For whatever reason, the NBA takes a lot of potshots from casual sports fans. The usual complaints are: “It’s not a team game”, “They don’t know the fundamentals”, “Too slow”, “Too fast”, “They don’t play defense”, “Too low scoring”, and my all-time favorite, “I used to watch it, but after Jordan retired…………” Whatever.
Well, I love pro basketball. In my eye, the game, when played at its peak, has a poetry and grace that no other pro sport can match. The NBA currently has a good balance of offensive and defensive styles among its teams, and I love it when a fastbreak team like the Suns has to go up against a more balanced set offense style, like the Bullets. I have greatly enjoyed the championship series between Detroit and San Antonio (two organizations that are great examples of team-oriented styles of play) and look forward to an awesome Game 7 Thursday night. It’s gonna be a war.
Like every pro league, I concede that the Association is not always perfect. Some organizations are just outright pathetic, like the Clippers and the Hornets. It’s sad for me to see a once-proud and competitive franchise like the Hawks and the Knicks fall upon hard times. Some games are better than others, and I don’t like a 71-63 final score any more than the next guy. I would prefer it if field goal percentages were higher, but I recognize that the prevalence of the 3 point shot will naturally cause percentages to dip, and I think the league is better with the 3 pointer than without it. And I cringe when a so-called sharp shooter can’t hit a mid-range jumper consistently in traffic. But overall, I loves me Pro Hoops.
In fact, I think the style of play today is much better now than in the Jordan Era, when most teams were playing Knicks style “thug ball” (No offense to King Michael, for he can’t be held responsible for what other teams were doing- His 6 rings were a hell of an accomplishment, as were Magic’s 5 rings, and Magic had Larry Bird to contend with). The NBA is very healthy and stable financially, and news of the labor agreement was met with much rejoicing (plus, the new agreement changes the system so that cheapskate owners like Donald Sterling will no longer receive a bonus for staying under the salary cap).
Whether it’s a forward coming off a pick for an alley-oop, a guard finding his man for a sweet basket in transition, or Ben Wallace putting the stop on someone fool enough to challenge him, I truly Love This Game.