Y’all, Honestly, Don’t Like Basketball
NEW ORLEANS, LA – Truth be told, y’all, honestly, don’t like basketball. I get it. You like the suspense. You like drama. You like storylines. That’s what the NBA has been feeding you, but basketball is so much more.
Tonight, the Denver Nuggets host the Miami Heat for Game 1 of the NBA Finals. Prior to the end of the conference finals, there was a lot of discourse around the NBA media outlets being discouraged because LeBron James & the Lakers didn’t face Jayson Tatum & the Celtics. The ratings would plummet. In my opinion, that’s no one’s fault but the NBA.
Let me explain…
The NBA has sold superstars since its inception, but with LeBron James finishing year 20 and 7’4 Frenchman Victor Wembanyama has yet to step foot on an NBA court, there seems to be a changing of the guard. The NBA at its peak sold rivalries that included superstars, (e.g. Lakers vs. Celtics – Magic vs. Larry). Those rivalries’ enthusiasm in those hotbed markets proved to be paramount for the league. The only issue is that there are 28 other teams.
Of course, there are other markets like New York (Knicks), Chicago (Bulls), San Francisco/Oakland (Warriors), or Miami (Heat) that aren’t considered a small-market teams, but the issue is that the other teams don’t always possess a true face of a franchise or superstar. So if you’re a fan of a team in a small-market, and your team doesn’t possess a superstar, how does the NBA market the sport to you?
The NBA should sell basketball. Pure basketball. The understanding and reasoning behind each moment or play. That’s one reason why the NFL has become America’s past time. Albeit, the NFL has war chest of stars littered around the league, but I believe fans are more connected to their team rather than stars – which is the inverse of the NBA. I believe that creates a more consistent fan.
Also, the NFL is greatly paced game with a break between each play that is allowed for dialogue. Time for questions to be asked and answered. Imagine, a household hosts a watch party. Women, men & children are present. A young daughter asks her father, “Why did the zebra striped man throw the yellow flag?” That father has an average of 40 seconds to explain to his daughter what happened before the next play starts. Unlike the NBA, that father has less than 10 seconds to explain a foul call.
I’m not suggesting that the NBA should slow the game down. No. I’m suggesting that the NBA should do a better job at teaching basketball. I love basketball. The passing, cutting, dribbling, shooting…the rhythm. I believe it is the greatest game in the world. The nuances of basketball should be taught. The understanding of PnR and who is the low man. Baseline drive – baseline drift. Swing – swing – cash. Diagonal cuts. I can go on-and-on. Having a more informed fan is a more profitable one. I believe the first small-market team that starts teaching their fans the game of basketball will see an influx in revenue.
So tonight, when the Heat pull up to Ball Arena and the game tips off. Watch the game – the game within the game. Joker vs. Jimmy Butler. Michael Malone vs. Erik Spoelstra. High level basketball will be played. Adjustments will be made. Real basketball is here.