Do you know this… Bomani?
6/21/2013, 8:57 a.m.
Just as there are once-in-a-generation athletes, 32-year-old ESPN personality Bomani Jones is redefining what it means to analyze sports.
“He’s the holy trinity of sports analysts: honest, smart, and unafraid,” ESPN host and Miami Herald writer Dan Le Batard said about his “HQ” co-host. “I can say this gladly; he is unlike anyone that I have ever met in this business.”
Jones livens any sports debate with his conversational wit, keen stats, pop culture references, and his signature “pinky ring.”
“My brother [Patrice Lumumba] told me, ‘A good argument is not one that a genius can’t refute; it’s one that a fool can’t refute,’” Jones said. “You need to say things that are going to connect with people. You have to hit people in a very simple way. You want to be undeniable, rather than irrefutable.”
Recently, Fox Sports 1, which launches on cable TV this August, courted Jones. Instead, the Atlanta born Jones inked a four-year-deal with ESPN. The deal includes all media, such as online, radio, television and more.
The signing is seen as a coup for an organization seeking to remain relevant amid its growing competition in the sports entertainment industry.
But this is not Jones’s first time working with ESPN.
“First thing I ever wrote about for sports, for money, ran on ESPN.com in 2004,” Jones said.
At the reference of the late sports journalist Ralph Wiley and ESPN’s “Page 2” founding editor Kevin Jackson, Jones began crunching out content for ESPN’s experimental sports and pop culture sites.
It was during this time, as a Clark Atlanta University undergraduate that Jones matured as a black man, economist, entrepreneur, and sports analyst.
“[CAU] provided me confidence,” Jones said. “Few people understand the effect that an HBCU education has on a young black male. Whatever preconceived notions of people you have will quickly be changed by someone you meet, who flies in the face of that.”
Furthermore, Jones’ study into economics, the field his mother Barbara knows all too well as a professor, showed him how to refine his outlook and analysis of the world.
In his own words, economics has less to do with numbers and more to do with understanding marketplace and consumer behavior. In short, economists study the acquisition and distribution of scarce resources, and how the public reacts to such changes.
Sports analysis, in the early 2000’s, was a highly profitable commodity, with blogs and sites launching, and established networks putting money into filling their online market with content that the digital generation was excessively demanding.
Jones, much like his ESPN colleague Bill Simmons, capitalized on this market by presenting engaging content; driven by his sports knowledge, pop culture references, and personality.
Writing for AOL, ESPN and Salon, hosting satellite and online radio shows (“The Morning Jones” and “The Evening Jones”), and producing visual sports commentary vignettes with SB Nation (“Bomani & Jones”), Jones soon flooded the marketplace with his presence.
“I needed to come up with content that was not only going to bring an audience, but editors and publishers,” Jones explained. “Knowing how to write was really only half the battle.”