Culture of Hoops

Would Someone Please… NBA Edition

Would someone please tell LeBron James this is it! The expression goes “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” With this in mind I don’t think the sentiment from Cleveland Cavaliers fans will be any less resentful if two years from now when King James’ contract is up he decides to go elsewhere. James has maybe another 10 or so years left of playing ability, and this isn’t to say he can’t go anywhere else for that time, but moving in two years will cement him as an opportunist whose titles have come at the hands of timely deals rather than hard work.

Would someone please tell the San Antonio Spurs they are too old? Last year I couldn’t believe the Spurs could go anywhere in the playoffs. The team is just way too long in the tooth to be able to last in a seven-game series. Those words tasted like mashed prunes when the Spurs won the title against my forecasted winner, the Miami Heat. One year later and it looks like all the geriatrics are back, and getting older. This team and all its players can still play, the question is how long can they play and stay healthy? Making the playoffs should be a lock for this team, but I would be flabbergasted if they made it to the NBA Finals again. Most of the games are after 5:00 pm, and that is bedtime for a lot of these guys.

Would someone please tell Dwight Howard to quit being a diva? Dwight, you have the ability to be one of the most dominant players in the game. If you buckled down and worked hard you could even steal a championship on your own. You should be aiming for your height, not being such a waste.

Would someone please tell Toronto Raptors fans to calm down? When the Raps made the playoffs last year the fan base went insane. Insane to the point where it was actually cheaper for me to fly to New York, stay at hotel, and buy scalped tickets to a Brooklyn Nets game than it was to buy home tickets in Toronto. The East is a mess, so .500 makes you a playoff team. The fan base has a lot to be excited for, but let’s get real here. Can this team beat Cleveland, the Chicago Bulls, or even an injury-depleted Pacers squad in a seven-game series? This team might make it out of the first round this year, but that is as far as they go.

Would someone please tell Nets fans that it’s over? It was a nice run while it lasted. The team sold out to get savvy veterans that were supposed to have the edge over younger players with more talent, and that is exactly what happened against the Raptors. The issue here is that last year the team barely beat the Raptors, amidst a string of officiating that was so lopsided I questioned if those guys in grey were actually playing for Jason Kidd. This year the team may still get the calls, but no way do they win that same series. The aging wonders might even make it back to the playoffs in the dreadful (L)East, but no way do they scare anyone out there. The Heat lost two of their “big three” and even they don’t seem worried.

Would someone please tell the NBA this is their shot to take a bite out of the NFL viewership? When it comes to ratings the NFL has no equal. The 2014 NFL Draft had more viewers than any regular season MLB game from a year ago. I suspect this will be the case again this year, unless Derek Jeter’s last game blew up in terms of ratings. The NBA suffers, particularly on Sundays in the fall, to gather the attention it would like. With the NFL floating in a sea of scandals, this is the NBA’s chance to capture some of that market, and the sponsors, too. The product can’t be changed, so I think you’d have to change how the public views what the product is. Players, coaches, and personnel need to be on more media outlets talking about where they came from and how they got to the NBA. Kids need to see that they can come from anywhere and be a part of the NBA in a variety of ways. The game needs to be seen as worldly and accessible, a game that builds discipline and teamwork. Parents have to want their kids to watch, and kids have to find their own reason to tune in. You’ll never appeal to everyone, but this is your shot. If the players and coaches don’t buy in, then continue to look forward to slumping ticket sales and reduced ratings.

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