The College Basketball Tip-off That Can’t Replace the NBA

I have a corporate desk job now, where I sit at a cubicle and a little bit of my soul dies every day. I’m not trying to complain, I’m really just trying to allude to the monotony of my life. During the week, it’s boring. Real boring. All I ask is that I can sit in front of the television and be entertained by sports to take me away from my mundane schedule.

Football provides that escape on the weekend, but going into winter, that prime-time slot is looking sadder and sadder.

Not a day after the NBA Players Union decided to reject the owners current deal and “dissolve,” ESPN nationally televised their NCAA College Basketball Tip-off. I couldn’t help but see this on my television and just feel a little sad. I understand the appeal to college basketball. I really do. It’s a pretty entertaining spectacle to watch kids play their hearts out every night with pure energy and raw passion. It’s inspiring.

And sloppy as hell. I’ll take no defense over a failed cross-over-to-layup any day of the week. I want to see a dunk that resonates throughout the arena. I don’t want to see some super-hyper kids playing defense like their hearts are going to explode. It gets real ugly.

YES it was the first game of the season. YES it was only the #3 and #8 ranked teams. YES I saw Coach K surpass Bob Knight’s record to become the leader in NCAA coaching victories. Cool beans. All I’m saying is that for a good 4-minute period, no one scored. First, a kid dribbled poorly into a defenders knee, loses the ball, it goes the other way, that kid dribbles into a pretty good cross-up and misses the layup. That turns into a fast break with an alley-oop that ends up in the stands. A player in-bounds to the opposing team’s full court defense, they make a steal, miss a 3-pointer, someone rebounds and he dribbles to run down the seemingly 40-second long shot clock and by then I was ready to throw up on myself.

Lord I hate full-court defense.

The NBA has tarnished me into liking a terrible product that involves a ton of flash with no strategy and teamwork. Or hell, maybe professionals really do play better. Who knows, honestly? I really don’t care. I just want the NBA back.

Let’s face it. You’re either a hockey guy or a basketball guy. Only an elite fanatic of sports is capable of crossing that multi-sport platform to a zen-like state of lucidity (Adam and I had a band called Lucid. Throwback!) All I know is, I’m not a hockey guy. I probably never will be. The thing that most hockey guys never get is… I still respect their sport and appreciate it. You guys just hate.

Professional basketball is in such an ugly state right now. I used to think the owners were at fault, but I’ve since reconsidered my stance. The NBA Players Union basically shot down the best deal for any professional sports organization and their players in considerations to revenue and benefits, and yet they still complain about things being unacceptable. Small-market franchises (granted not many, but one is too many) are struggling to compete with larger markets and are in the red. It’s insane to think that the owners are attempting to share and distribute revenue (and star players) among teams evenly, an action that clearly benefits basketball and their fans as a whole, instead of the players!

What are the players doing? They’re fighting for a larger profit amount (which is still, might I restate, the best in all of sports), trying to raise the cap on the rookie-wage scale, and retain the rights for players to essentially choose where they play. Well, not all players are doing this, but their representatives, rather. A healthy percentage of players are stating (and Tweeting) that they’d prefer to take the deal and just play.

Well guess what, fellas? Most NBA fans don’t care anymore. The public doesn’t feel sympathy for you and at this point, and the only thing that’s hurting is the sport and it’s fans. Public perception has changed. Most people don’t really care about your profit share and the ones who did are reducing pretty quickly.

Games have been cancelled through December 15th. The season is practically over. Most fans, including me, are going to fill that void with the Wednesday night match-up between Baylor and California or some shit. God damnit.

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