The NFL lockout was a long and arduous experience for NFL fans. Fans were gripping and tense back in the month of April when we were in no danger of missing football games. The same level of distress cannot be said about the NBA. No matter how you look at it, we’re going to miss NBA games, yet fans don’t seem even remotely bothered.
Fans aren’t bothered even after the most intriguing season which saw Lebron and his Heatles fall short of championship glory, the rise of Blake Griffin as a superstar, the Grizzlies upset the Spurs, and Dirk Nowitzki capturing that elusive NBA title. This isn’t surprising though. Not one bit. Nobody will miss the NBA if it leaves for a season and here’s why.
There’s No Parity
Not really. I mean, a few of the bottom seeds in the playoffs change on a yearly basis but, we all know the real contenders are the Lakers, Celtics, Spurs, and whichever team has Lebron on it. It’s not a real surprise who’s going to win. In the NBA there isn’t a team that comes out of nowhere. ‘Sleeper’ teams are common in football and in baseball. Don’t get me wrong those leagues have their perennial favorites and losers as well but, it’s not nearly as certain. It’s just not as fun if you can tell which teams are going to be in the post-season well before the pre-season is begins.
The Season Is Too Long
82 games may be a bit too much for many sports fans. There’s an overlap with the NFL in which most fans tend to just focus on football. Also due to the lack of parity many fans join the bandwagon of the team they know will contend. Many casual fans don’t start truly watching the NBA until the playoffs begin.
There simply aren’t as many die-hard fans to casual fans like there is in football. The die-hards are there all season long but, many fans of the game are casual and see no reason to stick around all season long when they can watch the playoffs. The playoffs are also really long. That’s like watching a season in and of itself.
A shortened season will make each game carry more weight. That weight provides a reason to tune in and watch more games.
It Lacks Intense Rivalries
Here me out on this one. I know that the Lakers and Celtics hate each other. That is a rivalry that epitomizes everything that great rivalries are about. However, the rest of the league isn’t as good at it. Most of the rivalries in the league are faux-rivalries. The divisions don’t mean anything and have no bearing on who does and does not enter the playoffs. Therefore the teams that everybody knows will win as mentioned before are the teams that everyone roots against. People rooted against Heat, Lakers, and to some extent the Bulls last season because they were easy to hate and had by and large, successful regular seasons. These are not rivalries. These are haters. People who hate another team because of their prominence and following (even if a lot of it is bandwagon.) I’m as guilty of this as anybody else but, the point still stands that this is as close to a rivalry as the league ever gets.
In most of these categories the NFL and MLB trump the NBA. The way fans react to the lockouts of their sports tells us everything we need to know about them. However there have been indicators all along. I love the game of basketball no matter what it looks like, and even when the lockout is over these issues still won’t have been addressed but it would be really nice if they were. The NBA is a good league but, is it trying to get better?