Monday, June 9, 2008

The NBA Finals can't hold my interest

I have already lost interest in the NBA Finals. I know it is Boston Celtics-Los Angeles Lakers, the biggest NBA rivalry of all-time and all that jazz. Magic Johnson. Larry Bird. There is quite the list of names involved in the rivalry. This year there’s Kevin Garnett’s quest for his first NBA title. Ray Allen and Paul Pierce are on the same quest as well. Kobe Bryant is trying to win one without some guy named Shaquille O’Neal. Kobe already has three. He wants four.

People keep talking about how much gravity the series has and how it is good for basketball. I do not think I will deny the magnitude of the games, but for me, it’s the fact that the Finals take from June 5 until June 19. That is two weeks. Fourteen days. Seven games over fourteen days. My attention span is already gone. I watched part of Game 1 because, heck, I wanted to see what it was all about. I was not disappointed, even though I felt staying up the next day during exams. But then I did not watch a second of Game 2. I opted for watching August Rush with my family. Yeah, I’m a wuss. (That is a great movie, by the way. It almost had me in tears.)

So call me un-American or any other names you want. It’s the truth. I’m already tired of the NBA Finals. You could say that I am ESPN’d out. Seriously. On Saturday, June 7, the day BEFORE Game 2, Game 2 was their “What to Watch For” for the day. Not even the Belmont Stakes drew that so-called “honor.” Having so much time between games gives the schmucks on ESPN time to over-analyze everything, down to what the fan in section 23, row W, seat 21 was doing for the whole game. Giving them two full days to analyze one game is way too much. And then they start talking about how both teams are going to do things differently in Game 2. Are you freaking kidding me? Of course they are going to do stuff differently. It doesn’t take 15 years of NBA experience, however many years of experience Stephen A. Smith has, and Mike Tirico to tell me that.

And now there are former Lakers and Celtics players jumping back into the mix. I find this to be rather annoying and some could accuse them of trying to re-live their glory days, but I do not feel that is valid accusation. James Worthy, if Pierce thought he needed a freaking wheelchair to get off the court, then by-God he needed a freaking a wheelchair. We all have those moments during injuries where we initially think they are worse than they really are and we take precautions. So deal with it.

If the NBA wants my attention for the Finals (and I doubt they want a white teenager’s), they should do things a little differently. Let’s look at how the Finals are scheduled:

Game 1: June 5, 2008 (@ BOS)
Game 2: June 8, 2008 (@ BOS)Game 3: June 10, 2008 (@ LAL)
Game 4: June 12, 2008 (@ LAL)
Game 5: June 15, 2008 (@LAL)
Game 6: June 17, 2008 (@ BOS)
Game 7: June 19, 2008 (@ BOS)

The scheduling of this seems rather illogical. Why have two days of rest between Games 1 & 2 and Games 4 & 5 when those sets of games are in the same city? Why not give them two days of rest on travel days? Am I unaware of some “television events” that ABC has been planning around? With so many days of rest, I easily lose track of what is going on. Part of that is because I am not a diehard basketball fan. I am a fan of the game, just not a diehard fan.

This idea probably does not seem feasible to you diehard basketball fans, but the NBA needs to re-do the formula for the series to make it more compact. Baseball’s seven-games series’ are done in nine days (or at least they used to be). I understand basketball is more of a “physical” game, but baseball ain’t no cakewalk either. My idea would be this:

Game 1: June 5, 2008 (@ BOS)
Game 2: June 6, 2008 (@ BOS)
Game 3: June 8, 2008 (@ LAL)
Game 4: June 9, 2008 (@ LAL)
Game 5: June 11, 2008 (@ LAL)
Game 6: June 13, 2008 (@ BOS)
Game 7: June 14 or 15, 2007 (@ BOS)

See, I just cut 4-5 days off the series time. As the series goes on and the players get more worn down, they get more time off. Now, this idea would never fly. The NBA rarely has back-to-back games during the regular season, and when they do, the players complain. It would keep my interest, but the backlash of the players not having enough “rest time” would be way too much. If basketball wants to return to relevance in my mind, it needs to do so through shortening series, not through better matchups. Maybe I’ll watch Game 3. Who knows. All I know is that ESPN is unwatchable for me right now because of this series. And after the proverbial teet of Celtics-Lakers is dried up, it’ll be back to Red Sox-Yankees.


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