Howard Stern spent the first two-thirds of his career generating the worst press possible.
The radio shock jock was rude, crude and unrelenting. That attitude changed the face of radio and made him unstoppable.
The relentlessly negative press continued for years. Experts predicted his downfall, over and again. Stern just kept on talking, bullying past the doom and gloom headlines.
Some could argue they fueled his ascent.
The last few years have seen a different Howard Stern. Years of therapy softened his hard edges. He ended some of his infamous celebrity feuds, like his war with Rosie O’Donnell.
And, slowly, reporters realized he truly was an innovator. (They should have admitted it much sooner, to their shame)
Finally, Stern began getting the media love he apparently craved all along.
He emboldened it by tacking to the hard-Left in recent years. He worshipped all things MSNBC, blasted President Donald Trump early and often and, sadly, became a literal recluse during the recent pandemic.
When he finally joined his celebrity chums for an outing last year he did so in a state of panic.
Now, the 69-year-old is complaining about something to which 99.99 percent of people can’t relate. He doesn’t get enough love from black basketball players.
Stern said whenever he sits courtside at the New York Knicks’ games the black players ignore him while starting conversations with fellow Knicks super fans Spike Lee and “30 Rock” alum Tracy Morgan.
“These guys should hug me, too,” Stern complained on his SiriusXM show, noting he grew up in a predominantly black neighborhood.
The saddest part of his monologue came later.
“Fame to me is very important… I like people to recognize me.”
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Here’s a shock jock who conquered New York radio only to go on to crush the competition nationwide. He’s tall – six-foot-five – and has one of the most recognizable mugs in broadcasting.
He’s penned best-selling books, had a number one film (1997’s “Private Parts”) and generated headlines both good and toxic, for decades.
Most people might be fed up with fame or at least eager to take a break from it. Not Stern. He’s whining about not feeling the love from NBA greats and hungering for recognition.
He’s past his prime, for starters. Today’s NBA greats might not even recognize him. His SiriusXM show rarely generates the attention it once did.
Stern no longer speaks out on behalf of free speech, for example, at least not at the volume he did in the 1990s.
Perhaps the black athletes know him a little too well.
Stern’s shtick deployed racial stereotypes for years, from his recurring “Black Jeopardy” sketch to his infamous video depicting Ted Danson’s blackface moment.
Stern has shrewdly dodged Cancel Culture’s wrath by embracing a hard-Left worldview. The woke mob prefers to cancel those who aren’t “allies,” and Stern’s ritualistic attacks on Donald Trump and the GOP grant him a measure of protection.
He provides a service to the Left, much like the woke mob ignored liberal propagandist Jimmy Kimmel’s blackface past.
Stern’s weird complaint about black basketball players, which swiftly went viral, may test that woke shield. Few took Stern’s side in the matter.
Howard Stern is upset Black NBA players ignore him when he sits courtside:
“The Black players won’t come over and say hello to me, but they go over to Spike Lee. I grew up in a Black neighborhood, you know what I mean? I mean they should know that. But I get ignored.” pic.twitter.com/cbU5YoNZRk
— NBA Retweet (@RTNBA) May 5, 2023
At least he’s generating headlines again, and perhaps that’s what he wanted all along. Stern is no longer in the pop culture zeitgeist. It’s left him behind, and now superstars like Joe Rogan, Charlamagne tha God and Tim Dillon command more attention and respect.
They took the free speech baton from Stern, and the aging shock jock misses the attention that used to come his way.
He’s still absurdly rich and famous and boasts a broadcasting legacy for the ages. And, it would seem, it’s not enough some days.
Sounds like it’s time for more therapy.