Why Has the NBA Press Conference Become a Sideshow?

Ben ShapiroAnalyst IIIJune 12, 2012

It wasn't always like this

There was a time when the NBA had games, followed by post-game interviews, and from there people watched highlights, read reports and anxiously awaited the next game.

Now, after every playoff game, there is the eagerly awaited post-game press conference.

The podium has become an improv-comedy showcase for both coaches and players. The problem, of course, is that NBA players and coaches really aren't all that funny.

It's cute that Chris Paul can bring his kid to the podium and have him imitate Blake Griffin. But in the grand scheme of things, it has zero bearing on the outcome of the game that was just played, nor does it have any bearing on the outcome of future games.

The ability of NBA players, and even coaches, to be entertaining on the podium has an impact on one thing and one thing only: marketing. Promotion of the sport, the league and the individuals involved, all to provide a little comic relief in the aftermath of a hard-fought NBA contest.

No major team sport relies on the public image of its superstars more than the NBA. 

The NFL, NHL and MLB all need their stars. However, both football and hockey have the faces of their best players shrouded by protective gear. Baseball has a delineation between pitchers and hitters that impacts the frequency they can appear in games. 

The NBA—with its 12-man rosters, and five-man starting lineups—is in a league of its own.

Every ounce of exposure its superstars can get is an opportunity to enhance the very high-profile image that the league depends on for success. 

The post-game press conferences have been monetized just like the jerseys, sneakers, shorts, headbands and soft drinks. They are a driving force behind the brand the league is attempting to establish. 

These conferences, like so many other parts of sports and society as a whole, have become money-making machines. 

Of course, given the right cast of characters, they can be entertaining. Eventually though, they will become stale and all of the outlandish fashion statements and entertaining zingers will become nothing more than another series of "ho-hum" occurrences. 

Until then, expect more frequent post-game press conferences masquerading as sideshows. After all, the show must go on.