With the NBA season now in full swing post-Christmas and seeing all the joy my peers are exhibiting, I’m here to rain on the parade. I hate the NBA and I hate the bitter taste in leaves in my mouth. I’ll get right to the point: Before you even think about it, don’t bring up skill level, because the talent is obviously greater in the professional ranks. It’s not about merchandise sales, because dumb people can buy dumb things. It’s not about fan support or market share, because all of that is subjective. It’s about the whole package we as fans see on the court. It’s about the enjoyment. And to me, there is nothing enjoyable in watching prima donnas run and sometimes flop on the court for, in the grand scheme of things, a worthless 48 minutes. Team play, sportsmanship and the environment are just a few reasons college ball is better. The NCAA is a completely different animal than the NBA, and is a far superior breed. Here’s why:
Right off the bat, the NBA regular season is meaningless. Compared to other professional sports like the MLB which is an endurance marathon where long-term goals matter; the NFL where week after week teams are jockeying for position for the playoffs, slip up more than a couple of times and you lose ground; and college basketball where every game is a upset waiting to happen. The NBA is just an 82 game pre-season. Cinderella stories don’t happen; a team like Butler from the past two seasons would never win like that in the NBA. There is no parity in the teams, almost every year there’s a Western Conference favorite and an Eastern Conference favorite. In college there are always 20 or 30 teams capable of taking it all on any given day.
Is there anything more boring than the NBA playoffs? You can point to individual plays, maybe specific games, but it takes two and a half months to get through. By the time we reach the end does anyone even remember how we got there? Talk about a terrible post season format. Sixteen teams make up four rounds of best-of-seven. There are a couple of things wrong with that. First, it’s too watered down. The NBA has 30 teams, and if 16 teams get in, that means 53% of the league makes the playoffs. Compare that to college ball with 342 teams and 65 making it, that’s 19%. It means something to make March Madness. Secondly, a possible 28-game post season is disproportionate to an 82-game regular season. And what’s with all the days off between games? Suck it up ladies, you don’t need a two-game break every other night. Each sport should have an exciting tournament, but the NBA is far from it.
There are knuckleheads in every league, no doubt, but the NBA is jammed packed of drama queens, crybabies and all-around overpaid jerks. Every time I turn on SportsCenter during the NBA season I see Kobe crying on a missed shot he got his hand slapped, or LeBron flaunting his ego-fueled game, taking five steps to the basket for a score. I can’t look at the NBA as anything but a circus sideshow. And if that’s what I wanted, the Harlem Globetrotters are still playing and are far more entertaining. It appears the vast majority of college athletes play for the love of the game and the school on their jersey. It’s clichÃ© but true, you can see it. Professional basketball is a league of individuals concerned about their own image, not the team, and that annoys me to no end.
I would have to strain myself to name two or three NBA coaches who have a real legacy in coaching before I rattled off a dozen or more college coaches and their styles. The reason is the NBA has no coaching – just run your players out on the floor and let them play their five man one-on-one. A prime example is Erik Spolestra last season for the Miami Heat who had zero control over his team. It was the LeBron Show, the Dwayne Wade Show and Whatever-Other-Superstar-They-Had Show. I’ll give you Phil Jackson and his Triangle offense or a notable name like Pat Riley, but aside from a few it’s the college ranks where you see real, honest coaching. You have Calipari’s dribble-drive, Pitino’s press, Boeheim’s zone. Actual things you can point to and say, “Wow, those guys really contributed to the game.” I get none of that with the NBA. You can’t put any NBA coach, past or present, on the same level as a Rupp, Wooden, or if we’re being unbiased, Krzyzewski or Knight.
I could go on and on. Understand this is my view on the matter, however. I have a feeling I’m not alone in these sentiments here in the heart of college basketball country, where the Cats are King. Yes, there are arguments the NBA can make against college; this article is only one side of the story. I’m all for rooting on former Cats in the NBA, too. In fact, if there were a way to just watch highlights of former-UK players in the NBA every night I’d bookmark it and watch religiously. Somebody get on that. But when it comes to sitting down and watching a pro basketball game I just can’t do it. I’d rather watch New Mexico Community College play UC-Santa Barbra at two o’clock in the morning than a prime-time NBA Finals game. And I’m not joking. So, for those of you who disagree… do your best NBA all-star impersonation and throw a temper tantrum. Let the hate flow.