Monday, November 22, 2004
For those of you familiar with my writing style, you know I am not prone to fits of political correctness. My commentary today will focus on the changing culture of the NBA from one of great athletes playing a great sport to one of thugs, who were it not for their ability to throw an orange ball through an iron hoop, would most likely be in solitary lockdown in a facility to be chosen by the state department of corrections.
Yesterday during a game between the Indiana Pacers and the Detroit Pistons, a fight broke out first between a player and a fan, and then escalated to a bench clearing brawl resulting in the suspension of nine or so players from both teams - some for the remainder of the season. You can read about the details here, if you choose.
Like most people, I heard about this game on the evening news. Why? Because I did not watch the game. I don't watch NBA games much anymore. Why? Mostly because I can't stand the people playing the game. This was not always the case.
It days far too long past, the game was played by men who played for the fans, for the love of the game, and for the fun of the whole NBA lifestyle. I'm not saying these guys were role models or anything of the sort. Guys like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Karl Malone, and John Stockton played the game like it should be played. They controlled their tempers, for the most part, and never would have launched themselves into the stands because someone threw a cup of ice at them. That kind of behavior was beneath such men.
What has changed? Youth and irresponsibility for one. The NFL doesn't allow high schoolers to enter the draft - for good reason. 18 year old kids don't have the maturity to play in the big leagues. College ball seasons them to the point they can, for the most part, be successful.
It seems to me that the NBA has been taken over by an inner-city gang mentality on the part of its players. When faced with a rowdy fan, they seek to unload on the fan instead of lighting up the scoreboard so the aforementioned fan has nothing to yell about. The immaturity among the ranks of the NBA players is stunningly obvious.
I miss the days when basketball was a beautiful sport to watch. I hope David Stern's suspensions will hold true and not be branded as a racist reaction to the brawl. I hope it can somehow turn back the clock on thugs who are ruining the once great institution of Professional Basketball.
Needless to say, I'm not holding my breath.