Back when I was a kid dunking on 7" foot basketball goals, I was an NBA fanatic. I was enamored with the Michael Jordan's and Vince Carter's of the league. All I wanted to do was to watch the recap of the day's highlights, which were mostly filled with some crazy athlete driving in for a monstrous dunk.
But as I grew older and started playing for a real team that played real basketball, I started to see how lame the NBA really is. The 3 second defensive lane violation, the outlawing of zone defenses, and other rules like them are designed to promote 1on1 "And one" street ball. No longer is passing the ball around the arc the most effective way to score; it's all Kobe Bryant taking it 1on1 on his man, driving for the dunk or otherwise pulling up for a jump shot.
Thanks to the demand of school and extra-curricular activities, I couldn't afford to waste my time watching anything but the Finals in high school, but that didn't stop my teammates from doing so. Of course, I didn't need to inquire who were the fans of the NBA; it was readily obvious who the ones were by the way they played. Their idea of great basketball was them dribbling up the court, dribbling around their man, and - you guessed it - more dribbling through the lane for the
Okay, but as bad as it is to patent your game like the pros, it's even worse to make them into your role models. "Who are your heros?" I would ask them. "Umm, lets see - MJ, Lebron, Kobe, and aahhh,[insert favorite player here]. " was the inevitable response. Theirs is a life of spectatorship.
And on top of this trainwreck, the league is piling up more turn-offs. Players no longer have the traditional team allegiances that made possible the rivalries (i.e Celtics vs Lakers, Bulls vs Pistons) which made the league a blessing to watch. Every time you check NBA.com there's always news about some big name player going to another team, usually to join up with some other superstar. The Miami Heat represent everything that is wrong with this setup. Here they turned 3 solid teams, each with a superstar, into one blown-up team and two other crappy ones. Now nobody wants to watch the Cleveland vs Toronto or Toronto vs Miami.
Whats transpiring is that the NBA, with each additional lopsided team, is becoming like British Soccer, where all everyone talks about is the Arsenal and Manchester United. It's stupid, and David Stern shouldn't let this happen. (and if anybody comes to me saying the teams and players should do whatever they want to, I don't want to hear it. These people imagine themselves clever because they can apply their fetish for free-market economics to the sports world, when actually there is nothing free-market about denying the NBA as an association to make decisions.)
I still watch Pro Basketball on occasion, and I'll even talk about its latest happenings with my more sports-inclined friends, but the direction it has taken is not for good.
And no, I don't watch college basketball. The only time I got into it was when Syracuse won the Championship back in 2003. Those were the days...