Why has the NBA become so unpopular??
February 3, 2009 by Jay K
A little bit more than a decade ago Basketball was at it’s peak of popularity. People questioned how the NBA be so popular and how come football took a backseat to both basketball and baseball. Critics and fans a like said it was because of the fact that football players wore helmets that masked their faces. Others said that people wanted to see a skill sport rather than one that required and rewarded strength over talent.
Today the NBA is a shell of what it used to be. In fact it has been for years. Since Michael Jordan’s third and final retirement a lot of the luster, excitement, and entertainment has left the industry. Some may point out that scoring is higher than ever. Although that may be true, the fact of the matter is that the way that players are scoring points has caused the game to actually slow down dramatically. Ever since the rule of no hand checking along the perimeter has been in place, faster players like Tony Parker and Rajon Rondo have been abusing the painted area. Although guard play was what David Stern was hoping to incorporate into the game, it slowed it down due to several of ticky tack fouls being called.
The result was higher scoring, but it was all done at a stand still pace… at the foul line. Look at Kobe Bryant last night at the Garden for example. He drops 61 points on the New York Knicks, 20 of which came from the free throw stripe (He went 20/20 at the line).
Another reason comes from over this past summer in which we saw referree Tim Donaghy ruined much of the little credibility the NBA had left. Do you remember about 5 years ago the Lakers and Spurs were playing in the Western Conference Semi-Finals. Derek Fisher hit a jumper with 0.3 seconds left on the clock. From my recollection, they deemed it impossible to even tap a ball in without at least 0.4 seconds remaining on the clock. Now I’m not a Spurs fan or a Laker hater but anyone who saw that game can see that the clock started late, and they gave Fisher enough time to do a turn-catch-and-shoot.
Parity, it doesn’t exist. Even today with both conferences looking more and more similar record wise. The fact of the matter is that only two or three teams from each conference have a legitimate chance in winning the title. That doesn’t seem so bad right? Well these are the same teams every year for about a 2 to 3 year period. San Antonio, Cleveland, Detriot (Not so much this year), and Phoenix (they too have fallen off) prior to last year’s finals were doned to be in the Conference Finals at the minimum.
Rewards for individual achievements for a team based game. It is a given that you cannot win 1 on 5. Yet there is the MVP award. This wouldn’t be so bad except the MVP voting makes no sense. The Best player on the Best Team? Then why didn’t KG win it last year like he should have? Or is it the best overall player, Then why did Dirk Nowitzki win the MVP (I’m a huge Dirk fan)? The voting system makes no sense and the MVPs each year seem to baffle the true fans. Nash should have won when Dirk won. Shaq should have won when Nash won his first MVP. Kidd should have won, when Duncan won his second MVP.
Empathy. The fans don’t see themselves in the players. Most of these players are arrogant and selfish and only desire money. For the few times a year we get to play ball with our buddies and friends we play with team work, desire to win, and above all else because we love it. Players these days care only about the dollar in a sport that has lost its ability to create a team first mentality. Look at Gilbert Arenas he signed for $111 million over six years only to not even step on the court once this year. He claimed to be a heroic icon by saving his team millions, while in actuality has crippled them financially and doesn’t even play.
Some say there is a race element involved in it as well but I don’t believe it. Most football players are black(except at quarterback and on the O-line). Most baseball players are hispanic (at least a majority of the most famous ones). Yet these sports are the two most watched and profitable in the nation. The fact of the matter is that basketball has become slow due to rule changes (hand checking on the perimeter, no-charge zone, zone defenses(No more illegal defense)). People don’t like the players (Kobe – accused of rape, Shaq – adultry, Jamal Tinsley & Ron Artest – do I really have to list this?, the Palace at Auburn Hills, over paid players, focus on race (Yao and Yi to reach to Asian Markets)). This league has lost its depth, and more importantly it has lost its passion and its beauty. If you don’t believe me then think back to when the Heat played the Nuggets this past year and the hype was that Dick Vitale was going be commenting the game….Not the game itself.