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The NBA is now irrelevant…or DOOMED (whichever you prefer)

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It’s official, the NBA is no longer relevant to the masses who have supported it for years. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are practical reasons to change jobs and go to work for different organizations. However I think Carmelo Anthony has exposed a fatal flaw in his thinking that just about dooms the New York Knicks. The repercussions for the NBA in the post-Lebron, league are indeed dramatic.

Of course, the title of this post is that the NBA as a sports league is irrelevant. That last line just about  forces me to opine about Lebron James and his infamous decision. I am a Clevelander so perhaps I am biased, but at the end of the day I don’t really fault Lebron as much as everyone else does. Basically he did whats best for him and his family, even if he did it in a totally crass way. He went for the best opportunity to reach his potential of winning a few championships and to join the pantheon of Legends like Michael and Magic, Mikan, Wilt, Russell and the rest. He will get there with a few ‘ships, but ultimately he will never be considered the best ever because he went to another man’s team (Dwayne Wade’s that is).

So now that that’s outta the way, we can get to the meat and potatoes. Essentially, the NBA is the opposite of the NFL. There is no parity. The teams are superstar driven, and with a roster of only 12 players the top 3 of which determine whether or not you have championship potential there is just too much room for error. Championships in the NBA above all are driven by character. If your best player or one of your best players is driven primarily by greed, that fatal flaw will keep him from sacrificing for the team (think Baron Davis or Derrick Coleman). That will keep him from doing the essential little things (an oxymoron I know, but you know what I mean) that will make his team a champion.

Another point is that the smaller markets provide the opponents that make the great teams great. Jordan is a legend because he scored 63 on Boston(no not a small market, but they played the role nonetheless) trying his darndest to win the game, but ultimately fell short (and he lost anyway), only to win the title multiple times years later. Olajuwon toiled for years on weak Houston teams, but when his time came, he already had the character to do what it took to win. Same as every other champion in the NBA ever.

In Boston, the first time the big three got together, those players were as hungry as anyone. Kevin Garnett had won an MVP, been to the crest of the Finals, and had not a selfish bone in his body when it came down to doing what he had to do to win a championship. Paul Pierce toiled for years on terrible Boston teams trying to elevate the youngsters, alas when he got some help it was over. It was over once he had an ounce of help which had a lot to do with the quality of the help he got as well. Lets not sleep on Ray Allen of Seattle Supersonics fame. There were some decent teams that tasted some success now and again, but it just never came together. And then it did…

I can offer many, many other examples of the character it takes to win a title, but my point is that smaller market teams don’t have a chance anymore. Think New Orléans has a snowball’s chance in hell to keep Chris Paul now? What about the Orlando and Dwight Howard? Either these teams had better win a championship before contract comes up, or its off for greener pastures for the stars. Greener pastures means a championship caliber team or a large market where they can earn tons of money in endorsement money or fame and fortune. Kevin Durant isn’t staying in Oklahoma City if they don’t get it together and win at least one championship before his contract comes up for renewal.

American society gets fat on McDonalds fast food, demands cutting-edge modern technology and is a shoot first ask questions later kind of culture. There is n patience. A guy cuts you off in line, tell him about it. if he does that in traffic, shoot him. Instant gratification is the way, and especially sports fans dont have patience. Sure Boston waited decades, and the Cubs and Cleveland are still waiting but that is almost endearing. Nowadays, Bostonians  think they are on the same level as New Yorkers…

That is, there is no way that small market team fans are gonna keep buying tickets when they have no chance. Forget it. Sure Cleveland is going to buy tickets for a year or two, but the casual fan can’t relate to glue guys and bench players, let alone not having a superstar. There are only so many superstars to go around. Utah, Sacramento, Portland (yes Portland)…all of those teams are irrelevant today.

What superstar talent is going to limit himself to merely being rich? Why should he when he can have so much more? John Wall? Why on earth should he stay with the Wizards unless they are not just contenders but on the verge of a championship? Is there a reason besides loyalty because honestly, the Wizards earn many millions off of him and only give him a small percentage of that. Why should he not try and maximize his real potential? Why should Washington fans continue to show up to watch Nick whathisname and Jayvale McGee (don’t even know if he even still plays with the Wiz)?

Finally, the owners. Oh yeah, you are not just losing money now, but you will for the next decades unless you change the business model. Frankly, to change the way players are paid has more to do with parity. It is basically unachievable under present conditions and the type of change that it will take are dramatic. The only way to achieve parity in basketball is to expand the rosters so that one player has less of an impact. Like the NFL. When Phil Simms went down, the backup QB came in and won it all. Sure Detroit won a championship with no superstars, but if you hold your breath until that happens again you wont get to see it. It’s a Catch-22, expand the rosters so that the impact of a single player is lessened, but more salary will need to go out because of the expanded rosters. Sure players will have less power, but those extra 3 players require a higher salary ceiling (and floor), and increase the costs and risks (insurance for example).

This league is soooo doomed!!!


Written by lionoah

February 23, 2011 at 20:32

Posted in culture, interesting, Sports

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