Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Basketball Sucks

Last night, I watched a couple of nobody schmucks beat NBA all-star Xavier McDaniel in a free-throw contest. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Basketball players suck.

If most athletes can agree that the most difficult feat in professional sports is to hit a round ball with a round bat, then surely everybody can agree the easiest is to make a free-throw. If you're not familiar with the rules of the game, a free-throw is simple: Everyone stands around the basket while one player throws the ball into the hoop. There's no defense of any kind — no one blocking him, no one trying to deflect his shot. The other players just stand around and watch, and he gets to score a point. That's why it's called a free-throw.

Watch an NBA game sometime. It's embarrassing. These guys are all 6'7" and they can all slam-dunk, but ask them to stand still and make two shots and they can't do it. It's the primary skill required by the game and none of them have it.

In the days of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, basketball was about strategy and teamwork. You could outplay another team, catch them off-guard and finesse your way to victory. Today, basketball is a bully's game. It's about who's taller and who can push harder.

It's also an incredible waste of space. They don't need two hoops, because nothing ever happens at center-court. They spent 40 seconds fouling each other within three feet of one basket for an opportunity to slam-dunk the ball, they either make the shot or not, and then the melee zips to the opposite end where they crowd identically around the other basket. It's like the coaches don't even try to design center-court plays anymore.

What's sad is that for kids, basketball is a blast. Football requires a big field, hockey needs ice, and baseball breaks the neighbors' windows. Kids can crowd around a basketball hoop without bothering anyone, and they're not spread across an open field so they can joke and screw around like kids do. You'd think it would have decent claim to being the all-American sport and that its professionals would show the game being played with consummate skill. Instead, the NBA is about the dumbest incarnation of basketball that you could conceive.


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