Friday, April 21, 2006

NBA = Not Basketball Anymore

So a few years ago I swore off the NBA. I was sick of such a great sport dragged through the mud of greed, fame, and bling. Back in the day I was a huge LA Lakers fan. This was back in the glory days of Magic, Kareem, Worthy, Nixon, and later Scott and many others. I used to sneak my old transistor radio into bed with me and listen to the smooth sounds of Chick Hearn calling the Laker games. I fell asleep many a night to the sound of the Lakers playing in the Fabulous Forum in front of a sellout crowd of 17,505 as Chick used to say. I loved the Lakers and basketball. Then something funny happened. The NBA realized that it could make money promoting super stars. It was cool at first, Michael Jordan, Clide Drexler, Karl Malone, etc. And then with as fast as the short met with the knees, the NBA changed. Soon there was talk of "Jordan" rules. The fact that Michael Jordan can get away with bending some of the rules as long as it was entertaining. This was a slippery slope. Soon the refs began looking the other way when it came to the rules as long as the play was entertaining. Very quietly without much fanfare. Traveling was commonplace. Carrying the ball was not called. Hanging on the rim was complemented instead of called. Then came the high school kids into the NBA. All of the sudden, the NBA was seen as a way out of the ghetto and the entire landscape changed. The league is now dominated by players, not teams. There are no good rivalries anymore. No Lakers vs. Celtics. Everyone has too much respect for each other and the fire of competition has given way to entertainment. I think David Stern and Vince McMahon (WWE) have a lot in common. Even the purity of college basketball was impacted because no one wanted to stay in school if they could get paid. What happened? The NBA ceased being about the sport and became all about the almighty dollar. The sport I grew up loving looks nothing like it did even 10 years ago. It was after the 2001 season when I had had enough. I stopped watching, I turned the channel when highlights came on SportsCenter and I pined for the good ole' days of my youth. (I must be getting old.) Which brings me to my point. I couldn't help but notice that both local NBA teams have made this years playoffs. I am happy for one reason, my brothers team, the Clippers are finally in the playoffs. But what struck me funny is that they are the number six seed in the western conference but they have the home court advantage in the first round. WHAT?? Who's stupid idea is that???? How can the third seed team not have home court advantage. Who is making up these rules? I believe that this is a real sign that the apocalypse is upon us. How does that even make sense??? And the cherry on top was that the Clippers lost their last game of the season to clinch home court advantage in the first round. THEY LOST TO CLINCH HOME COURT ADVANTAGE!!!!! If they had won, they would not have home court in the first round. Is anyone else confused?? The first time I heard of this possibility I did not believe it. There is no way that a major sports league would let this happen. Memo to David Stern: Everyone is laughing at you and your league. What a joke. I am more convinced now than ever before that the NBA is no longer about the sport that Dr. James Naismith had in mind when he nailed peach baskets to the walls of the Springfield gymnasium in 1891. What a shame.

1 comment:

Rich said...

Not only do you have the scenario that you listed with the Clippers tanking to get the better deal, (I mean, they started Vin Baker in the game against Memphis that decided who went where), but the NBA is faced with the possiblity of having the two best teams in the Western conference playing in the 2nd round. Who wants to see that?

A possible solution: Do what the NFL and the NHL does, and re-seed everyone after the first round. For example, if the Clips beat Denver, and if they were the only lower seed to advance, their reward for tanking would be having to meet the Spurs in the 2nd round. Seems to be a better solution, doesn't it?

I hate to admit it, but actually watched a couple of games this year. Trust me, it's nothing I make time for (I'd rather watch hockey any day of the week, and twice on Sundays), but it's not as awful as it was, say, two or three years ago. But don't get me wrong-compared to what it was in our youth, it blows.

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