I think what makes the NBA game experience so uninspiring is that the play is so uninspired that they have to throw in all sorts of gimmicks to keep people interested. This speaks to two things: 1) People are morons and need flashy lights and circus acts to be amused and 2) Basketball is boring if LeBron James isn't involved, especially during football season. Throughout the course of the night, we saw endless meaningless giveaways (i.e. buy one cup of coffee at dunkin donuts get the second half off.....at participating locations, 10 cents off a big mac, $5 off tune-up at jiffy lube with purchase of 4 tune-ups, etc). Many other gimmicky things happened during time-outs, quarters, and halftime to keep people from leaving such as bad female dancers (the Luv-a-Bulls), bad fat male dancers (the Matadors), a mischievous looking squirrely bulls mascot, and about six massive inflated friendly bulls mascots along with a massive friendly bull blimp mascot flying around - all of which are in direct conflict with the image of the bull on the logo that has blood on its horns. Why are all these bulls so damn friendly? This is so watered down. What happened to these days when Bill Laimbeer and Isaiah Thomas used to beat up Michael Jordan like he was robbing their houses? I guarantee you there were no friendly inflatable bulls running up and down the arena coddling kids then. That was basketball.
Unfortunately, that's not the NBA we see today. The following is really the case for every sport, but I think the NBA is the most obvious case and the one that spells the most imminent doom for the league. We live in the world of bad cheerleader/dancers, corporate seats, $8 beers, $30 parking, and this monstrosity of a halftime show where some guy who was dressed somewhere between a matador and a chippendales dancer (not that I know what they look like with clothes on, I mean I don't know at all, I mean...Dwayne Zakamore Mr. October 1995, oh god....) did a high wire act, except one that was only about 6 feet off the ground. Just to clarify, that last parenthetical was a reference to BASEketball, the greatest sports movie of our time.
The most egregious offense of all in this spectacle was showing up to the United Center to find a new addition, two actually. On one side of the arena, this:
On the other side of the arena, this:
Ironically, this is the first year for this most eye-rolling gimmick, and it comes at a time when this arena and others are anything but a madhouse. The people who really care stay home because they can't afford to come, or they sit way up in the rafters while assholes like me who are indifferent to the bulls sit in corporate seats down low, or worse yet (and more typically), the seats sit empty. Thus, home court advantage is eliminated, rivalries are all but eliminated, and the corporations transfer their own wealth to the overpaid athletes who are indifferent to the weak crowd because they know they just made $300,000 for this 3 hour game. One day I will tell my son about how John Stockton used to average double digit assists per game, passing to Karl Malone with telepathic precision, how Michael Jordan used his deep-seeded hatred for all humanity to dominate the universe, how Larry Bird just wanted it more than the other guy, how much the Celtics hated the Lakers and how much everybody hated the Pistons, but sadly future generations will never know the NBA my generation grew up with. In memoriam, here's a couple great youtube montages from the days of yore...this is when people cared, honor was defended, and basketball was more like football. If you like sports, you know you miss those days.
Song of the Day:
Cold War Kids - Audience