As a basketball fanatic and a loyal watcher of the NBA Finals dating back to my youth when I watched the games on CBS with what I consider the classic Finals theme song and the somewhat funny, in retrospect, graphics. It is with great concern that I now found my interest in the NBA Finals dwindling.
For those of us rapidly approaching the big 4-0, we either look back with fond memories of Air Jordan and his multiple titles or dread at having to look at the Chicago Bulls once again in the Finals. Having been a Jordan fan, I thoroughly enjoyed the 1990s and feel as though the best of the Bulls' title runs was against the Lakers.
Unfortunately, my fondness for the Finals has been dwindling with the exception of last year's reincarnation of the Celtics/Lakers matchup. While I was hoping for a Kobe vs. LeBron Finals, I feel like I went into last night's game with an open mind. However, I quickly realized that, in my opinion, this year's Finals may not be terribly appealing to the more casual NBA fan.
From my standpoint, there are two serious problems plaguing the NBA playoffs. While there have been many people criticizing the officiating in this year's playoffs, I would like to say that it is easy to find fault with the wildly varying flagrant foul calls. My biggest problem is with the amount of whining, primarily by players, that is now found throughout every game.
In my opinion, Public Enemy No. 1 of this offense is Kobe Bryant! The second problem, which may best be addressed in another article is every player's ability to take three or four steps, sometimes including hops, without being called for traveling.
If I had a nickel for every second of broadcast television that I have spent seeing Kobe arguing a call with the officials, I would not be watching the Finals on TV, but buying a plane ticket to LA and purchasing a ticket for a premium seat to the games themselves.
Kobe has been able to argue with the officials without any punishment since the first round on basically any call, even those in which he was not involved. (Other than being a player on the court.)
If Mr. Bryant has left any imprint on this year's Lakers, it is clearly his tendency to moan and complain about calls and act indignant whenever a whistle is blown or not blown to suit his needs. While I understand that superstar players have privileges, including more leniency from the officials, having to watch Sasha Vujacic moan about calls is more than I can stand.
Vujacic is no more than a role player and I have serious concerns about his mental well being since he has expressed his hatred for the color green after playing the Celtics last year.
While baseball has suffered from decades from being difficult to watch on television, one would think that the 24 second shot clock and the improved athleticism of NBA players would make it ideal for television. I feel as though the tide is quickly turning against the NBA.
Perhaps they could institute a 24 second complaint clock as well and any player griping for more than 24 seconds automatically receives a technical foul. Kobe would need to understand that the 24 seconds do run while free throws are being shot.