Why is the NBA so unpopular? Is it because the April to June playoff schedule drags on for an eternity? Because is too much like actual work? Bad will left over from the Donaghy/Bavetta refereeing scandal?
My quick take: I think fans hate the current style of play that rewards superstars who crash into the paint to draw fouls. With the flopping and constant whining to officials...NBA games are turning into Italian soccer matches. I personally hate watching 4 offensive players stand idle while D-Wade or Lebron barrels into the paint, screaming, hoping to draw a foul. Also, there don't seem to be many good rivalries anymore. I realize you can't have another Artest melee, but are refs too quick to whistle players for ?
Finally, does Dallas feature enough strippers to accommodate the upcoming NBA all-star weekend? Do we have sufficient reserves of cannabis, dancing poles, skanks and cognac that can be air-lifted in if necessary?
Bohogan.com: In Sarah Palin type fashion, I went ahead and scribbled some notes on my hand so I could remember the key points I wanted to make in this interview/Q&A. Unfortunately my hands tend to sweat when I type so now I have a blurry mess of ink on my palms, my balls are literally blue and I can't see my letters on the keyboard. At any rate, I want you to know up front that I won't answer any questions on foreign policy, energy independence or our founding fathers unless I have 15 minutes to google on my blackberry. (Ed. Note: Long ackward pause.....) Wait, this is about the NBA?? Oh sh*t, I'm all over this like stink on spaghetti. Let's get started.
Why is the NBA so unpopular?
Listen, I think fans are smarter then the leagues, their commissioners and certainly the players give them credit for and they are fed up. Basketball fans are addicted to the game, sort of the way reality TV fanatics are addicted to Survivor. Sure they like to see the women in skimpy bikini's wrestling each other to get a hold of a leather satchel that contains puzzle pieces, but the real reason they watch is the love of the game. The strategy, the mind games, the team work, the skill and the rivalries are the draw. You can scribble that same parallel to basketball. Real basketball fans see it as art in motion where teamwork and hustle exemplify the passion to win, not an individual contest draped with showmanship, selfishness and greed.
The current NBA product that saunters onto courts facing empty arenas in this day and age falls short in all the areas that are important to real fans. The NBA is isolation basketball where the best player goes 1 on 5. Teamwork is coordinating a high five routine during starting line ups, not moving the ball or helping on defense. The NBA is running one handers and out of control bull rushes to the rim flopping for fouls, not pretty pull up jumpers off stiff picks & perfect bounce passes. Skill these days means dribbling for 15 out of the 24 seconds on the before pulling up for a contested fade away. Stockton and Malone's pick and roll was a thing of beauty and even though the pasty gangster wasn't flashy, and truck stop Malone wasn't articulate, the fans loved it because it was good basketball.
The fans aren't fooled even though the athletes these days are far superior to the golden years. Yea, it's fun to see tomahawk dunks and high rising lobs but somewhere inside every fan is a critic that wants to see the game played the right way. I know I risk sounding like John Wooden or your grandpa Ned, but it's the truth.
There are other reasons why I think the NBA isn't popular but I honestly think that the fans are basketball purists more then they are And 1 Mix Tap fanatics. "OH BABY!!! THE PROFESSOR, THE PROFESSOR, OVER TO SICK WIT IT, LOBS TO HOT SAUCE.....DAMMMMMMNNNNNN....OH BABY!!! (Screamed in my best court side And 1 Mix Tape tour announcer voice).
Is the NBA season too long and does that contribute to the unpopularity?
With the physicality of the game, the caliber of athletes and the style of play these days I really think that 82 games is way too many. I know the immediate argument to that would be that the old Celtics, Lakers, Pistons and Bulls played 82 and seemed to bring it every night and my answer to that simply is, those players actually had a sense of pride and accountability. Plus, the purple haze these guys get today is much worse for the lungs which limits the number minutes they can play at full capacity.
But in all seriousness, with 82 games, a single regular season game diminishes in importance and there is less motivation to go out and play hard. Naturally I think that if you are getting paid millions to win you have a responsibility to play hard each and every night or maybe you might even have a competitive fire that won't allow you to take nights off but who am I. Wait, I just had an idea, what if every players pay had some % tied to win/loss record in a profit sharing arrangement with the organization. That might light a fire during these regular season games, OR on the flip side we might have to read double the Tracy McGrady type articles about players demanding trades. I wish I could send an email to my boss demanding he put me on a new project because this one I'm on now is over budget and behind schedule. And then light him up in the newspapers.
Have you watched the first quarter of an NBA regular season game lately? A rerun episode of the NEW 90210 is more compelling. These guys come out hobbling around as if the 45 minute pre-game warm-up was used as a happy hour social gathering with the other team. Oh wait, that's exactly what happens. I watch these guys laugh it up and high five and I think, you know that dude he's talking to isn't even funny AND he probably f'd his girlfriend. Man, A.C Green would never chat it up with McHale before a game and he definitely didn't F anyone's girlfriend b/c that guy was a virgin at 40. Not to go on a tangent, but I think A.C Green making it 15 years in the NBA as a virgin is actually MORE impressive then Wilt the Stilt having sex with 100,000 women. I digress.
Moral of this long winded ansewr is, I would love to see the league shorten the schedule to 70 games for starters. This takes away 12 games, probably four weeks of the regular season. I think the quality of play would improve and it would solidify the fact that nobody would ever break Wilts 100,000 record as they would lose a month to do it.
What do you think was more amazing, A.C Green celibacy or Wilt's promiscuous behavior?
Nobody from Indy:
I'm not being the least bit contrarian when I state emphatically that Chamberlain having relations with over 20,000 women is more remarkable. He did this before the days of the internet...or even cell phones! Think of how much tougher it must have been to meet skanks!
As a former D1 player, what type of team would you rather coach: a superstar surrounded by role players (OSU) or a veteran team with 3 really good-but-not-great players (Purdue)? Similarly, is it better to chase the 1-and-done guys like Calipari has done at and UK or build veteran teams like Painter has done in West Lafayette? Who's going to be more dangerous in March?
Bohogan.com (2 weeks later):
A little late on the response as I was still trying to draw some composure after reading your response in regards to Wilt's astonishing accomplishment. I didn't even think of the communication angle which is obviously huge. Do you think if Wilt had a facebook, twitter and myspace account he would have reached 50,000? And if he had Skype and engaged in cyber sex would that have counted?
Here's the thing about college hoops right now. I honestly feel that college basketball is back and when I say that I mean, it finally has regained it's magic after the years of suffering due to the fact that the best of the best high school players were fleeing to the NBA bypassing college.
Just think about all the great college games and teams that we missed b/c of this missing rule. Starting w/ big Moses Malone in 1974, who really didn't have a college option because he wasn't exactly "Good Will Hunting" in terms intelligence. And then onto K.G in 1995, followed by Kobe and Jermaine O'Neil, then T-Mac, and Rahard Lewis. Into the 2000's which brought Lebron, Dwight Howard, , Amare Stoudemire, Josh Smith and Andrew Bynum. I still get goose bumps thinking about Lebron playing at Ohio State in the big ten, or Kobe at Duke. Could you imagine an NCAA final four where Lebron's buckeyes battled Cuse and Mellow while D. Wade and Marquette took on Georgetown and Dwight Howard. Sick.
The one year rule is huge and I think it is great for basketball in the U.S in general. As a former college athlete, small college DII, I can tell you that the most important year of basketball development was the first year of college ball. It's an introduction to better athletes for one but secondly, its your first real opportunity to learn about your weaknesses and what you need to improve. I don't want to sound like Tom Emansky or Steve Palowski, , but truly whether its high school ball or even summer leagues and AAU circuits, good young players play off their strengths and get away with it because nobody can expose their weaknesses. You are supposed to learn the fundamentals in high school but a lot of coaches are ill equipped. In college you learn the fundamentals or you don't play, and you get abused in practice.
But even the one year rule presents a dilemma to as you mention. Do you exhaust recruiting resources like John Calipari going after the one and dones? Or do you find guys who are solid players but don't have that unlimited ceiling that will lure the NBA scouts? Think about my squad the Buckeyes. If guys would have stayed they would be starting , , Evan Turner, , Kosta Kufus and bringing "George Murasean" a.k.a B.J Mullens off the bench. "Gargamel" a.k.a Thad Matta went the one and done route and has a championship appearance and several big 10 titles. So you can't argue against the strategy. Calipari was a bricked FT away from winning it all with Memphis and has had top 5 teams religiously. Like Fred McGriff's instructional video, you can't argue the results of the one and done methodology. In summary, I think you recruit the best kids possible, players that fit your style and system and let the chips fall.
Lastly, in regards to the current NCAA season, like McDonald's "I'm Lovin it". (Cough...) Wow that was cheesy, but I'm gonna let it ride. There is such parity this year and even though teams like Kansas, Syracuse, and Villanova have been up top all year, unlike North Carolina last year, they are beatable. In the end, I love Villanova because I have a man crush on Scottie Reynolds. That guy is the balls. I laid $10 and got 15 to 1 on them to win it all so that just stokes my burning Cat desire.