Hoops fans know the drill. It starts to happen around this time every year, although it’s usually not as dramatic as this season.
Last night when I finally got home and turned on the tv, there was already a basketball game on. The game was between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat.
This is usually a Heavyweight game. The kind of game that comes on Sunday in prime time on ABC.
The Celtics’ Big 3, who won a championship in 2008 vs Miami’s Big 3, who have as good a chance as anyone to win it this year.
At the time I turned the game on it was seven minutes to go in the fourth quarter and the score was 58-54. This should have been more of a halftime score with these two teams.
After looking a little closer, I noticed a lot of unfamiliar faces on the court. In fact neither teams Big 3 or any of their starters were in the game. Actually none of them played. At all.
That’s because at this point the playoff seeds for these two teams were already set. There was no chance of either team being seeded higher or lower so they gave everyone the night off.
And they are not alone. Countless NBA stars have been sitting lately to rest up. Some injured, some slightly injured, most just wanting to rest.
I have a problem with this theory. They are thinking about it from a competitive standpoint rather than the more accurate standpoint entertainment.
That’s all the NBA and any other sport is. It’s all entertainment and the players are performers. Performers need to perform every show on the schedule.
All the rest in the world won’t change the fact that there will be only one champion at the end of the season.
I have no idea why there’s an implication a motivated pro athlete would basically be too tired to win a world championship.
But the only losers in this is the fans. That was basically an amateur game last night. The problem with that is that it didn’t cost amateur money to watch in person.
What if there was a kid in attendance who did well in school all year and was promised to go to his first game after getting good grades? What if that game was last night’s game?
Or how about if someone may have paid extra money from a broker for tickets to the game last night because they thought this heavyweight match would be a good one?
What about the disappointment of anyone who turned on the tv for free to watch a good game only to find the players we want to see sitting out? Should it not matter because we didn’t pay for it?
What if you had paid top dollar to see your favorite music artist in concert and he/she/they were resting for a more important show next week? As a result the entire show consisted of the band just playing music. Are you telling me you and anyone else in attendance wouldn’t be angry to say the least?
Why is it ok in the NBA?
Gregg Popovich, Coach of the San Antonio Spurs, made this process popular a few years ago. He would (and still does) frequently rest his star players at random toward the season’s end in preparation for the playoffs.
But the Spurs haven’t won a title in five years. Not to mention they were embarrassed last year by becoming only the second #1 seed to lose to an #8 seed in the playoffs since the first round changed to best out of seven.
Rest didn’t help.
These millionaires can rest during the four to six months they get off in the ‘off-season’.
Commissioner David Stern needs to intervene on this.
The same commissioner that was so concerned about the integrity of his league that he implemented a strict dress code.
The same commissioner so concerned about the integrity of his league that he fines any player, coach, or owner that so much as thinks a negative word against the league or its referee’s.
But I don’t think a fine is warranted for this situation. I have a much more simple solution that the league could easily implement.
Create a five day gap between the last day of the season and the first day of the playoffs.
This not only gives all players in the playoffs an equal amount of time to rest, but it also spares the fans from paying big money to see a glorified Junior Varsity game like the one last night.
I realize this league is about money. So are all other forms of entertainment. Remember those young amateurs that we refer to as college players? There’s a six day gap between the Regional Finals and the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament.
No one forgets about it. No one loses interest and decides not to watch the Final Four. In fact the Final Four is easily the biggest night of the entire college hoops season.
Equally, no one would forget about the NBA Playoffs. In fact, it may even give us fans a few days rest from the game right before we are bombarded with more meaningful games in period than the entire regular season combined.
But what do I know? I’m just a fan of the game who happens to be a bigger fan of common sense.
I’m speaking on behalf of anyone at that Miami/Boston game last night. If I were really going to go after this, I would lobby for everyone at that game to get a full refund.
And they would be entitled.
What do you think?