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Things I hate about the NBA
Mystics of almost every persuasion believe love and hate are two wings of the same bird. And because all of us who worship at the shrine of Sports America know the bird is the word, here are those aspects of the NBA that I sincerely hate.
• The arrogance demonstrated by too many players on and off the court. Those who believe the mistakes they happen to make are really somebody else’s fault. Or who believe they are entitled to drive as fast as their expensive cars will go and are surprised when the red lights flash in the rearview mirror. Or who say, “Don’t you know who I am?” when caught committing illegal acts. The guys who believe they are so rich and so well-known they can get away with anything. However, the real crime is they’re usually successful.
• Fans who elevate their favorite players and teams to semi-divine status and mindlessly call anybody who criticizes their heroes “haters.” You know who you are.
• Players who indulge in adolescent macho antics during games. The preeners, biceps-flexers, chest-thumpers and powder-puffers. Yes, we all saw your dunk/block/3-pointer/whatever. Yes, we all know how wonderful you are. But why not act as though dunking, shot-blocking, successful treys, etc. are things you have done before? Even worse, their common excuse for committing these foolish deeds is they’re psyching themselves up. Say what? Millionaire athletes need to act like fools to get their chops up to play in highly competitive ballgames? Nonsense. Actually, the only antic that delights me is Kevin Garnett banging his head against the padded backboard support before games. Hey, anything to get his brain cells working.
• Referees with short fuses — the ones who fail to walk away when a player or a coach protests a call. Don’t they understand the emotion required for players to compete in NBA games? A few glares, cuss words and hands waved in disgust are to be expected (and permitted) in the heat of the action. Just because the refs are runts who breathe through whistles doesn’t mean they’re infallible.
• All-Star games are bad enough — they’re like baseball games played with only three infielders and two outfielders. But all of the extra doings on the All-Star weekend are extra lame. The rookies vs. the sophomores? Come on. Who really cares? The three-point contest? Boring!! Even the dunk competition is phony and repetitious. The whole shebang is all about ratings, which is all about money. And the starting fives are voted on by the fans! (See above.) Everybody involved would be better off with three days of R&R.
• Anybody who introduces racial issues into any NBA discussion. The race card is officially defunct in the NBA, and only racists of various skin pigmentations believe otherwise.
• I absolutely, positively hate the rash of serious knee injuries that continue to strike NBA players. Back when I was playing, everybody wore simple canvas shoes and knee injuries were extremely rare. Why is this so? To find an answer, I consulted several orthopedists of my acquaintance — and their opinion was unanimous: Blame the sneakers. By fitting so snugly and being able to be laced so tightly, the boots almost totally immobilize ankles. As a result, the docs say, many of the natural ankle and foot torques that occur in the normal unfolding of a game are passed up to the next joint in line — which happens to be the knee, one of the weakest, most vulnerable joints in the body. “If one spot in your basement is leaking,” one ortho-dude explains, “and you patch that spot, the leak will invariably show up someplace else.” Yes, back in the day, we suffered occasional sprained ankles. But these are entirely preferable to torn ACLs.
• Teammates coming forward to bop fists with a player who misses a free throw. Say what? What’s their message? Yes, we forgive you even though you failed to convert a point we sorely needed? We still accept you as one of us? If we show our man-love you’ll be encouraged to make the next one? A kick in the pants would seem to be more appropriate.
• Abominable free-throw shooters who refuse to shoot underhanded. It’s a natural motion that’s easy to learn and master. It’s also incredibly accurate if only because the ball is always so soft on the rim. But no! It’s more manly to shoot 60 percent and lose games from the stripe than to shoot 80 percent or more — to say nothing of being trusted to be on the floor in the clutch as opposed to riding the pines.
• But what I hate the most is the possibility of a strike or lockout (or whatever it might be called) that would in any way delay and/or curtail the 2011-12 season. I mean, how much money do players need? To the rest of us hard-working slobs, there doesn’t seem to be much difference between, say, $2 million and $3 million per season, much less between $10 million and $14 million. And how many owners actually depend on their teams’ success to put food on their tables? What with the off-the-top tax cuts that the rich get anyway, along with the tax deductions allowable for business losses, will any of the owners qualify for food stamps if their teams lose money? It says here both sides are unconscionably greedy. Because the fans will ultimately pay the freight, why can’t everybody just cut all the bull and make a deal?
Also read: Things I love about the NBA
If you have a question, comment or column idea for Charley Rosen, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and he may respond in a future column.