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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Little Time to Miss the NBA

          It’s taken me about two months since I thought of doing so to finally write a full-fledged post about the NBA. And I’m the guy who would flip on the Wednesday night Sixers game over the last two decades despite the fact that they have been one of the worst franchises in the league.

          In other words, I don’t really care that the NBA is in a lockout and apparently going to miss an entire season. It’s a tad frustrating that the Sixers finally showed some signs of life last season and now we won’t get to see if it was for real. But I’d actually rather see the league finally fix its absurd system in which teams are stuck in neutral for years because of one bad contract.

          So, as David Stern perfects his grimaced look of anguish issuing what seems like daily threats that the season is in jeopardy, I wonder why he’s even on my TV screen. I don’t even stay on a channel long enough to see Billy Hunter lineup a bunch of his guys behind him to hear him speak.

          I just don’t care.

          And I honestly believe the fact that their core fans do not care that the NBA is already missing games is something neither the players nor the team owners comprehend.

          Here’s the sports calendar for me without the NBA: September through January is college and NFL football (ok, early February), February through early April is college basketball, April through October is baseball.

          The NBA is simply not the NFL or Major League Baseball. It’s absence from my television screen does not create a gap where I feel like I’m missing something. If the NFL wasn’t playing, their fans would literally have to figure out what to do on fall Sundays. Without baseball, fans would pine for their nightly distraction and the occasional trip to the ballpark. They’d miss the sport’s presence in their lives.

          That is never going to happen with the NBA.

          Even now Eagles fans have a pit in their stomachs knowing that the season is essentially over. But most of them are still going to watch the NFL, and probably the Eagles until the season is actually over, because that’s what they do from September through the Super Bowl.

          For me, and I think I qualify as a die-hard Sixers fan, the NBA has such a long season that my watching habits have various stages. Right now, the Sixers would be a nice “side dish” to football – I’d watch part of almost every game. After the Super Bowl, I’d watch the Sixers tip-to-buzzer pretty much every game and start watching some national games. After March Madness, the NBA would be my primary sports concern until the Sixers were done and even then the playoffs would compete with the Phillies for my attention.

          Tonight would have been a nice night to watch the Sixers for a change of pace from the NFL. I’ve been getting thumped with picks the last two weeks and I need something else to distract me.

          No NBA? Ok, I’ll watch Kansas versus Kentucky. Personally, I won’t care quite as much, but it’s a really good substitute. Most people I know think it’s better than the NBA.

          Or maybe I’ll watch Tim Allen’s new show, Last Man Standing, or read a little more. Those things wouldn’t fill the void of the NFL or baseball, but they’re easily substituted for the NBA. Come playoff time, I might be a little annoyed that the NBA isn’t on, but by April I don’t even think it will matter. I’ll just be used to doing something else besides watching NBA basketball.

          So, take the year off, gentlemen. If it eventually lets the Sixers cut a mistake like Jason Kapono or a salary cap killer like Andre Iguodala, I’d actually prefer to miss the season.

          In fact, I might not even notice.

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