I was thrilled to see so many people take my super-important piece regarding the hatefulness that should surround soccer to heart. It encouraged many well thought out, in-depth heart to heart discussions about why that sport is so horrible and should be loathed, and I'd like to believe at least a few people read it and re-evaluated their life decisions.
Because it was such an invaluable piece I decided to share yet another article here on a subject that true sports lovers should despise: basketball, otherwise known as ‘dribble dribble score score flop flop'. The NBA is currently ranked third in popularity in the United States (behind the NFL and MLB), showing that Americans have truly begun to lose their way. Once upon a time, we were a proud, proud people- we saved the world from fascism and communism, we invented world changing technology, we developed not only the hot dog but new and exciting toppings for them every other month.
But if we're being honest, things like our slumping economy, the increasing power of China, and the rise of Justin Bieber have begun to make us question our place in the world. But America... turning to the NBA is not the solution. There are so many other, more positive outlets for our feelings of gloom, options that can lift the heart and raise the spirit. Perhaps you'd like to go outside and take a walk- good for the mind and the body. Maybe take up some intellectually stimulating hobbies like Sudoku or crossword puzzles or chess. If you check your DVR, maybe you've got another episode of Game of Thrones or Scandal sitting in there just waiting for you to desperately catch up to the rest of society. But choosing to flip on the TV and finding out if LeBron James remembered to take his Midol this time? That's not helping you, that's not helping anybody.
You know, one of the issues America currently faces is a population of youth devoid of competition. They receive participation trophies for actually doing nothing except showing up. Well, do you know where participation trophies came from? Basketball. Everyone gets to do something no matter what. I don't mean that they all work together as a team and have invaluable roles in as much; that's obviously important to any team sport. I mean they all get to score. All of them. No matter what. I checked the Miami Heat's roster. They have some guy named DeAndre Liggins who has played in one game (didn't start). ONE GAME. Guess what? He's scored. He's made a basket. He played ONE GAME and, again, wasn't a starter. And apparently, that kind of crap is normal in the NBA. HOORAY YOU PLAYED A GAME NOW YOU CAN TELL EVERYONE YOU HAVE SCORED A BASKET IN THE NBA HERE'S YOUR PARTICIPATION RIBBON. Last season for the Vikings, Joe Webb played in multiple games and did not score a TD. Because stepping onto the field in the NFL does not automatically award you a score. Because in real sports, you have to DO SOMETHING other than just exist on the court/ field to score.
See, soccer is horrible because games end in 0-0 ties and nobody thinks that's odd or even bad. Basketball takes the exact opposite approach. If I told you a game ended in a score of 112-110, you'd shrug because that's not any sort of special news. Like with all things, extremes on either end of the spectrum are bad. OH WOW TIM DUNCAN SCORED DID YOU SEE THAT no, I didn't see it, because I f'ing blinked but its ok I'll just wait five seconds OH LOOK ANOTHER BASKET.
But where soccer and basketball are the extreme opposites on the spectrum of shittiness, they do share one commonality- DON'T TOUCH ME BRO. In football, the NFL has taken a hard stance against flopping because they actually respect their sport and have pride/ testicles. In hockey, if someone hits you dirty, you don't whine to the ref- you throw your goddamned gloves down and you beat the shit outta that guy. If you even look like you didn't take the fullest maximum beating your body can physically withstand without dying in the UFC, Dana White will publicly mock you and then cut you. (And then he'll re-sign you a week later cuz Dana White is f'ing crazy, yo.) But in basketball? HE LOOKED AT ME FUNNY OH MY LEG GIVE ME A FREE THROW. I swear to Christ if you sneeze near LeBron James, he'll claim you gave him influenza and demand that you be ejected and that he spend the rest of the game alternating between taking free throws and chugging Gatorade to ward off the vaginal cramps. And guess what? The referees will confer, and then agree, because if FIFA rigs one soccer game the NBA rigs twenty. You know all those memes out there where they compare two sports stars' injuries to make one look like a total failure at manhood? Do you ever notice that said victim is always a basketball player? Observe:
Well, that's a coincidence. OR IS IT. America, we as a nation and a people need to get stronger- and you are supporting a sport filled with the weakest of the weak. (THANKS OBAMA. OR BUSH. NOT SURE.) The Tampa Bay Lightning a few years ago played basketball as a warm up before games. That is what the NBA is- a real sportsman's warmup.
And it's not like the players are the only ones who flop. Entire teams flop. People out there claim that the Colts ‘sucked for Luck'. This is complete BS because, well, if they did- boy that sure was dumb of the HC, GM, and basically everyone else because said effort got them all fired. Even the damn waterboy got a pink slip after that season. But in the NBA? Tanking is not a theory, it's not a conspiracy- it's an out in the open fact. Boy, I love rooting for an underdog in a league where the underdog will quit trying halfway through. And hold a press conference all but admitting to the fact. "Wouldn't bother cheering guys, we're just trying to increase our draft stock now. Thanks for purchasing those season tickets though everyone!"
But is that not some of the greatest irony here- that tanking in the NBA doesn't guarantee you squat? And yet they do it anyways? Here's a flowchart measuring your odds of getting the #1 pick in any given recent draft:
So, unless you are the team that LeBron James screwed over (but really didn't screw over), you're going to be #1 in jack shit thanks to your efforts in tanking- not #1 in the league, not #1 in the draft, not #1 in your fans' hearts. But by all means, keep trying to find new and creative ways to suck. It's not like you don't know that your league is good G-d rigged when it comes to your draft. The idea of the NBA lottery system being in place as a disincentive for tanking? No (because it's not working anyways, see above); it's so that the commissioner can decide which team gets what pick without having to pay attention to standings or other uncontrollable quibbles like that.
Not that standings are apparently entirely uncontrollable, either. The NBA has had a referee ADMIT to calling games the way he wanted it to go. Look, NFL referees can suck donkey balls; I'm a diehard Vikings fan, you don't think I am unaware of this? But it's pretty f'ing bad when the referee feels SO COMFORTABLE doing it that they will PUBLICLY ADMIT IT. The worst the NFL has is a referee who admitted that they screwed up a Super Bowl; yeah, that's REALLY bad but at least it was based on pure suckitude and not devious intentions. Find me a sport where the refs don't screw up; good luck. Now find me a sport where the refs don't so much screw up as intentionally change outcomes. Yup- that there would be the NBA.
But good news, NBA fans- even if the refs rig a few games against you, even if your team suddenly decides to give up on sportsing, you might still make your playoffs! The NFL is considering expanding its playoff field (BAD IDEA)- but guess what, even if they did, that would leave over half the teams out. As G-d intended. The NBA? There are 30 teams in the NBA. 16 go to the playoffs. SIXTEEN. That means that every playoff, there is one team that is in the BOTTOM HALF OF THE LEAGUE PLAYING. Do you know what that is? ANOTHER PARTICIPATION AWARD. "Congratulations team x! You are the best of the worst, see ya in the playoffs!"
But maybe they need massively bloated playoffs because they want celebrities to have more time to attend games. It's a very symbiotic relationship Hollywood and the NBA have: create a product not worth paying attention to because it's ridiculously repetitive, and get stars to use it for great photo ops. Jack Nicholson isn't there to watch the game, he's busy reading his next movie script until someone whispers to him that the cameras are about to show him on screen. He then uses his impressive acting skills to hide said script and appear as if he's intently watching guys score over and over and over again, and he doesn't even have to know what's been going on because guess what? It's guaranteed to be the same thing every time. They dribbled, they scored, the other team dribbled, then they scored- lather, rinse, repeat. Maybe someone gets close to the basket and does a slam dunk, which is supposed to be impressive or something.
Slam dunking, by the way. Good G-d is there not a stupider way to score in sports? It's not even the best way to get maximum points but it's what everyone looks forward to and it's what's making the highlight reel. Basketball players get so bored doing the same shit over and over so they try and spruce it up by seeing how many times they can spin before hanging off the rim. Which in my own way I respect; at least, unlike soccer, they seem to vaguely understand that the game itself is agonizing to watch. Slam dunks are so stupid in and of themselves that whenever they do the actual slam dunk contest, they have to get cars on the court and flaming hoops and live bears. Because just slam dunking itself isn't hard or anything for these guys, and they're terrified to expose that reality by simply doing it over and over. Remember when Jerome Simpson did a perfect front flip into the endzone in his last season with the Bengals? It was AWESOME, but also practical- there was a guy in his way. It wasn't that he was bored out of his mind and needed to do something that might entertain himself as well as the fans. (Well, apparently he was bored out of his mind off the field and needed a few kilos of entertainme... you know what, never mind.) There is absolutely no real equivalent to slam dunking in football for two reasons: one, it's actually a difficult sport to score in, so you don't showboat that shit (and when they do, they look like dumbasses because they flipped the ball too soon WHOOPS NO TD OTHER TEAMS' BALL HAHA); and second, because football is entertaining enough to watch the actual game being played so there's no need to just do stupid stuff to try and keep Nicholson awake.
America, wake up. It's bad enough that every four years you decide to support a sport that is nothing but a global attempt to bring us down; every year you are supporting a sport that is WEAKENING US FROM THE INSIDE OUT. You're all welcome for the light on which I have shone upon your mistakes.