Stern Open to Dropping the 2-3-2 Finals Format
Posted Jun 11th 2008 5:10AM by Matt Watson
Filed under: NBA Media Watch, NBA Playoffs
I've always hated the 2-3-2 format that the NBA uses in the Finals -- a team plays all season long to acquire homecourt advantage and then it has to play three straight on a lower seed's floor? That hardly seems fair.
As luck would have it, David Stern kind of hates it, as well, and admitted that the only reason he made the switch back in his early days as commish was because 1) Red Auerbach asked him to, and 2) he was worried the media wouldn't want to cover a 2-1-1-1-1-1 series that might require as many as four cross-country flights. From Ken Berger of Newsday:
In '85, before Michael Jordan changed the landscape of the NBA forever, Stern said he agreed to the 2-3-2 format, in part, because limiting travel would "induce media to cover us." With an eight-year, $7.4-billion broadcast deal with ESPN/ABC and TNT, Stern doesn't need the traditional media the way he did in the old days, when he used to personally call newspaper sports editors and beg them to cover the All-Star Game.What's funny is that with the newspaper industry
slowly dying and the cost of travel rising, there's been a marked decline in domestic newspaper credentials even with the 2-3-2 format, though as Berger points out, all the foreign press and online outlets easily make up the difference. Plus, unlike in 1985, the NBA is in the business of reporting (cough -- spinning) news itself through NBA TV and NBA.com.
So will the 2-3-2 format be kicked to the curb? We'll find out this summer when Stern puts it to a vote by the NBA's Board of Governors. I'd like to think this is a change that passes easily, but Stern indicated there hasn't been a huge rallying cry considering the higher-seeded team has still won the Finals 75% of the time.
And besides, Stern added, does homecourt advantage even matter when you have the refs on your side? *
* Not actually said ... out loud.