Next month, the NBA will crown its latest champion. However, there is one basketball fan who might not be watching as closely, it’s the guy who’s writing this column.
I’ll be honest; I haven’t been watching much of the NBA playoffs. No, it’s not because my beloved Sacramento Kings aren’t there. It’s actually because for one, they’ve been downright boring. Who the hell wants to watch a bunch of series sweeps? And also, it’s because there is absolutely a lack of parity in the NBA thanks to commissioner David Stern.
Did you know since Stern took over as commissioner in 1984, there have only been seven different champions? That’s right, seven. That’s less than the NFL and NHL (13), and Major League Baseball (15).
I’d love to see more up and coming teams in the mix for the title like a Phoenix or a Utah or even an Atlanta, I’m tired of seeing the same old, same old teams like the Lakers in the title game every year. I know Stern loves it because it makes him money, but the NFL seems to be doing well with the New Orleans Saints as their reigning champions, and they aren’t nearly the market Los Angeles is. America fell in love with the idea of the Saints winning the Lombardi trophy during the duration of the postseason leading up to Super Bowl XLIV and it happened against one of the greatest quarterbacks and one of the best offenses in recent memory, Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts.
Not only do I dislike the lack of parity in the NBA, I hate the totalitarian state the league is in when anyone dares to question the performance or quality of officiating. I think that players and coaches have the right to be skeptical of the fairness of how the games are called, whether they do so publicly or not should be up to them. It bugs the hell out of me when Stern and his league have continuously had the backs of the officials no matter how crappy of a job they’ve done calling a game.
No league, in my view, has done a worse job handling the way its league officiates more than the NBA. Kings fans know what I’m talking about and I don’t even have to say anymore when I say that. At least in the past when the NFL messes up a bad call in important playoff games, they’ve issued apologies to that team for blowing it. There is no record of the NBA ever doing that. And why, you ask? The answer of that is unknown to me, but if I had to speculate, it’s because Stern and his cronies got the match-ups they wanted, kind of like next week when he gets the Lakers and the Celtics in the Finals for the second time in three seasons and a third straight appearance for Los Angeles.
I think a lot of fans who root for teams in cities who have yearned for a championship will agree that maybe it’s time for a new sheriff to come in and replace Stern. Maybe fans will get their wish and maybe a ninth different champion in 30 years will one day appear.