Enough, Mr. Stern

Go check out the newest podcast from the Basketball Jones. This one might be their best yet. To recap (I listened to it about 2 minutes ago), Tas and Skeets talk to SI.com's Kelly Dwyer, who gives a groggy but hilarious interview on his writing and the state of the NBA.

More importantly, the guys address the recent actions of the man upstairs, David Stern. They make reference to this article by Preetom Bhattacharya, which brilliantly summarizes and argues against Stern's movement to take NBA videos off the internet. Also mentioned is Stern's recent warning to the Mavericks that their benched players were standing and celebrating too much. The views expressed in both the podcast and the article in many ways parallel my own. Here's what I think.

In my opinion, basketball is the most aesthetically pleasing sport in the world. The styles in which players dunk, pass, dribble, and even celebrate are constantly changing. Players are bare to the world, with their faces, hair, and numerous tattoos unmasked by long sleeves, pads, or helmets. Style is just as important and variable as substance.

Basketball as James Naismith invented it is a beautiful and engaging game. However, it is the quirks and the drama in the NBA that make it exceptional to fans like myself, and make it superior to the college game. The NBA has been an arena for expression; be it by a player, a team, or the entire league. If this weren't the case, then we wouldn't see dunk contests, highlight shows, shoe commercials, street basketball, or an All-Star game in Vegas. Styles come from different American regions, numerous foreign countries, and countless schools and systems, making the NBA a sort of melting pot for the basketball world's diverse cultures. The NBA is the foremost league for expression, both physical and emotional.

Thus, I can't really see the point in Stern's actions. The dress code, zero tolerance, limits on celebration, and video banning all draw from the aesthetic aspect of the game. If players become as uniform and robotic as Stern has suggested, then the NBA game will have actually taken an evolutionary step backwards. If two-hand set shots, short shorts, and white high-tops were the most succesful and entertaining facilities, then we'd still be seeing them.

This powerful and well-respected man is overstepping his bounds, and is deliberately alienating the players that make his league special, and the fans that make his league exist. The NBA is the world's most breathtaking and attractive athletic spectacle, and needs to remain so. Let's not forget that this is entertainment, dude.

Again, I reccomend that you listen to that brilliant podcast and feel free to leave comments about this matter. No Knicks tonight. More Bulls action on Tuesday. Peace out.


Pradamaster said...

Agree 100%. The whole dynamic of style preserves the idea that the NBA has such a rich history when the reality is that it's been around much shorter than baseball or football. Stern's actions may end up tainting not only the future of the NBA, but also it's rich history.

Seth said...

Definitely. With these rules, some of the characters we've had over the last 50 years might not have turned up.

One thing I forgot to mention in the post was traveling violations, which are blatantly hindering the crossover dribble move. Like you said, this is not only a problem for players now and in the future, but it's insulting to the guys that made fancy ballhandling part of the game. "Pistol" Pete Maravich would've been "Palming" Pete Maravich under Stern's new rules.