THE NBA HOPES TO UP RATINGS BY LOWERING STANDARDS

“It’s the same ol’, same ol’ situation”
-Motley Crue, “Same ol’ Situation”

Merry Christmas!  I don’t care about the political correctness of the matter; saying, “Happy Holidays,” is lame.  You’re allowed to believe in whatever you believe in, but don’t force the issue of adaptation if you’re not willing to adapt as well.  Others are allowed to celebrate their traditions and their heritage just as much as you are without making a complete change in their lifestyle in order to make you feel warm inside.  Just drink some eggnog.

Now let’s move on to a forced Christmas sporting tradition: a day full of boring NBA games.  While spending Christmas in Connecticut, I was overexposed to coverage and articles related to the Nets and Knicks.  Lucky me.

The NBA has become a full-on Broadway production in recent years: drama queens, one king, egos that rival Shakespearean villains such as Richard II and Iago; players whining when they don’t get their way, flailing their arms, yelling and screaming, and almost breaking down into tears as if tragedy has struck the kingdom.

It’s not a game anymore; they even have costumes and musical renditions now.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYEHUOpwNvE. The link is good.

That was a wonderful promotion, but what direction is the NBA heading in?  Dressing up and appearance is obviously more important than execution.  The players of old like Stockton, Malone, and Hornacek whose short shorts (a little risqué for Utah) and wonderful pick n’ rolls have become a thing of the past and have been replaced with individuals dribbling for 20 seconds and then a step-back jumper while sporting shorts down to their shins, tattoos around their neck, wraps for injuries they may or may not have, and sweat bands for players that may or may not be sweating.

Why do you think the old men on the Spurs play so well?  It’s not Bridgestone commercials or cheating on hot actresses; it’s coaching, comradery, and execution.  The argument of freakish athleticism is valid when Bryant and Jordan had their dynasties, but victories would have been less without the triangle offense bestowed by Phil Jackson, the role players of Horry, Fisher, Pippen, and Kerr (amongst many others), and the overall dominance from doing things correctly.

Of course, King James has started his own dynasty without proper team execution.  It’s a different league now, a different style of basketball; people want to be like Mike, but don’t play defense and aren’t big enough or work hard enough.  Lebron is playing against the kids he used to portray; sure it will take a year or two for them to be superstars, but the team invests so much money in them that they can’t afford harmonizing role players.  It’s star on star instead of team on team now (that sounds inappropriate).

This is why the NBA has focused their efforts on becoming more and more entertaining in order to bring fans to the stadiums with a die-hard marketing plan: skimpier cheerleader outfits (sweet), smoke and flames shooting towards the ceiling during player introductions, acrobatics by the athletes and half-time jesters, shoe commercials that are short films, dark buildings to give it that “rap-concert feel”, and media-infused drama because even they have trouble talking about the basketball portion of a basketball game.

The script is familiar; the same plot, the same outcome, and even the same lines like, “I want to first thank God”, “we played a great team”, “we had to keep fighting”, and blah blah blah.  As entertaining as they make the league, it’s still predictable and boring until the 4th quarter of a playoff game.  Below are the Christmas day scores:

Chicago 95 Brooklyn 78
Oklahoma City 123 New York 94
Miami 101 LA Lakers 95
Houston 111 San Antonio 98
Golden State 105 LA Clippers 103

See (see what?); it’s boring and predictable (if you follow basketball).  Since the game has become much too-customary, I offer a cast to the Christmas production that will be performed at your local elementary school:

The Empire/King/Occupants of the Throne: The Kings (ha, ya right) Heat
The Villain/Antagonist/Invaders: Pacers
Past Royalty/Elders/Wise Men: Spurs
The Warriors/Inexperienced Militia: Celtics, Rockets, and Warriors (duh)
The Materialistic/Royal Women of the Kingdom: Lakers
The Jesters/The Entertainers: Clippers
The Great Hero from the West/Protagonist: Thunder
The Unexpected Hero: Trail Blazers
The Damsel in Distress: Pelicans (just because they changed their name to the “pelicans”)
The Wizard: Wizards (duh, and because they are capable of magically wasting a good opportunity)
The Fallen Hero: Bulls
Undeveloped Kingdoms battling in Far Away Region/Families in Turmoil: Knicks and Nets
Obstacles/Creatures: Hawks, Grizzlies, Wolves, Bobcats
The Peasants/Laborers/Kingdom/Choir:  Everyone else (I’m starting to lose my creativity)

It’s time stop the villain, kill the women (geez), save the princess, avenge the fallen, battle relentlessly, and dethrone the king reclaiming power in the name of good (basketball).

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