The Electric Commentary

Sunday, April 23, 2006

How long before some NBA player cold-cocks an official?

What an infuriating "sport." I know that the Pistons are a better team than the Bucks, but how does that justify the officials aiding the better team? When I first read Moneyball, one stat stuck in my head:

Even the worst team in the league will beat the best team in the league 15% of the time in a seven game series.

I'm paraphrasing, but the above quote is essentially correct. Is this even remotely close to being true in the NBA? Maybe I'm emotionally out of whack on this issue, and I'm just perceiving things improperly. Ever since the refs handed the Eastern Conference Championship to the Sixers in 2000-2001 by suspending Scott Williams for a bogus flagrant foul ( the "Iverson is a little twirp" foul), and awarded Iverson a million-billion free throws in game 7, I've thought that the NBA is crooked. It's so bad that now, when there is any controversial play I assume that the call is crooked faster than you can say "Dick Bavetta."

Then again, isn't the NBA set up to be crooked? Isn't it basically professional wrestling? After all, the NBA has never sold parity to its fans. It has sold Michael Jordan (Hulk Hogan),Larry and Magic (The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin), and Shaq (Andre the Giant). When baseball is highly competitive, more fans watch the games for a longer period of time. When football is competitive, people don't just watch their local team (although the possibility of a championship does keep them interested), they watch every team, they play fantasy football,and they follow the draft.

When there is parity in Basketball, people don't watch.

This isn't the best night to write this criticism. Kobe Bryant was obviously fouled in a crucial portion of the Suns-Lakers game and no call was made. Fouling Kobe and getting away with it is probably the highlight of Tim Thomas's career, other than the 15 boards he grabbed today (by the way, I hate Tim Thomas for basically ruining the Bucks). However, the fact remains that the Bucks had no chance of winning tonight, and everyone knows it. None. Zero. And, as I said, the Pistons are a better team. But upsets in general should happen more often than they do in the NBA, and in the NBA, there must be a reason that they do not.

The reason is simple. The other two major sports, football and baseball, benefit from a competitive environment, and the rules and officiating reflect that.

The NBA benefits from stars succeeding, and the rules and officiating, and more importantly, the results, reflect that. The Bucks have as much of a chance to win this series as Koko B. Ware did to win the WWF Heavyweight Title over Hulk Hogan, because the Bucks and Koko are playing under the same set of rules. You beat who you should beat, and you lose when you should lose, and nothing that you do will change that fact.

What a deplorable "sport."


  • The NBA is gay. The old "That's why they play the game" saying hasn't applied for years.

    By Blogger JesusIsJustAlrightWithMe, at 9:14 PM  

  • I've been to games with you, you definitely think more is fouls and stuff than necessarily is. You are a good "homer" in that sense.

    Nonetheless, I agree that the NBA clearly favors its stars and favorite teams in big time scenarios. For instance, I remember Tim Duncan leveling Redd from behind for no call on a fast break at the end of a game (before Redd was even a starter).
    Of course, what do you expect from a league that is largely survives on hype about dunking to pander to little kids who idol worship athletic superfreaks.

    By Blogger Scott H, at 11:08 PM  

  • Waitaminute... Pro wrestling is fixed?

    By Anonymous Keith, at 7:11 AM  

  • I didn't watch any basketball this weekend, so I can't really comment, but I do find it hiliarious that Kobe Bryant has become such a ridiculous ball hog that he went 7-for-21 and the lead story on all morning has been about how Kobe needs to take more shots. I'm no John Wooden, but I would tend to think that when Luke Walton is going 9-for-16 and Kobe Bryant is going 7-for-21, maybe that means the team would have done better if Kobe had shot less and fed it inside to Walton more.

    Paul, if the NBA is as crooked as you believe, why hasn't it done anything about a small-market team like San Antonio being consistently at or near the top of the league?

    By Blogger MDS, at 11:11 AM  

  • Go Pistons. =)

    By Anonymous Mike, at 11:46 AM  

  • It's not really fixed in a big market/small market sense. It's fixed in a superstar individual/regular player sense. San Antionio drafted a superstar that was good and could sell sneakers right away.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:50 PM  

  • The last game that I watched, will be the last game that I ever watch. I didn't watch that often to begin with.

    I saw a game earlier in the season in which Kobe was driving to the basket. There was a player about five feet away that took a step toward Kobe, but never got with two feet of him. He was called for a foul. The replays clearly showed that there was no way Kobe could have even been touched. Didn't matter. 2pts + bonus free throw.

    Later in the quarter, Mr. Bryant was driving again. A defensive player with his back to Kobe the entire time (he was guarding someone else) had the nerve not to get out of Kobe's way. Kobe literally ran right into him. The guy was charged with a foul.

    Once again- After that game I haven't seen a game since then, and I have no intention of watching another NBA (National Bryant Association) show again.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:02 PM  

  • It's not really "fixed in the sense that they intentionally rig outcomes, except in the afforementioned Bucks series. But they favor stars to the detriment of competitiveness. I also think that there is only so much that they can do.

    Duncan is my explanation for San Antonio. If Big Dog or Bogut were huge stars, I don't doubt that the Bucks would be getting similar treatment.

    But that game last night was abysmal. Detroit doesn't need any help to defeat the Bucks, but they basically let Rip Hamilton grab Michael Redd's nuts all night. At least that is what it looked like. Redd would run around screens trying to get free and Hamilton would just grab him, but on the other end, Rip would do the same thing and any body contact at all was called as a foul.

    By Blogger PaulNoonan, at 5:52 PM  

  • I think it's a combination of the superstar/market size factor. San Antonio had The Admiral before Tim Duncan and he was a marketing item for the league.

    By Blogger Peter, at 11:25 PM  

  • I agree with Peter. It's not all market, a lot is star appeal. Besides, they needed a counterweight to the Lakers to make it interesting.

    My biggest complaint would be the Shaq elbows to the face, charging on repeated plays move. They don't even let you do that shi* on the playground.

    By Blogger Scott H, at 9:58 AM  

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