40% from beyond three until I remembered saying the EXACT SAME THING after seeing the overly produced Fultz jump shot hype video from last summer and then watching him shot-put free throws before his brain imploded after 19 of the most depressing games I’ve ever seen.

Do yourself a favor and avoid these videos for all your worth. Avoid the hype.  Don’t put stock in anything other than game 1 of the 2019 regular season and you’ll save yourself a lot of heartache.

At the very least it could save you a Fultz shirsey purchase.

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