The Current NBA Problem
You tune into a game.
Lakers vs Bucks, Lebron vs Giannis.
The stars, the big matchups, the mesmerising highlights, they're all there... so what's the problem?
Just yesterday, on a lazy Saturday morning, I decided to tune into an NBA game. My work was done, no chores to be completed, so what better way to spend a couple hours than to sit back and enjoy a few 2 metre African-Americans throw a ball into a basket?
There were many games on, but the matchups didn't really catch my attention. Mavs vs Sixers wasn't looking like a close game despite Luka Doncic, Joel Embiid and James Harden all suiting up. Wizards vs Knicks was like watching two primary school kids argue. Grizzlies vs Hawks?! Oh Trae Young ain't playing. Lakers vs Raptors... close game, good matchup, let's see what's happening.
The game is already 103-103 with a few minutes left. I watch Scottie Barnes dribble around and throw up a sky hook. Splash. Lebron comes the other way and nails a three-pointer. Gary Trent Jr answers back with a three of his own. Disclaimer: these details may be slightly incorrect, but you get the picture. It's a great game.
The clock is winding down, we're into the final few seconds. 116-113 Raptors lead, and they just need to safely inbound the ball the secure the victory. They find the hot-handed Barnes, but Westbrook steals it! He dribbles up the court, and everyone in the building expects Lebron to take the final shot. But no... he selfishly pulls up on a heavily contested three and... BANG!!! TIE GAME!!! WE'RE GOING INTO OVERTIME! (sorry for doubting you Westbrick)
And that's probably the best part of the game. I didn't really care who won in overtime (the Lakers pulled through) and I certainly wasn't going to wait for all the timeouts and ad breaks. That's what the problem is.
Basketball is a great sport, and the NBA is a beautifully entertaining league. The problem is the actual games become super boring to watch. There are sprinkles of amazing highlights hopelessly trying to mask the bitter taste of never-ending timeouts and ad breaks. For every big shot, there's a bigger ad. A big bucket by Lebron? Here's a Go-Bucket by KFC. A fast-break dunk? Hungry Jacks' new BBQ-flavoured junk. Pascal Siakam with no regard for human life?? Try State farm's new life insurance.
The NBA is a business, I get that. I appreciate the ads trying to have NBA stars doing funny skits to help ease the pain a little. But at the end of the day, I'm not going to sit through a 48-minute game expanded to 2 hours because of dumb ads and brief commentator analysis. Even the 36-minute Sunday league games I participate in are more entertaining to watch.
And the 82-game season??? Each team plays so many games that each game becomes almost meaningless. The playoffs are a little different but even then, Game 1 or 2 of the playoffs is becoming just as much of a novelty as the Wizards vs Knicks game I alluded to earlier.
If I'm gonna be honest, I'll probably tune into another game after writing this blog. But even the highlight videos are becoming boring nowadays. In fact, with the spurt of 50-point games occurring right now, even big records aren't as mind-blowing as before.
It's a difficult problem to fix, but I trust Adam Silver my daddy.