Is there a more boring regular season in any North American professional sport than what the NBA offers up each year? Besides the WNBA? NASCAR doesn’t count–it’s not a sport. OK, maybe the PGA.
Out of the Big Three, regular season basketball is at the top of the list when it comes to forcing the sports-loving public into acts of desperation to sate the appetite for unparalleled drama; a drama which can only be fulfilled by watching men battle other men to advance a ball against the opponent’s will–with passion.
I must confess–I am a lifelong fan of basketball. Baseball is still my first love (apologies to the missus), but I have always held a soft spot for growing up and cheering for Magic Johnson and the Showtime Lakers battle against Larry Bird and the hated Celtics in the 1980s, and witnessing perhaps the greatest athlete of my generation in Michael Jordan redefine the way the game was played. I particularly enjoyed watching the way these giants played against–and hated–each other. Every time they faced off. Even in the regular season.
Fast forward beyond the golden years of the NBA into the present day and you find that the competitive drive to pound the other guy into the hardwood that permeated throughout the league has transformed into a fraternity of collegial millionaires who are more interested in being invited to the hottest parties in Souf Beach [sic] by the very people they claim (and fans hope) they hate–guys from the other team.
The result? Fan interest is trending ever southward, particularly mine. Even with my favorite team vying for the cherished three-peat, I still find myself hard-pressed to sit down and take in a regular season game. Why? These games don’t matter. I know it, the players know it, and now–apparently–the league knows it.
Half of all teams in the league are guaranteed a spot in the playoffs. Good teams can usually sleepwalk into the post-season, so long as they stay healthy and/or out of jail, and bad teams are simply unwatchable.
I’ll tune in once the playoffs begin, but until then, my resolve is very similar to that of the average NBA player–I just don’t give a damn.
With apathy levels skyrocketing amongst traditional fan bases, the NBA is reaching out to a new demographic from which they will inevitably siphon as much disposable income as possible–the Hispanic population.