Wednesday, June 6, 2012

NBA = Worst Professional Sports League

Dribble...Dribble..Dribble...Clear out for star player...Dribble...Dunk/layup...Lather...Rinse...Repeat.  That describes the game play in any given NBA game game regardless of teams or whether it is regular season or playoffs.  Add in whiny players/lack of heart, constant off-the-court drama, coaches who have zero power, obviously biased refereeing, incredibly top heavy in terms of teams, and a puppet for a commissioner and what do you have?  The worst professional sports league among them all.  I am not talking ratings, merchandise, etc. (this to be discussed later).  I am simply talking face value.

First let's talk about the players.  Most teams have 1-2 star players and the rest over payed fillers.  This leads to what I described above as an incredibly slow game that consists of these star players dribbling until they get a clear out or a screen and they drive to the hoop.  The end.  This then leads to a very individualistic mind set as opposed to a team concept.  I truly believe that most players could care less about winning as long as their stats are up and they end up on Sportscenter.  It's hard to find players diving for loose balls, playing truly physical, or playing defense for that matter.  You don't have to look much further than Andrew Bynum.  The man gets benched for heaving up threes (he is a center) instead of helping his team do what he is paid handsomely to do which is play down low.  What does he do?  Is seen laughing on the bench, goofing around, and playing grab ass.  Then in interviews he acts like he could care less and he didn't do anything wrong.  Dude, you play for the Lakers, an organization who strives to win championships, not develop your 3-point game.  Do your job.  He is only one of the countless examples of this carefree and uninspired behaviour on the court.  It is hard pressed to find the games being played with any heart.  Isiah, Bird, Magic, Barkley, and Jordan are laughing inside at the softness and lack of competitive spirit of these players.  If you want to see athletes who give a damn watch football, the NCAA Basketball Tournament, or the Stanley Cup Playoffs (more on that later).

NBA players also may be the biggest whiners in all of sports.  Just watch any game and watch a player who gets called for a foul or a player who didn't get a foul call for a defender breathing on him.  It turns into the male version of The View.  The tears can fill reservoirs.  It's pathetic.  Shut your mouth, take your medicine, and move on to the next play.  You are an embarrassment.  Some players do have a point as there is an obvious favoritism by the refs towards star players.  Just take a look at the Heat and Celtics series where in one game the Heat had around 50 FTs and the Celtics had around 10 as the Celtics' players were being suplexed when driving to the hole.  Come on guys at least make it somewhat less obvious.

The antics off of the court are even worse.  The most famous example was "King James" and "The Decision."  Yes, he is a rare talent.  But do you mean to tell me that his free agency and his decision as to where he would sign next warrants an hour long special on ESPN?  It just further exemplifies the strong individualism and lack of team mentality this league promotes.  Another shining example is the Dwight Howard saga.  First he wants to be traded.  Then he wants to stay.  Then he wants to be traded again.  Then he wants the coach fired (which ultimately happened).  Then he never said that.  Hey Dwight, you play for the Magic.  Your contract says so.  Earn your inflated paycheck, play hard, play for Mickey Mouse if he is your coach, and shut your mouth.  If you are truly "Superman" you will win and succeed wherever you play.  You are becoming a side show.  Enough.

This leads me to the coaches.  I feel bad, in a sense, for these men as they have been reduced to glorified babysitters.  Van Gundy showed that.  Howard wanted him gone so he is now gone.  Bynum gets benched by Mike Brown to send a message and Bynum either didn't get it or just didn't care.  And who really thinks they use that white board to draw up plays?  Here is a gem from the Miami Heat  "playbook."  Give the ball to James or Wade, clear out and let them drive to the hoop.  This is why you see these stars with 30-40 points per night because nobody else touches the ball.  Again, it is the antithesis of a team game.  Coaches are there to babysit.  And paid well to do it.  In turn, they are normally the sacrificial lamb for the team's failures (see Orlando Magic or the Pistons of the last 5-6 years).

The NBA also lacks in the department of parity/competitiveness.  In any given season, you pretty much can peg 3 teams from each conference that could realistically make it to the conference finals.  It's almost like the other 5 teams in the conference are just there for glorified scrimmages for the 1st 2 rounds of the playoffs.  Tuneups if you will.  You may get a surprise team here and there, or in the case of the Chicago Bulls, your star player's leg falls off and you get upset in the 1st round.  Again, 1-man team.  Other than that, there is really no shocking upsets or surprises.  Where is the fun in that?  People laugh at the NHL because small market teams make the finals or maybe even win the Stanley Cup.  Well, maybe that is why the players play so hard because they know if they give maximum effort, they may actually win.  Right now you have the Los Angeles Kings, an 8 seed, about to hoist the best trophy in all of sports.  Why?  Because they bonded together as a team, have had every player on the team chip in in big spots, and played very inspired and effort-filled hockey.  What a concept.  The Devils, who will be the runner up, are a 5 seed.  Same formula.  How is that not more intriguing and/or respectable?

Speaking of trophies, do you think 50% of the NBA fans (or the players for that matter) know the name of the trophy that is awarded to the eventual champs is the Larry O'Brien Trophy?  That would be an interesting poll someday.

NBA fans and media will be the first to scream "look at the ratings compared to the NHL!!" as if that is an indication of anything.  Let's put things in perspective.  Do you know what else gets some of the highest ratings on TV?  Jersey Shore. My explanation as to why people watch the NBA and mindless trash like Jersey Shore is simple.  We are a society of brainwashed zombies who are easily amused by slap-stick entertainment and wish to be spoon fed with instant gratification.  Just look at the other forms of popular entertainment in this country.  Spiderman is about to be remade AGAIN within 10 years, all the horror franchises are being remade, there are 5 trillion reality shows, and we get force fed 12 gazillion singing and dancing competition shows.  Why?  Because they know we'll eat it up like dogs do table scraps.  Don't even get me started on the same 5 pop songs in constant radio rotation or what is being sold to us as "hip-hop" nowadays. This canned entertainment and the need for instant stimulation is why hockey will never be the mainstream in America and why soccer will never be fully embraced.  Both are amazing sports but they do not appeal to the masses by presenting constant scoring.  It is sad really.  I will take an overtime goal in the Stanley Cup Finals over a tomahawk dunk on token defense I have seen 50 times before that makes the Sportcenter Top 10 any day.  That's just me though.

In conclusion, the proof is on display.  The NBA is a poor product if you truly care about athletic competition.  It is slow, boring, and seriously lacks any evidence of heart or desire by the players to win.  The players are no better than the Real Housewives of Orange County or the drama kings/queens on Jersey Shore.  From a competitive and integrity standpoint, it is the worst league among all of the professional sports.  But like the mindless dribble that is on network TV and on the radio, it caters to the masses with constant drama and provides instant gratification (scoring).  It is trash reality TV that disguises itself as athletic competition.  It is almost the WWE.  My opinion is that it has become nothing more than a platform for athletically gifted INDIVIDUALS (stress that word 100x) to score a shoe or apparel endorsement.  Keep buying those Kobe jerseys people.

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