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Thread: NBA losing fans....(opinion article)

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    Default NBA losing fans....(opinion article)

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6873239/
    It's hard to ‘love this game’ now
    With selfish players, disillusioned fans, NBA in bad state
    When NBA observers mention the term “back in the day,” they aren’t necessarily prancing merrily down memory lane. In the 1970s especially, the league’s image was tarnished by the confluence of cocaine and money. The prevailing perception was one of overpaid athletes who didn’t care and didn’t work hard. That, plus the limited television exposure — the decisive Game 6 of the 1980 NBA Finals between the Lakers and Sixers was shown in L.A. on tape delay at 11:30 p.m. — combined for a less-than-dynamic product.

    But the ‘80s brought Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, David Stern and Michael Jordan, giving birth to an oversized cash cow that was fed by enraptured fans not just in the U.S., but across the globe. Life was good.

    Gradually, the cow became seriously ill. The NBA may not be suffering financially, given TV networks’ continued eagerness to shell out huge sums in rights fees. But the NBA’s current image is inching so perilously close to the one it had in the ‘70s that it wouldn’t be surprising if disco, pet rocks, 8-track players and The Fonz also made comebacks.

    The most obvious and glaring example of a severe disconnect between fans and players occurred on Nov. 19 in Auburn Hills, Mich., during the Pacers-Pistons brawl. It became clear that fracas was the flashpoint in a conflict that had been brewing for some time. Fans have grown more disillusioned and downright angry at players; as they have become richer and more famous, players have become more aloof, more insulated and, to a certain extent, more contemptuous of the people who pay their salaries but also hurl invective with the frequency that Allen Iverson chucks outside shots.

    ALSO ON THIS STORY





    But that is not the NBA’s only wart. Recently Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter, in separate interviews, admitted they did not always try their hardest while playing for Orlando and Toronto, respectively. Being human, it’s understandable when somebody has a case of the blahs and doesn’t feel like working on a particular day.

    In sports, however, making such a confession is taboo. The reason is simple: Fans perceive professional athletes as having dream jobs. Playing sports, getting paid millions to do so. What could be better? For one to admit he didn’t do his best in a particular game is an especially heinous transgression, and one that will haunt those players for years to come, like Scottie Pippen’s refusal to re-enter Game 3 of the ’94 Eastern Conference finals because Phil Jackson drew up a play for Toni Kukoc to take the final shot instead of him.

    The Bryant mess
    Then there was the whole Kobe Bryant mess. Before the sexual assault charges were revealed, he had been one of the league’s most admirable ambassadors. He was well-spoken, respectful and law-abiding. He was also a darned good basketball player. Now, after the scandal in Colorado and the breakup of the Lakers — for which, fairly or not, he was blamed — one of the NBA’s beacons of integrity quickly transformed in the public’s eye into the embodiment of everything that is wrong with pro sports.

    Latrell Sprewell wanted a contract extension in Minnesota, and earlier this season he complained loudly about not getting one. A man who makes $14 million per year explained, “I have a family to feed.” Teammate Sam Cassell also wants a new deal, although his approach has been to sulk rather than to say anything as asinine as Sprewell did. Their mutual unhappiness is perceived as at least part of the reason why a Timberwolves team that was expected to contend for the championship is instead hovering just above .500.

    The Detroit Pistons, who won hearts with their inspired upset of the Lakers last year in the NBA Finals, have played like a team with no heart for much of the season. The much-admired work ethic doesn’t seem to be at work anymore.

    Qyntel Woods of the Portland Trail Blazers was charged with participation in dog fighting. The Blazers did the right thing in severing ties with this cretin, but his signing by the Miami Heat only adds to the perception that NBA players are allowed to operate above the law without punishment.

    This is not to say the only news in the NBA is bad. There are some uplifting stories, too, like the resurgence of the young Chicago Bulls; the magnificent play of LeBron James in Cleveland; the surprise seasons being put together by the Phoenix Suns and Seattle SuperSonics; the turnaround of the Washington Wizards, and the steady excellence of the San Antonio Spurs.

    But you know how the local news works: They don’t lead with stories about Boy Scouts helping old ladies across the street. By the same token, the increasing number of negative developments tend to outweigh any admirable qualities the league possesses when perceptions are being formed.

    The cycle may eventually correct itself, like it did from the ‘70s to the ‘80s. The league may yet again enjoy a period of renaissance in future years.

    Right now, however, the NBA is slowly sinking into a quagmire of fan disenchantment. There are fewer titanic matchups creating high drama; if the two best teams, the Spurs and Heat, met today to decide the title, the ratings would probably set new lows. And given the current trend, another bench-clearing melee or petulant contract demand is always right around the corner.

    The slogan used to be, “I Love This Game!”

    Notice you don’t hear it much anymore.

    Michael Ventre is a frequent contributor to NBCSports.com and a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.

  2. #2
    _PD_
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    Default Re: NBA losing fans....(opinion article)

    He forgot to mention that AI is a STARTER and somebody better be giving Rafer Alston some respect soon.
    On the plus side, I haven't heard recently of any players going to jail, with a gun, or murdering anyone, so maybe the NBA is on its way back up.

    Several years ago I posted on this topic and someone said the nba is just a microcosm of the world, i.e. the law of averages says that some nba players have to rape, pillage, murder, and have tattoos. I accepted that, although it was a simplification to me and surely the nba has more than its average of such incidents.

    Therefore I think the problem is better stated by Bird when he mentioned that the europeans have taken our team game and shoved it down our throats. The nba game is a lot of isolations, self-centered morons, highlight films, and people who make too much money. Shut up and play!

    Maybe this thread has a lot in common with the other one where people are choosing not to renew their season tickets.

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    Default Re: NBA losing fans....(opinion article)

    Quote Originally Posted by _PD_
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    He forgot to mention that AI is a STARTER and somebody better be giving Rafer Alston some respect soon.
    On the plus side, I haven't heard recently of any players going to jail, with a gun, or murdering anyone, so maybe the NBA is on its way back up.

    Several years ago I posted on this topic and someone said the nba is just a microcosm of the world, i.e. the law of averages says that some nba players have to rape, pillage, murder, and have tattoos. I accepted that, although it was a simplification to me and surely the nba has more than its average of such incidents.

    Therefore I think the problem is better stated by Bird when he mentioned that the europeans have taken our team game and shoved it down our throats. The nba game is a lot of isolations, self-centered morons, highlight films, and people who make too much money. Shut up and play!

    Maybe this thread has a lot in common with the other one where people are choosing not to renew their season tickets.
    Yeah, I think it does.

    One thing really burns my arse tho. Thanks to our resident knucklehead the Pacers have gone from an organization respected as having class to one of two teams epitomizing all that is evil with the NBA. In one fell swoop...we're dogmeat.
    If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around..

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    Default Re: NBA losing fans....(opinion article)

    Quote Originally Posted by indygeezer
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    Yeah, I think it does.

    One thing really burns my arse tho. Thanks to our resident knucklehead the Pacers have gone from an organization respected as having class to one of two teams epitomizing all that is evil with the NBA. In one fell swoop...we're dogmeat.
    That's the most unfortunate thing about that. Before 11/19, if you'd ask who are some of the best franchises not just in the NBA, but in all sports, the Indiana Pacers and the Detroit Pistons would be near the top of that list. That one isolated, albeit terrible, incident has scarred both franchises.

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    Default Re: NBA losing fans....(opinion article)

    It's scared both, but the Pacers went practically from top to bottom, while the Pistons slid a ways at best/worst. We're the evil fiends of the league now.

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    Default Re: NBA losing fans....(opinion article)

    A writer for NBC, bashing the NBA? Color me SHOCKED!

    Eh, who cares.

    If you're in this to be loved by all, you're in it for the long reasons.......

    Did you honestly expect people outside Indiana to give a damn about the Pacers anwyay? I certainly could care less how much the Pistons are loved or hated outside of Detroit. The Pistons had the "nice-guy" image in the 90's. They had a media darling in Grant Hill. Guess what? IT ALMOST KILLED THE FRANCHISE. I never want the Pistons to be liked nationally ever again.

    In every great saga, someone has to wear the dark hat. I'm very happy accepting that role.

    NBA ratings are up, attendance is up, scoring is up, the game is better than it was last year. I have NO IDEA where this guy's coming from, half his comments are just wrong.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

    Division Champions 1955, 1956, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
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    Default Re: NBA losing fans....(opinion article)

    Quote Originally Posted by vapacersfan
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    I dont mind being the "bad guys", but "classless" is a nice word of the way we the perception of the Pacers to casual fans.
    Is there a difference?

    I mean, when was the last time you head someone say, "man, I hate that team, they're a bunch of *****, but damn, they're classy....."

    I mean come on now, do you REALLY think that if the brawl was in NY or LA, that it would really be THIS big of a deal? Of course not. They NY press and the LA press would have a whole list of excuses made up, and they would play it off as justa part of a "great rivaly." Would the suspensions be the same? Yeah, probably. But the fallout nationally wouldn't last for forever.....

    You don't live on or near either coast. This means that you're going to be ***** on a lot. If you're not used to it by now, get used to it.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

    Division Champions 1955, 1956, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
    Conference Champions 1955, 1956, 1988, 2005
    NBA Champions 1989, 1990, 2004

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