Let’s Improve the NBA

The NBA is a beautiful thing. For me, it’s been a love affair that’s spanned two decades, and one that doesn’t look like burning out anytime soon.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement.

With this in mind, let’s look at ways in which to build upon the beautiful game. Indulge me as I put on my David Stern face and get to work.

  1. Shorten the regular season. This is an obvious one, and a major complaint from players, coaches and fans alike. Basically everyone except the owners and David Stern. Forget them: their main motivation is money. What is the regular season for, aside from determining seeding for the playoffs? The lockout season from two years ago was the perfect amount of games, at 66 (though even that amount seems a tad too much). Spreading them over what would be the 82 game schedule would be brilliant. There would be potentially less injuries due to wear and tear, and therefore a better product come playoff time. Injuries will always be part of the game but if the chances of this happening can be decreased, I say go for it.
  2. Fix all-star weekend or scrap it altogether. The mid-season break is great for players to rest tired bones and replenish for the business end of the season. But from a fan’s perspective, at least for this particular fan, it is truly an awful event. It’s so bad in fact, that I almost don’t know where to begin. I’ll start with the biggest culprit: the “celebrity” game. It would be one thing if celebrities that actually do something were partaking. George Clooney, for example, is a well-known hoophead. As are David Duchovny and Garry Shandling. Any of them would be good. Instead, we get Michael Rapaport and Lil Bow Wow. Oh wait, he goes by Bow Wow now. He’s matured. Fuck. Fix it, NBA. Don’t even get me started on the dunk competition. Never mind that every year we have to go through the tired old “LeBron: will he or won’t he” fake storyline, we get to see Utah’s twelfth man attempt the same dunk 23 times! Fun! I don’t care if Blake Griffin can dunk over a Kia. I’m not 14 anymore. But rather than moan about ASW, how about I propose a way to improve it. I’d get rid of everything except for the 3-Point contest, the dunk contest and the game itself. Everything else is gone. Back to the way it used to be. Saturday is your 3-Point and dunk contest, Sunday is the game. Simple. Leave the 3-Point contest as is, there isn’t a lot that can be done with it and it’s generally entertaining and dramatic enough to keep everyone in their seat. As for the dunk comp, forget the timed thing with unlimited attempts. It’s boring, especially if the dude keeps trying the same dunk over and over. Plus, lose the props. It’s cool that you can blow out a candle on a cupcake that’s sitting on the rim and then dunk, but it just doesn’t make for appointment viewing. As for the game itself, change the East-West format. No one cares anymore.There’s no pride in it. Players (and fans) know that the real rivalry is ignited in the playoffs. For the game, make it fun, but most importantly, make it worth something to the players. That way, the fans will be invested too. I propose making two players captains. For example, the two players leading the NBA in scoring before the all-star break are made captains and then “draft” players to their respective teams. Any player can be drafted from either conference. For example, last years captains would’ve been Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant. They would be free to pick any player of their choosing, regardless of position. No more Jamaal Magloire making the all-star team! Imagine that!
  3. Bring the NBA back to Seattle and Vancouver. It hasn’t been the same since pro basketball left the jewel in the Pacific Northwest’s crown. Payton to Kemp for the thunderous jam wearing the yellow and green is embedded in my basketball-loving mind. Washingtonians deserve pro hoops. Same with Vancouver. Stern gave up on Canuck country too soon.
  4. Scrap advertising on jerseys. I get that it’s another revenue stream. I also get that an iconic strip like Manchester United in soccer is basically a billboard and no one kicks up a fuss over it. But it’s been like that for as long as I can remember. Everyone is used to seeing corporation names on EPL shirts. Just leave the NBA jerseys alone. That’s currently the best thing about them: they’re simple and clean. Don’t tarnish them with a plug for Dell computers or Toshiba. How much money do these fat cats need to make? Oh, while we’re at it: lose the sleeved jerseys. They’re ridiculous. Plus they’re skin-tight, which is fine if you happen to be built like Harrison Barnes, not so much when you’re Joe Sixpack.
  5. Non-biased officiating. Basically, shorthand for get rid of Joey Crawford already. I don’t get the Superstar call thing. I mean, I understand it, I just don’t know how it started or why it continues to take place. The game has a set of rules, if those are violated, there has to be consequences. If LeBron James or Dwyane Wade get breathed on in the paint, it’s a foul. And don’t get me started on Chris Paul’s little move of backing into the defender and drawing a foul. It just irks me into a stupor. And now he’s got little minions copying it and profiting from it (looking right at you, Westbrook). I’ve tried to find a clip on YouTube that shows it, but amazingly I came up short. Nonetheless, CP3 needs to reprimanded. He’s initiating the contact, ergo it’s his foul.
  6. Russell Westbrook needs to purchase a mirror. Seriously. WTF?