Professional athletes are often unreasonably confident, making bold claims that sound like utter nonsense to anyone with a shred of objectivity. While that self-belief is an important part of being a success on the court, it can also occasionally verge into something a little more delusional.
When Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings predicted that his team would defeat the heavily favored Miami Heat in six games in their first-round playoff series, he ended up somewhere between a normal level of confidence and pure insanity. No self-respecting athlete can expect to lose, no matter the matchup, but most observers would consider it an accomplishment for the Bucks to win one game, let alone four. It's no surprise that Dwyane Wade dismissed Jennings's prediction about as casually as an opponent possibly could.
As expected the Heat have dominated the first two games of the series, winning by an average margin of 17.5 points. The Bucks have little hope of following through on Jennings's pre-series prediction. Nevertheless, he's sticking to it. In the video above (via SLAM), Jennings tells TNT's Craig Sager that he still believes the Bucks will win the series in six games.
Frankly, it's hard to criticize Jennings too much for not changing his mind. While the Heat have shown nothing to convince anyone that they're at danger of losing this series, the Bucks are still mathematically able to win in six games, and any player who argued his team had no chance would receive an altogether worse sort of criticism for his comments.
The question shouldn't be if Jennings's prediction is sensible, but whether making it at all was a smart move. Outlandish predictions can serve a purpose by inspiring an underdog to prove them correct, but they typically work best when the predictor is able to back up his words. In the series' first two games, Jennings has shot a combined 11-of-35 from the field and 4-of-17 from 3-point range, and dished out seven assists with five turnovers. In other words, he's been one of the biggest reasons the Bucks haven't followed through on his own prediction.
In isolation, Jennings's comments aren't that important, because the Heat were going to be the far superior team barring several cataclysmic injuries. Yet, in a broader view, Jennings is only confirming the widespread opinion that he's more interested in talking than in proving his worth on the court. The problem isn't that Jennings is making things tougher for the Bucks, but that he's playing into the perception that he's an unserious athlete incapable of being the leader of a winning franchise. It's an unfairly exaggerated opinion of his worth that will only become more accepted the longer he continues talking in this manner.
- Sports & Recreation
- Brandon Jennings
- Milwaukee Bucks
- the Bucks