The blandness of NBA photo captions

15 06 2009

During a recent NT&T meeting, one of the participants suggested we look at photo captions. In his experience, newspaper photo captions are a fascinating genre because they so often miss the mark. Point taken. Presenting: a discourse analysis of NBA photo captions.

The NBA is notorious for its relentless drive towards positive self-portrayal. Lame officiating? Not an issue. Financial problems facing teams? A small hurdle. The Kobe-LeBron showdown never materialized? Our league is full of stars. With the NBA Finals in the rear view mirror, I took a quick look at some photo galleries and found, apart from the fact that Pau Gasol wears braces!?!, captions such as

[Name player] looks to [driven shoot, pass, rebound, fart, dunk] against [name player/team]
[Name player] reacts to a shot during game 2 of the NBA Finals
[Name player] shares a laugh with [name player] prior to Game 4 of the NBA Finals
[Name player] looks on as [name player] takes to the court

NBA photo captions are as bland as bran. Surely, the photo editor can do a better job with this picture than “Dwight Howard poses for a picture with American Idol winner Kris Allen”. If anything, this picture screams ‘dwarfs’, ‘towers over’, ‘overshadows’, not ‘poses for a picture’.


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