I have always been a huge sports fan, and I have been watching the NBA for as long as I can remember. However, during the last couple of seasons I have been disappointed with what is taking place in the league. I almost don’t want to watch anymore. I would much prefer the boring days of Spurs vs. Pistons even though I think that their poor ratings caused what is taking place today. The following are three factors that have contributed to my disgust towards the NBA:
1. Officiating – The NBA: Where Amazingly Bad Officiating Happens
The officiating in the NBA is flat out horrible. I think that for the level of basketball being played in the NBA, the corresponding referees are worse than any other referees in the world. Yes, that means they are worse than intramural referees, and that is pretty bad considering the intramural refs don’t even know all of the rules. Don’t get me wrong, the NBA has better refs, but compared to the talent being officiated the NBA refs are worse. Intramural refs are a joke, but so are the players. NBA players are amazing, but the officiating is a mess. Since I am no writer, I am going to defer to Bill Simmons, a popular columnist from ESPN. I think he has done a great job of describing the state of officiating in the NBA:
“HOW COULD THE REFEREES BE THIS CONSISTENTLY BAD??? THEY ARE KILLING THE PRODUCT! THEY ARE KILLING IT!!!! I CAN'T STOP USING CAPS!!!! How are we enabling such staggering incompetence on a day-to-day basis?”
After relating an instance of incompetence he continues, “These screw-ups seem to happen four times a week. The league claims to care and made a big stink about hiring Ronald Johnson this past summer to clean things up. Nope. It's still a mess. Three weeks ago, the Lakers and Celtics played the highest-rated regular-season cable game in 13 seasons. Guess which crew the NBA assigned to that beauty? That's right, Leon Wood, Monty McCutchen and Jim Capers Jr. (only because Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne were unavailable)… For a league that claimed to take the Donaghy scandal so seriously, we haven't seen any inclination that it did. Not even a hint. Not a whiff. It makes me want to commit a flagrant foul 2 on myself. But I digress.”
I think he described the refs very well. However, I don’t think that they are so horrible just because they were born that way. I think that Donaghy was right. I think that the NBA has interests in certain teams winning and certain series playing out in beneficial ways. I think that the NBA just like any other business is about money, and they will do almost anything to make more of it. Everything that has happened in the past year or two just seems way too convenient. Two of the most storied franchises in history got magical trades that were clearly more beneficial for both of those teams. I guess it helps when the general managers of the other teams are former players of those two franchises. By making the popular teams good and by ensuring that they play each other in the playoffs an increase in money is all but guaranteed. Now I don’t think that every game is rigged, but I do think that the NBA is trying very hard to make popular series happen.
The officiating is really what I am most displeased with in the NBA. However, I now continue with two other topics that almost make me want to vomit.
2. The Lakers: Where Worshipping Yourself Happens
Watching this team play is horrible, and being in the presence of their fans is even worse. I don’t understand how anybody can be as cocky as some of the players on this team. I also don’t know how anybody could cheer for this type of team. I was at game 3 of the Jazz vs. the Lakers and the arena was packed with yellow jerseys. I was reminded of when I went to watch the Mariners play the Red Sox last summer and the crowd was full of Red Sox fans. There are not that many Bostonians in Seattle, and there are not that many Californians that made the trip to game 3. There is only one explanation for both crowds. Bandwagon. The Lakers have so many bandwagon fans it makes me sick. Along with the fans almost every player on the team makes me nauseous. However, some are definitely worse than others. The list that follows is comprised of the five players on the Lakers that I hate the most (from most hated to least).
a. Kobe Bryant “Therapist” --Sean Connery
This guy is by far the easiest person in the league to hate. I can’t believe how much he is in love with himself. I couldn’t help but laugh during the last game when I heard the announcers say that he gave himself the nickname Black Mamba. It wasn’t given to him by a teammate, an announcer, or fan but by himself. He decided that he was so awesome that he needed to give himself the best nickname possible. I think that this example pretty much explains why I hate this guy. Not to mention him changing his number to 24, one more than 23, because he wore it in high school. Give me a break. Kobe, the fans don’t boo you because they think you will play worse. The fans boo you because they hate you.
b. Sasha Vujacic
I don’t think I really need to explain this one. Just look at the guy. I do want to point out though that he also gave himself a nickname -- The Machine. I guess there is a reason they are 1-2.
c. Derek Fisher “The Traitor”
I don’t think that Fisher is as high on himself as the others on this list. However, I think that he is a weasel and a liar. I was fine with the Jazz letting him out of his contract to care for his daughter. Any father would want to take the best care of their kids. What I don’t understand is why he decided to go to L.A. when his daughter’s doctor is in New York. Maybe no team on the east coast would sign him. Maybe he thought that L.A. was closer to New York than S.L.C. Maybe he flies west to get to New York. But I think that the true explanation is that he wanted to play in L.A. and used his situation to his benefit. I am glad I booed him every time he touched the ball in game 3.
d. Lamar Odom
I swear Odom has an I.Q. of about 25. He seems like an absolute moron to me. There is not much else to say except for the fact that he also is a self worshipper. I just threw up a little bit in the back of my throat while thinking about him.
e. Pau Gasol “The Terrorist” or “Gashole”
I have heard some opinions that he should be higher on the list. However, after going to game 3 I realized that Gashole gets flustered so easily, and for that I hate him less. That is not enough though, to get over the apparent competition between him and Vujacic to see which of the two can go the longest without a shower. Can you imagine the stench that those two must be emitting? Gashole easily wins “Ugliest Man in the League Award.” Of course it took Popeye Jones’ retirement for Gashole to claim the top spot. I couldn't find a great picture of Gashole so I found a very close look-alike.
Now, I have told you why I hate the fans and the players of the Lakers. What I hate the most right now though, is the credit that Kobe is getting these days. All of the media is in love and talk about how he is such a better team player than the past few years. For all of you who think that is true, I have the following words: Pau Gasol for Kwame Brown. Are you kidding me? Who is the idiot in Memphis who made that trade? Kobe has not become a better team player. A better team was given to him. I can’t think of any playoff team in the Western Conference that would not be in the same place as the Lakers if they were given a 7 foot All-Star. I wish that the Jazz could have traded Jarron Collins for Pau Gasol, but Jerry West never played in Utah so it wasn’t going to happen. Anyway, I think that Collins might have been a little too much to give up considering the trade that went down. I hate the Lakers, I hate how the team came to be, I hate their fans, and I hate the love fest in the media.
(the love child of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol)
3. Reggie Miller: Where Incredibly Dumb Comments Happen
This last topic is more of a joke. I do, however, think that Miller rivals Odom for the dumbest person mentioned in this post. I also think that Hubie Brown now has a rival for worst NBA announcer. I guess I should mention the ESPN announcers from the last Jazz vs. Lakers game. They were pretty horrible, and I could almost put them in the running with the other two, but not quite. Reggie Miller is basically the real life Forrest Gump. I enjoyed watching him play, but he should have stayed out of the booth.
So those are the main issues I have with the NBA. I don’t expect everything to be perfect, but with the way things are I grow less and less interested.