I'm gonna do a Jim Rome rant here.
I know many of you fans, especially many of the younger ones, are still big fans of the NBA.
I've finally decided that I'm done with it.
This is not because I don't like basketball. I love basketball. I coach basketball. It's the only sport my uncoordinated body was willing to practice enough to play well.
I loved watching the NBA in the 80's. Guys like Dr. J, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Kareem, John Stockton, and later, Michael Jordan played the game as it was supposed to be played, and usually did it with class.
The bad guys were whiny guys...Laimbeer, Ainge, Barkley. You loved to hate them.
Michael Jordan, however, in his greatness, spawned a new generation of wanna-be athletes, who looked to shoot first, pass...um....never. The NBA allowed younger and less mature athlete to come in to the league, with their immature feelings of entitlement, of never having to earn the millions they got paid without even playing a minute of college ball.
They advertised the exploits of punks showboats, from Shawn Kemp to Allen Iverson, from Vince Carter to Latrell Sprewell. We were supposed to believe that watching their pure talent was enough to make up for their behavior, their selfishness, and their greed.
Today's game couldn't be farther from what basketball was meant to be. A group of interchangable names try to get pushed by the NBA is the "new stars", while none are truly able to make it to the top. The last of the "name players" are fading, from Tim Duncan to Shaquille O-Neal, already new age players in an ever-changing league.
I watch "Hoosiers", and see the basketball I fell in love with.
I watch the NBA, and I see a bunch of punks playing streetball...no team spirit, no screens, no pick and rolls...just drive to the basket and complain if you miss and there isn't a foul.
Today's actions (http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=241119008) cap it off for me. Ron Artest continues to get to play this game, despite having the personality profile of a convict.
The NBA is now reaping what they have sown. The market for what they are selling is rapidly decreasing. People don't want to watch this. Hype the playoffs as you may, the season is too long to watch this kind of drivel, and the playoffs seem even longer.
Want to fix it? Let's go back to being a professional organization, and like so many other professional occupations, you NEED a college degree to play. Make these kids tough it out in the college ranks against something better than high school competition. Let them play for conference titles, go through bracketville, maybe understand what it takes to win a NCAA championship. One hint: it ain't the ability to slam dunk a ball and grab your crotch at the same time.
The NFL has reported they are solidifying the rules that will prevent anyone 19 and younger from playing in the NFL. Let's all be thankful that the one sport we all CAN agree on is making some intelligent decisions.
I wonder if the NBA is looking at the NFL and wishing they had done the same thing ten years ago.