Spork or Shovel Bomb?

Were I a more organized man, this is what my Daily Bullets thing might look like. Consider that a tease.

-So my day started with endorphins, when Steinz hipped me to the Durant/Arenas game in the Goodman League. I promptly threw up all over myself and whistled, and started up a long psychology post about Durant. Then, shortly ago, I learned that Durant and Arenas will actually be on the same team. I was trying to decide if that was better or worse than playing against each other, realized I had an important basketball probably on my hands, and decided to take it over here.

Open as it gets, what would you rather see? Personally, I've got to go with the match-up for purposes of potential bad-assedness. Though as someone who still cries over what the Wizards lost when Larry Hughes left, the idea of D.C.'s Finezt dominate a game together does make me tip ever so slightly toward the "magical interplay" side of things.

NEVER FORGET: Once, two-thousand years ago, Arenas teams at the last minute in the EBC.

-I spent a lot of my morning puzzling over this stuff said by C.J. Miles's agent in the Deseret News. Mostly, I've been unable to decide if one Billy Ceisler is totally bonkers or just kind of overstated. He kept Miles, who no one knows a fucking thing about long-term, out of the summer leagues to avoid injury. I find it unnerving that Kevin Durant can risk injury in the off-months for his development, but Miles can't. Unless they're worried that his doing too well might expose him as one of THOSE players. That's right, I said it: consistently igniting the summer leagues is a NEGATIVE PREDICTOR of future success.

Ceisler does admit that it might have helped his client's case to have put something on display. But since (according to Ceisler) Miles has "15-20" years of career ahead of him, and the Jazz already know exactly what they've got, he didn't think it was worth the risk. I am guessing that, as with most things in life, this comes back to Monta Ellis. See, I've always linked Ellis, Miles and Louis Williams in my head, since they were all shoot-first skinny guards who went in the second round out of high school in 2005. I go back and forth between thinking that the Monta Phenomenon makes it more likely that Miles or Williams will succeed one day (they called it a paradigm shift), and believing it hurts them based on probabilities alone.

Now at least I know where Ceisler stands on the matter. That's the only possible explanation, and the first time since the MONJO that we've seen these Myths have an impact on contract matters.

-So when the Donaghy thing first happened, I said that it was a triumph for the players—for once, a problem they had nothing to do with. No one believed me, BUT NOW ALLEN IVERSON SAYS THE SAME THING.

-Finally, we should be taking pre-orders for the shirts very, very soon. Stay tuned and excited!


At 7/27/2007 3:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darkofan: See Comment No. 34 on preceding post re: Arenas and T-shirts.

Arenas sounded like he is not quite ready on a recent blog entry reported in the FD post below. This could be somekind of misdirection, but if so, Arenas is going to be intrugued by Durant and will pass to him

At 7/27/2007 3:47 PM, Anonymous Sean said...

It's almost August, and NFL fever is starting to consume my soul. Basketball is my favorite sport by far, yet at this moment I care much more about the Pats than I do the Celtics (despite the Ray Allen trade).

I think I'm having, as the Geico cavemen would say, an existential meltdown.

At 7/27/2007 3:49 PM, Blogger goathair said...

The type of player that always seems to devour these leagues is a creative, open-court oriented, athletic player. Then they typically flail under the heat of the lights. Is this because their game doesn't translate (e.g. they can't adapt to the restricitive nature of the real NBA) or that they simply are trying alot harder because they want to make the big leagues?

At 7/27/2007 3:49 PM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

In a box score, I'd prefer KD and Arenas on the same team just to see what kind of wreckage they left.

On video or live, I'd prefer different teams, because the spectacle of each trying to top the other would be phenomenal. I might think otherwise if either guy were more of a passer.

Ceisler clearly got his doctorate in agentspeak, but it actually seems like a good idea if all Miles cares about is the contract. Terms likely wouldn't change much based on a few summer league performances. On the other hand, Sloan doesn't seem like the kind of guy who'd appreciate guys not playing in games for monetary reasons, so it could affect playing time in some small way should they get a deal done. I'm not sure I'd make that argument about any coach other than Sloan or Scott Skiles.

At 7/27/2007 3:50 PM, Blogger goathair said...

I care much more about the Pats than I do the Celtics (despite the Ray Allen trade).

That's because Randy Moss is far more interesting than Ray Allen.

wv: ezynwots - a mythical creature from the Harry Potter series

At 7/27/2007 5:34 PM, Blogger Philip said...

are the new shirts gonna be made on american apparel shirts? i hope not. they suck. i'm all for non-sweatshop stuff, but not when it sucks. plus they're too tight. i don't roll like that... anymore. i'm getting older and i drink too much beer. tight shirts ain't happening.

At 7/27/2007 8:07 PM, Blogger T. said...

Repeated question I get from my regular basketball game: Why are you such a big Darko Fan?

I've tried to explain. Even sent one or two people here. No one got it. "It's all just a bunch of weird pictures"

At 7/27/2007 9:44 PM, Blogger Pichi Campana Aguanta said...

T, thanks for your Singapore hoops description from a thread or two ago. I needed a firsthand report because I was worried my view of things would be skewed due to my limited exposure to people from Singapore being stacked with basketball fans.

Between a buddy in grad school who played every day at lunch in a Kings jersey and some gym rats in Hawaii, it seemed like the popularity of the NBA was off the charts over there.

Only on FD can you get a report on Singapore pick-up basketball including demographic percentages and tendencies. Excellent work.

At 7/28/2007 2:20 PM, Blogger Nate said...

In regards to Miles, the situation is a bit different for him as compared to Kevin Durant. Durant was already signed and had a lucrative deal from Nike coming his way. If Durant gets hurt, the Sonics/Nike/whoever has their money tied to him are doing everything they can to help him rehab. If Miles tears his ACL, he's out of the league. Willie Green tore his ACL a couple of summers ago when he had a big contract on the table. He still eventually got paid, but not until he was able to come back and prove that his knee is healed completely. I hear what you're saying though. The business side of things kills so much shit. Why can't we just see our favorite players go out there and get funky without worrying about business implications?

Off topic, but I read this from Charlie Rosen and thought about you guys:

"To repeat myself once more — anybody who believes that the Spurs are boring is doing nothing less than confessing that he believes that style is more important than substance."

The style vs. substance thing seems to be very polarizing. Personally I enjoy a lot of what the Spurs do. But I can also see why a lot of fans don't enjoy them and think that guys like Rosen who can't understand that aren't really being realistic about things. The real reason the Spurs are hated so much is that Tim Duncan has no grasp on the value of entertaining others. Yes he's a great basketball player. Yes the Spurs are a great team, but fans want to be entertained. Take Tim Duncan off the Spurs and replace him with KG and no one calls them boring anymore. Why? Because KG is about winning, but also understands the value of entertainment. As well, he's not afraid to show us a piece of who he is and release his raw emotion on the court. Seriously, Duncan refuses to show us who he is. He refuses to show us any of the emotion that draws us in. You know the stuff that makes us want to cheer or boo him. He's not a villain or a hero. He's just neutral. And neutral doesn't work in entertainment. Why do you think Gilbert is so loved? Because he's not afraid to do what he has to do on the basketball court while showing us who he is and making sure that HE ENTERTAINS. Shaq is one of the most efficient basketball players in history. There's not much flair to what he does out there on the court. But Shaq sells tickets because he understands the value of entertainment. He understands that his job is not only to make sure his team wins, but also to entertain. I don't know where that falls in the realm of Free Darko. But I think there needs to be a revolution to bring the world of style and substance together. You play the right way, make a nice backdoor cut and but then throw some funk on it in the end with nice dunk. I guess my question is: Can't you win and play the right way and play with style? People talk about off the court issues killing the league. But IMO Duncan might have just as big of an impact on killing the league as anyone else. This has always been a league of stars that understood the value of entertainment. Until Duncan, The best players have always been winners solid entertainers. Even Kareem's boring ass was entertaining because of that beautiful/unique hook shot and his penchant for throwing the occasional sucker punch and talking shit in big games. The most emotion we ever get from Duncan is that freaky bug eyed thing he does when he has a foul called against him. Seriously, if he got punched, I don't think he'd fight back. The Spurs are number 20 in road attendance, and probably around the same number in merchandise and TV ratings. I don't think there's ever been a winning organization with a player as good as Duncan to have that poor of a showing in those categories. My point: The league has been in trouble at times throughout the decade not because of the off the court issues people like to harp on, but because the league's most consistently great player doesn't want to be an entertainer. But what the guys like Duncan don't understand is that people watch basketball to be entertained. They want to be wowed and be given something to talk about the next day with their buds at work. The sad thing is that from what I've been told is that Duncan does have a personality. He does show signs of emotion. It's just that he doesn't enjoy putting it on display in public. Fear of showing emotion and flair on the court should be fined just as heavily as a Carmelo Sucka punch. At least Melo's punching gets people talking about the league. Duncan's emotional gears being stuck in N does nothing but cause fans to head for the exits and turn off their TVs.

At 7/28/2007 4:37 PM, Anonymous padraig said...

Nate: I respect your basketball writing quite a bit, which is why I'm especially disappointed in your above comment. The argument you're making re: Duncan isn't anything new but it still drives me nuts every single time I see it, so much so that I couldn't let your iteration of the idea go without a response. There is a certainly a kernel of truth in what you're saying but you've taken it to absurd and indefensible heights.

First off, TD started off with the positively wacky duo of Pop and David Robinson to mentor him into the League. I'm sure that really helped his style quotient out quite a bit. I don't think there's been a more boring star in the history of the NBA than the Admiral, who lucked out on the personality front by having the charismatic Hakeem with his impossibly graceful game as his main rival. TD's also the central component of Pop's system-I guess it's kind of a chicken and egg question at to whether TD or Pop has exerted more influence on the Spurs' grindingly efficient, vaguely military aesthetic, but it's more than a little silly to place all the blame on TD's shoulders. Witness Manu 2005 v. Manu 2007, a better player but lacking the wild edge he used to have.

From your writing I understand that you have, at least more than the average fan, something of a connection to insider viewpoints or information, so maybe you have a basis for the claims you make about TD's "refusal" to show emotion. However, it still sounds like you're doing an awful lot of claiming to know what's going on inside dude's head. And frankly your assertion that the best players have always been great entertainers is ludicrous-um, Ewing, Drexler, McHale, Stockton and Malone? None of those guys were exactly flamboyance personified. They weren't stiffs, but neither is TD. Some guys have talent a talent for it, some don't. I'm also a huge KG fan, but it's not as if he makes a conscious choice to be hella intense-that's just how he's wired. And flamboyance alone does not equal persona. Aren't there many NBA fans out there, albeit probably not the type frequenting FD, who clamor endlessly for class and dignity and teamwork, the Charlie Rosens of the world? Doesn't TD appeal to those people, and don't they also bring revenue into the League?

Look, like I said, there's an element of truth in what you're saying, and I fully understand why there are large segments of basketball fandom that find the Spurs to be an excruciating bore. It would indubitably be better for the NBA if TD was a more compelling and enthusiastic showman and unfortunately he's not. But to say that one player's personality or lack thereof has had anywhere near the negative impact of Artest punching fans on national TV or the popular perception that the league is full of selfish thugs (which you'd think TD would help to counteract) or the plague of awful officiating (pre-Donaghy) or the NBA allowing the quality of it's product to drop by letting the culture of flopping run rampant while simultaneously eliminating physical play is both wrong, and worse, quite unfair.

At 7/28/2007 8:12 PM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

From my perspective, the Spurs' aesthetic challenges are broader and deeper than an understanding that the game is supposed to be entertaining.

And please keep using the American Apparel T's. It's not just the good labor practices ... the material and construction are above average, and they don't fit like a sack.

At 7/28/2007 8:59 PM, Blogger Nate said...

Padrig: Before I write a response, I'd like you to know that I myself enjoy Tim Duncan's game. I enjoy watching the Spurs play. In fact I liked Duncan so much while he was at Wake, that I started wearing his number in high school. But there are very few people that actually are entertained by what Duncan does.

My rant is more about how the average fan feels. I know it's easy to say that the average fan walks away when bad shit happens, but really the bottom line is that if you put an entertaining product on the floor the fans will be there. For example, the year Spree chocked out PJ. The league still did fine that year because MJ was still around taking that Bulls team deep and into the Finals. In 2003-2004 Kobe Bryant was possibly the most hated player in all of sports, yet people still tuned and are still tuning in to watch him play because his game is entertaining to the masses. And just like with MJ, even if people don't like him, they'll still come out and watch him just so they can cheer against him. Duncan never draws up that kind of emotion in basketball fans. He's just neutral. And like I said before, neutral does not work in entertainment. Take this year for example. If a team like the Suns would have made the Finals, or if we would have had a Wade v. Kobe or LeBron v. Kobe final, everyone would have tuned in, because the average basketball fan loves watching those guys play. Every year since 99 it's been the same thing. When the Spurs are in the Finals no one watches, because no one really cares. People always blame the product. But it's not the product, it's that the average sports fan doesn't care about Tim Duncan. It sucks, but it's true. The statistics tell us this. I mean, how else can you have a team as great as the Spurs only finishing in the bottom half of the league in road attendance and merchandise?

To your point about Ewing, Malone, Drexler, Stockton, and Malone: Except for Stockton they all had way more personality than Duncan. Malone was a villain and loved playing up the fact that he was the bad guy. People loved to hate him. Drexler was one of the most entertaining players of his day. People liked watching him play. And for the most part I can't say that about TD. Kevin McHale definitely showed emotion on the floor and was definitely more charismatic than Tim Duncan. Duncan has the emotion of the robot daughter on Small Wonder. Kevin McHale was a dude, the average Joe fan would probably want to have a beer with. I can recall several instances of Ewing showing emotion on the floor. Like Malone, Ewing and his Knicks were villains and people came to boo them. But more than anything, none of those guys were possibly the premier player in the league. When Malone was at his best, he was playing in the Finals against Michael and the Bulls. Ewing's Knicks weren't making the Finals every other year. The Spurs are perennial champions and Duncan is the best player on that team.

It's simple, when there's star power in the Finals people watch. That's just the culture we live in. It's the reason there's a market for Tabloids. People love entertaining stars. And Tim Duncan in the eyes of the public is not an entertaining star. And it's just a large segment of basketball fandom that feels this way. It's the majority of fandom.

And although Duncan might be averse to being marketed and trying to be more marketable or making his game more marketable, he kind of has a responsibility to the league as the premier player on it's premier team to try and be more marketable.

In regards to knowing that Duncan has more of a personality to offer than he shows: Spurs players and coaches have mentioned this before. As well, a few players around the league that I know have told me the same thing. He talks trash to teammates, plays jokes, the whole deal. There's a normal emotional human being there, but for some reason he doesn't care to show that part of himself off to the public.

I recall seeing an interview of Duncan in 2000 when he stated that he doesn't show emotion on the court because he doesn't think he would be as good of a player if he did. He said that on the court he never wants too feel too high or too low. But that is what fans are looking for right there. They want you to show some emotion when you fail. They want you to blow up from time to time. They want you throw some creativity into your game. They want you to guarantee a victory and then back it up. I'm not saying that it's what I enjoy. But again, that is what the majority of sports fans enjoy.

So yes, Tim Duncan being the way he is has been as big of a detriment to the leagues success as incidents such as the Denver/NY fight last year. Because if we would have had a marketable Finals (Say PHX/Miami), everyone and their mom would have watched that series and people would be praising the league. Even look at the Warriors. S-Jax is labled one of the premier thugs, and he even got kicked out of a few games during that series, yet I didn't see that hurting the ratings of that series because people were entertained. In the U.S. people tell you that winning is everything. But in the case of the NBA, entertainment is everything. Why do you think Free Darko has become so popular? It's not only because the writing is spectacular, but because Shoals and co. speak to the pulse of what draws a lot of people to basketball. In my opinion that's style, flash and entertainment.

P.S. I agree with what you said about the NBA allowing the quality of it's product to drop by letting the culture of flopping run rampant while simultaneously eliminating physical play being a major problem. But aren't the Spurs part of the reason the culture of flopping has run rampant.

At 7/29/2007 1:37 AM, Anonymous amphibian said...

Nate, if you're rocking a Tim Duncan WF jersey in high school, I doubt you understand the average fan mindset. Most of the true devotees' "replications" of an average fan comes off as depressing condescension.

The suburban members of nuclear families that pay the dolla-dollas to get the mid-level seats make their decision based on the total experience. When Golden State actually knocked off the Mavs, all the true fans had their tix snatched by fair-weather friends jumping on the band-wagon.

I do not think FreeDarko is actually all that popular. We get more commentators and probably more traffic from Shoal's FanHouse posts than true believers stumbling around the Internets. I, however, genuinely love this place.

In short: I call elitist BS. And I still ain't donated yet. Gotta get on that.

At 7/29/2007 2:31 AM, Blogger Nate said...

Amphibian: Agreed. FD is a spectacular place. But a lot of folks that I know personally stop by here regularly. The word of mouth is spreading like wild fire. So I think the site is a bit more popular than you may think.

Also, I never rocked a Wake TD Jersey in high school. I just wore #21 as my number in high school partially because I liked him when he was at Wake. It was also a tribute to Dominique Wilkins and his array of spin moves, as well as the Temple University edition of Eddie Jones.

I'm sure a lot of families buy tickets based on total experience, but why is it people show up when Kobe and the horrible Lakers come to town yet don't show up when the Spurs come to town? Because people have no interest in Tim Duncan. Which is a shame, because he's a really good basketball player. If he just understood that it's also his job to entertain the masses and show them a little bit of his personality. Winning is one thing, but to a certain extent he owes it to the league that has made him a very wealthy man to show a bit of himself to the public or do anything that would make people more excited to watch him play. Because having the leagues best player be someone that no one cares to watch literally kills the league.

I think Henry Abbott summed up a lot of what I am trying to say with this post:

"Perhaps the greatest problem facing the NBA today is the reality that the best player of the current day, Tim Duncan, is almost entirely unknowable. He can laugh, smile, and tell funny stories. If somehow he could do that for the TV cameras, I suspect America would find a way to adore him. Instead he insists on being "the guy nobody knows all that well" which is something you can't sustain forever. Eventually, people want to know if you're a good guy or a bad guy, and this could be the year people just decide, in the absence of evidence to the contrary (and with a little shove from his teammate, Robert Horry), that he's a bad guy. Here's a little challenge: find me links to really insightful (not the same ol' same ol' features, but something that makes you feel like you know the guy) online article, TV news story, or interview with Tim Duncan. Email me, and if there are any good ones, I'll post them."

Henry also has this link to an S.L. price article on Duncan on his site which contains this blurb in it:

"Television ratings for the 2003 NBA Finals were down one third from the year before--down, in fact, to their lowest level since the Nielsen rating system began keeping track of the Finals in 1976. Only one thing had changed since 2002: The small-market Spurs, led by Duncan, were back. Here he was at last, the athlete all the moralists and parents and columnists had been seeking for years, the role model, the anti-Me-Me-Me man, finally coming into his own, showcasing the type of game that hoops aficionados had feared was passing into history. But when it came time to watch, Duncan was found lacking."

Ideals are one thing. But the NBA is a global enterprise that's selling the game to a broad spectrum across the globe. An entertainment brand like that needs the best player on its marquee team to be more than just an efficient basketball player and a good citizen. They need him to be entertaining, dynamic, and personable. Because Duncan is the kind of person he is, the league finds itself in trouble every time the Spurs make the Finals. Ideally, everyone should love Tim Duncan and what he does on the court. But we don't live in a world of perfect ideals.

On another note, the fact that Duncan and the Spurs are an obvious detriment to the league's overall bottom line is what makes me laugh at anyone that suggests that Stern fixed the Spurs/Suns series. There is no way in hell that Stern wanted the Spurs in the Finals again.

At 7/29/2007 7:04 AM, Anonymous padraig said...

Nate: Just to be clear, I understood and largely agreed with what you were saying. I just thought the amount of blame you were placing on TD was excessive and thus somewhat unwarranted.

The hypocrisy that Henry Abbot's piece brings up, more than anything else, is what I can't stand. Understand that I wasn't trying to lump you or your well-considered thoughts into that morass of false righteousness, but that large and vocal element of sportswriters and fans irritates me to no end. It's absolutely true that all these whiny cats who get off on commiserating about how great the 80s were absolutely love to show up to virulently hate AI or Kobe but can't even be bothered to tune in if the Spurs make the Finals. And I hate hate hate those f---ers; I know I'm ranting but it just makes me unspeakably angry, far more than it should.

What's so ironic to me about the "right way/style" debate, at least the way it's often presented on FD, is that the only people who probably really care about it are the only two segments of fans who still LOVE basketball unabashedly. Take Charlie Rosen, for example. He is the ultimate crotchety old basketball guy, almost to the point of unintentional self-parody. But, not only does know a hell of a lot about basketball whether you agree with his views or not, he clearly loves it enough to spend endless hours watching and breaking down games.

Honestly, is you or I or one of FD's masters getting excited about a meaningless Bobcats/Hawks game in February any different? That's what I find to be ironic, that the people you'd think would be the arch-nemesis of FD thinking are probably the only ones who care enough to debate the point.

This is what bothers me so much about the way TD is perceived, because it is the epitomy of shallow thinking and the anthithesis, in my eyes, of the depth that FD or even the passion of Rosen offer. That's why I get a little defensive when people start blaming TD, even though he deserves some blame for failing to assert himself as an icon. 99% of the columns on the subject are the worst kind of lazy sports journalism. Seriously, do you remember the wave of awful pieces by hacks positing faux-angsty questions about "why don't we love the Spurs" when Tim and Co. made the Finals?

I'm sure I sound like an awful basketball snob. Oh well. I'm also pretty sure you totally know where I'm coming from. I think the most salient point I've ever seen Simmons make is that so many of the journalists who purport to cover the NBA these days seem like they neither like nor understand the game as it's currently being played. Thus we're stuck with the hypocritical reductionism that allows TD to be, simultaneously, put on a pedestal as the icon for a mythical "Right Way-ism" even as he's blamed as one of the prominent factors contributing to the NBA's recent struggles.

Thank you for taking the time to write out such extensive replies.

At 7/29/2007 10:05 AM, Anonymous amphibian said...

Why is it Tim Duncan's responsibility to put together marketing campaigns? Why can't the NBA come up with a Dan Steinberg clone to follow Duncan around and make a few goofy YouTube videos.

Heck, Abbot had some great stuff about the wizarding hijinks in one post about "getting to know Tim Duncan."

Right now, it seems all of the important marketing is being done by the players themselves. This is fine for go-getters, but those who doesn't actively chase the limelight get left behind. It's more the Lig's fault for not getting the ball rolling properly than it is Duncan's media passiveness.

At 7/29/2007 1:52 PM, Blogger Nate said...

Amphibian: I love your idea of putting a guy like Steinz on TD. That's the kind of outside the box thinking the league needs. They obviously need some fresh blood up in the league office.

In regards to league marketing: Because I have aspirations of working in the league, I research and think about the business side of things a lot. From what I understand, the league puts together marketing campaigns and then approaches players to see if they want to be in them. I can see why they don't approach Duncan because when he's in a commercial, they turn out horrible. Can I ask you this, have you ever seen Tim Duncan smile in a commercial? He's like an emotionless robot in those things. It's obvious that he has no desire to participate in any sort of on air marketing campaign. But the sad thing is that there is a personality in there, and that if he just let it out a little bit it would help the league so much.

Padraig: I feel a lot of what you're saying. I get just as annoyed with those lazy articles. I love watching a Tim Duncan drop step, just like I love watching Tyrus Thomas on block a shot then run down the floor and throw down a chocolate thunder like dunk. But the problem is that the majority of fans, for whatever reason, aren't feeling that and as the league's premier player he has a responsibility to make himself more marketable and more approachable. Just like a lot of the younger guys need to understand that they have a responsibility to carry themselves in a manner that is more palatable to the league. Michael Jordan understood this very well.

I read an interview with him in Cigar Aficionado Mag where he talks about how he carried himself in a certain manner throughout his time in the league because he knew he was an Ambassador for the league. He said that the league had afforded him such wealth that he knew he owed it to the league to portray a certain image even when he didn't want to. He had to make himself available to the media. He had to show up to the games in suits. His thing was: I'm Michael Jordan. I represent the league. The first time someone meets me might be the only time they meet me for their entire life, so it's up to me to leave a lasting impression. A ton of players today don't get that. They are not personable and they don't walk as ambassadors to the league. They think: I play basketball, and that's all I need to do to collect my check. A ton of pro basketball players today don't realize that their jobs are to entertain the general populace. If they know how to do it on the court, they don't know how to do it off of it. In the case of Tim Duncan, he's not really good at either. And that's why you have this problem we have in the league these days.

About the only stars in the league that are entertaining both on and off the floor these days are Gilbert Arenas and Shaq. I think Gilbert is the most marketable player in the league, and in a way should be the face of the league. He's got the game, the showmanship, and is dynamic off of the court. Shaq has always understood the value of being entertaining on and off of the floor as well as a good citizen and charitable guy off of the floor. There is going to be a huge void for the league to fill when he retires. His teams have been number one or number two in road attendance pretty much every year he's been in the league. Oden seems like he has the potential to fill those shoes.

D-Wade also has the game and some sense of showmanship off the court. But his off the court persona doesn't seem authentic. But at least he is likeable. And he has a management team that puts him in great marketing campaigns. You never really hear anyone say anything bad about Wade. America pretty much loves the guy.

Nash and Kobe probably have the most entertaining games in the entire league, but Nash refuses to take on a lot of marketing opportunities and Kobe's assassin personality along with that black man raping white girl tag makes it hard for him to sell anything outside of basketball shoes and possibly a sports drink. However, both their games are so dynamic on the court that people tune in and purchase tickets to games. The problem is that over the last three seasons when they've been the best players in the game, neither of them has made the NBA Finals. Get one of those guys in the Finals instead of the Spurs and the league wouldn't be talking about off the court problems.

KG's stuck on the Wolves. He'd be a mega star if he were on a team like the Spurs.

T-Mac's game has never been clutch enough for him to be put in the category of a D-Wade.

Yao is marketable because he's big and from China and has a little bit of a personality. But his game isn't one that the average basketball fan gets excited to see.

Vince Carter had basketball fans in the palm of his hands in 2001 yet he threw it all away being a puss.

The media has labeled AI and Carmelo Anthony too hood for the majority of fans. Yet they seem to sell a ton of tickets, jerseys and shoes. And people tend to watch when they are on television. Goes back to my point of how being dynamic and entertaining on the court usually overrides everything else (see: Kobe Bryant).

Dirk is labeled a pussy and isn't really that marketable. His game and his team are fun to watch though.

LeBron has a dynamic/entertaining game on the floor, and is Nike's main endorser, so he gets plenty of exposure, and sells a lot of tickets and jerseys. But until his team gets good enough to compete with SA in the Finals, people will even tune him out when matched up against the Spurs because they know they're most likely going to get swept.

The bottom line is that Tim Duncan and the Spurs are great for Tim Duncan and the Spurs and no one else. As a basketball junkie that enjoys all aspects of the game, I enjoy watching the Spurs (outside of Ginobili's flopping). But thinking as someone that is concerned for the health of the league, the Spurs are not good for business. And the numbers prove this.

The best thing that can happen to the league is for Gilbert, Kobe, Shaq, Wade, Nash, AI, Melo, and LeBron to get into the playoffs and make some noise. This year Gilbert wasn't even playing in the playoffs, Kobe, Shaq, Wade, AI, and Melo were all out within 5 games of the first round and Steve Nash and his Suns were gone by the end of the second round. That left LeBron as the only marketable entity left in the playoffs for the last two rounds. That's why the league had low ratings in this year's playoffs. The league better pray that the Spurs continue their streak of never making the Finals two years in a row and that their most dynamic/marketable stars make it deep into the playoffs. Otherwise, we're going to have another summer all about how much the league is in trouble. Funny how fast things change...last summer was all about how the NBA was back. Hmm, probably because the Spurs and Tim Duncan were gone after the second round.


Post a Comment

<< Home