Posts Tagged ‘NBA’

Fan reaction to NBA player movement

December 22, 2011

With the lockout shortened season and offseason, it has been a crazy, shortened lead-up to the first games on Christmas day. These past few weeks have been led by Dwight Howard and Chris Paul wanting trades out of their current location. This has caused uproar against NBA stars “asking out” of their current situations, and not just from fans of the Magic or Hornets, but by NBA fans all over—including some still bitter Cleveland fans.

This fan reaction is based on the idea that they have supported said players, and those guys shouldn’t just turn their back on the team and city. But if we look at it from the players’ viewpoint, it is a little different.

I am a fan, I love sports, and in particular basketball. I have a favorite team that we cheer for, and of course I’d be upset if the team I cheered for lost its best player. But fans shouldn’t look at it as the player stabbing us in the back. It’s a business decision for the athlete.

I think fans believe in loyalty in sports, but it isn’t necessarily true because it’s different for fans and players. Fans have, for the most part, loved the same team their entire lives (And if a fan has switched teams there is a good chance they aren’t truly fans, and have no right to be upset about “their favorite team” losing a player.). Because of this lifetime connection, fans are more attached to a team than the players are.

And for the players it’s a business when it comes down to it: it’s their job. Their employer is the Los Angeles Lakers or the Memphis Grizzlies or whomever. They probably didn’t grow up watching and loving that team the way a fan has.

They’ve been playing for a certain team for six years, not quite the amount of time you need to develop a connection and love for something (unless it’s a love for Chipotle, then that only takes one glorious trip and a few seconds of a delicious burrito). It’s their job, and Vince Carter aside, they mostly try their best night in and night out.

And that’s really all a fan can ask for—while a player is on the team, he does the best he can. And if he stays his entire career, or just finishes his rookie contract, that’s life.

Cavs fans were not happy with "The Decision"

There were so many negative things said about LeBron James when he left Cleveland, but what would fans have done in that situation. Money isn’t a problem to James, with what he’s made on the court and his endorsement deals off it, he doesn’t need the cash. So it was really an opportunity for LeBron: an opportunity to go play with his buddies, in Miami, and still make a lot of money. And his buddies just happen to be some of the best players in the league.

If I had the chance to work with two of my best friends, in a beautiful location and make a lot of money, I would do it in a second (Hell, I’ve had this conversation with a couple of my friends already, and think it would be a dream situation to work with people you have such a good time with.). And most fans probably would as well. We wouldn’t make our decision on a nationally televised special, because that is just stupid and “ego-tastic,” but we’d probably go work, and more importantly have fun, with our friends. And I don’t want Dwight or LeBron giving me career advice, unless it’s in the form of a check with a lot of zeroes.

So now that Paul and Howard are asking for trades, fans shouldn’t be getting upset again. It’s life…it’s their business. This is what happens in business. If people see something better going on in another company, even at a competitor, they make the move. You don’t want to be stuck in a bad job, with coworkers who aren’t able to help you reach your potential, right? When we make business decisions, we probably don’t think about how it will affect every last customer. Why do we hold athletes to higher standards?

Dwight could have gone about this in a better fashion.

If you want out, that’s fine, but either say you want out, or live with the situation. Dwight Howard asked for a trade then later said he wanted to stay in Orlando and he loved it there, or some line of crap he threw into the faces of the fans. Look, Dwight, and any other NBA player, has a right to ask for a trade and get out of his current location. Although from where I am right now, Orlando looks like a pretty sweet place to live. But if he wants to go that’s fine; just don’t go back and forth.

It’s bigger than him, he’s messing with the fans and that isn’t right. If you ask for a trade and the Magic don’t accept an offer, then you’ll have to play there for a year. But don’t try to make it easier for yourself by saying you love it there. If you loved it so much, you wouldn’t have requested a trade in the first place.

In a perfect world, he would quietly ask the GM for a trade, and go about his business as usual. And if a trade didn’t happen, then he would play the year out. Howard and Paul (who has already been traded) are both set to be free agents after this year anyway. After the 2011-2012 season, they are free to go wherever they want. And I mean wherever they want. Whether that is Orlando, New York, Los Angeles, Turkey or China…he earned the right to make his decision.

In a recent article Sam Smith commented on something similar to this. “Many of the NBA’s stars have transcendent talent, but they lack the will and desire to stand up for anything but their own comfort,” Smith wrote. You wish somewhere along the way someone was able to coach and teach them, but they probably never had the desire or inclination. And so they keep searching for the easy way.”

And with this idea in mind, doesn’t this make the guys like Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant that much more special? They want to win where they are. They did luck out with their teams though, don’t get me wrong. Both guys are in better situations than LeBron and Chris Paul were in, but I don’t think it would matter to them either way. They are happy to be in the city they are in, with the teammates they have.

As a Bulls fan, I’d hate to see Rose go somewhere else. It would kill me if he was doing reverse layups or tomahawk dunks in colors other than red and white, but that’s the game. I’d still love him, I’d still cheer for him…I’d be lying if I said it would be the same, but I know that’s part of sports.

That’s why I feel bad for fans when their favorite player leaves, or their team’s best player wants a trade. But that’s how professional sports are.

And if we flip this around, the owners would do the same thing if they had a chance. LeBron wasn’t worth any more to Dan Gilbert than what he could get out of him. There is no loyalty for sport’s owners; it’s what have you done for me lately and what can you do in the future. If LeBron wasn’t selling out Cleveland home and away games, Gilbert wouldn’t have cared if he went to Miami. But since he was the face of the franchise he should have less say in his situation?

That seems backwards to me…he should have more say, because he earned it more. Those Cleveland teams were not good—er they were actually really bad. Yet, LeBron brought them to Eastern Conference Semifinals three times, the Eastern Conference Finals once and the NBA Finals once as well. Without LeBron, that team would have won around 20 games, much like they did last season, when they won 19 in their first post-LeBron season.

Cavs fans should be able to love LeBron for what he gave them those seven years in Cleveland, not what he did on that hour television special. LeBron had the right to choose wherever he wanted to go…he shouldn’t have made his Decision the way he did, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have the right to choose.

And in the end, it comes down to the player’s choice. Because as fans, we may put a lot into the game, but our opinions don’t matter much, only our wallets do.

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An open letter to all involved in the NBA negotiations

September 20, 2011

There was finally some good news from the NBA’s bargaining table…that was quickly followed with some bad news, but let’s try to be positive. According to the story, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and Phoenix owner Robert Sarver “expressed dissatisfaction with many of the points,” that the owners were discussing amongst themselves, after meeting with the players earlier in the day. Apparently things were going pretty well—closer than ever. According to this SB Nation story, the owners were willing to reach a compromise on a new collective bargaining deal this week.” But then Gilbert and Sarver ruined. The story also says that the Knicks’ James Dolan and Lakers’ Jerry Buss “were visibly annoyed by the demands of Gilbert and Sarver. You know, the powerful owners were mad the underlings were messing stuff up. And I can’t blame them. Later David Stern would say that the owners had “virtual unanimity.” Who knows what is really going on, but it seems as those things are getting closer, and that means an NBA season.

And that season, at this point which could still be a full season, means I will have a full season to watch rather than what I was planning to do—which was get a lot more sleep and watch more college basketball players make horrible late game decisions.

But for the first time during this negotiation it seems as though the NBA is getting closer. I haven’t been this happy since those Scarlet Johanssen pictures I found on the internet recently. And that last time I was truly happy before that was when Brian Cardinal was doing work in the NBA finals.

Now some thoughts on those owners who are trying to ruin my NBA fun—Dan Gilbert doesn’t seem to know when to shut his mouth. He said he’d win a title before Miami, and that was crazier than a weekend in Vegas with Charlie Sheen.

Russ Bengston tweeted “Welp, sabotaging a new CBA is one way for Dan Gilbert to make sure LeBron doesn’t win a title.” And that’s true. Maybe Gilbert is sneakier than we all thought. He can’t put together a team around the best player in the league, but he can derail the progress in a negotiation.

And Sarver had one of the best point guards in the game, the best passer and (undeservingly or not) a back-to-back MVP and couldn’t get by the Spurs for years. Now that his window has passed he doesn’t have to care about playing a season (side note: Steve Nash deserves to go to a contender and have a chance to win a ring. I hate to say it, but he would be amazing to watch on the Heat. He would average about 25 assists).

I’m sure both sides are trying to get everything they can, and that makes sense—it’s smart negotiating. But for just two owners to complain, and not even two of the better owners, is pretty upsetting. I just want the NBA!

I need Boozer screaming about rebounds and and-ones, even when the shots never seem to drop for the and-one. I need to see that little rat controlling Omer Asik’s every move, and making him great at defense. I need to see LeBron quit and Greg Oden go down for the year. I want to see Joakim Noah’s flowing hair and Manu Ginobili’s lack of hair. And also Phil Jackson’s chair

Phil is lucky enough to get a high chair.

(I know he is retiring I just can’t pass up an opportunity to rhyme. Maybe I should have gone with Kevin Garnett’s stare or Eddie House’s absurd flair?). I want Kobe to get mad at teammates and Russell Westbrook to freeze out the best scorer in the league by not passing him the ball. I want Baron Davis’ beard and beer belly. The list goes on and on, and I’m willing to do anything for this season to happen.

I have $14 in my wallet. You can split it $7 each way (players/owners). I also have one of the fake credit cards that are sent to you in the mail. Even though it makes me feel worth something, and like a high-roller, I would be willing to part with that as well if it got the season going. We just have to decide who gets the “Your Name Here” side.

But seriously the fans need basketball. I can’t watch hockey. I don’t even know where the puck is half the time. I even thought about learning the rules to cricket or rugby, so that I would have something to watch. Please help me. College basketball doesn’t cut it. You would think it would, being that the hoops are ten feet and all the players are getting paid, but it just isn’t the same. I need the NBA. And so do so many others.

Don’t make me go outside and be active. I can watch other people be active, and that’s what I want to do.

I even watched the WNBA the other day. I’ll repeat that. I watched the WNBA. And to be honest, I slightly enjoyed it. Look what you’ve done to me, lockout…Are you happy?

Soccer doesn’t do it for me. If I wanted to watch flopping I would just watch Manu Ginobili play. Or this video on replay forever until the NBA comes back.

The NFL got their stuff together, you can do it too. I would give up the entire NFL season to have the NBA, partly because my favorite player is already out for the season and my favorite team stunk up the joint  this past weekend…but also partly because I really love pro basketball.

You’re going to lose a lot more than just a season. You’re going to lose fans, the great momentum from an amazing season and even better postseason.Also respect, but that may not matter to you guys—especially on the players side because they can’t have any respect for themselves as they are dating the women from Basketball Wives.

My sources say the lockout could last for a long time–maybe the whole season. And when I say my sources I mean the voices in my head, but they usually don’t steer me wrong.

Fans are forgiving but they aren’t going to just forget. They’ll be back to watch and buy jerseys and show up for games, but they will remember you turned your back. We fans don’t deserve an apology, but don’t forget it’s not just two sides being affected by this. If you get this all figured out before it makes the league miss any time, we won’t need an apology for anything, except some sleepless night. And to make the season happen on time, I’m willing to use my closet as a dungeon for Mr. Gilbert and Mr. Sager. See, everyone has to sacrifice for this to work.