Someone asked me why I don’t like NBA basketball. I can say without reservation this is the reason:
The rules are different for each player, fully dependent on their “star power”.
I have expectations from sports. One of them is rule enforcement. You know, even when Jackie Robinson entered major league baseball, the umpires still called balls and strikes on him. In fact, one of the great plays of all time is Jackie Robinson stealing home in the 1955 World Series, in a play where he very well could have been out.
If a guy who wasn’t even allowed in baseball eight years prior got fair treatment from officials, why shouldn’t I expect it in the NBA for all players regardless?
NBA basketball is the most uneven of all the major sports in rule enforcement. A player like Michael Jordan received special treatment, making his greatness legendary. I asked my Dad about Wilt Chamberlain never fouling out of a game. He said it became such a big deal that referees were afraid of being the “one” to foul Chamberlain out of a game, and Chamberlain himself took advantage by committing all kinds of fouls once he was on the edge, but never getting thrown out of a game.
Look, there’s a few guys out there who have LB James talent. Seriously, though, they are mostly NFL tight ends or linebackers. There are not a ton of guys who can go to the rack and knock other players down like bowling pins without picking up a bunch of FOULS. The stunner was when a referee had the audacity to foul him out of a game, the league threatened an investigation. Dwayne Wade elbowed a Pacer but received no suspension, not even when it became obvious he did it on purpose. Another player without Wade’s stature would have been suspended without question.
The bottom line is, the NBA is more about entertainment than competition. It’s about RATINGS, as has been made clear. If I wanted to see entertainment, I’d watch a movie or WWE. If a sport doesn’t have enforceable rules (except for some players), why even bother with it? It’s not worth watching. Hey, superstars have off nights. Roger Clemens on occasion got bombarded off the mound. Ray Lewis got burned in pass coverage over the past couple of seasons. You didn’t have officials making — or not making — calls for them based on the number. In basketball, you will and that’s the most dislikable, disturbing thing about the whole sport.