How the NBA May Be Dying

Feb 14, 2013; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) greets Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) during the first half at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

If you’re an NBA fan, you’re not exactly going to be happy with what I’m about to say. The NBA brings millions pleasure on a daily basis, and it’s one of my favorite sports, but in all honesty, NBA basketball seems to be taking a turn for the worst.

The one good thing that has existed throughout all the decades of NBA basketball is luckily still alive today. The competitive fire that the players feel within themselves still exists. It’s still there, and guys like Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James epitomize that. Unfortunately, the NBA now has more negatives than positives.

Shaky officiating, flopping, greed and showy displays. These are just some of the many words to describe the faults of the NBA today. David Stern had a fantastic run as commissioner, but now it’s time to pass the torch. The Stern era definitely needs to end and the NBA needs to be rebuilt. In this new century, the NBA has gone downhill season by season.

What’s the thing that irritates me the most? The soft play. Not using statistics, but only based off of general knowledge, the NBA was much more rough and physical back in the Michael Jordan days. This is what fans pay to see. They don’t want to see free throws on every other possession, they want to watch their team battle it out and go end to end. Basketball is a vigorous sport that has been weakened by the personal foul calls more than three times per minute. Franky, I’m surprised when I see more than 1.5 minutes in a game where the ref doesn’t blow his whistle.

Superstars get special treatment as well. If, by rule, a certain amount of contact is a foul, then call it a foul. If a Superstar misses a shot, but there’s not enough contact to call a foul, then don’t call the foul. How much simpler can that get?

You’ve got 250-pound freight trains like LeBron James screaming their heads off when they don’t get the touch foul. A little stroke for a big guy like that shouldn’t affect the outcome of the shot. Yet, this little touch gives players undeserved opportunity for a three-point or even a four-point play. Over-embellishment, also known as flopping, is known to get players some extra trips to the line.

Flopping is an art. Almost every player in the NBA today has flopped once or twice at least. Some players, like Blake Griffin and just about every point guard (on his jump shots), does it more than often. Other players, like Kobe Bryant, have developed a general respect for the game and decides to earn himself a trip to the line.

What happened to that work-hard mentality? If it’s a foul, then it’s a foul. If you missed the shot, hustle back on defense and earn your team the ball back, making up for that possession. Of course, it’s alluring to act, especially in crucial moments, but that acting garners some punishment at least. These petty “fines” that the NBA implements are not effective one bit. These rules aren’t going to change, and players aren’t going to stop flopping. This aspect of the game is a non-reformable part.

What’s another aspect of the NBA today? Greed. There’s plenty of it everywhere.

In regards to the entry for the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, DeAndre Jordan of the Los Angeles Clippers said that he would only participate if he received an All-Star invite. He is widely regarded as one of the highest fliers and most talented dunkers in the NBA today. His greed, however, leads him to deprive fans of a great show, as he won’t participate (he’s unlikely to receive a lot of all-star consideration).

DAJ may be a great player, but as far as benefiting the fans with an entertaining contest, he will not go that far. Winning the Slam Dunk Award may not be prestigious, but it sure is honorable. I mean, the dunk contest allows a player to show off his skill. This way, at least he won’t be showboating – oh, wait.

Showy displays are not part of the game. Guys like Russell Westbrook wear this ridiculous clothing that people gawk at. This is not what the NBA about and he’s not the only one who shows up to game looking like he’s dressed for Halloween. This image reflects poorly on the NBA. Not everyone may see it this way, but to me, that’s just going too far to show off. You’re already one of the most respected athletes, why wear those types of clothes.

That’s a small aspect of the NBA, but it still sends a negative message, in my opinion.

In more consideration to showy displays, remember Blake Griffin’s car dunk? The Slam Dunk contest used to be about who actually had the best dunk, not about the best displays. Yes, of course you’re supposed to have fun at All-Star weekend, that’s what it’s all about. But jumping over the hood of the car and dunking the ball down shouldn’t exactly garner a 50.

I apologize if I’ve ruined your image of NBA basketball, but some of the aspects of the game today are just unbearable. Not all of it is Sterns’ fault, and some of the blame should be delegated to the players themselves. To reform the NBA and get back to what’s important: the championship, players need to understand that it’s not about all the fame, glory, and show-boating. Maybe if the officiating becomes less lenient, players will have more incentive to get stronger, and therefore better.

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