I tried watching the NBA Finals last night.
I really did.
I can’t do it.
I’ll follow the highlights. I’ll read the articles. I’m impressed by LeBron James and the 5 straight finals appearances. I’ll be super impressed if he somehow wills this Cleveland team to a championship without Kyrie and Kevin.
But I can’t watch them play basketball.
Watching the Cavs and Warriors play makes me feel like basketball has been set back 100 years.
Maybe that’s the wrong metaphor because I can’t ever remember reading or hearing about basketball being played like this.
The traveling, the hacking, the holding, the moving screens, the isolation for 17 seconds then the mad one-on-one game for the last 7 seconds on the shot clock…the constant time-outs, replay stoppage, time-out, slopping inbounds plays and passes, the time-outs, and then the grabbing off the moving picks. The blindness of three referees on some calls, the arbitrary whistles of other calls, the complaining of players on every trip down the court…
I can’t take it.
It has been this way for a while. Gone are the days of getting up and down the floor, spacing out and running a real offense. Gone are the days of straight defense with good positioning and fundamentals. It used to be there was one team that pushed the limit – the Celtics of the ’80s, Pistons of the ’90s. Now – everybody plays like that and it’s painful to watch.
I think the last 2 minutes of the game last night took 30 minutes to play.
One of my best friends live in OKC now and he loves pro basketball. He has preached long and eloquently about the beautifulness of the NBA. I love my friend very much but he’s stupid wrong about this.
I know it’s not changing. These ratings have been ratings gold for ABC/ESPN. Advertisers love the game. TV loves the game. NBA has good guys as their faces now – Durant, Curry, James. So it is not changing.
But it’s painful to watch.
Guess this proves I am now that old codger who starts every conversation with ‘Back in my day…’