10 Things Casual Fans Will Never Understand About the NBA
Any devoted NBA fan who has watched a game with someone far less interested knows there are a handful of questions that will come up throughout the course of the game.
“Why did he do that? Why isn’t that a foul? What’s that circle for?”
These questions are frustrating. When you take a step back, however, and remember the days when you didn’t spend every evening from October to June watching basketball, you understand these questions have their merits.
There are some things casual fans just won’t ever get about the NBA. This guide tries to explain 10 of the most inexplicable ones.
In the last few years, the NBA has implemented the charge circle around the basket. On the surface, it makes one of the game’s most difficult calls—block vs. charge—even more difficult.
Instead of deciding whether a defender was in position before the offensive player barreled into him, the referee must also pay attention to where his feet are.
I understand the charge circle was put in place for player’s safety after defender’s started diving under the hoop while players were airborne.
But there has to be a better solution than changing the rules for one small section of the court.
It seems like NBA referees have more leeway than officials in any other sport.
They decide if and when they’ll call traveling, palming or lane violations. For the most part, these go ignored. Once a season or so, some rogue official will decide he’s going to punish a player who steps across the key too soon on a free throw, just to remind people that, yes, that really is a rule.
Then it won’t be called again. Ever.
Aside from the loose definitions of violations, NBA officials offer more preferential treatment than those in any other sport.
A foul should be a foul, whether it’s committed by LeBron James or Hamady Ndiaye.
How 15 Seconds Can Last 5 Minutes
Any NBA fan has come across this. It’s late in a close game. Your girlfriend looks at the clock and sees there is only 15 seconds left.
“Good,” she thinks. “This is almost over.”
If a game is within five points, the last few seconds can take a lifetime. There are the unintentional intentional fouls to send guys to the line. Then there’s a timeout. Once the team comes out to inbound the ball, the opposing coach doesn’t like what he sees and reciprocates with his own timeout.
This is a part of the game that will not change.
Of the big three professional sports in the United States, the NBA’s age policy is the most ludicrous.
A player must be one year removed from high school. That has led to dozens of one-and-done college players. These guys show up on campus, take a couple of classes, play ball for a year and then go pro.
What’s the point?
Why force them to jump through the hoop of playing hoops for one season in college?
The NFL and Major League Baseball both have better models.
Needing to be three years removed from high school makes sense for the NFL. It allows guys time to mature—both mentally and physically.
In baseball, they either turn pro out of high school or have to wait until their junior year. That gives them a choice. If they choose school, they are going to actually go to school for more than a semester.
The NBA should adopt one of these policies. The one-and-done rule is pointless.
The Insane Number of Mock Drafts
In the year 2012, we’re overloaded with information constantly.
Professional sports drafts are one of the biggest offenders.
A Google search of 2012 NBA mock draft brings up 39 million results. Do people need to know that many different opinions on whose name will be called when?
Of course not.
But one thing fans love more than watching sports is speculating about sports. As long as there’s an outlet, people will keep coming back in hopes some “expert” has decided their team will draft their guy.
Other than Dennis Rodman’s wardrobe, this was never an issue before the 2012 NBA playoffs.
Then, suddenly every NBA player was a fashionista in some form or another.
Lensless glasses, backpacks, old-man shirts—what exactly is going on with this generation of players?
Simple answer: They’re competitive.
With so much media attention paid to postgame press conferences this season, you have to think guys like Russell Westbrook are always trying to one-up everyone else.
“Oh, Chris Bosh is getting talked up for his pink pants? I got this.”
Even the most hardcore NBA fans can’t help but ask, “What’s with Craig Sager’s wardrobe?”
The guy has a unique fashion sense, at best.
But he also is largely responsible for one of the most confusing parts of an NBA telecast: the in-game interview.
Sager is better than most at chatting with coaches between quarters when they’d rather be, you know, coaching their teams. Despite his acumen for such, it is still a useless part of the game.
Coaches will not say anything of substance during this interview (See: Popovich, Gregg), even if the question is coming from a party dude like Sager.
The NBA has way too many weird mascots.
How do you dress up a furry animal to represent the Heat, Thunder, Magic or Suns?
If you’re the Heat, you pick a Fraggle Rock character.
Oklahoma City decided to go with a bison.
The Orlando Magic have a magic dragon.
And the Suns, of course, have a gorilla.
Sorry, I’ve got no explanation for these. They’re weird and don’t make sense.
The Brilliance of Guys Like Kevin Love
Casual fans can understand brilliance when they see Kevin Durant drain rainbow jumper after rainbow jumper, Rajon Rondo thread brilliant passes through the tiniest of holes or Blake Griffin power his way through every rim in America.
It’s tougher for them to respect the gritty rebounding and impeccable offensive game of Kevin Love, the court general genius of Andre Miller or the defensive wizardry of Shane Battier.
No matter how many times you explain to them why these guys are as important to their teams as any of the flashy players, casual fans won’t accept it.
They’ll keep cheering for the razzle dazzle brought on by the aforementioned types.
Metta World Peace
Does Metta World Peace understand Metta World Peace?
Ron Artest, er, World Peace, is insane.
To charge into the crowd, on the road, in Detroit proves as much.
Then to change your name to Metta World Peace strengthens the case.
While it may be impossible for anyone to actually understand the man, there is no better interview in sports.