There’s A Credibility Gap Now In The NBA …………..
I’ve long felt that the NBA has become so diluted and the fact that there are but a few select teams in the league . Furthermore in terms of really talented coaches that are truly capable of leading a team to an NBA title . Doc Rivers , Phil Jackson and Gregg Popovich are currently only the coaches in the league to have won a title. On the face of it may not seem that startling but when you consider the fact over the last decade there have been only five teams that have dominated the the league and won titles . Namely those teams are the Miami Heat , Los Angeles Lakers , San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons .
Slide show for your perusal .
Now while the NBA has been marketed to an even wider demographic over the last two decades as NBA Commissioner David Stern and the league’s hierarchy of making it their goal of reaching that ever widening market . They’ve made an aggressive plan to market the game in the Far East , Eastern Europe , Latin America and on the continent of Africa. The expansion has already started in China , specifically because of the emergence of Yao Ming and his ascendancy in the league with the Houston Rockets .
Unfortunately it now looks as if Yao’s career will come to an abrupt end because of his recurring injuries . That’s not to say that the Chinese population hasn’t become accustomed to seeing the league’s effervescent stars such as LeBron James , Kobe Bryant , Dwyane Wade , Kevin Durant , Carmelo Anthony and Shaquille O’Neal as they’re perhaps more widely recognized stars than that of their MLB counterparts , the NHL and the NFL .
I’d been recently told by a patron that the NBA isn’t considered to be one of the more popular sports amongst the four major professional endeavors within North America . He tried to suggest the fact that the NHL was far more popular and garnered an even greater audience than that of the NBA. Don’t get me wrong I do believe that the game of hockey has its passionate fans but I think that it has now become a niche sport within the fabric of the North American sport’s landscape ! Given the wealth of concerns that still surrounds the game and the fact that the game’s commissioner Gary Bettman hasn’t the common sense to admit to the fact that they’re still suffering financially gives credence that this sport is still hanging on by a thread. Franchises such as the Phoenix Coyotes and Atlanta Thrashers are a financial mess and who’d have guessed that the players would seek the input of Donald Fehr who recently became the NHLPA’s Executive Director ? This being the same individual who ran the MLBPA with the lunacy one has come accustomed to seeing from a militaristic maniacal third world despotic leader. That being said the Stanley Cup remains one of the most iconic trophies in all of sports and that I don’t believe will be changing anytime soon. As for the game of hockey itself in terms of it audience on television well let’s just say if NBC or Versus can actually find a spot on their television schedule for it then there’s a chance the discerning fan out there gets the chance to see a televised game.
It goes without saying that the pre Michael Jordan era the game was popular but hadn’t yet risen to today’s height of popularity. The era of the Boston Celtics and their dominance of unprecedented success and followed by that of the Los Anegels Lakers wetted the public’s appetite for more of the NBA . But I can’t help but get the feeling that the problem now is that the game has now become about the individual stars rather than that of the teams now playing ! And much of this has been by design because of David Stern and his autocratic leadership and manner. He’s continued to chase after that proverbial pot of gold while eschewing the things got the game to the heights we once knew. Granted, the game has become a global phenomenon and given the country’s recent successes at the Beijing Olympics as well as the FIBA World Championships that gave the game even greater exposure in conjunction with USA Basketball . That unparalleled success has got the NBA to where it now is.
The real question now that ought to be asked is why the game itself have reached saturation level within the North American market where the fans here have as such become somewhat disenchanted with the game ? One of the reasons behind this I believe, is the mere fact we know longer have a real dominant team and also in reality talent pool has become somewhat diluted and where many of the young players coming from the college ranks —– well their game isn’t as well refined as it should be. It could be from the lack of real quality coaching there and in part and also at the professional level. Moreover , it could well be from the mere fact that players are now allowed to jump to the professional ranks after having only played one year at the college level. And certainly that has been the case over the last seven years at least where we’ve seen a plethora of talent ascend from the amateur ranks to the NBA. One might contend that when the agreement was reached between the NBA and the NBPA in alignment with the NCAA whereby a college player could leave the college ranks after his freshman year the game took something of a falloff . But that doesn’t cover another of the troubling facts concerning the game as we’ve seen a sharp decline in the television audiences for games .
The NBA along with its broadcast partners ABC/ESPN, TNT and its own in-house program content provider NBA Tv have worked hard to give the fans a product that they immediately recognize. And now with international offices in each of the major continental markets across the globe the tentacles of the league can now be described as being widespread. What was once merely a multi million dollar industry now has become a multi billion dollar corporate enterprise that compensates its major stars greatly as well as many of the senior executives within the league’s hierarchy. The values of the franchises around the NBA have appreciated greatly over the last decade but now within the present economic climate we’re now seeing many of the teams struggle to survive and where a number of them are simply hanging on by a thread. David Stern projects that the NBA is on schedule to lose in excess a half a billion dollars ($500,000,000) for the fiscal financial year covering the 2010-11 season . And much of that has come down to the fact that the league , its owners and the players have simply not shown restraint with fiscally financial policies. The owners , league and players have all been complicit in this mess and they’ve come to the stage where the rubber hits the road wherein the league and union are trying to renegotiate their existing collective bargaining agreement. Stern and his counterpart Billy Hunter seem to be further along in their negotiations than their NFL counterparts but there still remains a chasm as to what the two sides believes to be equitable in terms of the negotiation process.
As I alluded to earlier while the game still remains popular merely because of its major stars one can’t help but feel the gap in credibility and what it is that Stern sees as a brand are so far apart. There’s no denying that the Superbowl is must see television no matter which teams are playing as Superbowl 45 (SBXLV) showed us that by garnering the largest television audience ever for the televised event. An estimated audience of 115 million viewers watched the game between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers with a further 750 million watching globally in each of the major time zones internationally. The NBA in contrast is barely lucky to get even 10 to 15 million viewers for its showcase event the NBA Finals much less anywhere near a half decent audience during the regular season schedule of televised games.
This weekend the NBA has its post midseason event the All Star Game being hosted at the Staples Center , Los Angeles , California , home of the Los Angeles Lakers. And once again the league will look to put on an extravagant show with many of their stars and that of the famed Hollywood celebrities in tow , in order to garner a greater glare from the public. And no doubt the print and television media will be their all of their glory to report many of the staged events as they unfold. What I can’t help but wonder is when the league’s hierarchy will come back down to earth and really begin to address many of the game’s underlying issues as it surely must ? David Stern has continued to sidestep many of those issues while simply pronouncing that the game is as popular as ever. Now that reality has began to set in he , the owners and players have finally woken up to the fact that there is indeed something wrong that something drastic needs to be done. David Stern may well have liked the drama that surrounded the idiotic gamesmanship of LeBron James and his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Miami Heat . And even if it did garner front and back page news as well as national and international television coverage it only further enhanced the reality that the game has now forgotten the fans and has now become solely about the commercial endeavors as an enterprise.
Watching James being interviewed by ESPN’s Jim Gray as the player tried to convey his emotions and the toll that the decision is said to have taken on him was akin to seeing a multi millionaire sit in a seat and then suggest that his fortune while meager is still not enough for him to live on in today’s economic climate. James may well have aspirations to win an NBA title but his actions this past offseason would suggest that as now the premiere face of the league he too also has a credibility gap. Ego is one thing but simply being condescending and as such insulting the intelligence of the audience and fans leaves them as such yearning for the years when there was still something decent about the NBA and when the game as such was still pure. Now it has become about the almighty dollar , the egos of its stars and the autocratic rule of its commissioner at a time when the brand itself having become diluted has simply lost touch with reality !
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What if any changes do you feel are necessary for the NBA if it is to remain relevant within the sport’s landscape ? And as such do you feel that the commissioner has a real grasp of the real issues and what is at stake ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts on this topic and any other you believe to be pertinent to this matter and as always thanks for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !
Picture and slide show details .
(1) Former Laker Jerry West , center facing camera, hugs Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss as they are joined by former Lakers Elgin Baylor , left, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar during the unveiling ceremony of a statue of West outside Staples Center in Los Angeles, Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong ……..
(2) Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant chews his jersey late in the fourth quarter of the Lakers’ 104-99 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in an NBA basketball game in Cleveland on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011. AP Photo/Amy Sancetta ………..
(3) Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson lets his opinion be known to referee Michael Smith during fourth quarter action of their NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers in Cleveland on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2011. The Cavaliers won 104-99. AP Photo/Amy Sancetta ……..
(4) (L-R) National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman, National Football League Players Association Executive Director Gene Upshaw, National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell, National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern, Major League Baseball Player Association Executive Director Donald Fehr and Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig testify before the US House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection about the use of illegal performance-enhancing drugs in professional sports on Captiol Hill February 27, 2008 in Washington, DC. The subcommittee also heard testimony from officials from the US Olympic Committee, National Thoroughbred Racing and the US Anti-Doping Agency. Getty Images North America/ Chip Smodoville …..
(5) NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter (left) is seen here alongside NBA Commissioner David Stern. The two sides are in talks concerning the league’s collective bargaining agreement and it has to be said that the negotiations between the two parties hasn’t yet to reach the heights of vitriol now being shown between Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith of the NFL and NFLPA respectively. Getty Images /Brian Bahr ……..
List of NBA Champions
Alan aka tophatal …………………….
Eye candy ………………….. Kelly is really into role playing isn’t she ?
Actress ………… Lisa Raye-Cooper
Ashley Amour ……… downright nasty yo !
Maxwell …….. “Ascension” (Don’t Ever Wonder)