Do I Actually Want The NBA Back?

I’ve spent the years since 2008 both mourning the loss of the Seattle Supersonics, and fervently pining for their return. But, I’ve also done something else in that span: not watched one bit of NBA basketball.

It’s my own quiet protest. Of course, I can’t say I haven’t seen some NBA action, if I’m in a bar and it’s on the TV, I’m sure I’ve glanced at it once in a blue moon. But, I haven’t actively sought it out, not even the playoffs (which used to be my favorite growing up; I’d watch any game featuring any team in the playoffs). And, from what I’ve gleaned about the game, I also haven’t been missing it.

Much like baseball stumbled upon the loathesome Three True Outcomes approach to winning games (homers, walks, strikeouts), the NBA stumbled upon their own analytics-based mode of winning: spreading the court and jacking threes early and often. I don’t know if I would hate watching that sort of game – obviously, since I haven’t been exposed to it yet – but it sounds boring.

Of course, nothing could be as boring as the NBA in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, when teams like the Cavs started slowing the game down to an interminable pace, and scoring resultantly plummeted. Basketball is more fun when points are scored; this three-point tactic has increased scoring again, so it should be good, right?

I dunno. We’ll see. I think I like innovation and different tactics in sports. I don’t want every NFL team to be the Chiefs; it’s fun when some teams are the Eagles or Seahawks or Ravens. What baseball has going for it is the simple fact that teams CAN’T all be the same. There aren’t enough quality players to go around, especially on the pitching side of things. So, you are kinda forced to build differently, based on the availability of the talent you have.

But, NBA teams are small. And there’s a shit-ton of great basketball players in the world. So many, in fact, that you could be a tremendous player, but you’ll never make it if you can’t shoot the three.

That’s not even my biggest gripe with the NBA, though. What’s really gotten me down lately is all the player movement. To say nothing of how insane contracts have gotten. I’m not sure I even understand how teams are able to build winners anymore! I think you need at least one super-duper star, who’s probably making a bajillion dollars, and then just a bunch of dart throws around him who can also shoot at an amazing clip?

I was sad to see Dame Lillard demanding a trade. Not that I’m a Portland Trailblazers fan or anything. But, if I was, he’d be a guy I’d like to root for. He’d be a guy I’d like to see on my team for his entire career. I’d be devastated if I spent however many years rooting for this guy, only for him to give up and force his way out. And yet, it’s not like this is special or unique. Guys do this EVERY FUCKING YEAR. Superstars change teams constantly; it’s inane!

As a caveat, Lillard is unique in the fact that he waited so long. Most guys are hopping around from year to year all willy-nilly.

I’m already beyond fucking annoyed with what’s happened to college football and especially college basketball with the transfer portal. Player Empowerment is fine and all that, but as usual, the fan gets fucked over. Nothing means anything. Yet, you’d think in the pros, you’d be able to keep your very best guys. Maybe you lucked into drafting a super-stud. Maybe you spent years developing him until he blossomed into that guy. Then, you go and give him a mammoth contract to keep him around indefinitely. All good, right?

Except, on any fucking whim, he could just decide he wants to leave. And the team has to accommodate that demand because … why? He’ll be a pouty little bitch and sabotage your team. That’s why.

I’m sure all this NBA turnover is fun for the casual fan. Maybe that’s the future of sports: you don’t root for teams, you root for your favorite players. You root for multiple teams based on wherever those players land. But, that’s lame. I think my Gen X roots are showing, but I take pride in suffering for a lifetime, just for the chance of once tasting that sweet nectar of success.

Ultimately, I do want the NBA back in Seattle. I want what’s mine. I’m like a child that way, who’s been forced to share his favorite toy with some loser kid in Oklahoma for the last 15 years. But, it’s like, be careful what you wish for. Am I going to enjoy the product if and when it returns?

If they’re good, then yeah. But, that’s the rub, isn’t it? Will they be good? Will they be great? Or, will they kind of flop around with an occasional superstar, who will eventually force his way onto the Heat or Lakers or whatever the fuck?

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