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I’m normally not one for hyperbole, but the following find from Awful Announcing might very well be the most awesome sports-related story that I’ve come across since starting this blog: the ESPN casting call for college basketball fans representing different schools.  Due to the fact that it’s so over-the-top in its stereotypes and littered with spelling and grammatical errors, you might think that this is an Internet hoax.  However, ESPN contacted Awful Announcing to make it clear that the casting call was being canceled, which meant that the most powerful cable network in the nation really was going to use these parameters to find people to represent various universities (before they got caught, of course).

Let’s see if I would have met the requirements to be Mr. Illini:

[ ILLINOIS ]
MALE. African-American. Young Obama. Think Toofer-the straight-laced, Harvard grad write r from 30 Rock (Keith Powell)

Well, as a half-Chinese/half-Polish guy, it doesn’t look like ESPN believes that I could represent my Illini.  Believe me when I say that Illinois was treated very positively compared to some other schools.  In comparison, let’s take a look at the alma mater of my man crush Derrick Rose:

[ MEMPHIS ]
MALE. What can we say about Memphis? He’s a southern BLACK kid, really culinary and polite. He’s artistic, and draws comic books really well.

As Awful Announcing noted, an “African-American” gets to be a Harvard graduate, while a “BLACK” can draw comic books really well.  I see that ESPN’s casting director really took to heart America’s historic election of a new President last week.  Anyway, I was able to find a surprising starring role that I could fit into:

[ NOTRE DAME ]
MALE He’s an ASIAN kid who is in to all things Notre Dame, ridiculously so. Oh, and he’s always fighting. Every time we encounter him he always has some words or another, be it the faint traces of a black eye, or a scab or whatever. He epitomizes the fightin’ Irish.

As someone that grew up during the Lou Holtz era on the South Side of Chicago (alright, it was the south suburbs, but all North Siders seem to believe that the Chicago area ends at around 57th Street) where every other person was Irish Catholic, I obviously believe that an Asian kid with a black eye “epitomizes the fightin’ (sic) Irish.”  It’s interesting that Notre Dame was the one program that ESPN’s proxies seemed to go out of their way to avoid so many of the school’s stereotypes (well, other than the black eye and scab part), but there was another Midwestern Catholic university where they sincerely nailed it:

[ MARQUETTE ]
FEMALE. Marquette, on a scale of 1-10, she’s a six. A B-, C in every category you can define a person by. Her defining characteristic is you don’t really remember her. You’re not breaking your arm to get to her, but you’re not chewing it off to get away. She does have a winning personality though. Midwest, sweet girl.

Never have truer words have been spoken about Marquette.  (Yes, I’m a DePaul Law alum.)

That was just a mere sampling – 24 schools in all were up for casting and there are many more gems (although ESPN’s lack of a college basketball contract with the Pac-10 has deprived us of roles for USC and Berkeley).  I’m simultaneously mortified that this is not a joke and gleeful that this will live on the interweb forever.

UPDATE: USA Today appears to be the first in the mainstream media to have picked up this story.

(Image from Scream Punch)

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Comments
  1. […] that I’ve encountered in all of the years of writing this blog: the comically insensitive ESPN college basketball commercial casting call that was real.  I still laugh my ass off at that one.  So, this post is not a defense of ESPN in […]

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