Wednesday, May 19, 2010

More Reasons the NBA Sucks

What follows is compiled from a conversation between myself and Carrie, and follows up on this morning's anti-NBA rant.

Other reasons the NBA might suck:

*There's no interpersonal drama- the great players are great, the workhorses work, and there's nothing scrappy or inspiring about the division of labor. In a game not specifically designed for different roles, like football, this can seem repressing. Some degree of interchangeability gives the game its democratic, unpredictable allure, and this has all but vanished in the assembly line structure of an NBA team.

*There are no surprises- you'll rarely see an unsung player do something spectacular.

*The star player are anointed from a very young age. Unlike football or basketball, there's not much struggle associated with a superstar's ascension. As such, they're products of hype- more egotistical, more entitled, more streamline, and far, far less interesting. They've been buoyed by yes-men all their lives, and many are uneducated- both in an academic sense, and a school-of-hard-knocks sense. Of all American NBA stars, Kobe Bryant is the only personality Carrie and I found to be even a little compelling. Give me wackos like Manny Ramirez and A-Rod any day of the week.

*Slam dunks have saturated our culture to the point that they're comically overrated. ESPN tries to sell each "monster jam" highlight as if it's some stunning feat of dominance and spectacle, when really, we're bored, and have been for years. I remember watching a slam dunk contest with my friend Brandon in high school, and after each supposedly amazing jam, and the oohs and aahs of the crowd, we looked at each other and wondered what we were missing.

People who love slam dunks passionately are like people who think home run derbies are the best part of baseball. I cease to give a shit very quickly that Josh Hamilton can hit a ball 450 feet when a batting practice pitcher is grooving 60mph fastballs, and I feel similarly about dunks. At this point, they just emphasize the brute nature of a game that has lost most of the grace and subtlety that once existed in the NBA, and still does at the college and high school level.

*On a similar note, the more we become attenuated to the hype, and the less it affects us, the more the league and the media drum it up. It's like an annoying ad for Froot Loops: leave me alone, Toucan Sam. I'm not a child, and I won't eat your saccharine sugar balls.

I know I expressed sympathy for Cleveland after their desperate musical plea for Lebron to stay, but honestly, they should be punished for having a building-sized poster of him spreading his arms like Jesus beneath the "we are all witnesses" slogan. Witnesses to what? Nike's hype machine, and zero championships. It's sadly, dismally appropriate that the sign will become a symbol of self-loathing for Cleveland when he leaves. They bought into a storyline that was empty; a hyperbolic commercial endeavor designed to pick their pockets. And Cleveland's pockets are not very deep.

*It goes on for fucking EVER.

On this last point, Carrie and I decided that at least hockey has learned its place. I can go weeks without having any clue about which teams have advanced or who's playing for the Stanley Cup or when exactly it might happen. If I'm interested, I have to actively seek that information. I don't even think the games are on channels I get anymore. But you can't go five minutes without hearing about the NBA playoffs. It's constantly in your face, and I personally like basketball enough that I keep hoping there will come a time when the highest incarnation of the game doesn't suck. So the disappointment is omnipresent, lingering to frustrate me well into summer.

In honor of hockey's self-restraint, here's a news item tangentially related to the sport: Philadelphia is everyone's white trash neighbor.

That's all for the afternoon.



    This is one of the best posts you've put on here. Granted, 98% of the others are full of Yankees, Giants, and Duke propaganda, so perhaps it's by default, but this is strong stuff. Bravo, my friend!

  2. Perhaps its the nature of who are the stars now. Shaquille O'Neal was certainly compelling but his star has faded --- same with Allen Iverson. Tim Duncan, LeBron James are relatively corporate. Kevin Garnett's star is fading but he certainly was compelling as much as you hate him. It's unfair to limit to the American NBA star though as this is now an international game. I'd say Steve Nash is compelling.

    Ron Artest is not a star but he's always good for interesting stuff. So your problem with Dwight Howard and Dwyane Wade is that they are too cookie cutter, despite having more personality than LeBron and Duncan?

    Is Carmelo too boring too?

    I think it's pretty uneducated for someone who doesn't follow the NBA hardly at all to have these kinds of criticisms. Really follow it for a year - including all the drama with players - and then talk to me.

  3. That would involve actually wanting to "really" follow the NBA for the year. No thanks.

  4. I'm in full agreement with Carrie in the previous comment. The onus is on the NBA to make me want to follow them, not the other way around. The product stinks.