Culture of Hoops

Would Someone Please… NBA Edition

Image courtesy of SoletronFresh/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Soletron Fresh/Flickr.

Would someone please remind the rest of the NBA that the Toronto Raptors are for real. Ok, yes, the Bulls disposed of the Raptors with relative ease last week, but the Raptors have also beaten some strong teams this year and are currently the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. It’s easy to forget about the only team in the National Basketball Association that has a postal code instead of a Zip code, but try not to sleep on the dino’s. I’d rather see competitive games than teams phoning it in and letting Toronto get an inflated record.

Would someone please tell the Chicago Bulls to end their love affair with Derrick Rose. It’s not that I don’t like the guy, it’s just I liken him to the boyfriend in the movie that is always letting the girl down. His injuries keep him sidelined more often than he plays and it’s tough for the team to build around an uncertain future with or without him. Trade him for picks or a point guard that isn’t always sitting. I figure Boston might swap you for Rondo in a pinch.

Would someone please tell the Los Angeles Lakes to part ways with Kobe Bryant. If Rose is the boyfriend who is always letting you down, then Bryant is the one who’s always picking you up, but is still an enormous tool. Kobe never really played well with others, seeming far more entitled than he really should have been. You don’t win championships on your own, just ask LeBron James. With the team faltering and Kobe in the autumn of his career (perhaps even the winter), I think it’s time to break off this bad relationship. Kobe should still garner a first-round pick and the Lakers could use some youthful talent. The best places to trade Kobe would be well established teams out of conference that are playoff contenders now. The New York Knicks would make the most sense, as long as Phil Jackson could figure out a way to get Kobe and Carmelo Anthony to play as a unit, the team’s chances of competing in the East would improve dramatically. The other way to go would be to send him to a team that needs ticket sales. The New Orleans Pelicans could use some star power. Don’t continue to throw good money at a toxic player. His time in LA is done, moving on.

Would someone please find a way to do an outdoor game. A few years ago the NHL started doing the “Winter Classic”. The idea is simple enough. Most hockey worldwide is played outside, so why can’t we have a game outside? The idea has become so popular that the league is now doing several games like this each season, and the crowds that are up to 10 times the size are selling out. I imagine most basketball is played on the streets. Concrete jungles host leagues and pickup games at all hours of the day and night. There is no ceiling, only the open sky above. So why can’t an NBA game be held outdoors? I’m sure there is a stadium that could accommodate it, a climate that it would function in. The NCAA holds basketball games at AT&T (Cowboys) Stadium all the time. Open the roof and the sides and I’ll give it to you. Do it just a few times a year, just enough to keep it special. Show us that basketball hasn’t forgotten its roots. Sometimes less is more.

Would someone please find a way to create an alumni game? The day before the “Winter Classic” there is an Alumni Game in the NHL. It’s where all the players that have retired from the various teams are invited back to play. No one hits one another, the puck isn’t raised off the ice, no one takes slap shots and they usually only play two periods, but it’s amazing. I love watching it. Some of the players are over 60 years old, and some only retired a year or two ago, and neither team plays defense really. So why can’t the NBA do this? I want to see Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley and Michael Jordan have a game. Have everyone play off, commit no fouls, make it like the All-Star Game. Make it two 15-minute halves, whatever you have to do, but make it happen. Anyone that wants to argue “this will diminish the memories of these great players” should ask yourself this one question. Would you rather watch perfect tape or less than perfect live action of some of the greatest players of all-time?

Featured image courtesy of Keith Allison/Flickr.

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