|For Better or Worse, The Face of the NBA Today
The biggest difference about the NBA compared to the other three major sports in America is that basketball is not purely a team sport. Every sport has their stars, but no star can change a game like a basketball player. A quarterback needs his other 10 team mates on his side of the ball to work together to get a drive going. A batter only gets a guaranteed turn at the plate once every three innings. A hockey player needs the cooperation of his line and defense to make moves. In basketball, all you gotta do is throw the ball to your star, call an ISO (isolation) play and let him do the rest.
We are now in an era in the NBA where these mega-stars are teaming up on purpose. There is no such thing as being loyal to a team anymore. The last time you had jersey loyalty was in the 1990s, and even those guys, as time went on, would switch colors. Anyone remember the Pippen/Drexler/Barkley/Olajuwon Rocket team of the 1990s? The only difference was that those guys teamed up at the end of their careers for a ring, where as now, these guys are trying to team up together in their primes.
A basketball player can dominate and influence a game more than any other athlete in any of the four major sports. We are now in a time where parity is at an all-time low. This is what makes the regular season boring. Only four teams have a chance at winning a championship, with the other teams basically going through the motions. Does anyone expect a team other than the Spurs, Thunder, Cavaliers or Bulls winning a championship this year? Sure there are sexy underdog picks out there like the Clippers or Wizards, but would anyone put a real wager on that? We all know that it will be Lebron vs the Spurs again, until the day age catches up with the Spurs for good.
|In a League Full of Misfits & Crybabies, The San Antonio Spurs Are a True TEAM in Every Facet
Look at the other three major sports. The NHL may have the most exciting playoffs in all of sports. Any team has a chance once they are in. Game 7’s are common and nothing is like playoff hockey. Underdogs and upsets are common. Just look at last year’s Stanley Cup, between the Rangers & the Kings. Both teams had to win multiple Game 7’s to advance. Nothing comes easy.
The NFL has erred on the side of parity way before any other league, and perhaps too much. Dynasties are a thing of a past. With a horrible salary cap (The NFL abuses their players & there are no guaranteed contracts) championship teams can not retain their squads. Teams that win the Superbowl often miss the playoffs the next year due to not having cap room. Just look at the Giants & the Ravens. Both won the Superbowl and both missed the playoffs the following season. Look what’s going on with the current champions, the Seahawks this year.
The MLB is no different. Instituting a new play-in wild card game has opened up new teams making the playoffs. While there is no salary cap in baseball, (well there is, but you can pay your way out of it) because baseball is a team sport, different teams are represented in the playoffs every year. Just look at the wild run the Kansas City Royals are on right now.
However, in the NBA, there are only four teams that have a chance every year. Dynasties are fun to watch, but it’s good to get new teams in the mix. That rarely happens in the NBA. Repeat champions are often and even repeat championship final match-ups are common. The extension of making the first round of the NBA playoffs from 5 games to 7 games ensures the chances of an upset not happening. I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for another Dikembe Mutombo moment any time soon.
I have enjoyed basketball for a long time, but my interest has waned as time has gone on for these reasons. It’s the same shit every year. Lebron vs whoever is hot in the west that year. Kids are now rooting for the backs of the jerseys rather than the front of the jerseys. There are many people who were “Heat fans their entire lives” who are now “I’ve always like the Cavs”. But the NBA embraces that and promotes their players more than their teams.
The NBA seems to be a repetitive chore, like vacuuming, shaving, or cleaning out the gutters in the fall. You know who’s gonna be there at the end, so who cares about the regular season? Let’s just get to June and see if the Spurs or Lebron win. As I write this, and I bullshit you not, I have predicted the last four NBA Finals at the beginning of the season. I only missed the winner two years ago, as I thought the Spurs would beat the Heat. I’m going on record with Cavs vs Spurs this year. Wake me up when Duncan gets his sixth ring and let me know how those 15+ empty arenas looked during the regular season.
Until the NBA can find some semblance of parity, the NBA will have the most meaningless season in all of sports. The sport caters to their stars, and while it is refreshing to see a team that embraces the team concept, like the San Antonio Spurs, win championships, it is just boring that it is so easy to predict.
See ya in June NBA.
@nycthemic on the tweet tweet