Why the NBA Sucks
Saturday, August 28, 2004
 
Today's Reason: Why the Dream Team Keep Gettin' Blown Out?...

Despite not deserving an iota of our attention, Dream Team 2004 is the most talked about piece of news this morning in the papers...

The consensous is just plain, ugh. Words like, "embarassment," "shame," and "attrocity," are being thrown around all over the place. But I think what's worse is that everyone knew it was going to happen. You could feel it a few weeks ago. Hell, Jadakiss wrote a song about it.

With all the crap circulating about it though now, like it's something we should be discussing immediately, I've actually been taking about it for weeks and wanting to write this for awhile.

The truth is that this isn't a sudden thing that happen, it's been a long progressive process in International Basketball that was pretty predictable if you go back and look at the history of it...

First, think of how basketball was spread throughout the world. It was invented in the US. We perfected it. We taught everyone how to do it. So, as we infiltrated the game to other countries we set the standard as to how it was supposed to be done. We set the bar as to what the ultimate goal was. Beat us at our own game! The problem is that as the pace setters it should've been our goal to make sure that no one beats us at our own game. We lost sight of that, and by taking our eyes off the prize we left ourselves vulnerable to attack.

How did we take our eyes off the prize you say? Well most people will argue that we got lazy. I honestly don't think that's it. We didn't send 15 lazy people to Athens to sleep through a bunch of practices and hope they beat everyone. We sent 15 athletes in the prime of their physical life, who, for a living practice playing basketball 10 hours a day for 52 weeks a year. There is no question in my mind (and there should be none in yours) that we sent the greatest basketball players in the world to Athens. No other teams can boast better players.

Well, if we sent the greatest players, then why'd we lose? Right? Well most importantly, we may've sent the greatest players, but certainly didn't send the greatest team. Basketball is a team sport. It's not dominated by individual talent. Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player ever, and he never won a title by himself. The same can be said for Jabaar, Chamberlin, Bird, Johnson, Erving, and Russell. Just because you pack individual talent on the same squad doesn't guarantee you'll win anything.

Think about it. We made a "Dream Team" in the NBA last season. It was called the Los Angeles Lakers. We had the best Center of the last decade, paired with the youngest, strongest shooter in the league, paired with the #2 all-time scoring leader in the history of the game, paired with the greastest defensive point-gaurd ever to play. They were coached by, arguably the best basketball coach of all time. On paper they were unquestionably the best NBA team ever assembled. And they did not win the NBA Championship. They lost to a team with much less individual talent coached by a man who was a natural born loser in the playoffs. But the key there is that they lost to a TEAM...There's no "I" in team, right? But there's an "I" in "Shaquille." That's for damned sure. (Writer's note, I know there's no "I" in "Kobe"...but there is an "I" in "Prison"). The Pistons beat the lakers because they were a team. They played as a team. They strategized as a team. They figured out how to beat other teams as a team. The Lakers never did that. They spent an entire season assuming that their individual talent would gel to a level that just automatically defeats anything you throw at it.

What we sent to Athens was not a team. We sent a bunch of individually gifted pompous pieces of psycho who are each worth more money than most of the entire countries than they were playing against. The problem is that you give a 19 year old kid $100 Million Dollars, do you think he's honestly going to care if he ever wins another basketball game in his life? Of course not. I sure as hell wouldn't. If I was LeBron James and I was just given $100 Million Dollars I would never worry one second about winning a basketball game. I wouldn't care if I ever felt the rush of winning an NBA Championship or Olympic Gold Medal. I would smile every night after I lost to the Clippers and say, "I'm worth more money than the President of this Country. I'm going to go buy myself three new beds. One to sleep in. One to sleep in if the other one gets too warm and one to sleep in just incase the other two have monsters underneath them." Winning is not what what motivates these people. These people are motivated by money. There's nothing wrong with that, most people in the United States are motivated by money. But we, as Americans, have for some reason deceived ourselves into thinking that because these people make SO MUCH money and because they're professional athletes that they're not going to be motivated by money. And that's just simply not true.

What is true is that whether or not LeBron wins an Olympic Gold medal, he still goes home to his $100 Million paycheck. AI still goes home to his $150,000 Rolls Royce, and Richard Jefferson still goes home to his multi-year contract with the Nets (Until they trade him next week like they've done with the rest of the team). Why would you ever care if you won another basketball game in your life? Why would you care if you win an Olympic gold medal? That thing's got to be worth $50,000...tops.

The athletes years ago who cared about their sport cared BECAUSE they didn't make a lot of money. Babe Ruth and Micky Mantle had to take out extra loans to make their mortgage payments because they didn't make enough. They lived for that rush you get out of being the best. These basketball players have already felt that rush and it came from something entirely different.

So where does the rest of the world fit into this? Well, the rest of the world is just sick of that particular attitude. Sit down for this America because it's going to shock and hurt you to hear it but...

WE ARE THE BAD GUYS! The rest of the world are the good guys. To the rest of the world we wear the black hat. We're the Goliath pushing the rest of the basketball world around. We're the Cobra Kai Dojo to the world's Karate Kids. And we act the part perfectly. Our team is made up of a bunch of people who behave like Ben Still in "Dodgeball." They strut around like the world's supposed to stop because they've walked into a room. They're all so used to being the center of attention at every arena that they play for, that they've taken it for granted that people pay to see them play. I watched most of the USA Olympic Basketball games over the past few weeks. Amidst their deshevled playing style, their inability to shoot well, and their pathetic excuse of blaming zone defense (Maybe if some of you nitwits went to college you'd have seen what a zone defense looked like before, by the way), it just always seemed like they were generally in the wrong place at the wrong time. It almost felt like the only thing missing was WWF Theme music when the players entered the court. Like all of a sudden Dwayne Wade was going to bust out with the Hangin' With Mr. Cooper line...."Hey yo! Where's my theme music!?"

And the worst part about it is that none of these NBA players are likeable people. They're a bunch of jerks and I have no difficulty saying that about any of them without reservation. Most of the time you hear about them doing anything in their personal lives it's that they've done something bad. Iverson took drugs. Jefferson hit someone. Duncan brought foamy shaving cream into Robinson's house again. Jordan, Bird and Magic were guys that people wanted to meet. They overcame adversity. They were all small-town guys made good. They were reknown for their work with the community and their dedication to excellence. You wanted them to win. What adversity has LeBron overcome? Well, he had to pay for his brand new Hummer for about 2 months before he signed his Nike contract. Those were a rough two months. Thank God he got his high school games televised on ESPN, or else Nike may have never known who he was and he may never have been able to get through and he may not've been standing here before us today.

And while our unlikable players were acting the part of the big playground super-bully the rest of the world was playing the perfect part of all the other kids on the playground banding together to say, "WE're not going to take this anymore!" They all got together and said, "You know what. We don't care who it is, but somebody has to beat these guys!"

And they got beat. And those words, "embarassment," "shame," and "attrocity" are fitting, and probably understatements. They could win a bronze though. I almost hope they forfiet the game and just give it to the Lithuanians. Coming home with a bronze is almost worse than coming home with nothing because instead of showing that you were a complete and utter waste of space it shows that you had the potentional but just didn't care, and were willing to settle for being less than the best.

I'd rather be a complete waste of space than a potential someone who settles for being less than the best.

Saturday, July 31, 2004
 
Today's Reason: USA Basketball: It's SUCK-TASTIC!

Check out this story about how Larry Brown benched Iverson, Stoudamire and LeBron for the entire first exhibition game for showing up late for a team meeting.

Check out even more Iverson's response. It's pretty hilarious and not surprising in the least.

Saturday, July 17, 2004
 
Today's Reason: The Shaq Trade
 
Well, we've officially seen the biggest trade in the NBA for the past decade this week. If you haven't heard, the Lakers traded Shaq-daddy-fu-da-return to Miami for Brian Grant, Lamar Odom, Caron Butler and a bunch of draft picks. Who won and who lost here?
 
I actually think this trade was pretty even. The Heat got rid of everyone they wanted to and no one they didn't want to. They weren't parting with Dwayne Wade. He was the only factor on the team that they were absolutely not open to any discussion about. The  Lakers defly got a solid crop of players if they all stay healthy. Butler's only been in the league 2 years, and the 2nd year he was injured. He's going to compliment Kobe and Payton perfectly. Brian Grant's old, but is still going to be able to fill the rebound and defensive gaps left by Shaq, and Lamar Odom (though I find him highly overrated) always shows signs of being a potential all-star. Most importantly the Lakers got rid of Shaq, which is important for two reasons 1.) His salary frees up a lot of room under the cap for them to go out and get a high-profile (tim duncan like) all star in 2 or 3 years when Payton, Malone and Brian Grant all go bye-bye and 2.) It motivates Kobe to be more of a team leader and less of a raping criminal, as he will now likely be named captain.
 
I think the Heat made out pretty well on the deal because they get Shaq. What does shaq bring to a team? Well all their games for the next season are guaranteed sell-outs because everyone wants to go see shaq. Also, he's the most dominant center in the league without a question, and in a conference with no real big man he'll defly dominate the other centers. (Unless Dikembe Mutumbo decides to rule like he usually does)
 
Oh, and in case you missed it, after Shaq got traded he was asked what it's like to be out of the Western Conference and if he thought this meant that Yao Ming and his Rockets would now dominate the West. Shaq responded with, "Tell Yao Ming I said, 'Quing, chong, dong...(more random fake Chinese mockery)"...
 
I'm sure the NBA loved the fact that its biggest (positive) news story in ten years almost went off without a hitch until one of its premier thugs decided to resort to racism...sweet!

Tuesday, June 15, 2004
 
Today's Reason: The Expansion Draft (Part one of a likely 80 million part series)...

So, according to a "secret" unamed source...(that came from ESPN, which is owned by ABC, which is owned by Disney, which owns the NBA, so you do the math at how secret the source is), Antoine Walker will not be protected by the Dallas Mavericks for the upcoming expansion draft, making him a possible first pick for the newly formed Charlotte Bobcats. I started thinking about this quite a bit, and I've made myself the official GM of the Charlotte Bobcats, and decided to do a Pro-Con analysis on whether or not I'd draft him.

Pro:
The obvious. Walker is a 2-time all star. He's seen one trip to the Eastern Conference Finals and won an NCAA Championship. He's a natural team leader who generally makes everyone else around him better. (+ 5 Points)

Con:
His salary. Walker made 15 million dollars this year to sit on the bench and suck, and now you want to make him the franchise player? Screw that. What if he sucks again, and now not only are you sucking up this ungodly salary (which you have to pay if you draft him) but you're stuck not selling his jerseys and not getting the fans (all 5 of them) in charlotte in the seats, and you're losing money off the bat. (-5 Points)

Pro:
He probably won't suck. Giving him his own team will take him off of a team of 4 other all-stars, which is the situation he is in, in Dallas right now. It puts him back in the primary leadership role (like he was in, in Boston, even AFTER Pierce showed up) and allows him to train a crop full of rookies to play around a pivotal role player that he is. That's worth at least 3 (+3)

Con:
His leadership dies in the playoffs. I think he took 9,000 shots the last time he went to the playoffs with the Celtics and hit only one of them. (-2)

Pro:
The 'Cats won't see the playoffs until, likely after 'Toine retires (+1)

Con:
He's a whiner who's not used to being on a "rebuilding team." He's always been on teams with a legitimate shot at a title, and now you're going to throw him on a team with less hope than the Clippers. You're taking a guy who's been promised a shot at the holy land since he was in college and throwing him onto the Bad News Bears...probably not smart (-4)

Pro:
Management seems to like him, despite his whining. Fans always love him. He's an all-out good guy. (+1)

Con:
Fans (especially in boston) hate him during the playoffs. Don't believe me Charlottians, draft him, go to the playoffs, and you'll see why. (-2)

Pro:
He has never raped anyone (+1)

Con:
Those McDonald's commericals where he's eating ice cream with Pierce (-1)

Pro:
He's actually a pretty big guy in the east. (+1)

Con:
A big player in the east is a 6-inch schlong when you're playing teams from the west (-2)

So what's the tally look like?
That's a total of (-4)...so the Cons have it. If I were the GM of the Charlotte Bobcats, I would not select Antione Walker as the top pick in the draft...which is exactly why they probably will.
Monday, May 17, 2004
 
Today's Reason: The People Who are In Charge of Marketing this Crap Should be Shot in the Face...

So, if you go here, you'll see that the NBA has created a new DVD series entitled "Dynasty Series" where they have like 50,000 dvds dedicated to showing how a particular franchise has been a dynasty in the league. You can choose between everyone's favorite team to love "The Chicago Bulls" tee hee, hee...(laughing intended to be annoying) and everyone's favorite supervillin (OH NO....SCARED NOW), "The Los Angeles Lakers." ...

Um, does it seem like there's anything missing from this list? How's aboot the Boston Celtics...you know, all time winningest franchise in the history of the fuckin' sport!

Ugh, this is the whittled down single reason why I hate the NBA...erg!
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
 
Today's Reason: More crappy playoffs cause more reflection...

I started going through old drafts and decided I'd do a breakdown of every one since the beginning of the "Shaq" Era...If you ever wondered how predictable the NBA drafts are, I've arguably said that the best player in the draft was the number one pick 5 out of the 12 times. The worst player in the top five was the top pick 2 out of 12 times, and the best player in the draft came out of the 2nd round only once.

2003
Top Three Picks
1.) LeBron James
2.) Darko Milicek
3.) Carmello Anthony
Best player in the draft:
Lebron James (Drafted #1) hon. Mention; Carmello Anthony (#2)
Worst Player Drafted in the top 5
Darko Milicik (Drafted #2)

2002
Top Three Picks
1.) Yao Ming
2.) Jay Williams
3.) Mike Dunleavy
Best Player in the Draft
Tayshaun Prince (Drafted #23) hon. Mention; Yao Ming (#1), Carlos Boozer (2nd Round #35), Amare Stoudamire (#9)
Worst Player Drafted in the Top 5:
Mike Dunleavy (#3)

2001
Top Three Picks
1.) Kwame Brown
2.) Tyson Chandler
3.) Pau Gasol
Best Player in the Draft
Gilbert Arenas (Drafted 2nd round #31); hon Mention; Tony Parker (#28)
Worst Player Drafted in the Top 5
Kwame Brown (#1)

2000
Top Three Picks
1.) Kenyon Martin
2.) Stromlie Swift
3.) Darius Miles
Best Player in the Draft
Kenyon Martin (#1); hon Mention; (none...this draft blew huge)
Worst Player Drafted in the Top 5
Stromlie Swift (#2)

1999
Top Three Picks
1.) Elton Brand
2.) Steve Francis
3.) Baron Davis
Best Player in the Draft
Shawn Marion (#9), hon. Mention; Baron Davis (#3), Steve Francis (#2), Richard Hamilton (#7), Ron Artest (#17), Emmanuel Ginobli (2nd Round #57)
Worst Player Drafted in the Top 5
Jonathan Bender (#5)

1998
Top Three Picks
1.) Michael Olowakandi
2.) Mike Bibby
3.) Raef Lafrentz
Best Player in the Draft
(tie) Paul Pierce (#10) and Dirk Nowitzki (#9) hon. Mention; Vince Carter (#5), Bonzi Wells (#11), Ricky Davis (#21), Rashard Lewis (2nd Round #32),
Worst Player Drafted in the Top 5
Raef Lafrentz (#3)

1997
Top Three Picks
1.) Tim Duncan
2.) Keith Van Horn
3.) Chauncey Billups
Best Player in the Draft
Tim Duncan (#1) hon. Mention; Tracey McGrady (#9), Chauncey Billips (# 3), Bobby Jackson (#23)
Worst Player Drafted in the Top 5
Tony Battie (#5)

1996
Top Three Picks
1.) Allen Iverson
2.) Marcus Camby
3.) Shareef Abdur Raheem
Best Player in the Draft
Kobe Bryant (#13), hon. Mention; Allen Iverson (#1), Jermaine O'Neal (#17) Stephan Marbury (#4), Ray Allen (#5), Steve Nash (#15), Kerry Kittles (#8)
Worst Player Drafted in the Top 5
Shareef Abdur Raheem (#3)

1995
Top Three Picks
1.) Joe Smith
2.) Antonio McDysse
3.) Jerry Stackhouse
Best Player in the Draft
Kevin Garnett (#5), hon. Mention; Damon Stoudamire (#7), Rasheed Wallace (#4), Jerry Stackhouse (#3)
Worst Player Drafted in the Top 5
Joe Smith (#1) - Tough call though, 4 of the 5 are terrible busts

1994
Top Three Picks
1.) Glen Robinson
2.) Jason Kidd
3.) Grant Hill
Best Player in the Draft
Jason Kidd (#2), hon. Mention; Jalen Rose (#13),
Worst Player Drafted in the Top 5
Donyell Marshall (#4)

1993
Top Three Picks
1.) Chris Webber
2.) Shawn Bradley
3.) Anfernee Hardaway
Best Player in the Draft
Chris Webber (#1), hon. Mention; Nick Van Exel (# 37) Allan Houston (#11)
Worst Player Drafted in the Top 5
Isaiah Rider (#5)

1992
Top Three Picks
1.) Shaquille O'Neal
2.) Alonzo Mourning
3.) Christian Laettner
Best Player in the Draft
Shquille O'Neal (#1), hon. Mention Latrell Sprewell (# 24), Alonzo Mourning (#2)
Worst Player Drafted in the Top 5
(tie) Jimmy Jackson (#4), LaPhons Ellis (#5)
Monday, May 03, 2004
 
Today's Reason: More High Quality Analysis...

Steve Urkel's blog on the NBA playoffs is both insightful and thought provoking

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