Time for a new blog. This time I get some things off my chest about how hilariously awful the NBA is turning itself into.
Many people who have known me the last 5-10 years or so, knew I used to be a big NBA fan. My true sport love first and foremost has always been and will always be baseball, however the NBA would get me through the cold snowy winter months until the weather thaws out for baseball season.
I also every year would spend about $150 plus of my hard earned money investing into the NBA League Pass. I would watch out of town teams (including my home team the Bucks. More on them in a bit) week in and week out.
Now you are wondering what started my disinterest in the NBA to the point where you could not persuade me to watch it at a bar and pick up my food and beverage tab? I think it has happened over the last decade or so. Here are some major highlights.
2001: Milwaukee Bucks
I really loved this team. They had a mix of swagger, good role players, and guys who played hard every night and, unlike today’s NBA, they did it through draft picks, sound trades, and smart free agent signings that never broke the bank. They were also a great throwback to those great Bucks teams of the 80s that played hard, and would create a war in the playoffs with teams that had superior talent. They just could not get over the hump of the Sixers and Celtics. Here is a great video of the year the Bucks swept a great Celtics team in the 80s.
In one game of the Eastern Conference Finals where Scott Williams got suspended for game 7 after sticking up for his teammates, it made me and others start to come up with “NBA conspiracy theories.” This is where people think that the NBA is purposely rigging games for better teams to meet in the finals based market size and ratings. You can argue if they do or not, however they have been referees that have admitted to doing this during this time frame.
Was Allen Iverson good then for the Sixers? Yes. Was his team better than the Bucks. I don’t think so. Sixers won, Lakers win in 5, and the Bucks as a franchise has never been able to recover from this. They have the worst owner in all of sports Herb Kohl and are one of the least profitable teams as well.
I am seriously contemplating writing him a letter that I will help move the team to Seattle for free. Milwaukee can be a good NBA town if given the right team to pull for, however it has and always will be a huge baseball town. The Brewers teams of recent years support that and they still were among tops in attendance even in a down year in 2013.
I respect the fact that Kohl is holding on to sell the team to an owner to keep them in Milwaukee, however they are facing increased pressure to get a new arena by the NBA because an arena built in the late 80s is a dinosaur. It will NEVER happen IMO…. Time to face the music. Wisconsin hates NBA basketball now and tax payers would never support this never ending cycle of mediocrity.
This was the small crack in the foundation, but it set the stage for more to come.
Summer 2010: The Decision
Are you kidding me?!? LeBron James has the nerve to come on TV in July when it is all about baseball season to make an announcement like he is the 2nd coming of Christ? And all David Stern had to say in response was that he hoped LeBron thought of a better idea to make his announcement than all over ESPN in a national telecast. He should have said it was insulting to fans of the league who provide him and other players with a paycheck!
Cleveland who drafted him has never been the same after James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh decided that let’s just screw doing it the hard way (like Jordan, Magic, Bird, Dr. J., and countless others previously) and let’s make a small all-star team that wins titles. This was and still is an insult to fans of all sports that appreciate it when a team is developed, managed, and wins titles the right way through drafting, scouting, and development. And it worked cause he has won a few titles since then. Now more players and teams are doing it thinking they can cash in too.
This is basically when the crack became a waterfall and my respect for this league disappeared.
2013: Since we can’t beat them, let’s go tanking!!!
Someone or some team’s management had the bright idea this off season to make their own “decision.” Since they can’t afford or have the resources to get top talent to create a super team, the new thinking is let’s just tank for the upcoming amazing NBA draft in 2014, so we can draft our super team. And some people want to tell me that college basketball is a poorer product than the NBA? Have you seen the standings as of 12/9/13?
Only 12, YES 12 out of 30 teams have an above .500 record!! The NBA is the ONLY league where they reward teams for making the playoffs having an under .500 record or where you can get rewarded for a #1 draft pick purposely tanking.
And have you seen the Atlantic Conference? NOBODY has a .500 record. Which means that potentially a team with a bad record can actually win the division? This would NEVER ever happen in baseball, hockey, or football. It is so laughably bad, its pathetic. This is the product of what happens when the players run the league.
All players think about is their payday and creating a super team that wins rings instead of how their actions will destroy the overall product from a competition standpoint. They got owners and GM’s thinking that too now. The Brooklyn Nets thought they could create a super team which is why they added Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Jason Kidd gets hired as a coach with no experience cause he can be a “player’s coach.” Nice to know that so far gave them 6 wins in 6 weeks while Jason Kidd is trying to spill water to get extra timeouts at the end of games he is trying to win. At least he got fined for doing it.
Oh did I mention the fact that with a 6-14 record, they are only 3 games out of first in their division?
2001-Present: David Stern
I can’t stand this man. I never seen a guy who is this much of a hypocrite showing favoritism of certain players/teams more than this man as commissioner.
Here are a couple of good examples:
1) When fighting was getting out of control in the league, he decides to make a image re-adjustment by having everyone do a formal dress code. You know, no more bling bling, hip-hop gear on the bench because the fight between fans and players in Detroit got too thuggish for our image!
2) He does not intervene and punish Lebron James when he does the decision, but when the LA Lakers a couple of years ago, do a legitimate trade for Chris Paul that turns into a spectacle. You currently are “owning” the team until they find a new owner and later reject the deal because you did not feel it was “fair?” Paul then gets traded to the Clippers which you don’t think twice to approve. That trade was just as or even less fair.
3) He allows the league to go into lockout with the players because of collective bargaining, and the players still get outrageous guaranteed contracts while owners now tank for draft picks because while the league was “owning” the New Orleans Hornets, they somehow get the #1 pick and Anthony Davis? I thought the lockout was supposed to make the league more honest with these outrageous contracts and one sided trades or “suspect” lottery/signings.
The day Stern leaves this league can’t come soon enough. He is the worst out of all the 4 pro sports leagues. Some of the other commissioners do have their faults, however the NFL popularity has never slowed down, the NHL’s Stanley Cup had one of the highest ratings in recent history this year, and baseball’s playoff ratings keep growing while its overall revenue is at an all time high!
What does the NBA have? Jokes. You know it is bad if one of your league shows spends time every week showcasing the worst in the NBA. It is a fun segment by TNT’s Inside the NBA and I know it is meant to poke fun and show a lighter side of the league. However you could expand that show to the TNT NBA game of the weak where you showcase two teams with bad records competing against each other. You can then have Charles, Ernie, Kenny, and Shaq do commentary about that game. I would watch that every week! It would make for some great television. That is if the NBA was a comedy show.
(By the way, if you ever watch Inside the NBA, the commentators are great. They would be the first to tell you how bad the product is and how as NBA analyst and broadcasters, they would not even watch some of these pathetic teams play if they had a choice. The “name player here” is rolling in his grave over bad highlights is great to watch too. Its refreshing to hear honest commentary that does not kiss up to the league it covers.
And for those of you that argue, college basketball has a worse product in terms of skills and talent? You may be right about that, however the overall competition is much better. Any team can beat anyone in the country in a given week in college basketball including March Madness. I guarantee you can’t say the same for the NBA right now.
Hopefully with the new commissioner coming in, they can change the culture of where this league is headed before they continue to slowly ascend to 4th place in popularity among the major sports.
Until then those of you who still think the league is great, come back to me when you have watch Utah or Milwaukee play every game for the next week. Yes, that is a challenge! I dare you to do that and think this is still a good league.
And I leave you with this article on what Charles Barkley about the Washington Wizards (Video does not work but you get the transcript here).
Barkley said this almost 2 years ago and I actually agree with him except it is now my feeling for most of the league. Yep. No wonder they don’t show those where amazing happens commercials anymore!
Here are a couple more great articles about this terrible product.
- Fan Reportedly Gets ‘Verbal Abuse’ Card From NBA During Pistons, Bucks Game (detroit.cbslocal.com)
- Why the Current NBA Product is Arguably the Worst it’s Ever Been (247sportshub.com)
- Milwaukee Bucks Fans Plead for Team to Tank (bleacherreport.com)
- NBA ROUNDUP: Celtics get most lopsided win of the season (themorningsun.com)
- Explaining the Upside-Down 2013-14 NBA (bleacherreport.com)