The Decline of the NBA

During the 1980’s I was a fan of the NBA. I grew up rooting for the Lakers. Partially because they were good and partially because I knew they were from Minnesota, but I wasn’t old enough to have the baggage associated with a team leaving the state.

My interest in the NBA started to wane at the turn of the decade when the “Bad Boys” from Detroit won back to back titles. After that it was the Michael Jordan show for the next decade. I grew bored with the NBA. I hated the constant fouling, and the kowtowing to superstars. Not that those didn’t happen in the 80s, but as I grew up and started to understand the fundamentals of the game, and how the fundamentals had nothing to do with the NBA, I moved on.

The NBA continued on a steady decline in the late 90s (post Jordan) and the early 2000s (thug era). My interest peaked briefly as the local squad became relevant for a short time, but overall the NBA ranks below watching Premier League Soccer on channel 728.

However, I don’t wish ill-will on the NBA… ok, maybe I’d like it to falter enough for the NHL to make a comeback, but it’s not that I don’t like professional basketball, I just don’t like the NBA of the past 20 years.

Here are a couple of recent article that touched on some of my concerns.

First one highlights the sad state of officiating (one of the main reasons I can’t stand the NBA):—We-Really-Don-t-Reference-the-Rulebook-.html
It’s been a running joke for decades, but … to borrow a phrase… to see how the sausage is made when it comes to officiating… it’s a joke. A very sad joke.

The second is a Sports Guy article on the 4 biggest problems in the NBA right now:

1. The 2011 Lockout That Hasn\’t Happened Yet
Basically the NBA and its players are over extended. I completely agree… I love KG, but is he worth the quarter of a BILLION dollars he’s made just in salary during his career? I like the SG’s argument on this one, although I can’t believe he didn’t make the obvious tie-in to the housing bubble. When home values stopped going up, people were caught with their hand in the “this house is way too expensive for me to afford” cookie jar. Replace ‘home value’ with ‘revenue’ and ‘homes’ with ‘player’s contracts’ and there you go.

2. The fear of trading ultimately hurting the quality of the league
Not his most coherent argument ever, but we are talking about the SG who can provide a 1,000 word tangent on 90210 at any given moment. Yes, the contracts are an albatross not only on the future of the league, but today’s day to day operations.

3. Lousy officiating
You think?

4. The dawning of NBA Franchise Hot Potato
To me it’s less about the chance of another franchise(s) moving, and more about that there are too many franchises diluting the talent that made the NBA worth watching in the first place. The NBA has 6 new teams since 1989 for a total of 30 teams. In that same timeframe the NFL has added 4 teams, the NHL has added 9 teams, and baseball has added 4. Funny that the leagues that added the most teams in the past 20 years are the ones facing the most financial difficulty. Even thought the NHL has the more dire economic issues that may actually force some of those franchises to close. Is the NBA that far behind?







2 responses to “The Decline of the NBA”

  1. Rev Mark Avatar
    Rev Mark

    I’ve shared your same concerns, and those listed through the websites you mentioned, over the same time period. The last time Kara and I attended a Raptors game it was because we were guests in a company suite. I rarely ever watch any NBA but instead have watched college games for years, though it’s a bit more restricted here in Canada. I long for the day I can watch Gopher B-Ball rather than always be stuck watching the CBS games of the day.
    Even with the majority of NHL hockey teams being in the US, with the uneasy financial state of Hockey up here with Canucks, I see little chance of an NHL resurgence. But you keep your dreams alive.

  2. Explosive Bombchelle Avatar

    I have never, ever been a fan of the NBA. I never found the basketball game to be all that good and equated it to a show more than a game. If I wanted to see a bunch of overgrown men with serious pituitary problems dunk the ball I’ll go see the Globetrotters. Going in person to a few games at the Target Center reaffirmed these feelings. There was more emphasis on the cheerleaders and shows during breaks than the game itself. Defense is a distant memory, for the most part the players just march up the court and score; no drama whatsoever. I know they tweaked around with rules and officiating to make the game higher scoring because that is perceived as more exciting. What is exciting about a game where the first 95% doesn’t matter because there is so much scoring by both teams that anyone can win in the last couple of minutes. Bring on baseball!

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