Will the NBA Ever Return and When it Does, Will I Care?
Don't get me wrong, I love basketball, I really do. I just hate the NBA.
Oh sure, I will root for the Celtics, but that is more out of a yearning for the NBA of my youth, not the NBA of today. In many ways it seems so far removed from what I consider to be basketball. When I watch an NBA game I see something that is more entertainment than sport.
I didn't start playing basketball until I was 15 and a sophomore in high school. I made the varsity team my senior year and that was essentially the highlight of my playing career. I didn't play in college, but while in college I started coaching. At 23 I was hired to be the JV coach at my old high school. I loved teaching basketball. I loved going to the gym every day. I wasn't paid very much to coach but the truth is I would have done it for free. I've spent many Friday nights of my youth in a high school gym and I wouldn't trade those memories for anything.
And when I watch the NBA I don't have that same passion, not even for my beloved Celtics. I don't even know what the labor dispute is about this time (remember folks, the NBA had a lockout in '99 as well, resulting in a shortened season). What I do know is that the league has an image problem. I cringe when I see players with dubious backgrounds put on display as if they are what everyone should aspire to be. (HINT: Most of them are not role models, I can count on one hand the number of NBA players I want my children to admire).
The NBA of today just feels so forced, so artificial, and I really don't care if they come back or not. And I doubt the NBA cares about me, either, since I am not likely to pay $1,000 to sit courtside. I can't afford to attend the games, and I doubt I would go even if I could.
My daughter turns 8 this year and wants to start playing basketball. That means I can go back in time, to when basketball was played for pure enjoyment, and sit in a gym on a Friday night. I like that idea.
If the NBA players don't enjoy playing basketball, then don't play basketball. I've got better things to do than to watch them anyway.