It’s time to come right out and say it: the NBA fucking sucks. It is a national embarrassment. I am officially withdrawing what parsimonious scraps of support I once harbored for professional basketball and telling them all to lick my nuts. If I have to sit through another goddamn NBA game again, please just do me a favor, take me out to the garden shed and hit me in the head with the business end of a hoe.
This latest brawl between the Knicks and the Nuggets (oh, just YouTube it if you haven’t seen it) was the nail in a rotting coffin that began when Jordan actually retired and was furthered by the unbelievable ugliness of Ron Artest & Co. two years ago. There’s a place for unchecked egos throwing sucker punches, and it’s called either “prison” or “my middle school locker room.”
When the players aren’t fouling the shit out of each other, the NBA game is soporific, funereal, rote and mind-numbing. I’ve had it with watching these multi-multi-millionaires with tattoo-festooned necks offer unearned braggadocio in every interview, jack up shots from 35 feet without regard to any teammate, and allow rivals to take a twenty point lead in the first quarter and do nothing about it. They have no heart, dulled by numbing vats of money, and have absolutely no pride in whatever city they happen to be playing for this year.
Some might find this line of reasoning racist, or generationalist, but I swear, I used to love the pro game. My favorite player growing up was the Iceman. I come from a school in North Carolina that provided the NBA its greatest player ever, and a platoon of guys that were among the most awesome dudes you could ask for. I loved Antawn Jamison and Jerry Stackhouse about as much as you can love those from afar, but they disappeared for me as soon as they left the fold. I still harbor affection for all Carolina players, but I simply cannot buttress up any amount of excitement for the pro careers that swallowed them.
Besides – the cold, European, long-range assassins ruin the game just as much. I can’t stand any of it. Darko Milicic, you’re almost as boring as Tim Duncan. Nowitzki, whatever. Shaq, you’ve become a real boor. Marbury, you’re a complete head case, and you’re stinking up NYC. You and your Knicks serve only to generate hilarious headlines for the Post and the Daily News.
Yes, I know everyone has their favorites. Yes, I like Steve Nash and Earl Boykins. Yes, I know teams occasionally wake from their slumber in time for the playoffs. But is it worth the shoe deals, the posturing, the sneers after dunks, the 15-game suspensions, the endless clunked shots from twelve feet? I’m just one guy, but I’m one guy with lots of cable sports packages who just banned the game from my house.
Do I cry at the end of “Hoosiers”? Yes. Am I a twee, old-school, sentimental fop? I suppose so. But for me, the farther away you get from Dean Smith’s way of thinking, the less the game becomes a gorgeous metaphor for everything in life, and more of a profane, cruel, stupid, “fuck you, pay me” dumbshow carnival.
In college, any given team can beat any other. Santa Clara can beat the Heels in a championship season. Lorenzo Charles can tip the ball. Walter Davis can bank a 35-footer in a meaningless game at the end of the 1974 season and change lives forever. I’m taller than Wes Miller, and he wears the blue and white. THAT’S the game I love.